U of Md. greetsnew provost

This month a new top academic officer — with expertise in insects — arrived at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Mary Ann Rankin, who started Oct. 1 as senior vice president and provost at the 37,600-student school, came from Texas. Rankin had been chief executive of a public-private partnership called the National Math and Science Initiative, based in Dallas, which sought to expand the number of math-science graduates and the K-12 teaching workforce devoted to those subjects.

Before that, Rankin spent nearly 17 years as dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas.

Her specialty is in the physiologic relationships governing the evolution of insect life history. At College Park, she said, one of her priorities will be raising student completion rates. She is also a fan of expanding undergraduate research.

— Nick Anderson

Plan for new schoolrouses discontent

Arlington Public Schools officials are planning to build their first new school in many years, and some neighbors are not happy about it.

The school board approved construction of an elementary school next to Williamsburg Middle School, part of plans to accommodate an expected 3,000 more elementary-aged children over the next decade.

The district is hoping voters will approve a $43 million bond issue on the ballot this fall to help fund some of the work.

More than 100 people in Arlington and Fairfax signed a petition opposing the plan. Some are upset about the price, while others cite traffic and safety concerns.

— Susan Svrluga