USM's 2020 Plan for More Degrees,
A Stronger Innovation Economy, A Higher Quality of Life

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents approved in December 2010 the USM Strategic Plan 2010-2020, a document that will guide USM's mission to power Maryland as an economic and educational leader.

The plan calls for attaining specific goals by 2020, such as producing an additional 10,000 bachelor's degrees per year, increasing by 40 percent the number of science, engineering and math graduates from USM institutions, doubling USM's externally sponsored research-and-development funding from approximately $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2010, and enhancing cost-savings practices that already have earned the system national recognition for its efficient stewardship of public resources.

The executive summary of the USM Strategic Plan 2010-2020 can be read at: http://www.usmd.edu/10yrplan/USM2020Summary.pdf.

In 2010, the USM faces a challenging operating environment and a new decade in which change will be a constant. The 2020 Strategic Plan was developed during the past year in the midst of several economic, demographic, and technological challenges.

The worst recession since the Great Depression has impaired the resources of Maryland and the nation. The "baby boom echo" -- children born during a post-baby boom increase in birth rates between 1982 and 1995) -- drives demand for greater access to education. Finally, technology is constantly reshaping how students learn.

As USM Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan has noted in numerous presentations, the United States has lost its status as a world leader in educating its citizens. In comparison to the rest of the industrialized world, the U.S. ranks 23rd in high school completion rates, 10th in post-secondary degree completion rates, and has the highest college dropout rate of any industrialized nation. A few decades ago, the U.S. had the highest high school and college completion rates.

"We must greatly increase educational attainment and make the needed investments in research and scholarship if the United States is to remain a world leader in creativity, innovation, and the knowledge economy," Kirwan said. "The USM 2020 Strategic Plan positions the state to be a leader in educational attainment and to have a globally competitive innovation-driven economy."

The plan has been developed with substantial involvement of Board of Regents members, USM presidents, system-wide councils of faculty, students and staff, USM Foundation board members and business and community leaders. Five primary themes anchor the 2020 Strategic Plan:

1)      Helping Maryland achieve its goal of 55-percent college degree completion (either a two-year associate's or four-year bachelor's, attained by 55 percent of the state population 25 years and older);

2)      Advancing Maryland's competitiveness in the innovation economy by building on existing levels of extramural research funding and more successfully translating that research in economic activity. The plan calls for the creation of 325 new companies, five internationally recognized research centers of excellence by 2020, and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the USM;

3)      Transforming the academic model with course redesign strategies that help more students understand material, complete their degrees, and become better-qualified to join the workforce;

4)      Identifying new ways to build on more than $200 million in direct cost savings already achieved through USM's existing efficiency efforts, and approximately $1.5 billion in cash and pledges raised through the system's federated capital campaign, further leveraging the resources available to the USM that benefit Maryland citizens;

5)      Achieving and sustaining national eminence through the quality of USM's programs, people, and facilities.

The 31-page plan can be read in its entirety at the following location:

"The board and I are thoroughly impressed with the vision demonstrated in the USM 2020 Strategic Plan and the work on this ambitious project by the system's administrative staff," said Board of Regents Chair Clifford M. Kendall.

"In this difficult economy, our system and the people we serve have benefited from our positive working relationships with the governor and the Maryland legislature," Kendall said. "We look forward to working with the state's leadership for continued support as the USM positions itself during the next decade to keep advancing our state's leadership in education and the innovation economy."

Leaders from the USM and its member institutions will share the guiding themes of the 2020 Strategic Plan with critical constituencies in Maryland, including legislators, civic groups, and the business community. Each USM institution is developing a "business plan" to align with the strategic plan's major themes. These individualized roadmaps throughout USM will spell out not just the action steps necessary to achieve the plan's goals but the required resources, as well.

Information regarding the process involved in drafting the USM Strategic Plan 2010-2020 can be accessed at http://www.usmd.edu/10yrplan/process/. This Web domain explains the collaborative approach taken in drafting the plan. The domain contains an archive of several white papers previously commissioned by the USM as important resources in the plan's development.