Dean Scott Casper continues UMBC’s strong partnership with Maryland Humanities and the Greater Baltimore Alliance as a new board member

Two leading advocates for the arts and humanities in Maryland have elected Scott Casper, dean of UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, to their boards of directors. Casper is now beginning three-year terms with Maryland Humanities and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA), continuing UMBC’s strong tradition of partnership with the two organizations.

Strong collaboration in the humanities

Maryland Humanities has long been a champion for UMBC’s humanities scholarship. Numerous UMBC faculty have received Maryland Humanities grants over the years. Most recently Felipe Filomeno, assistant professor of political science, and Tania Lizarazo, assistant professor of modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication, received support for their project “Honest Conversation: Faith Community Dialogues on Immigration and Race.” Additionally, Maryland Humanities has worked closely with the Dresher Center for the Humanities at UMBC to highlight humanities scholarship through the regular audio segment Humanities Connection, aired on WYPR.

(L to R) Scott Casper with Angelica Frude, Lydia Yeh, and Paris Ye from Eastern Middle School, who won first place in a Junior Group Website in the Maryland History Day competition 2018, and  Mishelle Johnson, from the office of Senator Van Hollen. Courtesy of Mitro Hood ’89, photography.

Both institutions have also partnered for the annual Maryland History Day, which is sponsored by Maryland Humanities and hosted at UMBC (this year on May 11). This program engages 27,000 middle and high school students across the state in historical research projects each year, to help them develop skills in research, critical thinking, writing, and public speaking.

In the spring of 2018, when Maryland Humanities celebrated its 45th anniversary, the organization also honored UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski for his dedication to the organization and his service as a former board member.

“We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Casper to our Board of Directors,” says Phoebe Stein, executive director of Maryland Humanities. “His belief in the value and power of the humanities in our everyday lives, his extensive knowledge of the humanities in Maryland, and his work as a scholar and vast experience as a nonprofit administrator will be immensely valuable.”

Casper with students at an exhibit by Peggy Re, associate professor of graphic design, in UMBC’s CADVC.

A unique arts partnership

The GBCA has partnered with and supported UMBC’s arts community throughout its seventeen years as a vital arts organization for Baltimore artists. Several UMBC arts faculty have received GBCA awards to support their work, including Tim Nohe, professor of visual arts and director of the  Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA); Lee Boot, director of the Imaging Research Center; and Kathy O’Dell, associate professor visual arts and special assistant to the dean for education and arts partnerships.

Numerous UMBC faculty, staff, and alumni have received GBCA Baker Artist Awards. Most recently, celebrated jazz pianist and composer Lafayette Gilchrist ‘92, Africana studies, received a Baker Artist Award to help him continue to compose, perform, and record as a soloist and leader of two genre-defying bands.

UMBC faculty have also supported the GBCA through service and professional development work, honoring the institutions’ shared commitment to innovation and leadership in the arts. O’Dell served for many years on the GBCA Board of Directors, and continues to serve as co-chair of its Equity and Inclusion committee. Additionally, UMBC’s CIRCA partnered with GBCA in professional development intensives for faculty and students.

“It is tremendously meaningful to have Scott on our board with his expertise in the Walters, Civil War monuments, and his humanities perspective,” says Jeannie L. Howe, Executive Director of the GBCA. “We are extremely excited to have his enthusiasm and balance to make great contributions and strengthen [our work] with Maryland Humanities and UMBC as cultural partners in the region, state, and country.”

“Both Maryland Humanities and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance immeasurably enrich our communities, region, and state,” says Scott Casper. “They nurture our collective humanity, our creativity, and our understanding of contemporary and historical contexts for our challenges and endeavors.”

He shares, “I am honored to continue UMBC’s long partnerships with them and excited to participate in their essential work.”

Banner image: Scott Casper with colleagues. By Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.