About Bobbie Laur

Bobbie Laur is the Director of the Office of Partnerships & Outreach within the Division of Innovation and Applied Research. Bobbie and her team provide a host of services that all focus on connecting community members and organizations with the resources of the university. With a passion for marketing, community engagement, and higher education policy, her blog posts focus trends, issues, and best practices in those areas.


As the international headquarters for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, Towson University is responsible for overseeing the organization’s programs, membership development efforts, policy agenda, and overall day-to-day activities. Since the organization’s founding in 1990, we have been producing a best practices journal Metropolitan Universities: An International Forum.


The journal has been on the cutting edge of many of higher education’s biggest issues over the past 23 years including community engagement, financial aid, economic development, faculty rewards, and education reform. The most recent issue Web 2.0 Technologies at Metropolitan Universities aims to address “how universities are currently using Web 2.0 technologies to educate students, collaborate with community members, and work more efficiently.”


I wanted to share three specific articles from the journal that I found particularly interesting:


Bobbie currently serves as the Executive Director for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, headquartered at Towson University. The international membership organization is the longest-running and largest organization focused on supporting and growing a community of like-minded individuals and institutions who work together to develop answers to the pressing educational, economical, and social issues of the day.


As we kick-off 2013, our new name is in full effect–The Division of Innovation & Applied Research.  While a name change does represent some logistical and operational challenges, I am honestly thrilled to see the change happen.  Our new name is much more representative of the mission we’ve always had and the work we’ve always focused on.  And more importantly, it gives us a great platform to share our vision for where we’re headed.


Along with the new annual report, updated blog, and website, we created this short video to share some of our perspectives on exactly what “Innovation” means to us.



While the Baltimore Running Festival was a few weeks ago, I wanted to share a picture of some of our bloggers and staff members sporting their participation medals. We’re always talking about the “team” atmosphere that we have in the Division, but these staff members, along with some previous staff members, spouses, and friends really took it to the next level by creating three DECO Relay Teams for the 2012 Baltimore Marathon.  Congratulations to all our runners!

DECO staff members from the DECO 2012 Relay Baltimore Marathon Teams   (pictured left to right: Christina Bell, Jeremy Monn, Kierran Sutherland, Jessica Grimm, Daraius Irani, & Ardys Russakis)

Team 1:

  • Cat Irani
  • Heather Organtini
  • Stephanie Hedges
  • Luke Quell

Team 2:

Team 3:

  • Jeremy Monn
  • Ardys Russakis
  • Kierran Sutherland
  • Thomas Rumeau


I work with a lot of interesting and really smart people!  Even after seven years, I’m still blown away at what some of my colleagues can do with technology.  An area I’ve always been particularly fascinated by is GIS. CGIS, or our Center for GIS, includes a dynamic group of staff members who are always working on cutting edge technologies and applying those to real world issues and challenges our government, businesses, non profits, and citizens are facing.  But, what exactly is GIS?  CGIS has a brief answer to that here, but I know it’s still a question that puzzles many of us.

To try and get to the bottom of that question as well as what many of our talented staff members do each day, we’re launching a new video series that will highlight some of our best and brightest.  The first of these segments, features a fellow blogger, Jeremy Monn.  Here, Jeremy gives us his answer to “what is GIS?” and a little insight into what he does every day!


Last week we celebrated the inauguration of our 13th President with a week full of events including the opening of new a new science laboratory, the dedication of the international walkway, and ribbon cutting for the Institute for Well Being.

The week culminated on Friday when Dr. Maravene Loeschke was officially installed as Towson University’s 13th President.  The ceremony itself was a great blend of celebrating Towson’s history and future.  The most memorable moment for me was when Dr. Loeschke personally recognized each of the Administrative Assistants who have supported her throughout her years—while I know it meant a lot to those specific women, it also meant a lot to the hundreds of administrative staff who make such a difference everyday at TU.    You can watch the ceremony here.

The Institute for Well Being
The Institute for Well Being is made up of four primary centers that all focus on providing clinical services for the community and simultaneously hands-on experience for our students.  The centers include the (recently renamed) Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, The Wellness Center, The Speech, Language, and Hearing Center, and the Occupational Therapy Center.

Ribbon Cutting for the Institute for Well Being

On Wednesday, the ribbon was cut on their incredible new space in the Towson City Center building.  I was blown away by the facility, as was everyone else.  I heard students, community members, and faculty saying things like “this is incredible,” “what an upgrade,” “the elevators operate on ipads–whoa,” etc.  This space provides state-of-the-art learning and research opportunities for students.  Our graduate degrees in these areas have always been among our most competitive and highest ranked programs but I’m sure we’re only going to see those numbers going up!

In addition to the clear growth each of the centers are going to realize in terms of programming and participation, selfishly, I’m also excited to see what new opportunities will arise for the entire university because of our new footprint in downtown Towson.  I can’t help but crack a smile every time I see the logo on top of the building—looks great, right!

Towson’s Newly Renovated City Center Building

In January, TU’s radio station WTMD will make the move to the City Center, where they will be occupying 8,000 square footage of recording, programming, and office space.  Learn more about what’s in store for them, here.

As a side note, tomorrow marks the beginning of 2012 TU Homecoming, which means tons of student and alumni events throughout the week ending with a home football game on Saturday–Go Tigers!  However, since we’re just coming off the heels of Inauguration Week it feels like the action-packed schedule of events is really just a continuation of the celebration.


We recently sat down with the Director of TU’s Center for Professional Studies, Jeff Beeson, to hear his perspective on the future of workforce and continuing education at TU.  Anyone who knows Jeff, knows that he’s a ball of energy and ideas.  However in my opinion, one of his best traits is that he’s very much about “doing things.”  Today I saw a Walt Disney quote  that said, “the best way to get started is to stop talking and start doing;” this sums him up.  Workforce and continuing education require flexibility and the ability to quickly respond to the changing needs of the market — and these are things Jeff is exceptional at.  As Jeff says in this video, he has an incredible team around him and together they are developing dynamic new programs to meet the needs of our region and state.


The Center for Professional Studies (CPS) has seen a lot of change over the past year including a new name, the addition of several new programs, and new leadership.  In addition to bringing Jeff Beeson on as the new CPS Director we have also recently welcomed Bernie Reynolds.  As the Senior Project Manager, Bernie plays the critical role of managing CPS’ contracts and ensuring that all deliverables are met on time and on budget.  We recently sat down with Bernie to hear, in his words, what he thinks the future holds for CPS and our workforce development and training programs.


This morning we held our 4th annual Service Awards Breakfast to honor our fantastic staff members.   The event featured great food and of course great company and we were really excited to have Towson University President Maravene Loeschke provide opening remarks. We recognized our staff for their service to the division and the university and presented the special awards for exemplary service.

 Like us on Facebook to check out pictures from the event and view a quick recap video below, that our new student videographer produced!  Congratulations to everyone who was recognized today!

2012 Honorees Included:

5 Years of Service: Linda Bowyer, Clay Hickson, Susan Scher, and Kierran Sutherland

10 Years of Service: Timothy Brooks, Ashley Buzzeo, Sharon Seybold, Susan Wooden, and Missy Valentino

15 Years of Service: Dawn Bott, Daraius Irani, Ardys Russakis, Pat Scally, and John Spears

Rising Star Award: Jenn Lake

Essential Piece: Christina Morgan

You Make a World of Difference: Ardys Russakis

Leading By Example: Wayne Hart, Aaron Guy, Ardys Russakis, Rebecca Ebersole, and Cindy Knight

Excellence Award: Larry Martin

A big THANK YOU to Cindy Knight for making it all happen!


WOW, I can’t believe this year marks the fifth Showcase.  This is our signature event which brings our partners and (hopefully) future partners in business, government, and non-profit sectors to campus to meet and mingle with the faculty and professional outreach staff working on exciting projects aimed at helping organizations work better and faster.  This year, our exhibitors range from the Family Studies Community Services and Internship Network to the Center for Applied IT!

The event is this Wednesday from 12:00 – 2:00 in the Minnegan Room. In addition to great speakers & fabulous networking, we also provide a delicious lunch and will be doing a drawing for a Kindle Fire–oh and the event is FREE!

One of the highlights each year for me is the President’s remarks, and this year I know a lot of people are looking forward to meeting our new President for the first time.  She is really committed to furthering the university’s public mission in economic development and community engagement.

If you would like to learn more about the event click here.


The Edward V. Badolato Homeland Security Speaker Series is holding its next FREE event on Monday, August 29, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The event will take place in the newly opened College of Liberal Arts room 3150 and the theme is “The Role of Democracy in Homeland Security.”

The event features speakers who are professionals in the homeland security field, as well as a networking reception with faculty from Towson University’s Integrated Homeland Security Masters Program.

College of Liberal Arts


Keynote Speaker: Professor Joseph Rudolph  

Question and Answer Session

Remarks from Darian Scott-Carter, a graduate of the Integrated Homeland Security Masters Program and an Emergency Planner with Baltimore City

Networking Reception and Meet and Greet with the Integrated Homeland Security Management Faculty & Students 

Learn more about the event and register here!