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Challenges and Opportunities in the Big Ten Communities

Today, I will be part of a discussion with Mayor Rhodes-Conway of Madison, WI, and Mayor Taylor of Ann Arbor, MI, exploring the challenges and opportunities within our Big Ten communities. You can join the watch party in person at the Thurgood Marshall Hall Atrium @ UMD or online by registering here:

Engaging UMD Students More in College Park

Increasing resident engagement is one of the City’s five-year goals, and college students comprise a large percentage of the City’s total population.

The City Council had a robust discussion at its tonight’s meeting. Staff from the UMD Office of Community Engagement, the UMD Student Government Association Director of Civic Engagement, and a representative from Terrapins Vote (a student organization) were invited to participate in this Council Meeting discussion. The City Council Student Liaisons also contributed to the discussion.

Some ideas and challenges discussed included

  • Using student interns and UMD clubs for engagement-related community projects
  • City columns or other communications in the Diamondback
  • the City position primarily focused on student engagement and consideration of modifications to the Student Liaison and Deputy Liaison positions to increase student engagement.
  • Having events both at the campus by the City and the inside the residential neighborhoods by the UMD
  • Adding a student guide on life in College Park and how to engage
  • Having larger access of election candidates to the UMD dorms.

Please let me know if you have any ideas. The Council will continue to discuss this topic regularly in the future.


UMD Now Ranks a Top 20 Public School

The University of Maryland climbed a spot to No. 19 among the nation’s top public schools, according to new ratings released recently by U.S. News & World Report, according to teh UMD Today.

Among public institutions, UMD is tied with Rutgers University, Florida State University and the University of Washington in the 2022-23 “Best Colleges” report. Maryland also ranked No. 55 among all U.S. universities, rising from No. 59 last year.

Business: UMD ranked 23rd overall, and No. 13 among public institutions, with four top 25 specialties:

Computer Science: UMD rose to No. 16 nationally in this category and No. 8 among publics, with four specialties in the top 25.

Engineering: UMD ranked 22rd overall, and No. 11 among public institutions, with five top 25 specialties.

You can read more about the news here.

UMD Cancels All Winter Commencement Activities

University of Maryland

Last evening, the University of Maryland announced to cancel all winter commencement activities, including the main ceremony scheduled for Dec. 20 and all college, school and department ceremonies scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22.

The announcement reads: “This decision was not made lightly. We know how important this time is for our winter graduates and their families, but our first responsibility must continue to be the health and well-being of our community.”

All winter graduates will be invited to the spring ceremony in May.

Additionally, the announcement also includes:

  • All indoor social gatherings where mask-wearing cannot be strictly enforced should be canceled through Dec. 22.
  • All dining halls and the Stamp Student Union food court will transition to grab-and-go options only. This went into effect earlier yesterday.
  • RecWell facilities will maintain their finals hours of operation schedule through Dec. 21; however, basketball, volleyball and racquetball activities will be suspended immediately. All RecWell facilities will be closed Dec. 22-Jan. 2, with a limited reopening tentatively scheduled for Jan. 3.
  • Students who live in residence halls will be required to depart campus 24 hours after their final on-campus exam.

CPCUP Sets 10-Year Goals for Greater College Park

At tonight’s Council meeting, the Council will receive a presentation from the College Park University Partnership (CPCUP) about its 10-year strategic plan.

The CPCUP plan focuses on the following key areas – housing and development, transportation and mobility, public safety, health, and education.

On housing and development, the plan sets the following goals (a) Retain and attract homeowners in single and multi-family dwellings. (b) Retain and recruit retail, commercial, and hospitality businesses with local and regional appeal. (c) Retain and attract new research and development companies.

CPCUP’s transportation goals include (a) Increase use of public transit, including Metro Bus and Rail, University Transportation Services, and Prince George’s County ‘The Bus’ and ‘Route 1 Ride’. (b) Increase walkability and bike-ability throughout our community.

The public safety goals include (a) Maintain and improve safety and health, including the Student Code of Conduct, University of Maryland Police and Health departments, security cameras on and off-campus. (b) Maintain and improve cooperation between the City, University, and other agencies like a security company to enhance the security and health of our community.

The education goals include (a) Maintain and enhance K-12 educational opportunities, including the expansion of College Park Academy, to attract and retain families with school-age children. (b) Maintain and improve quality pre-K opportunities for City and University residents and employees.

Many of CPCUP’s 10-year strategic plan goals intersect with what the City is currently doing as part of its 5-year Strategic plan. We hope to discuss how the City and the CPCUP can work together to achieve their shared goals.

UMD Launches COVID-19 Dashboard

Last week, the University of Maryland officially launch our public COVID-19 campus dashboard that will provide our community with transparent and timely data about the prevalence of COVID-19 within our campus, based on UMD-administered testing.

The dashboard will provide critical metrics, including UMD tests administered by week and cumulatively; new positive cases by week; positivity rate for UMD-administered tests; campus density measures; and quarantine and isolation bed availability. The metrics will be updated weekly and are an important part of our ongoing efforts to monitor and counteract the spread of the virus. I encourage every member of our community to visit the dashboard to stay informed on COVID-19’s presence on our campus.

As a reminder, all students, faculty and staff are required to take a COVID-19 test within 14 days prior to returning to campus. Students will also be required to be tested after arriving on campus. Before their return to campus, students may be tested locally, or participate in one of the university’s free campus testing events taking place at Maryland Stadium.

The UMD will be testing more than 6,000 Terps this week; and registration is still open for testing the weeks of August 24 (registration deadline: today) and August 31 (registration deadline: August 26). The UMD is urging any members of the university community to return to campus to find information about testing sites in their area or register for free on-campus testing as soon as possible.

Before arrival to campus or the College Park area, students will need to provide the university with confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test result, which can be uploaded at If a student tests positive, the student will be required to stay at home, follow CDC guidance, and be cleared by the students’ healthcare provider before coming to campus. Find additional information about COVID-19 testing requirements and answers to frequently asked questions.

To slow the spread of the virus, every student, faculty, and staff member is be expected to adhere to healthy behaviors:

  • Wear a face-covering at all times indoors, and outdoors when other people are nearby; (additional information about wearing a mask or face covering on campus is available, including when a face covering should be worn, acceptable face coverings, how to properly wear and care for them, and the availability of face coverings for the campus community)
  • Wash hands frequently and practice good personal hygiene;
  • Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart from others; and
  • Stay home if you feel sick, and report symptoms to the University Health Center and your personal doctor.


UMD’s Fall In-Person Classes Delayed by Two Weeks

The University of Maryland announced yesterday that it will begin the semester as scheduled on August 31 but will delay undergraduate in-person instruction until September 14. Undergraduate instruction will be delivered online for the first two weeks. All graduate-level instruction and approved research activities will proceed as planned.

The University is saying because of the current pandemic situation, it will prioritize the health and safety of every member of our campus community, and will protect and support the educational and research missions to maintain academic excellence. Additionally, it will provide timely and transparent communication and obtain input from internal and external stakeholders about the proposed reopening plans.

Over the past several weeks, the University worked to develop and enhance plans for reopening our physical campus this fall. Hundreds of faculty, staff, and students are collaborating in work-groups and teams to create an academically-rich environment for the fall semester. Over 600 grants have been awarded to innovative approaches to online and blended learning. We have also worked to create a physically distant, socially-rich environment.

UMD’s School Of Medicine Begins Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

According to this CBS report, researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine have begun testing experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The report says the research is being funded by Pfizer Inc. and will study the safety, efficacy, and dosing of an experimental mRNA -based vaccine.

The vaccine research is being conducted in the UMSOM Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and it is part of a multicenter study in the U.S. and in Germany that will include up to 360 participants in this initial stage.

For individuals in the Washington area interested in participating in this important vaccine trial: Call 1 (410) 706-6156, text COVID19Vaccine to #555888, email, or click here.

UMD Names New President

Darryll J. Pines

Yesterday, The University System of Maryland Board of Regents has named Darryll J. Pines, PhD, the 34th president of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Pines is currently serving as the dean of the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering.

Last year, the current UMD president Dr. Wallace Loh announced that he would retire this summer.

You can find more about the announcement of the new president here.

UMD Police will Continue to Monitor City Cameras, at Least for another Year

University of Maryland Police checks images from camera feeds in old town College Park

At tonight’s meeting, the Council will consider approving an agreement with the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety to provide live security camera monitoring, data storage, and forensic video evidence retrieval through FY 20 an annual cost for FY 2019 of $144,879 and FY 2020 of $149,226.

At last week’s meeting, the Council reviewed UMPD services and discussed alternatives to live to monitor these cameras and decided continuing this service through FY 20.

The Council has asked staff getting information from the UMD police about the effectiveness of these cameras and explore options to reduce the camera monitoring program by potentially record only the camera system. Replacing these cameras by stationary cameras wouls save camera budget, which would allow adding 6 cameras in the city every year.

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