Letter from the Chair: Patricio Korzeniewicz, PhD

Patricio Korzeniewicz

Patricio Korzeniewicz

As we bring the 2012-3 academic year to a close, our department is experiencing an exciting combination of changes and achievements!

Over the past year, we have received many wonderful additions to our faculty, such as Assistant Professor Rashawn Ray, Associate Professor Liana Sayer, and Research Professor Chris Bachrach. In addition, we spent the year conducting several exciting new searches, and over the summer we will officially announce the very fruitful outcome of our efforts. Together, all these recruitments are simultaneously deepening some of the traditional strengths of our department, while opening up new areas of collaborative work and study.

Our graduate students continue to show great success. To take but two examples, Shanna Brewton-Tiayon was selected as a winner in the 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), and Kathleen Denny received a Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship. Congratulations to both, and all other graduate students in our program, for their achievements. 

Also, over the month of April, many of our graduate students shared their second year papers with the department. These presentations encompassed a wide variety of topics and research methods, and the feedback received from the audience has been invaluable to their work and professionalization. Moreover, the presentations and the discussions help our more recent graduate students identify and begin pursuing their own areas of future research.

Our main office is undergoing some changes. After many years of valuable service, Patty Bernales has retired as our Director of Administrative Services: we wish her well! We now are in the process of concluding her replacement. For any administrative units such as ours, such transitions can generate some disruptions and uncertainty, but we expect our Finance Office to be back in full operation by the middle of June.

Change is also coming to our teaching. Higher education is facing important challenges –almost not a day goes by without an article in the New York Times or the Washington Post assessing the promise and dangers of MOOCs and/or hybrid courses. These challenges will require us to rethink both our graduate and undergraduate programs, so that all our students are taught effectively and helped to acquire the professional skills that will best equip them for their own futures.

We will have a great year ahead! In the meantime, I hope you have a productive summer (come see me, I’ll be around)!

Patricio Korzeniewicz       korzen@umd.edu

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