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At UMBC, students find many resources to help them achieve their academic goals. Listed below are special programs and facilities available to enhance students' academic pursuits.
New Student Orientation Programs
UMBC conducts New Student Orientation for new freshmen and transfer students prior to the fall and spring semesters. The program begins with Course Selection Day, a day-long event designed to provide students with information necessary to begin their academic career at UMBC. During the program, students will learn more about academic requirements, meet with an academic advisor and register for classes online. The program includes sessions designed to give students an introduction to the values of UMBC and life outside the classroom. New Student Orientation continues with Welcome Week, a week-long series of social and educational events.
In addition, a family orientation program is offered for family members who want to learn more about UMBC, as they too become part of the university community. During the program, families learn more about the activities and opportunities available to students at and around UMBC.
First-Year Seminars, Introduction to an Honors University (IHU) Seminars, and the Collegiate Success Institute (CSI) are also available to students to further assist in their transition to UMBC. For more information about UMBC's orientation program, call 410-455-3244 or visit www.umbc.edu/orientation.
Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising provides advising services to exploratory (undeclared) and pre-professional students and manages a comprehensive system of academic advising for all undergraduate students that begins at orientation prior to enrollment at UMBC and continues through graduation. The office organizes and trains a team of academic advisors who assist entering students in selecting and registering for their first classes at UMBC as part of the orientation program. Ongoing academic advising at least once each semester is provided primarily by faculty or professional advisors in a student's major department, with exploratory students advised by staff in the advising office.
The office also advises students pursuing allied health careers (such as nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy) in concert with advising in the academic major, if one has been declared. Pre-professional students in medicine, dentistry, podiatry, veterinary medicine and optometry receive advising from the PreMedical and PreDental Advising Office located in Room 116 University Center. Specialized advising supplements the advising provided by the major department. This advising helps students develop competitive application portfolios and supports students throughout the complex application process for admission to professional school.
In addition to individual student advising in connection with orientation and registration, the Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising provides information and appropriate referrals to students about academic enrichment and career development opportunities, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and internships. The advising office is particularly active in assisting undeclared students to explore majors and associated careers. Through workshops, a handbook, an online occupational preference inventory and a variety of printed and online materials, exploratory students are able to assess their interests and find fields most closely matched to those interests. Similarly, in support of its role advising for the allied health professions, the office offers workshops, fact sheets, lists of relevant links to professional societies, program materials from specific professional schools, directories and other resources useful to students planning or considering careers in those fields. The office also develops and distributes a comprehensive calendar of health professions related events on campus, including visits by deans or admissions officers from professional schools. Decision-making and application-preparing support is also provided to students who plan to enter other graduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering.
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising also collaborates with the Registrar's Office to identify students who are struggling academically at UMBC. The advising office coordinates a campus-wide process for evaluating specific cases for the appropriate academic action and/or advising intervention. Students who receive letters about academic warning, probation, suspension or dismissal and have questions about their status or need help planning next steps are assisted by advisors in the office, as are students later seeking reinstatement after a period of suspension. The office works with the Learning Resources Center to provide academic skills training to students experiencing academic difficulties through the LRC 101A course — Academic Success for Lifelong Learning.
Trained undergraduate students employed as peer advisors assist students making advising appointments, seeking answers to basic advising questions or perusing the library of major/career/graduate school materials. These trained peer advisors provide additional support to the office through advising outreach in the residential communities, through commuter services offices, student clubs and organizations and other campus venues. Graduate students and recent graduates called Graduate Advising Fellows provide front-line advising services and carry out special projects helping to assess the effectiveness of advising services at UMBC. The full-time staff and the part-time peer advisors and Graduate Advising Fellows collaborate to provide extensive programming across campus, including workshops and briefings for faculty, staff and students on advising-related issues.
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising evaluates student requests to enroll for credits in excess of the normal limits per semester or per special session, based in part on a recommendation from the student's academic advisor in the major. The student's overall academic performance, the nature of the course schedule proposed and how well the student has managed overload semesters in the past are other factors taken into account in these decisions.
Finally, the office provides leadership to academic advising efforts across the campus through regular meetings of the academic advising community and other communications. The office provides extensive support to faculty and professional advisors in the academic departments by sharing key information, encouraging best practices, promoting technological enhancements, and assisting with complex individual student cases.
The Office for Academic and Pre-professional Advising is located in room 102 of the Academic Services Building. The office is routinely open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with some later appointments available upon request. Both appointments and walk-in services are available. A person in the office may be reached by calling 410-455-2729 at any time during service hours.
Learning Resources Center (LRC)
The Learning Resources Center (LRC) is UMBC's comprehensive academic support program. Students use LRC services to fulfill their goals at various stages in their academic career at this honors research university. The LRC collaborates with faculty, administrators, students, and staff to offer programs that maximize academic success. Specifically, the LRC offers these services:
- Free peer appointment tutoring for many 100-, 200-, and some 300-level courses, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, information systems, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, ancient studies, archaeology, philosophy, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Also, tutors work with ESL students on presentation and conversation skills.
- Walk-in peer tutoring in The Writing Center and the Math Lab, located in the library. The Writing Center provides tutoring for certain mathematics courses in the 100-level sequence through elementary Calculus II.
- Supplemental Instruction (SI) in specific courses. Peer SI leaders use active learning strategies to facilitate group discussion and learning.
- The First-Year Intervention (FYI) Program, a mid-semester notification program that informs freshmen and first-year transfer students about their academic performance
- The UMBC Placement Testing Program which provides the required placement tests in mathematics, English composition, and reading for entering UMBC freshmen and transfer students
- Student success courses in mathematics, college reading, and study skills. LRC courses carry institutional credit, applicable towards billing and enrollment hours, but not towards earned or degree credits.
- Study skills resource materials for developing test-taking, reading, and note-taking skills, as well as time-management strategies
- Academic coordinators who work with students and the UMBC community to develop programs and activities in mathematics/science, writing, English as a second language, reading, and study skills
The LRC main office is located in the Academic IV building, B-wing, room 345. The Math Lab and The Writing Center are located on the first floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library. For more information, call 410-455-2444 or visit www.umbc.edu/lrc.
English Language Institute (ELI)
UMBC's English Language Institute (ELI) offers courses for current and prospective UMBC students who seek to advance their English language skills. Students who successfully complete upper-level ELI courses are eligible to apply for conditional admission to UMBC's bachelor's degree programs (no TOEFL is required) and master's degree programs. Courses in the Academic English Program carry institutional credit, applicable towards billing and enrollment hours, but not towards earned or degree credits.
The ELI offers varied program and course options:
- Intensive English Program (full- or part-time study)
- Academic English Program (full- or part-time study)
- Specialized courses (TOEFL, GRE, and TOEIC preparation; pronunciation; public speaking; professional English, and more)
- TESOL training course for aspiring ESL/EFL teachers
Additional ELI resources include individual tutoring, English language learning software, a conversation partner program, student advising, student activities, and more.
International Education Services (IES)
As a vibrant research university, UMBC attracts a large population of international students who come from more than 100 countries. UMBC's Office of International Education Services offers comprehensive assistance to the university's population of international students and scholars to ensure all international members of the UMBC community are able to complete their programs of study and research in legal status. The IES office assists international students with the documentation needed to obtain their F-1 or J-1 visas and reports arrival and enrollment data to the Department of Homeland Security.
Throughout the student's stay at the university, IES provides guidance on matters related to travel, off-campus work opportunities, practical training and other matters related to life in the United States. All new international students are required to attend the orientation program sponsored by IES at the beginning of each semester. The program is designed to provide valuable information regarding both the legal requirements of their stay in the United States, as well adjustment to life in the United States and the U.S. academic experience..
The Study Abroad Office, which handles all matters related to academic programs abroad, also operates out of IES. Please see Study Abroad under Special Opportunities for more information on summer, semester, academic year and other short-term international education opportunities.
Student Support Services (SSS)
The Student Support Services Department (SSS) has a federally funded program designed to provide various supportive services to those students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at UMBC who have specific needs for academic support. Using UMBC placement tests and other academic data, SSS identifies those students whose academic profiles indicate they may experience difficulty with some introductory courses. Once identified, these students are invited to apply to participate in SSS. Applicants are screened to determine if they meet the federally defined eligibility criteria. They must:
- Be first-generation, degree-seeking candidates (neither parent has a bachelor's degree)
- Have family incomes below the maximum level established by the federal government for the current year.
Academic skills specialists are available to help in critical areas such as reading, English composition, study skills, mathematics, foreign languages and English as a second language. Also available are personal counseling services that assist participants in managing problems that may not be academically based. Participants who experience difficulty with courses may request and receive private tutoring for most lower-level and many upper-level courses. Academic and career planning services are available to all participants. Special-topic workshops, designed to help participants overcome some of the major pitfalls of college life, are offered regularly.
For more information about SSS, visit the office on the third floor of the Academic IV Building, B Wing, room 345; call 410-455-3250 or visitwww.umbc.edu/sss.
Services for Students with Disabilities
A resource and information center located in room 213 of the Mathematics/Psychology Building houses some adaptive equipment. Additional adaptive equipment is available in the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery. Services provided include note-takers; readers; books on tape (if available); scribes; mobility training; and American Sign Language, signed English and cued speech interpreters.
The services are available commensurate to the needs of students who have any documented legal disability. Personal counseling and special orientation are provided as needed. Students with disabilities should make an appointment to discuss their specific needs for services and accommodations.
For more information about services for students with disabilities, visit the office on the second floor of the Mathematics/Psychology Building, room 213; call 410-455-2459 (voice) or 410-455-3233 (voice/TTY) or visit www.umbc.edu/sss.
The Honors College
The UMBC Honors College is a special opportunity for students seeking to enrich their academic experience by taking small, intensive courses in areas of special interest. Many courses involve in-depth treatment of materials covered in regular class sections, while others resemble graduate seminars in their small size and depth and intensity of scholarship. Admission to the Honors College is highly selective. Academic records are weighed along with individual characteristics such as seriousness of purpose, intellectual promise and mature judgment as reflected in a recommendation and an essay. For high school students, the curriculum, grades and test scores are particularly important. A separate application is required for admission to the Honors College. For a detailed overview of the Honors College and admissions procedures, please see that section of the catalog or www.umbc.edu/honors. You may visit the Honors College in the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, suite 216.
The Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery contains more than 1,000,000 books and bound volumes of journals; more than 2,000,000 photographs, slides, maps, music scores, recordings, microforms and government documents. In addition, we provide over 13,000 online journals and 50,000 ebooks. Course reserves, most of which are online, and extensive computing, printing and photocopying facilities further assist studies. The library cooperates with 15 other University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) libraries through an extensive automated system featuring an online catalog of UMBC and USMAI holdings and a research port for locating full-text articles. The library Web pages, at www.umbc.edu/library, serve as a gateway to the holdings of many other U.S. academic libraries providing online materials and document delivery on request. The Retriever Learning Center is always open – with food and drink, computers, spaces for group study and close proximity to technical help and tutoring. Highly skilled professionals are prepared to help students locate information needed for study and research in-person at the library, or through phone, e-mail and chat services.
The library's Special Collections include one of the nation's major photographic archives, with photographs by Lewis Hine, Robert Fichter, Ralph Gibson, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Mildred Grossman, Jaromir Stephany, and many others. These photographs are valuable resources in the study of art, as well as other fields in the social sciences and humanities. The Special Collections also contain the Archives of the American Society for Microbiology and several other associations in biology through the Center for Biological Sciences Archives, the Joseph L. Arnold Maryland Collection, the Azriel Rosenfeld Science Fiction Research Collection and numerous other holdings of rare books. The Library Media Collection supports academic programs across the curriculum with audio and video recordings, as well as provides music and film offerings for recreational use. The library has been a selective depository for U.S. documents since 1972 and a full depository for Maryland state documents since 1984.
The Library Gallery
UMBC is exceptional among universities in having a major Gallery in its library building. The Gallery's mission is to provide exhibitions with accompanying publications and educational programming across a range of subjects, media and aesthetic purposes that support the UMBC campus mission. In the context of a research university, the Gallery serves as a crucible for the discovery of and encounter with ideas greater than any single book, object, image or concept. Exposing viewers to a broad range of exhibitions is a primary goal of the Gallery. Historical and educational exhibitions, significant photography and materials from the Special Collections department are presented for our students, faculty and staff, and the citizens of the region and the state. The Gallery, thus, contributes to UMBC's status as a center of cultural and intellectual activity.
Division of Information Technology (DoIT)
As a technologically advanced campus, UMBC offers students access to an array of computing services for research and study, as well as for communication and collaboration. Computer labs are available seven days a week with consulting support and high-speed printing, including color printing. Various platforms are provided, including Macintosh, Windows and Linux workstations, which emphasize graphical interfaces. All computer labs are linked to the Internet. All students receive a myUMBC computer account for e-mail and use with over 900 Windows and Macintosh computers available in campus computing labs. Through myUMBC, a campus Web portal for personal information and tools, students can use the Web to register for classes, retrieve final grades, check course availability, set up personal links and use Web-based e-mail. Students, faculty and staff have access to a wide range of software, including all major programming languages, various statistical packages, database and text processors, and many special-purpose packages supporting mathematics. These include Oracle, SAS, Maple, Matlab, Java, C++ and Mathematica. In addition, the UMBC bookstore has special academic pricing for most major software packages.
UMBC's Division of Information Technology (DoIT) provides a state-of-the-art infrastructure to support the campus' research, instructional and business computing needs. DoIT provides space for e-mail, personal Web publishing and storage, in addition to space dedicated for research and administrative use. Multiple Linux, IBM and Sun servers are available. Resources targeted for research computing include specialized Linux clusters of 84 nodes with over 180 terabytes of high-performance storage. UMBC is a member of Internet2, bringing high-speed network connectivity and access to advanced applications to the entire campus. The network extends to wireless access and over 800 wireless access points cover the campus and provide wireless connectivity through all academic buildings. Internet connectivity is provided to the campus through two, one gigabit (GigE) Internet connections.
Your myUMBC account also provides access to Blackboard (Bb), a Web-based course/content management system (CMS) used by nearly all of UMBC's 13,000 students, faculty and staff in more than 1,500 courses and 300 organizations every semester. Bb provides a password-protected Web space for relevant course or community documents and announcements, and it is also used for online discussion boards, practice quizzes, electronic assignment collection, surveys and access to grades.
DoIT provides and maintains academic media support on campus for classroom technology services, all audiovisual presentation equipment and lecture halls, and the use of audience response systems (or "clickers") for interactive polling. DoIT also manages the International Media Center (IMC), which has equipment and study materials for independent learning, including an extensive library of foreign-language audio and video cassettes, films, slides, reading materials and computer-assisted software.
Support for Innovative Teaching & Learning
DoIT supports faculty in re-designing face-to-face (f2f) courses for hybrid delivery (www.umbc.edu/go/hybrid). In addition, the New Media Studio supports faculty use of digital storytelling for student assignments (www.umbc.edu/stories).
DoIT manages the UMBC portion of the University of Maryland Interactive Video Network (IVN), which allows UMBC students to enroll in upper-level and graduate courses taught at other campuses of the University System of Maryland.
Student Job Opportunities
DoIT provides many job opportunities for students, including networking, tech support center, desktop support, new media and AV services. Students with experience in computer technology are encouraged to apply for a position with DoIT through UMBCworks.
Conservation and Environmental Research Areas (CERA)
Established in 1997, the Conservation and Environmental Research Areas (CERA) of UMBC were created to support environmental education, research and conservation at UMBC. At present, CERA covers about 50 acres of the UMBC landscape and is located in two areas. The larger tract, covering approximately 45 acres of the south end of the main campus, has a variety of ecological settings including mature upland forest, early and mid-successional forests, and riparian and wetland environments. The second, much smaller CERA area (about three acres) surrounds Pigpen Pond. There are also several areas within CERA where evidence of previous human occupancy and use can be found. In addition to teaching opportunities for faculty, CERA offers a wide range of opportunities for students and faculty to undertake short- and long-term research projects in various disciplines. Management of CERA is guided by the need to maintain these landscapes as natural areas to be preserved and protected for approved uses in education, research and wildlife observation. Faculty and students who want further information or who wish to use CERA for research and/or teaching are encouraged to contact the CERA Steering Committee (Sandy Parker, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.umbc.edu/cera.