November 2022

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Feature Article

UMD Faculty Key to James Webb Space Telescope Project 

By Dylan Lewis

Carina Nebula, Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

As the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope project (JWST) made waves across the internet this past summer when its first full-color images and spectroscopic data were released from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center just up the road in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

UMD faculty are heavily involved in projects surrounding the JWST and its data. For example, Dr. Alberto Bolatto, Professor at the Department of Astronomy, leads a team observing two of the nearest starburst galaxies, and Dr. Marc Pound, Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Astronomy, is part of an international team investigating the Orion Bar, a region of star formation in the Orion Nebula. Pound’s current Ph.D. student, Ramsey Karim, is using JWST data for his dissertation. Several other members of the UMD Astronomy Department either lead or are part of teams obtaining data from JWST, including Professors Sylvain Veilleux, Eliza Kempton, and Drake Deming, and Drs. Mike Kelley and Mark Wolfire, among others. Pound notes that many UMD astronomers have a high profile in the field, and the number of competitively awarded projects using JWST data just showcases the high caliber of research activity being done by faculty and graduate students at UMD.

The JWST’s observations are incredibly important for astronomers and non-scientists alike. According to Bolatto, the JWST is “revealing at much higher resolution and sensitivity than previously possible some of the most hidden places in galaxies, stars and planets in formation, and some of the very first objects that formed in the universe.” This is important to astronomers not only wanting to observe things that were previously unobservable, but because the detail of the images and their data “beautifully show the intricate structure of the dust and gas between the stars, and the spectroscopy gives us access to the composition of exoplanet atmospheres, and also of galaxies through cosmic time.” In short, the telescope’s observations are reshaping the field of astronomy. 

 JWST’s images are also meaningful  to people who are not scientists. Bolatto notes that “Science can be complex to explain, and it is not foremost in most people's minds as they go through their day, but the images from these telescopes speak by themselves. Nature is beautiful, and understanding how nature works, which is what science does, is also beautiful.” Pound is “grateful that taxpayers support this kind of basic research” because the telescope is an “astonishingly well-designed instrument, a true engineering marvel, that will produce amazing images and science over its lifetime.”

It is exciting to see UMD faculty so involved in projects of this scale and importance to the scientific community. You can learn more about Drs. Pound and Wolfire’s JWST project at the team website here: https://pdrs4all.org/.

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Faculty Success Updates

November 2022

New Section to the University CV Template

In the Spring of 2022, Faculty Affairs worked with the Faculty Success Advisory Group and the Council of Associate Deans for Faculty Affairs to find a way to represent faculty involvement in public engagement, public scholarship and public practice. To meet this need, a new section was added to the University CV, Section V. Public Engagement, Scholarship and Practice. To learn more about this new section, see Section V of the University CV: Public Engagement, Scholarship and Practice

In Faculty Success, there is now a Public Engagement, Scholarship and Practice section on the Activities page, with two activity screens associated with it. 

  • The Media Appearances and Interviews activity screen, moved from the General Information section
  • A new activity screen, Public Engagement, Scholarship and Practice

The following reports have been updated to include this new Section V in their generated output:

  • Annual Activity Report
  • Merit Review Report
  • University CV

2022 Annual Activity Reporting

Each year, all tenured and tenure-track (TTK) faculty members must complete an annual report of their research, teaching, and service activities so that the University may meet its state-and University System of Maryland-mandated reporting requirements. For the second year, Librarian faculty will be reporting their annual activities using Faculty Success. 

In past years, each college determined which of their Professional Track faculty (PTK) would participate in annual activity reporting using Faculty Success. This year, however, all benefits-eligible PTK faculty will be able to participate in 2022 Annual Activity Reporting using Faculty Success and Workflow. These PTK faculty will be included in the Workflow setup in Faculty Success and will receive all of the annual reporting communications. Individual units will make the determination as to whether annual reporting is required of their PTK faculty or not.

The 2022 reporting cycle will open on January 17, 2023 and conclude March 17, 2023. Chairs, directors and deans will have until March 31, 2023 to complete their reviews and approve faculty-submitted annual reports. 

New this year is an interactive report tool for the Annual Activity Report that can help as you prepare for 2022 annual reporting. Navigate to Reports->Annual Activity Report (Interactive), open Options and set the Date Range to the 2022 calendar year (be sure to uncheck the 'All Dates' checkbox). You can now review, edit and add activities that will be included in your annual report, all within this interactive view. While this report is not the version that will be submitted in Workflow, it does help you prepare more efficiently, ensuring that accomplishments are documented in the right sections without the need to hunt for the correct activity data screen. See this new tool in action in this short demonstration video.

And remember: you don't have to wait until January 17, 2023 to get started on your 2022 Annual Activity Report! The system is always available for you to add new activities or update information. Get a head start on your activity data today!
To support you, we have online guides and videos on our Faculty Success portal. We will be offering training via Zoom during the reporting cycle. The schedule and signup are on the Training page. Lastly, we have a bulk data import service for faster data entry or for updates in bulk to existing activity information.

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Volume 6 | Issue 3