2023-2024 Faculty Working Groups

The Center for Social Science Scholarship encourages and supports new and continuing Faculty Working Groups to promote intellectual exchange in the social sciences and across campus. These collaborative scholarly learning communities meet regularly to engage in such activities as: working on research projects, reading key literature, exploring new methodological approaches, and/or engaging in matters of public interest related to the social sciences, across campus, or with community partners. Questions may be directed to Felipe Filomeno, our associate director.

2023-2024 CS3 Working Groups

“Public Health Discourse”

The Public Health Discourse group began in Spring 2022 and brings together faculty and students from across campus who have a scholarly interest in public health. Faculty from each of UMBC’s Colleges are doing work that falls under the umbrella of public health. It is a place for faculty to discuss public health interests; this may include discussing findings, obtaining feedback on grant proposals, promoting student public health research, etc. Our hope is that through such efforts faculty may identify aligned interests and over time, cross-college collaborations may grow.

This group is currently accepting new members.  Contact facilitator Andrea Kalfoglou (SAPH) for more information.

“Fostering Pedagogies that Engage and Support Transfer Students”

This group began as a 2021-2022 Faculty Learning Community (FLC), and became a 2022-2023 CS3 Faculty Working Group.  As an FLC members sought to explore the following questions: Transfer has been framed as a social justice and equity issue. How might that classification shape our pedagogical practices in the classroom? Recognizing the heterogeneity of transfer students, how can we  leverage their strengths and support their areas of growth?  Though transfer issues are often considered to be the domain of admissions, advising or student affairs, what are our roles and responsibilities as instructors to engage and support transfer students? Taking into account the interests and questions of our group, we  explore and discuss best pedagogical practices across different disciplines and consider what it means as faculty members to approach transfer from an equity/social justice perspective.  During the FLC this group collected pilot data from students in our classes about those faculty level practices that foster transfer student inclusion and self-efficacy in the classroom.  Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, we have explored this question from multiple perspectives. We explored the limited available literature. We held a listening session with transfer students. We invited a nationally recognized speaker on the topic, Xueli Wang, to meet with us to discuss our process. We each read one of two books- Xueli’s
Book, On My Own: The Challenge and Promise of Building Equitable STEM Transfer Pathways, or Power to the Transfer. We worked towards a SOTL project on pedagogical approaches to transfer students. At this point, we are working with Kerrie Kephart to figure out how to approach these questions in different types of classrooms, and what the common questions are.

Interested persons should contact facilitators Nancy Kusmaul (Social Work) or Sarah Jewett (Provost’s Office) for more information.

“Engaging Indigenous Knowledge”

The goal of this new faculty working group is to center Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing and facilitate dialogue on how Indigenous science and Westernized social sciences can come into conversation and collaboration with each other.  One common thread across this group, and one that connects closely with Indigenous ways of knowing, is a focus on water and land, and people’s relationship with nature. This working group is a wonderful way to support a series of regular meetings (1x/month), and to help support bringing Indigenous/Native speakers to campus for featured talks and other ways of engaging with UMBC community members. Our goal is to host at least two events: one tied to Indigenous Peoples Day (October 2023), and a second in the spring semester as part of Earth Week (April 2024).

During monthly meetings, the group will focus on (1) planning and initiating deliberate dialogue with elders from tribal communities in Maryland, (2) compiling a series of resources and references for UMBC community members to enhance their own learning, and (3) chart out and apply for grants to support further work to promote UMBC engagement with Indigenous/Native scholars and with Maryland tribal communities.

For the two speaking events, the groups would prioritize inviting Indigenous scholars whose scholarship focuses on land and water relations (e.g., land back, Rights of Nature) and who have experience in translating and collaborating between Indigenous knowledge holders and Westernized scholars and policymakers.

Interested persons should contact facilitators Maggie Holland (GES), Joby Taylor (Shriver Center), Maggie Knisley (SAPH), Conor Donnan (AmerStudies).

“Seeing White: an Exploration of Institutional and Structural Racism in Higher Education”

This new Faculty Working Group began as a 2019-2020 Faculty Learning Community called “Seeing White: The Influence of Structural & Institutional Racism on Teaching & Learning in Higher Education.”  Due to the overwhelming interest of faculty and staff in this topic, there were two FLCs, with 14 members. These FLCs relied on the Seeing White* podcast by John Biewen and Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika. Following the podcast’s structure, we discussed and researched the privilege of whiteness as it influences practices and structures in higher education.  Race issues remain important to faculty and staff in institutions of higher education in general and at UMBC in particular. Structural and institutional racism interact with our subject matter, our students’ experiences, and the entire enterprise of higher education.  Questions explored included: How can we integrate learning content about theinstitutional and structural racism intrinsic to our disciplines? How do racist institutions affect our students’ lives and learning experiences at UMBC? How does UMBC, as a societal institution, perpetuate or mitigate race-based oppression or discrimination?  How can we work toward racial justice within and beyond our institution? Deliverables included plans for course projects or a series of classroom activities to address institutional and structural race issues. This group will build on our previous work. With minimal refreshers, we are optimistic that our focused discussions and ambitious projects will lead to preliminary scholarly products designed to chip away at the institutional racism within higher education.  Activities planned include regular monthly meetings; preparation of an edited volume; and participation in relevant conferences to disseminate findings, in the form of poster presentations, session proposals, or panels (for example: ABRCMS,SACNAS, MLA, CWPA, CSWE, BPD)

Interested persons should contact facilitators Nicki Belfiore (Social Work) and Fernando Vonhoff (Biology).