Leadership & Innovation

UMBC is nationally recognized for its leadership in a variety of innovative programs.

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges Guide named UMBC #1 in up-and-coming national universitiesa list that includes Clemson University, Drexel University, Arizona State University, the University of California San Diego and Rice University. UMBC also is on a list of the top national universities “where the faculty has an unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching,” a list that includes such schools as Princeton, Brown, Yale and Stanford universities.

UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, was named one of “The 10 Best College Presidents” in the U.S. by Time Magazine in 2009. This achievement follows his inclusion to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Leaders 2008” list. A collaborative effort between U.S. News and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, the Best Leaders awards recognize ability to set direction, achieve results and cultivate a culture of growth.

The Princeton Review included UMBC in its “Best Value Colleges for 2009” list. UMBC is one of 50 public institutions in the United States recognized for offering a combination of educational excellence and affordability. In August 2008, The Princeton Review ranked UMBC second on its “Most Diverse Student Body” list in its annual college rankings book, The Best 368 Colleges: 2009 Edition.

UMBC was included in Kiplinger’s Top 100 “Best Values in Public Colleges 2009-10,” a ranking based on academic quality and affordable education. The top 100 schools included deliver strong academics at reasonable prices and offer the same or more financial aid as in previous years. UMBC is ranked among schools such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the University of Virginia; and Binghamtom University (SUNY).

UMBC is one of the country’s most environmentally-responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review and was included in its “Guide to 286 Green Colleges.”

According to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education in 2009, UMBC ranks:

 2nd in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Asian Americans in
computer and information sciences

– 10th in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African Americans in
biological and biomedical sciences

– 11th in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African Americans in
computer and information sciences

– 20th in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Asian Americans in
biological and biomedical sciences

– 31st in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African Americans in

The university’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship received $2 million from the Kauffman Foundation to build entrepreneurship education across the campus. The mission of the Kauffman Campuses Initiative is to catalyze entrepreneurship programs outside of business and engineering schools. The award acknowledges the success of UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, created six years ago through a gift of $1 million from the Alex. Brown Foundation to develop a leading university entrepreneurship center for the Baltimore region.

The Center for History Education has received seven $1 million grants from the US. Department of Education’s Teaching American History Grant Program to invigorate the teaching of history in Maryland elementary, middle and high schools.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $400,000 grant to UMBC to help fund a Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) project, “For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” a traveling exhibition. For All the World to See is the first comprehensive museum exhibition to explore the historical role played by visual images in shaping, influencing and transforming the fight for civil rights in the United States. Maurice Berger, research professor at CADVC, is the curator of this exhibition.

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is a national model for preparing students of all backgrounds for careers in science and engineering-related fields. Meyerhoff Scholars are twice as likely to graduate with a science or engineering major than students who decline the scholarship offer. Their GPAs in science, math and engineering are higher, and they are significantly more likely to enroll in a graduate program in these fields. Currently, 200 Meyerhoff alumni have completed graduate degrees, and 250 more are in graduate and professional programs.

The National Science Foundation awarded UMBC a $2.9 million grant in 2006 to establish an innovative interdisciplinary doctoral training program in “Water in the Urban Environment.” The award places UMBC among the most visible universities carrying out high-level research and doctoral training in urban environmental issues.

UMBC’s ADVANCE program is the catalyst for increasing the number of women university faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The University’s ADVANCE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, has helped to increase the number of female tenured and tenure-track STEM faculty at UMBC by 50 percent over the past five years.

Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s most selective honor society for all academic disciplines, was installed at UMBC in 2010. UMBC’s chapter will be known as Phi Kappa Phi University of Maryland, Baltimore Campuses (UMB – UMBC) Chapter, a designation that we will share with the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Continuing and Professional Studies won a Gold Level Marketing and Publications Award in 2009 from the University Continuing Education Association, selected specifically for the print recruitment campaign for UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove.

In 2009, the ACTiVATE program was recognized by a European organization as one of the three “Good Practices” programs in the world that train women entrepreneurs. FemStart, a German-based organization formed in 2006 to study female entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship training programs at universities, issued its recommendations after a series of six conferences held in various European cities.

UMBC received the 2008 President’s Award for Client of the Year from the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The award is given annually by the local chapter to a client to recognize their ongoing patronage of design through architecture in the Baltimore region. It recognizes contributions by UMBC’s Planning and Construction Services team to the USGS and multi-tenant buildings at bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park.

From the New Media Studio, Bill Shewbridge, Paul Iwancio and Aaron Weidele were honored with a 2008 Centers of Excellence Award by the New Media Consortium for “leadership in capturing and disseminating digital stories across the institution.”


The Department of Visual Arts Gaming track was included in The Princeton Review’s“Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs.” The list was featured in the April issue of GamePro magazine.

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture won the 2009 AAM Museum Publications Design Competition. Within the category of institutions with budgets less than $750,000, judges awarded first prize to 5:3 Five Artists: Three States poster, designed by Kelley Bell, assistant professor of visual arts.

Several visual arts faculty, graduate students and alumni received Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards for 2010: Lisa Moren, associate professor, digital/electronic arts; Aaron Oldenburg ’07, IMDA, digital/electronic arts; Cathy Cook, associate professor, media; Timothy Nohe, associate professor, media; and Hadieh Shafie ’04, IMDA alumna and adjunct faculty, works on paper.

Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Fred Worden was awarded one of three Grand Prix first place jury prizes for his film, “1859” at the 2009 25 Frames Per Second International Festival of Experimental Film and Video. The festival is held each year in Zagreb, Croatia and features experimental film and video work from around the world.

Barry Lanman, director of the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, was the 2008 winner of The Postsecondary Teaching Award of the Oral History Association. The award recognizes a “distinguished postsecondary educator involved in undergraduate, graduate, continuing, or professional education who has incorporated the practice of oral history in the classroom in an exemplary way.”

Nicholas Miller, professor of political science, was elected president of the Public Choice Society. He is editor of Games and Political Behavior, part of the newly-established political science network component of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

The UMBC Department of Public Policy is one of only three National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) accredited programs in Maryland.


The chemical and biochemical engineering department is ranked first in the nation in percentage of women faculty. The department is 57.1% female and includes four tenured/tenure track women.

UMBC and Princeton have created an Engineering Research Center (ERC) expected to revolutionize optics. The ERC is one of a select number of interdisciplinary centers located at universities across the U.S. UMBC’s optics expert, Anthony Johnson, professor of physics and computer science and electrical engineering, is the deputy director.

A collaboration between UMBC and IBM created The Multicore Computing Center (MC2), a unique facility that focuses on supercomputing research related to aerospace/defense, financial services, medical imaging and weather/climate change prediction. IBM awarded UMBC a significant gift to support the development of this new center, which researchers describe as an “orchestra” of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputing chips.

Through a $2.5 million National Science Foundation PROMISE grant, UMBC leads an effort by Maryland’s three public research universities to increase the number and diversity of Ph.D. graduates in the sciences and engineering who go on to academic careers.

The University is among the top three research universities in the U.S. in the production of IT degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to current NSF education data, UMBC ranks second in degrees awarded by U.S. colleges that grant bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in the computing sciences. UMBC continues to be the largest producer of IT graduates in Maryland, according to the NSF.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Hillol Kargupta received the 2008 IBMInnovation Award for his work on distributed data stream mining.

UMBC has been designated a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research for 2008-2013.

UMBC researchers are leading a six-university team on a $7.5-million, five-year Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The UMBC group, collaborating with colleagues from Purdue, the University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas at Dallas and San Antonio, is working to translate recommendations by the 9-11 Commission for more effectively sharing classified information into a technology network that both works and is secure.

A paper by members of the Cyber Defense Lab was accepted to the 2010 International Conference on Trust and Trustworthy Computing to be held in June in Berlin. The paper was written by John Krautheim ‘14, Ph.D. in computer engineering; Dhananjay Phatak, associate professor of computer engineering; and Alan Sherman, associate professor of computer science.


The Howard Hughes Medical Institute chose UMBC as part of a collaborative network of 12 colleges and universities to teach a new, hands-on genomic course aimed at involving more U.S. first-year college students in authentic research. HHMI received 44 applications and selected 12 institutions for the initiative, the first from its Science Education Alliance.

*Last updated 6/15/2010