Didactic Learning

Didactic LearningThe Didactic Learning Focus Area is supported by the appropriate didactic educational deans. The table below identifies the RTF focus area status of each recommendation or decision followed by a membership roster including the primary and deputy focus area leader. The following initiatives have been approved by senior leadership to move forward as part of the COVID-19 Recovery process.

Didactic Learning Video Update

UMB Approved Initiatives

Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning

In Progress

DescriptionDate ApprovedExpected Completion
  • In summer 2020, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) should prioritize assistance for UMB faculty who are teaching online for the first time and who need to convert in-person classes to virtual formats. This includes faculty who moved classes to online formats in March 2020, but who have not previously taught online. To accommodate the number of faculty who need assistance, UMB schools should share existing expertise in instructional design as coordinated by the FCTL.



    • Address strategies for formative and summative assessment in an online environment.
    • Facilitate faculty-to-faculty mentorship from faculty who have taught virtually.
    • Schools may consider identifying a task force of faculty, staff, administrators, and students to advance virtual learning in each school, troubleshoot challenges, and serve as a liaison with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.
    • Provide training or training materials for students.


Virtual and Remote Instruction

Significant efforts must be made across the campus to enhance training and support for faculty in order to be ready to deliver high-quality virtual instruction in the fall semester. UMB and the schools must also address the issue of ensuring that students have appropriate equipment and strong Internet access. These efforts should begin immediately.

Our group discussed at length the critical need for training and instructional design support, especially for faculty who have not previously taught using formats common to remote education. Wide accessibility to training on quality rubrics and to best practice guides for online teaching and course design will be crucial.

Established in May 2019, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) is a central resource for all seven schools at the UMB campus. It will be important to clarify the role of the center and its current capacity in the context of the immediate need for widespread support throughout the campus. Instructional design support varies from school to school and prioritizing or enhancing the use and availability of resources to facilitate conversion of courses traditionally taught in-person to online and hybrid formats may be necessary. In addition to access to expert professionals, promotion of faculty-to-faculty mentorship opportunities such as currently exists in the Online Teaching Community (OTC) will be helpful.

Faculty will need assistance and guidance on developing lesson plans; choosing between modalities (synchronous/synchronous) and platforms (WebEx, Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate); organizing Blackboard sites, designing sessions that promote student engagement; designing formative and summative assessments in the online environment; developing strategies for navigating difficult conversations on online platforms; and using presentation software. Schools may want to consider forming a task force of faculty, staff, administrators, and students to advance virtual learning, troubleshoot challenges, and serve as liaison for consultation with the FCTL.

Virtual assessments

In Progress

DescriptionDate ApprovedExpected Completion
  • During the fall semester, to the extent possible, UMB schools should conduct assessments in a virtual format.

Fall Semester 2020




In Progress

DescriptionDate Approved



  • Lectures, whether they represent entire courses or portions of courses, should be delivered in the fall semester via virtual instruction. This recommendation applies to all schools and programs.


Fall Semester 2020



  • Develop and clearly communicate safety protocols for in-person classes.
  • Re-evaluate planned use of classroom spaces to accommodate physical distancing and projected enrollments for in-person classes. Consider sharing classrooms across schools by balancing efficiencies such as cleaning and HVAC use with factors such as school-based tech support, and classrooms configured for particular school-based instructional activities.
  • A school-based emergency contact should be available on-site in case safety/health questions arise.

There is a need for clearly established communication protocols. Administrators will need student/faculty/staff contact information for rapid communication of changing circumstances.

For select classes requiring in-person interactions many steps will be required to achieve physical distancing and safety of faculty and students. Our group expects to work closely with the Operations and Health groups to develop standard policies and guidelines for these activities.

  • Areas in which guidance will be required include room occupancy, building occupancy, masks or other appropriate PPE for faculty and students, signage, disinfection of classrooms and other building areas, availability of sanitizers, corridor usage, and possible need for installation of shields.
  • Schools may need to use classrooms in other campus buildings if necessary to achieve social distancing and occupancy guidelines.
  • Decisions on use of space will require balancing of facilities and financial issues with other factors such as school-based technology support, spaces designed to meet specific school-based needs, and the value of encouraging school-based community building in an environment that is heavily virtual.
  • Additional security and environmental services may be necessary if schools need to extend evening or weekend hours to accommodate more meetings in smaller size groups.
  • Faculty will need an emergency contact in case safety/health questions arise while faculty and students are present in a building.

Interactive classes

In Progress


Date ApprovedExpected Completion
  • Interactive classes – practice classes, seminars, discussion sections (includes large classes divided into small groups), classes associated with experiential learning – may be in- person or online. In-person requires approval and compliance with all safety protocols.
6/5/2020 Fall Semester 2020


Detailed school and department plans

In Progress






  • Each school should develop and present for approval detailed plans for operating in the fall semester which will include options for making rapid shifts if conditions change. Plans must be in compliance with State of Maryland, Baltimore City, USM, and UMB policies as determined by CMAG.
6/5/2020 Near- and mid-term

Focus Area Roster

Primary Focus Area Leader

Karen Faraone, DDS, MA
Associate Dean, Student Affairs
Clinical Associate Professor, Prosthodontics
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Deputy Focus Area Leader

Barbara Gontrum, JD
Senior Associate Dean, Academic and Administrative Affairs
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Focus Area Members

Jane Briggs
Director, Facilities and Planning
Universities at Shady Grove

Andrew Coop, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Denise Meyer
Associate Director, Environmental Services
University of Maryland, Baltimore

Luke Mowbray, MS
Interim Director, Real Estate, Planning, & Space Management
University of Maryland, Baltimore

Christine Cestone, PhD 
Executive Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Program Director and Associate Professor, PhD in Health Professions Education
University of Maryland Graduate School

Patricia Meehan, DDS, BSN
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
Clinical Assistant Professor, Periodontics
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Kate Noonan, PhD, MSEd
Senior Director, Special Projects for the Dean
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

David Gray, JD, PhD
Jacob A. France Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

DeVang Patel, MD, FACP
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director of Pre-Clerkship Curriculum
Director of Telemedicine & Medical Education, Infectious Diseases

Diane Marie St. George, PhD
Associate Professor
MPH Program Director
Vice Chair, Academic Programs, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Maeve Howett, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, IBCLC, CNE
Professor and Associate Dean, Baccalaureate Education
University of Maryland School of Nursing

Amanda Lehning, MSW, PhD
Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
University of Maryland School of Social Work

Clark Shah-Nelson, MA, DBA Candidate
Assistant Dean, Instructional Design and Technology
University of Maryland School of Social Work

Corey Shdaimah, LL.M., PhD
Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social Justice
Academic Coordinator, MSW/JD and MSW/MPP Dual Degree Programs
University of Maryland School of Social Work


Legal Advisors

Allison Levin, JD
Staff Attorney
Office of University Counsel
University of Maryland, Baltimore 

Irma Robins, MBA, JD
Deputy General Counsel
Office of University Counsel
University of Maryland, Baltimore