The entering class will be filled, says the airy Admissions press release that frankly would not have ever said anything but a positive message. No problems with demand here as we have seen elsewhere.
We’ll see how it plays out when the students are actually here. The Admissions people are driven by numbers for reporting obligations and have told some real whoppers in the past. And actually, their penchant for creative spin is showing even in the linked press release. One of the ways we know to watch carefully how the numbers look when students are here is that the release burned column inches talking about the campus, not the class. “The university has produced six Nobel laureates, six Pulitzer Prize winners, more than 49 members of the national academies, and scores of Fulbright scholars.” Did we really produce six Nobel laureates? Not a chance. Take for example the physics guys – we worked hard to give them affiliations with campus after they won their big awards. Both are only distantly affiliated – adjunct titles and addresses with their real home institutions do not let us say we “produce” Nobel laureates.
Yeah, let’s watch for more specifics on that fall entering class.
Locals are bracing for tomorrow’s anticipated gridlock, as Bowie State has rented the Comcast Center for its graduation exercise – at which Michelle Obama will speak. Every year there is a reminder that faculty, students and staff are second class citizens who need to wait in line (often literally) behind the paying customers who flood our campus coincident with events, but the first lady’s visit will raise this to new heights, as the Secret Service will throttle access even more. It is hard to see why they are needed – our lack of planning for road and parking infrastructure will lock down movement far more effectively than any security barriers. Nevertheless, locals are warned to presume we will have no access to campus from north, east or south.
Parents are infuriated to have received notices that their students have been asked to see if they can move out of the residence halls a day early. (Friday would have been move-out day.) Faculty are being asked to essentially stay home. Those with final exams have been told to plan on an hour or more extra overhead to getting to campus, if they can at all.
Everyone who may need to be here anyway is being asked to use bikes or public transit to get here, not our regular vehicles. And that’s sort of a problem too since … those who might have paid attention to the big media campaign pushing alternate means are going to have a big surprise if they don’t also get the memo that metro will not be available this weekend when we might have been coming to campus for graduation exercises. Metro is closing the College Park station this weekend for repairs.
What great timing.
The DB today reports issues with internet access at the View, one of the student oriented housing opportunities immediately off campus. Students report basically never having had adequate digital access, and responses from the company, Comcast, sure have the look of simply making sure students feel ‘handled’ without making any fundamental change.
The fundamental problem, as everyone more or less knows, is that the provider is Comcast. The technology they bring to the building is a broadband service which divides the overall potential speed by however many users need it at any moment. The sorts of complaints mentioned in the DB article – service getting slow and unreliable late in the day – are exactly the sorts of things one hears from consumers in regular neighborhoods. Just as soon as the kids get home from school – or in this case, when College Park students stream back from classes to do homework – the competition for that limited resource goes way up and performance for any one user goes way down. No amount of fiddling with wall cables or more access points is going to change that. Only serious expansion of capacity from Comcast will change that, and it won’t happen, since they are using a ‘neighborhood’ model of service offerings which is based on this being a generic neighborhood, not a concentrated density of tech-demanding students; anything more requires expenses that Comcast has no interest in incurring.
What a pity that the campus is moving to an internet-intensive model of content delivery (MOOCs and blended classrooms) at a time it is also pushing students to poorly-provisioned partners for housing.
(Elevating this to a full post from Astounded’s comment earlier today …)
While not based on the soundest possible evaluation instruments, the survey of best/worst professors in America can’t be news welcome in Main Admin. The University of Maryland flagship rated #25 on the list of universities with the worst professors, as just released by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
This news rolls out immediately after the national deadline on which many prospective students would need to confirm fall admissions. Good thing we locked in the fall admits needed for our profiles before this story broke!
“In addition, I think there is a huge double standard going on here,” the statement reads. “When the President of the University of Maryland, Dr. Wallace Loh, gutted the school’s swim program and decimated the hopes of thousands of swimmers who thought one day they could swim for the school, the Comptroller was silent. President Loh wasn’t asked to explain himself to the Board. Why isn’t this any different? Likewise, when Maryland moved to the Big Ten and broke open meetings laws, the Comptroller again did not say one word. I simply do not understand this double standard.”
Good for the Senator!
Main Admin’s efforts to get our UM brand in the national spotlight were eclipsed by a single email apparently from the Delta Gamma sorority on campus, which quickly went viral and put a spotlight on the expressive powers of products of our campus Gen Ed program. (We’re still struggling to get through the memo, but some of it seems anatomically unlikely.)
Official campus releases haven’t garnered anywhere near as much attention. Maybe President Loh – whose anger-management issues are fast becoming legend on campus – needs to spice articles up with the occasional F-bomb to boost visibility. We know he’s up to it behind the scenes. Why hold it in?
Will the comptroller demand a similar level of accountability of UMCP President Loh?
One of the regular legislative audits exposes UMB as following some unsound financial practices, if not also dodging the law. Splitting purchases across credit cards to avoid triggering mandatory procurement reviews? Seems somewhat hard to explain that as an inadvertent paperwork error. (You can read the report for yourself.)
Quoting the linked article:
In a response to the audit from University Chancellor William Kirwan, university officials said that the staff had been instructed to abide by the $5,000 rule.
Not one of Brit’s stronger responses.
The Post quotes UMBC’s chess coach in a prediction of the team’s loss in the ‘final four’ matches of college chess being held now. UMBC has dominated this competition for years (we have applauded them for it, as well as the school for highlighting an intellectual endeavor over, say, football.) Apparently other schools have poured it on by recruiting top coaches, who brought their best players with them. Webster University from St Louis is now the team to beat.
When Towson was in danger of having to eliminate some decidedly non-competitive IX sports in order to balance the budget, not only did they get the cash back but they got $300,000 for a new softball field to sooth them from the inconvenience of having briefly worried about pesky budget matters. In order to let Wallace Loh return to schmoozing with his old buds in the Big Ten conference, where his teams will get decisively punked, Maryland will come up with millions upon millions for transition costs.
What will Martin O’Malley do for the one team in his state which not only pays long-term intellectual dividends for the most important stakeholders (that would be “students” for those of you still recovering from March Madness) but also wins for the state?
College Park likely spends more tax money on crab dip for soirees in conjunction with athletic events where teams lose than on the entire UMBC budget for a chess team that has dominated. Seems like the least Martin could do is pony up some gas money for these players to drive themselves to the match, but what they should be talking about is maybe a faculty line for an extra coach. Yes, faculty line. Unlike athletics, where almost nobody living off the campus is involved in serious instruction, these are people whose day job is to engage in serious instruction for all students. That they know about chess and can coach the team is just a bonus.
But we dream. This administration’s pandering to jocks over scholarship makes us think we are back under the Ehrlich administration again.
Many College Park athletes became free institutional development workers for the campus as their sports programs were held hostage to fund raising drives after Loh held back the cash. Most lost anyway. We wonder how they feel with news that Towson sports, which were in similarly distressed financial shape, were saved by the state in a budget deal made during the legislative session’s closing days.
Not only was the system given $300,000 for Towson men’s baseball to play another year, but they will get $2,000,000 for a new women’s softball field.
Maybe Wallace Loh isn’t so well regarded in Annapolis as he wants people to think.