The College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences is built on four cornerstones:
Computer Science
Earth Science
Physical Science
However, much of our strength lies in the research and education programs in which these four
areas interact with each other and with other disciplines. This plan is designed to drive us toward
success at our mission, which is:
1. The provision of a first class educational experience at all levels that:
Is informed by the knowledge and perspective uniquely found in the faculty of an
outstanding science college.
Is appropriate to the future needs of majors in our disciplines.
Delivers 21st century scientific literacy to students across the campus.
2. Scientific discovery whose quality and impact is recognized as competitive with that at the
world’s best institutions.
3. The application of frontier science to issues of crucial societal importance.
Act to strengthen our culture of excellence and spirit of innovation, and inspire faculty, staff and
students with a deep sense of pride. In particular:
1. Encourage and support contributions from our faculty that lead to new, possibly
experimental, ideas for the content and delivery of undergraduate education.
2. Increase the standards in our graduate programs, both for entry and at each benchmark, so
that our doctoral graduates are competitive with graduates from the world’s best institutions.
3. Work to increase the quality of students recruited to our programs.
4. Build research groups whose quality and impact matches or exceeds that of any institution in
the world.
5. Implement and maintain large-scale initiatives that offer unique opportunities to our faculty
and students, and play a leadership role on a national scale.
Goal One: Over the next five years increase the number of CMPS majors by 15%, the
graduation rate to match the campus average, and the number of graduates accepted to
graduate school at the top 30 AAU universities by 20%.
 In FY10 our new Undergraduate Education Working Group (UEWG) led by the Associate
Dean, Undergraduate Education, will develop a plan to raise our expectations of undergraduate
students in our programs.
 CMPS will continue mandatory advising in each department for all its majors; advisers work
with the CMPS Director of Student Services to ensure common practices across the college.
 In FY10 CMPS will implement MyPlan, a new electronic system to enable student planning
and adviser review.
 In collaboration with departments, the Dean’s office will use analysis of data to identify and
correct issues impeding a timely graduation.
Recruitment of admitted students, including:
o Active participation in activity occurring within the campus context provided by
University Admissions.
o Continuing our program of department-based phonathons to admitted students in
addition to the CMPS phonathons in the Dean's office.
o Receptions for admitted students and their families.
o Expansion of our offerings to campus programs such as Young Scholars.
Geology is restructuring and promoting its College Park Scholars Program.
Physics is adding additional scholarship support to top entering students.
Goal Two: Raise the quality of the classroom experience we offer.
Effective FY 10 a special merit pool will be set aside by the college for the Dean to assign
salary increases over and beyond normal merit increments for outstanding contributions to
undergraduate education.
Effective FY 10 the departments will be asked to identify to the Dean those faculty members
whose contributions to the classroom experience are below expectations and report the
individual action plans established with the faculty to remedy this.
Effective FY11 CMPS will have in place policies to ensure that all TA's and teaching
o Can communicate well in English.
o Understand our expectations of them.
o Have appropriate mentoring and supervision in their educational roles.
o Are evaluated through classroom visits.
Goal Three: Ensure the suite of programs we offer is the best use of our resources to meet
the needs of today's students.
Regularly review programs to ensure that they take students to the forefront of our disciplines
and their application.
Beginning in FY11 introduce at least one major transformative change each year to our
undergraduate programs and/or to our contribution to general education.
CMPS will offer fiscal support, beginning with $50K in FY10, to fund proposals that engage
faculty in developing and implementing truly innovative ideas for content and delivery of
undergraduate education.
CMPS will establish the Innovative Educators program to recognize significant faculty
contributions to innovation in our undergraduate education programs.
Introduce non-traditional courses designed to foster scientific literacy and skeptical thinking
in the context of the modern world.
Foster cross-disciplinarity in our programs and thus develop a sense of shared culture among
CMPS majors.
Introduce courses about research processes and leadership development for scientists,
intended to appeal to all CMPS majors.
Experiment with new ways of curriculum delivery inside and outside the classroom that
resonate with the experience and modus operandi of this and future generations of
Expand our offerings that prepare students to use their science education in the non-academic
world. In particular, find better means of including oral presentations and teamwork in the
educational experience we offer.
In FY 10 and FY 11, make the following changes to our major programs:
o AOSC will propose an undergraduate major with a targeted enrollment of at least 50
o Astronomy and Geology will work to establish a track in planetary science.
o Geology will introduce a geophysics track in the major.
o Computer Science will revise its introductory courses to provide a better view of the
excitement of the discipline today, and will revise its upper years' curriculum to
include a focus on emerging issues such as network security, programming for multiprocessor systems of the future, and software engineering projects.
o Mathematics will introduce an applied mathematics track in the major, and a second
track in the mathematics of advanced technology emphasizing mathematical skills
that are broadly and immediately applicable in today's high tech industries..
o During FY10 Physics will review its curriculum and requirements and the results will
be used to modernize, update, and improve the majors.
Goal Four: Increase educational opportunities outside the classroom including research
experiences internally and with external partners. In particular, increase by 50% the
number of undergraduates engaged in a faculty-mentored research-type activity.
Increase the distinguished awards received by our students.
By FY 11 create a program of cross-disciplinary research interaction teams of undergraduate
students and faculty mentors. Projects would be substantive, and include collaborative
projects with government or industrial research partners. The intent is to challenge our
students to integrate content and sharpen skills in communicating with other scientists.
Students would receive CMPS course credit, and this program would replace some current
contributions from the college to the "honors effort" on campus.
Effective FY 11 all departments will ensure that all graduating CMPS majors have had the
opportunity for a mentoring relationship (often through a research experience) with a faculty
Astronomy will establish an undergraduate student lounge, regular social interactions with
faculty, and opportunities for seniors for interaction with the chair.
Astronomy will use its research facilities at Kitt Peak and California, and its partnership with
Goddard, to increase the unique opportunities it offers to undergraduates.
Computer Science will establish an undergraduate student lounge with the help of a gift from
BAH and will increase the information sessions for its research honors program.
Geology already requires a two-semester research project from each major.
Mathematics will take extra care to guide the undergraduate careers of its outstanding
students toward research opportunities, research interaction teams and advanced class work
that will help their preparation for and placement in excellent graduate programs.
Mathematics will increase opportunities for undergraduate participation in applied research
with government and industry sponsors through the Norbert Wiener Center.
Currently 75%-80% of Physics majors participate in research either with Maryland faculty
members or in outside laboratories and companies. Physics will work aggressively to
increase this number.
Physics will establish a faculty-student annual dinner.
Physics will use its IT helpdesk to recruit undergraduates as another means of promoting
faculty-student contact.
Goal Five: General education.
Action: CMPS will work with the campus to redesign general education in the sciences to
include courses that may be part of a cluster from multiple colleges, and to increase the focus on
scientific literacy (here "science" includes "mathematics and computation") including:
The nature of scientific thinking.
Modern issues and progress in science.
Science in the context of everyday life.
The communication of science to policy makers and the layman.
CMPS will also support a campus initiative to establish a large scale program of small freshman
seminars as a means of introducing freshmen to the intellectual activity at the University and to
the faculty engaged in that.
Goal Six: Increase international opportunities.
AOSC plans to develop an exchange program with China.
Astronomy plans to use the forthcoming agreement with a Chilean university to provide
opportunities student exchange with the partner university in Chile.
Geology plans a new field course in Iceland and will continue its current field course in the
Physics plans to increase semester study abroad by its majors.
Goal 7: Work with the campus to bring our teaching and research facilities to a
competitive level.
 Additional modern classroom teaching technology will be requested.
Goal One: Increase the quality of our graduate student body and standards so that our
doctoral graduates are competitive with those at the world’s best institutions.
Through the Graduate Education Working Group of graduate program directors (GEWG),
develop a culture of higher expectations of graduate students by faculty.
Effective FY11 ensure that 95% of all PhD students have 9-month funding of at least
Use the GEWG to share ideas for student recruitment.
Each graduate program has set benchmarks and timetables to reach them. Each program has
identified a key benchmark, and PhD students who do not complete that benchmark by the
specified time will be dismissed from the program unless an exception is granted by the
graduate director and approved by the chair. All exceptions are to be reported to the Dean’s
Each program has set a normal length of time after the completion of the key benchmark
(above) by which the degree should be completed. Beginning with the entering cohort of
PhD students in Fall 09, 80% of PhD students who complete the benchmark are expected to
graduate by this time.
Goal Two: Improve graduate student opportunities through program innovation and
attention to the graduate experience.
Effective FY10 ensure that before graduation all PhD candidates have had experience and
mentorship in oral presentations, in the writing of articles and, as appropriate, in the drafting
of proposals to funding sources.
Every graduating PhD student has an exit interview which assesses how well expectations
are met. Identify improvements through GEWG analysis of those interviews.
Astronomy will provide expanded faculty advice to first year students, annual meetings of
each cohort with the chair, annual or biannual research presentations by all students, regular
meetings for students to prepare for the job market.
AMSC has a new PhD track in applied statistics.
IPST, in co-operation with Physics, has established a new M.S. and Ph.D. degree granting
interdisciplinary program in biophysics (BIPH), with the first class admitted for the fall of
Computer Science will run a series of area-specific workshops for new graduate students
where faculty will present their research in lectures and graduate students in a poster session.
Computer Science already sponsors informal lunches with faculty and new graduate students.
AOSC will increase emphasis on cross-disciplinary research projects (with AMSC, CHPH
and CHEM).
CSCAMM/IPST/IREAP will establish a new program of research clinics for teams of
graduate students and postdocs to address goal-oriented problems relevant to the needs of
industry and national labs.
Mathematics, AMSC and Statistics will provide more effective advice to entering students,
faster and smoother transition from courses to research, re-examine and revise graduate
courses and their role in the programs, and reconsider examination policies.
Mathematics, through the Norbert Wiener center, will continue to provide graduate students
with the opportunity to combine cutting-edge mathematics with current industrial
Goal Three: Over the next five years double the number of graduating PhD students who
find initial positions at the top 30 AAU universities or federal labs of equivalent reputation.
Effective FY 10 ensure that all PhD graduates have had mentoring and support in their job
Effective FY 10 ensure that all PhD students have the opportunity to interact with the
external community in their discipline.
Encourage best practices though GEWG analysis of the placement database and current
Goal Four: Increase the total enrollment in, and the number of, professional masters
Pursue the development of a professional masters program offered by Computer Science with
the objective of having it in operation by FY 12.
Rapidly increase the enrollment of the professional masters program in Atmospheric and
Oceanic Science.
Mathematics, through the Norbert Wiener Center, will, in conjunction with the R. H. Smith
School, create a new professional masters program in Financial Mathematics.
Goal One: Over the next five years improve our USNW rankings.
Move Applied Mathematics from 13th to top 10 nationally, and from 6th to top 3 among
public universities.
Move Computer Science from 13th to top 10 nationally, and from 7th to top 5 among public
Move Mathematics from 21st to top 15 nationally, and from 8th to top 5 among public
Move Physics from 13th to top 10 nationally, and from 4th to top 3 among public
Goal Two: Significantly increase the quality of the CMPS research enterprise.
Focus faculty recruitment on fewer fields which we have determined to be crucial for the
future, and where we can be among the world’s best. Commit to maintaining these as areas of
strength over the next ten years.
Plan to recruit at least five star faculty over the next five years.
Continue to raise our standards for appointments and promotions.
Provide opportunities and encouragement for smaller departments to participate in largescale initiatives.
Departmental areas of focus:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science: Physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and the oceans,
and the application of this to coupled predictive models for the earth system.
Astronomy: planetary system formation and evolution, structure and evolution of galaxies,
high energy astrophysics and black holes.
Computer science: cyber-security, multi-core and distributed systems, machine learning and
applications in social sciences, computational biology.
Geology: geochemistry with applications to planetary origins, earth processes, geophysics.
Mathematics: number theory, geometry, representation theory, dynamical systems, applied
analysis, and biostatistics.
Physics: high energy particle and astrophysics, material science and nanophysics, atomic,
molecular and optical physics, computational plasma physics, cosmology and gravity,
biophysics, non-linear dynamics.
Research Institute areas of focus: Through joint hires with departments the CMPS research
institutes foster interdisciplinary research, promote cross-unit collaboration, and incubate
educational and research programs. Each institute has a particular focus:
CSCAMM: focuses on the development of computation and mathematical models in the
physical sciences.
ESSIC: spearheads the development of predictive earth system modeling and leads the
climate initiative.
IPST: is the incubator of our effort in biophysics, is the home of the Burgers Program in
fluid dynamics, and plays a key role in the recruitment of distinguished senior faculty in the
mathematical and physical sciences.
IREAP: serves as a key link between Physics and Engineering faculty and supports the 3college nanocenter.
UMIACS: acts as a bridge linking computer scientists to other computationally oriented
departments with its joint programs in computational linguistics, prediction of social trends,
computational biology and human-computer interaction.
Goal Three: Establish UM as the pre-eminent national university for fields including:
Predictive models of environmental change.
Computational models for social groups.
Quantum information.
High energy astrophysics, black holes, and planetary origins.
Dynamical systems and controlled chaos.
Use the NOAA-NASA-ESSIC partnership to make this region the leading center in America
for climate research.
ESSIC, in partnership with AOSC and Geology in CMPS, and with the colleges AGNR,
BSOS, ENGR and SPH, will lead the establishment of a national institute as a major arm of
the forthcoming National Climate Service, with enormous national and international societal
impact. The institute will have the mission of:
o Identifying the priorities for environmental prediction that are most urgent to respond
to the needs of planners and policy makers in the public and private sector.
o Pioneering the integration of physical models with data on the biosphere and human
activity to develop reliable predictions of environmental change on a scale from
seasons to decades.
o Developing policy recommendations to deal with predicted environmental change.
o Focusing on the development of climate reanalysis and high-resolution regional
Leverage current world class strength and collaborations with BSOS and Public Policy to
make the University of Maryland the preeminent university in computational reasoning to
predict the behavior of groups such as terror groups, political parties, government leaders,
and large financial institutions.
Use the Joint Quantum Institute, a major partnership with NIST, to make UM the world
leader in combining condensed matter physics with atomic, molecular and optical physics to
make progress in quantum information.
Over the next five years build a grand partnership with the Goddard Space Flight Center.
o Create a new Joint Institute in Space Science to foster a high level of joint research
between UM faculty and permanent Goddard scientists, including greater
participation in mega-missions by faculty and graduate students. Initial focus on:
black holes, high energy astrophysics and planetary origins.
o Grow the existing relationship in Earth Science.
o Maintain our leadership role in CRESST, which focuses on providing research
support to Goddard in astrophysics through UM, UMBC and USRA research
Goal Four: Raise the national and international profile of CMPS research.
Maintain our active program to increase the distinguished awards received by our faculty
with the goal of doubling the number of members in National Academies.
Assign our research institutes in applied mathematics/physics/applied physics the joint
mission of proactively raising our profile in these fields.
The college research institutes, building on the successful CSCAMM program of high-level
workshops, will develop and implement a cross-disciplinary visiting program that highlights
our scientific strength to the national and international community.
The College will actively participate in the design and implementation of the new university
marketing effort with a specific focus on branding of our programs within the State as the
best in any public university on the east coast, and competitive with the Ivies.
Within 5-10 years we will have achieved the progress in rankings outlined at the beginning
of this section.
Goal Five: Establish quantitative bioscience as a major focus of the college.
Grow the activity listed below and then integrate it to make the whole greater than the sum of
the parts:
o Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in UMIACS, a partnership
with CLFS.
o Biophysics research and graduate program in IPST and Physics.
o Proposal to the NIH for a Center for the Physics of Oncology.
o Establishment of biostatistics as the principal focus of statistics in Mathematics.
o Research partnership of the Norbert Wiener Center in Mathematics with the NIH on
the unresolved problem of Advanced Macular Degeneration (AMD).
o Emphasis on disease vectors in the climate initiative.
o Participation by Astronomy and Geology in the NASA Astrobiology Institute
(Goddard and Carnegie Institution nodes).
Goal Six: Work with the campus to bring our research facilities to a competitive level.
Build the Physical Sciences Complex as the country's best research facility for the physical
Integrate the Computer and Space Sciences Building with the Physical Sciences Complex as
a holistic center for the physical sciences.
Co-locate the disbursed activities of the Geology Department.
Goal One: Increase our expectations of, and support for, the work of our staff.
Over the last decade research grants and contracts in CMPS have grown from $49M to
$114M. The change is not simply in the dollar value, but also in the complexity of the
projects that have been funded. The college will provide the additional staff support required
for this much expanded activity.
The college will restructure how it provides administrative support both internally in large
departments, and also, where appropriate, by combining support services for smaller units.
The college will review how technical support such as machine shops is provided with a
view to make this more cost effective.
Goal One: Increase diversity in the CMPS community through active efforts to recruit and
retain highly qualified faculty, students and staff from underrepresented groups.
Maintain our emphasis on recruiting highly qualified women to faculty positions, taking
advantage of the fact that this pool is steadily increasing in size.
Redouble our efforts to identify and recruit strong candidates from minority groups to faculty
In FY 10 develop a plan to aggressively increase participation from underrepresented groups
in our graduate programs, as the most effective way we can contribute to growing the
national pool of minority candidates for faculty positions.
Strengthen our relationship with the magnet schools in Prince George's County, as these are a
prime source of strong undergraduate majors from underrepresented groups.
Encourage the culture in the college in which all students, faculty and staff view themselves
as integral members of a coherent community whose purpose is the advancement and
understanding of science.
Goal One: Provide national leadership on adapting to climate change, an issue of critical
national importance.
Goal Two: Invest in those computer science fields where the national need for expertise
will be greatest.
Goal Three: Contribute to improving mathematics and science education in the schools.
Work to increase the number of well-qualified school teachers in computer science,
mathematics and physical science. In particular:
o Revamp the education track of the Mathematics major to include a partnership in this
endeavor between active research mathematicians and experienced high school
o Hire and mentor undergraduates in the Mathematics education track as TA's in
introductory mathematics courses;
o Promote the Astronomy workshop website to local Physics teachers.
o Start a new joint CS Education major between Computer Science and the College of
o Introduce in co-operation with EDUC a program to graduate Computer Science high
school teachers;
o Maintain the teacher education tracks in Geology and Physics.
o Continue the in-service master’s program for middle school math teachers offered by
Mathematics and EDUC.
o Expand the 1-week Mathematics summer institute for high school teachers.
o Introduce new courses targeted specifically at future middle school teachers of
o Maintain Quarknet as a service to Physics teachers.
Coordinate the alignment of our units’ curricula with that of high schools across the state,
providing guidance on the preparation of students for the College Park experience.
Serve as a point of contact for science teachers, whether addressing questions about our
programs, connecting with teacher training (or retraining) projects or obtaining novel content
from units.
Assist CMPS units in preparing and packaging content for delivery by novel or high-tech
means (e.g. webinars) to achieve broader distribution to high school students.
Facilitate invitations to faculty to visit high school classes in their disciplines.
Serve the units by supporting preparation of outreach components of proposals in sponsored
Astronomy: offers the Astronomy Workshop website with many tools for high school
teachers and students.
Computer Science: offers an annual programming contest for high school students.
Mathematics: offers an annual high school math competition, and has an ongoing interaction
with Montgomery Blair.
Physics: offers Physics for Phun, summer schools for girls, and Quarknet for school
Physics and IREAP: plan to pilot a program of visits by appropriate advanced high school
Goal Four: Support policymakers in acquiring an appropriate level of scientific
Work with other colleges to establish a robust program that provides policymakers with the
scientific background they need, without overwhelming them with technical detail.
Goal Five: Engage with the press to improve the societal appreciation for science.
With the arrival of a new and very experienced chief development officer on May 11, the college
will design and quickly implement an aggressive fundraising campaign. Fortunately, during the
last 12 months while this position has been vacant the Dean's office, in co-operation with
University Relations, has identified a large number of new potential major prospects. There is,
therefore, reason to be optimistic. However, until the new development officer has had the
opportunity to review the files, it is premature to set numeric goals.
Among the principal fundraising objectives are:
The Physical Sciences Complex.
The climate project
A research infrastructure endowment.
Endowed professorships.
Undergraduate scholarships.
Graduate fellowships.
Summer funding for undergraduate research and innovative ideas to enhance the
undergraduate experience.
Identify and cultivate a significant number of alumni major gifts prospects to build a better
pipeline of prospective donors to the College.
Double the solicitation rate from FY 08.
Engage our departments and faculty in the campaign. (The Physics department is already,
with the encouragement of the Dean's office, establishing its own external campaign
Engage Board of Visitors members and donors as volunteers in cultivation and solicitation of
new donors.