Throughout the 2013-14 academic year, we’re celebrating the University System of Maryland’s (USM’s) 25th anniversary. The focus of our observance is USM’s impact on improving the quality of life in Maryland and beyond. That impact is evident across the board, from preparing students to meet workforce needs to conducting leading-edge research and serving as a powerful economic engine for the State of Maryland. Here are a few recent examples:
Following are updates on other USM activities.
Several USM universities are focused on preparing students for the high-demand cybersecurity field. University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and Northrop Grumman this fall launched the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES), the nation’s first cybersecurity honors program for undergraduates. Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) this fall launched the UMBC Cyber Scholars Program to help prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. And the November 3 Washington Post Magazine ran a wonderful cover story about University of Maryland University College and highlighted its cybersecurity programs.
For the third consecutive year, the State of Maryland Teacher of the Year is a member of the Towson University (TU) community—Sean McComb, a Baltimore County high school English teacher, who also is a TU adjunct instructor.
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science continues to advance Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, adding a record 1.2 billion oyster spat during the 2013 production season. This is the first time any oyster hatchery nationwide has produced more than one billion Eastern oyster spat in a single season.
EXPANDING ACCESS TO EDUCATION
USM on November 1 entered into an agreement with the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC) and the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance to design, construct, and manage an educational facility on the SMHEC campus in California, MD. When executed, this agreement will position USM to play an even greater role in making key academic programs available to meet the region’s higher education needs.
USM institutions already offer courses at SMHEC in several areas, including business administration, education, engineering, information systems management, and nursing.
North of Baltimore, progress continues on the “Towson Building” at Harford Community College (HCC). Officials in May broke ground for the new facility which will house state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and enable students to take third- and fourth-year college courses at HCC.
INNOVATIONS TO ENHANCE STUDENT SUCCESS LEADS USM TO CAPITOL HILL
Also in early November, I testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) at a hearing titled “Attaining a Quality Degree: Innovations to Improve Student Success.” I addressed strategic ways in which innovation is being used by colleges and universities to improve student success. My testimony highlighted USM’s leadership role in the growing “Academic Transformation” movement and the work of our Center for Excellence and Innovation in Learning and Teaching.
Specifically, I noted the advances we have made in adopting information technology (intelligent software, analytics, online modules) that actively supports new cognitive research into how people learn. By the end of the current academic year, USM will have redesigned 85 courses, enrolling more than 24,000 students. Our preliminary results indicate that learning outcomes, pass rates, and retention are improving at the same or lower costs. I look forward to providing periodic updates on our work in these and other academic transformation areas.
NEW RANKINGS HIGHLIGHT NATIONAL EMINENCE
The most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings offer a snapshot of USM excellence. UMCP is ranked 21st among all public universities.
UMBC is ranked 6th among the institutions with the “Best Undergraduate Teaching.”
University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and Bowie State University (BSU) were both again ranked in the top tier of America’s historically black institutions.
Towson University (TU), Salisbury University (SU), and the University of Baltimore (UB) all ranked in the top 25 among Top Public Regional Universities (North).
USM MARKS A 29 PERCENT INCREASE IN COMPANIES LAUNCHED
USM helped to launch or support 187 start-up companies in fiscal year (FY) 2013, a 29 percent increase from 144 companies in FY 2012. Of those 187, 65 are considered to be companies in which USM played a significant role in forming. This success keeps USM on track to meet our strategic goal of helping to establish 325 such companies in 10 years (FY 2011-2020).
Some examples from FY 2013 include:
Immotions Medical, a health-care technology company headquartered at and supported by the University of Maryland BioPark at University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) that is developing a system to reduce the amount of healthy body tissue damaged during radiation treatments for cancer.
JAKtec, a cloud computing company founded by Karuna P. Joshi, a researcher at UMBC who focuses on cloud-based services.
Hyperion Technologies, a robotics company that provides robotic engineering services and is part of UMCP’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.
In related news, the Baltimore-based Ratcliffe Foundation has committed to as much as $1 million over the next five years to Salisbury University to support entrepreneurs from the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business looking to create start-ups.
EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH ATTRACTS SUPPORT
Our economic impact also moves in tandem with our growing research activities. Earlier this fall, UMCP announced the largest ever in-kind software grant—with a commercial value of more than $750 million—from Siemens’ Product Lifecycle Management Software. The software will help students and researchers develop innovative design capabilities.
MedImmune and UMB have entered into a five-year, $6 million collaboration to work on research projects that will provide opportunities for scientific exchange and educational training. UMCP and UMBC will also be integral members of this collaboration. In addition, the Health Sciences Facility—or HSF III—under construction at UMB will ultimately attract significant new research activity, create jobs, and lead to biomedical advances.
CSU MAKES PROGRESS ON ENHANCEMENTS
Mortimer Neufville, who had been serving as interim president at Coppin State University (CSU), has been named president of the institution. He is serving a two-year term, during which he will oversee the implementation of the strategies recommended by the Coppin Special Review Committee. After a comprehensive review of CSU, the committee developed specific strategies to increase student retention and graduation rates, strengthen academic programs and faculty, and improve administrative operations and financial stability.
UB PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES RETIRMENT
As many of you know, Bob Bogomolny has announced his retirement after more than a decade as president of the University of Baltimore. Under Bob’s leadership, UB grew physically, with the Student Center, Liberal Arts and Policy Building, and the John and Frances Angelos Law Center. The university also grew academically, expanding to a four-year undergraduate program and introducing 31 new programs, targeting in-demand fields.
Above all, Bob’s commitment to the university’s growing student population stands as his greatest legacy. And as we prepare for a national search to identify Bob’s successor, we will be mindful of the reality of what can only be called “the new UB.”
In closing, I invite you to participate in USM’ 25th anniversary celebration. Visit www.usmd.edu/25 to learn more about USM’s history and achievements. And “LIKE” our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on USM’s growing impact. We also are offering chances to win prizes in our monthly 25th anniversary contests.
As always, I very much appreciate hearing from you. If you would like to respond to this letter or any other USM news, please write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.