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Do Good Faculty Fellows

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Do Good Faculty Fellows supports faculty members as scholars, teachers, advisors and educational leaders who want to explore social innovation broadly and deeply. Fellows consider how students can engage in social innovation in its various forms (e.g. service-learning, civic engagement, philanthropy) and how they can engage students in their courses to address social problems. Do Good Faculty Fellows propose, and ultimately implement, innovative Do Good courses or curriculum within their respective specializations, departments, colleges, schools or units.


Meet our Do Good Fellows

  • Clinical Associate Professor, School of Architecture Planning and Preservation
  • Director of the Real Estate Development and Construction Project Management minors

Bulich is an award-winning professor who is skilled in using active teaching techniques with large classes to help students understand and analyze the complicated issues our nation faces. She began her career practicing real estate, banking and corporate law and working as inside counsel for a large financial institution. Bulich was Chesapeake Project Faculty Fellow in May 2016, a Fellow in the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence during the 2016-2017 academic year and serves on several committees at the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Georgetown University Law Center. She is licensed to practice law in Michigan.

Bulich plans to create a new mini-class as a follow-up to an existing architecture course. Designed like a clinical class in law school, it would be open to the top 15-20 students who have completed the best sustainable placemaking projects. Students would build on their existing blog/video projects and work with local governments to implement their projects. Students will learn from industry and government professionals how to raise money to launch their projects, get approvals, market and advocate for their projects, and develop a sustainable plan that addresses financing and operational concerns.

In addition, Bulich plans to develop an experiential learning program in collaboration with existing programs on campus focused exclusively on resiliency: how local governments are addressing the impacts of climate change. The class would examine the work being done by local communities across the country in relation to mitigation and adaptation strategies and develop a toolbox for best practices. Legal as well as practical challenges would be addressed. Students would develop solutions to these challenges and learn how to advocate for necessary changes in land use regulations. The course would be ideal for partnerships with the Carey School of Law and the School of Public Policy.

  • Broadcast Journalist
  • Adjunct lecturer and PhD Student, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Burns received her bachelor's degree in journalism and government and politics from University of Maryland in 1993 and has worked in news ever since, most of the time as a Washington correspondent for Cox Media Group’s nationwide network of TV and radio stations. Burns continues to freelance as a producer, while teaching broadcast news writing and reporting and other courses at the college. In addition, she is researching ways to improve and expand journalism education. Burns created a "FACTS about Fake News" active-learning workshop with the goal of empowering high school students and others in our community to recognize the value of journalism and make the fight against "fake news" their own.

Burns is interested in working with journalism students to embrace a public service role and engage with communities about ways to improve trust and mutual understanding. She wants to use her Do Good Faculty Fellowship opportunity to develop a course in which journalism students research, develop and present interactive programs in underrepresented communities to open dialogue on issues such as fake news, media distrust and the role of journalism in a democracy. The students' programs could include, but are not limited to, lessons on assessing accuracy in online content, issue framing in news and discussions about coverage of diverse populations.

  • PhD Student, Department of Communication

Farzad-Phillips studies rhetoric and political culture, and is especially interested in examining the rhetoric of place and protest. When not juggling the workload of graduate classes and research, Farzad-Phillips spends her time teaching public speaking for her department. She is currently developing a service-learning course-section of COMM 107 as part of the Oral Communication Program. Before enrolling at UMD, Farzad-Phillips graduated with a Master of Education from Vanderbilt University, where she studied higher education administration with an emphasis in service-learning, experiential learning and student development.

As a faculty fellow, Farzad-Phillips hopes to energize the oral communications curriculum for COMM 107 with a focus on social justice and service-learning. COMM 107, also known as Oral Communication: Principles and Practices, explores the foundations of oral communication and students focus on preparing and delivering a variety of presentations, including informative, special occasion, persuasive and group. Farzad-Phillips hopes to create new curriculum that teaches a blend of communication skills and social justice frameworks that will not only benefit the surrounding Prince George's County community but also build a foundation and commitment to justice within her students. Through the program, Farzad-Phillips aims to implement this curriculum into a number of COMM 107 course sections and designate them as service-learning courses each semester.

  • Lecturer, Department of Communication
  • Associate Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland University College (UMUC)
  • Owner/Principal of Jim Golden Speaks, LCC

Golden is a sought-after award-winning and national speaker and facilitator to Fortune 1000 corporations, state and federal government, and colleges and universities. Golden is a member of the National Speakers Association. He is a frequent blogger and soon-to-be author of a book titled “Presentation Swagger®: 10 Keys to Delivering a Powerful Presentation”, which provides information on how to captivate an audience and move them to action. Golden received his executive business education from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Master of Science from University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and Bachelor of Science degree from Central State University.

As a faculty fellow, Golden’s proposal is to develop an informative and project-based course that aims to train, coach and develop students through the implementation of a high-impact and engaging public speaking curriculum or sessions. This new curriculum, “Presentation Swagger ® and Public Speaking Strategies,” will equip students with advanced public speaking and presentational skills and knowledge to build effective and confident communicators and create impactful results for UMD students. This course will also guide students to develop their speaker confidence, charisma and credibility and unique value propositions, explore the key ingredients for improving storytelling, elevator pitches, keynotes, after-dinner talks, verbal and nonverbal communication, learn how to effectively add stories and humor in presentations and implement the “Rule of Three” to enhance presentation impact and memorability. Students will collaborate in teams to engage in a “Do Good” project with a focus on training and coaching UMD campus and DMV area organizations to help them develop their ‘public speaking mojo’ by enhancing their delivery, ask presentations and elevator pitches.

  • Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Department of Psychology

Through her research, teaching and service, she strives to generate knowledge to address social concerns, educate and mentor students to achieve their potential, and contribute to the communities where she lives and works. O’Brien studies factors related to successful management of work and family, domestic violence, dating violence and end-of-life communication. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and the Journal of Career Assessment. O’Brien teaches courses on intimate partner violence and supervises service learning experiences for undergraduates in a shelter for abused women. She received her bachelor’s degree and PhD from Loyola University of Chicago, and her master’s degree in counseling and guidance from University of Missouri, Kansas City.

O’Brien's proposal seeks to educate undergraduate students about end-of-life topics, such as advance directives, palliative care and hospice care with the goal of relieving some of the burden of end-of-life education in graduate and medical school and equipping the next generation of health care professionals with fundamental knowledge regarding end-of-life issues and culturally competent communication skills. Her proposed course will encourage students to reflect on their mortality and experiences of death and grieving to remove internal barriers or fear associated with end-of-life discussions. Moreover, similar to the PSYC318/319 course sequence, this course will offer service learning opportunities for students who successfully complete the course (e.g., volunteering in hospice-related organizations). The course will enable undergraduates to do good now through volunteer work in hospice related organization and in the future in their careers as healthcare professionals. 

  • Associate Professor, Department of Communication

At the University of Maryland, Smith Pfister is studying the dynamic confluence of technology, digitally networked media, rhetorical practice, public deliberation and visual culture. His interest in how nascent genres of digital communication provide new opportunities for citizens to influence public argument is reflected in his book, published in 2014, Networked Media, Networked Rhetorics: Attention and Deliberation in the Early Blogosphere. His work has appeared in Philosophy & Rhetoric, Argumentation and Advocacy, Rhetoric Review, Environmental Communication, and the Journal of Public Deliberation. Always On: Fashioning Ethos After Wearable Computing is the tentative title of his next book project, on the rhetorical and cultural implications of devices like mobile phones, head mounted displays, activity trackers and smartwatches. Smith Pfister received his master’s degree and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004 and 2009.


Smith Pfister plans to focus on developing a unique civic engagement module for COMM 301, Rhetorical Theory and Principles, which would help students see how the theories and principles of rhetoric can be enacted in their everyday life. Although civic engagement is often thought of as tied to electoral politics, he envisions it more expansively, as an effort to improve the quality of life. In a previous course Smith Pfister taught, he encouraged students to identify a problem in their community - students developed a list of the best and worst drinking fountains on campus, which ultimately led facilities  to update and fix the problem areas identified by students. He is hoping to encourage students to draw on the rhetorical principles taught in class to improve our collective lives by editing Wikipedia pages, creating social support groups, helping university facilities evaluate possible areas for improvement, among many other projects that improve our collective condition. 

  • Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Edward McK. Johnson, Jr. Endowed Faculty Fellow
  • Director of the Applied Social Science Research Lab

    Ray’s research addresses the mechanisms that manufacture and maintain racial and social inequality. He has published more than 40 books, articles, book chapters and op-eds and his research is cited in CNN, Washington Post, Associated Press, MSN, The Root, and The Chronicle. Ray is co-investigator of a study examining implicit bias, body-worn cameras and police-citizen interactions with 1800 police officers with the Prince George’s County Police Department. He obtained a PhD in sociology from Indiana University.

    Ray will develop a project-based course, focused on social issues impacting residents of Prince George's County and the greater Washington area: policing, education, wealth and health care. Using virtual reality technology, the course will enable students to create scenarios of the challenges facing residents in a given area and encourage students to develop effective solutions based on what they saw, experiences they had with community members, policymakers and more and present what they learned.

    • Assistant Professor, Department of Family Science in the School of Public Health

      Grounded in a life course perspective, Thoma’s research focuses on population-based methodologies for assessing women’s gynecologic health, family planning and maternal and infant health in the US and internationally. Her research has appeared in the Lancet, Lancet Global Health, Fertility and Sterility, Journal of Women’s Health, Statistics in Medicine, Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases among other outlets. Prior to her appointment at the University of Maryland, she was a senior service fellow at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she played an integral role in developing nationally-standardized and accredited e-learning training for hospital staff to improve the quality of data collected on birth certificates. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Philadelphia and her masters of health science and PhD from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

      As an undergraduate student, Thoma worked extensively with social innovation projects and high-impact public engagement and she continues to pay it forward through her participation as a Do Good Faculty Fellow. As a fellow, she hopes to get more immersed in the social impact space at UMD, making meaningful connections between her government and social innovation contacts and students as they explore new ideas and projects. As part of this, she is seeking to assess the public health needs in a nearby underserved community in partnership with her current course, Maternal, Child and Family Health.

      • Assistant Director of Student Engagement,  Gemstone Honors Program

        Tobin facilitates first-year experience, including two first-year seminars and coordinates the co-curricular opportunities which complement the students' four-year research project. She is currently in her third year of doctoral work in the Student Affairs Concentration. Her research seeks to explore the construct of resilience, examining how students perceive their own self-rated resilience and the impact of experiences throughout college. Tobin majored in elementary education at American University and later received her master’s degree in higher education administration with a concentration in student affairs administration from The George Washington University.

        Within the Gemstone Honors Program, Tobin co-teaches Gems 104, a Science, Technology and Society course which seeks to help first-year Gemstone students better understand research. Students explore research through the lens of social impact, asking fearless questions: why, how, and so what? Through the Do Good Faculty Fellows Program Tobin plans to expand the Gems 104 curriculum to enhance the course experience from the crossroads of social innovation, social change and research and help students understand the connection between - and importance of - research and doing good.