UMBC inaugurates new center to serve as hub for social science research


Published: Oct 15, 2018

UMBC’s Center for Social Science Scholarship has opened its doors this fall with Christine Mallinson, professor of language, literacy, and culture, as its inaugural director. The new center, which will promote faculty, student, and alumni research across multiple fields of study, is the result of many years of cultivating deep levels of scholarship on campus as well as collaboration and planning by the social science faculty.

“The Center for Social Science Scholarship answers a longstanding need at UMBC: to provide a hub, a connector, and a microphone for our extraordinary work on critical issues facing communities and societies today,” explains Scott Casper, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS).

The center will emphasize areas of research such as civic and political participation, global patterns of labor and migration, educational access, the relationship between humans and the environment, human behavior and health equity across the lifespan, the social context of technology, and policy impact.

Mallinson, who joined UMBC in 2006, researches the context of and mechanisms involved in communication within major social institutions, including education, the workplace, and the legal system. By working with teachers, lawyers, and judges to better understand how perceptions cause bias, Mallinson has developed research-based strategies to remove inequalities and barriers.

“Christine Mallinson’s innovative, collaborative scholarship has influenced academic debates, informed policy, and empowered communities. I look forward to her leadership on behalf of UMBC’s social science research community,” says Casper.

Through her interdisciplinary work in language, literacy, and culture, Mallinson said she has immersed herself in multiple campus partnerships and experienced first-hand the extent of dynamic social science research happening across UMBC.

“What I am most excited for with the Center for Social Science Scholarship is the ability to spotlight the depth and breadth of the social science research that our faculty and students commit to on a daily basis,” says Mallinson.

MIPAR grant workshop.

As part of these efforts, current social science programming—such as the research-based events and assistance offered by the Maryland Institute for Public Policy and Research (MIPAR), and the Social Science Forum lecture series—will be housed in and managed by the Center for Social Science Scholarship. Located in the Public Policy building, the center will also serve as a partner in connecting and sharing key insights and perspectives of social science alumni and community partners.

Mallinson sees this collaborative work as a continuation of UMBC’s values and commitment to applied research. “This is an opportunity at a pivotal time in our country,” she says, “to tackle some of the big picture questions that are significant in the social sciences, but that also have applicability to other fields, are relevant across UMBC, and matter to our communities.”

Featured image: Christine Mallinson. All photos by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC

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