An update about the University System of Maryland.

Fall 2012

As the academic year progresses, the University System of Maryland (USM) continues to advance the state’s priorities of economic development and job creation; increasing the number of college graduates, especially in the STEM fields; and maintaining excellence. We reached an important milestone in the new University of Maryland: MPowering the State initiative and in the creation of new companies. We have received major grants that will advance education and discovery, while also bolstering the USM’s economic impact. Our institutions and leaders garnered more recognition for their outstanding work. I am pleased to update you on these and other activities across the USM.

The USM Board of Regents earlier this year approved a new, expansive partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). This collaborative relationship—University of Maryland: MPowering the State—will leverage the resources of these two great universities to serve students better; attract even more exceptional faculty and researchers; and boost research, technology transfer, and commercialization of intellectual property.

In September, we announced that the Council on Education for Public Health has started the accreditation process for a collaborative University of Maryland School of Public Health. This new school will link the accredited University of Maryland School of Public Health at College Park and the accredited master of public health program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

In addition, an MPowering the State research team recently received a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant. The grant will support continued development of a small robot that could one day aid neurosurgeons in removing difficult-to-reach brain tumors.

We’ve also launched a search for the director of University of Maryland Ventures (UMV). Part of MPowering, UMV will promote technology transfer and commercialization through collaborative leadership and unified services and programs.

For more information about MPowering the State, please visit:

As part of our strategic plan, Powering Maryland Forward, the USM has intensified its focus on technology transfer, commercialization, and job creation. The USM Board of Regents this past spring approved a new policy to reward faculty for new patents and entrepreneurial activity as part of their tenure and promotion criteria so as to nurture and support an entrepreneurial faculty culture. In addition, the Maryland Legislature passed the Maryland Innovation Initiative earlier this year, providing grant funds to researchers at Maryland’s public and private universities.

There is genuine momentum in our efforts. In just the first six months of 2012, USM institutions facilitated the creation of 35 companies, double the number of companies for the last six months of 2011. We are well on track to meet the strategic plan goal of helping to create 325 new companies by 2020.

Later this year, we will release the results of the USM economic impact study, the first such study since 2002. It will describe the system’s economic and fiscal impact on the state and its contributions to workforce and economic development. I look forward to sharing the findings with you.

USM institutions continue to receive significant grants to advance education and academic discovery. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding $5.8 million for the Maryland-Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment, and Research (MADE CLEAR) partnership. MADE CLEAR—a partnership between the USM and the University of Delaware—is an innovative effort to find new ways to deliver effective and relevant climate change education to students in both states.

The U.S. Department of Education made some significant grants to the USM’s historically black universities: $3 million for Bowie State University (BSU), $2.8 million for Coppin State University, and $2.5 million for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) to support recruitment, retention, and completion and to increase minority participation in the sciences.

UMES also received a $5 million NSF grant to prepare high school students for undergraduate and advanced degrees that lead to careers in geosciences.

Towson University (TU) received a $2 million NSF grant to provide scholarships for students pursuing studies in computer science with a concentration in computer security.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $2.6 million to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to build a national model for ensuring more transfer students earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. The community colleges in the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, and Montgomery will work with UMBC on this “STEM Transfer Student Success Initiative.”

Thanks to continuous support for advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) opportunities and the USM’s strategic priority to graduate more students with majors in these areas, more students are enrolling in STEM courses. From FY 2007 to FY 2011, the number of USM students enrolled in STEM courses increased 34 percent.

The USM’s achievement of academic excellence is on full display, notably in the most recent rankings issued by U.S. News & World Report:
•    UMCP was ranked 19th among all U.S. national public universities and recognized for having the third lowest tuition rate among the top 20 public universities.
•    UMBC was ranked No. 1 among "up-and-coming" national universities for the fourth straight year.
•    Both BSU and UMES were ranked in the top tier of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
•    Both Salisbury University and Towson University were ranked among the top 10 public regional universities in the north.
•    The University of Baltimore was ranked 23rd among public universities in the north region. 

For a list of current USM institutional rankings, please visit:

Leaders of the USM community also received recent honors.
•    President Barack Obama has named UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski chair of the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. In addition, Dr. Hrabowski was honored as a Heinz Awards recipient in the category of Human Condition. And in October, I had the honor of serving as the emcee of the gala at which hundreds of people gathered in Baltimore to congratulate President Hrabowski for his 20 years of outstanding leadership of UMBC.
•    SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach has been named one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs for 2012 by The Daily Record.
•    Former UMCP President Dan Mote has been nominated to serve as the next president of the National Academy of Engineering.
•    Finally, I received the 2012 Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Public Service Award, a wonderful tribute to the outstanding members who make up the USM community. 

The USM will hold its next Way2GoMaryland event on December 1 at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). To date, we’ve taken our signature event to most regions of the state, from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore. The program at UMUC later this year will attract middle-school and early high-school students—and their parents/guardians—from Prince George’s County. The Way2GoMaryland information campaign, which aims to help more Maryland students begin preparing for college early, has reached thousands of students, parents, and guardians through events and partnerships around the state, printed materials, and an enhanced website,

As always, I very much appreciate hearing from you. If you would like to offer feedback on this letter or any USM news, please write me at:
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University System of Maryland
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