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First Year Seminars
Fall 2009 Faculty Profiles

Diane Lee is Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education. Although in a primarily administrative position at this time, she is best known as "a teacher of teachers." She was elected by her colleagues to receive the Presidential Teaching Professor Award for 1997-2000. When she is not working you will most likely find her reading a good book, visiting a local crafts fair, gardening, or playing with her grandchildren.


Jill Randles is the Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. She is a student advocate at heart and has worked closely with UMBC students as an academic advisor. She is the recipient of the 2002 President's Commission for Women Achievement Award acknowledging her work in the areas of diversity and equity. When not on the job, she spends time with family and friends, runs, rides horses, judges horse shows, and is an avid reader.


Carolyn Tice teaches social welfare policy. She has presented and published in the areas of media and social services, which has been a long time interest of hers. Carolyn is the author of three books on social work practice from a strengths perspective.


Vickie Williams, an educational psychologist, has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including Pre-K through 12 schools. Her background includes degrees in human services psychology, community psychology, and education. She is interested in studying diverse classrooms in multicultural communities and serves as a liaison to professional development schools in Baltimore County, as well as to community colleges around the state. Dr. Williams teaches Education Psychology and Analysis of Learning and Teaching. Her current research focuses on the beliefs and dispositions of teachers from diverse classrooms.


Pattee Fletcher was born in a library in Glenview, IL, at least figuratively, if not literally. She has spent a lifetime reading books, magazines, cereal boxes, comics, newspapers, poetry - if it has words, she will read it. Among her most valued possessions is her public library card.

Dr. Fletcher has been at UMBC since 1993. She is an associate professor in the Department of Public Policy. She is a student of government information policy which includes issues such as information privacy, freedom of information, access to government information, and management of government information as a resource for citizens. Dr. Fletcher received her doctorate from Syracuse University in Information Science at the iSchool. On her way to the Ph.D., she picked up a Masters in Library Science, granting her the professional title of Librarian. While she does wear reading glasses, her hair is not, and never has been, worn in a bun.


Joby Taylor came to Baltimore as a Peaceworker Fellow himself in 1999 and liked the program and the city so much that he has proudly stayed on, becoming program director in 2003. Joby was born and raised in Miami, Oklahoma, a small town that is also home to eight Native American nations. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon, Africa (91-93) helping build an elementary school in the village of Seka Seka, and, as all RPCVs soon find, he learned much more than he gave along the way. Joby’s involvement in service and service-learning has included other construction projects in the U.S. and the Caribbean, but also much work with youth, particularly at-risk and special needs youth. Academically Joby received his BA in Philosophy, an MA in Religious Studies, and completed his Ph.D. in the Interdisciplinary Language Literacy and Culture program. His dissertation is titled: Metaphors We Serve By: Critical and Constructive Play with the Discourses on Service. Joby lives in Baltimore City with his wife Beth and their two girls, Isabel and Katherine.

Joel Liebman teaches Chemistry, ranging from CHEM 100, "The Chemical World," a GFR course emphasizing science and sociology, through CHEM 410/610, "Quantum Chemistry/Special Topics in Theoretical Chemistry/Chemical Bonding." While his written contributions have mostly been in the research journal literature, he has coauthored or co-edited numerous books, book chapters and databases, have had poems published as well, and was the nominator for the 2005 First Book Experience reading. Liebman is a firm believer that science is an interpersonal, international and interdisciplinary endeavor and he has had ongoing projects with scientists in England, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, as well as the US. He enjoys thinking and understanding, and thinking about thinking and understanding in particular. He also enjoys words - he is responsible for some new words in the scientific vocabulary associated with new concepts, and he has been held responsible for verbalizing some of the "worst" puns heard by his students and coworkers alike. Chemical and comical are not antonyms, nor antithetical.


Laszlo Takacs earned his Ph.D. in solid state physics from the Lorand Eotvos University, Budapest. His main research interest is the preparation and properties of materials. In particular, his applies high-energy ball milling to prepare unusual alloys, compounds, and nanocomposites and investigates their structural, mechanical, and magnetic properties. He also conducts original research on the history of using mechanical activation in chemistry. He draws on his broad interdisciplinary background in his teaching that includes courses from the basis introductory to the graduate level.