MARCH 2010

Welcome to the first issue of the Chancellor's Letter, a newsletter to keep you up-to-date on what's happening at the University System of Maryland (USM). I hope you will enjoy receiving this letter periodically. I also would like to receive your feedback on what you read here as well as other matters related to USM. Please write me at

Legislative Update
As Maryland's 2010 legislative session passes the halfway point, I want to take a moment to update you on the University System of Maryland's (USM) budget status, legislative agenda, and other recent developments.

The Maryland General Assembly is now considering Governor Martin O'Malley's fiscal year 2011 budget proposal for USM. At a time when many states are significantly reducing support for public higher education, Governor O'Malley has once again demonstrated a strong commitment to USM. His proposal calls for a modest increase in state support for the university system to cover mandatory expenses related to the inflationary costs to operate new facilities and provide employee benefits. It also includes funding to "buy down" a portion of the USM's proposed 5 percent tuition increase, resulting in a modest 3 percent tuition hike for in-state undergraduate students. This would be the first USM tuition increase in five years, during which time we will have moved the state from the sixth highest tuition in the nation down to a projected 21st

I invite you to review USM testimony before the General Assembly in full at:

Our three key legislative priorities are:

  • full funding of the Governor's proposed FY 2011 USM operating budget;
  • full funding of the Governor's proposed FY 2011 capital budget for USM;
  • reauthorization of the Higher Education Investment Fund (HEIF), the State of Maryland's first-ever dedicated funding stream for higher education.

There is no doubt that an investment in higher education yields tremendous returns for Maryland and its citizens. Governor O'Malley and state legislators continue to demonstrate their ongoing support for advancing USM, enabling us to enhance our tremendous statewide impact.

Making Way for Leadership Changes at UMB and UMCP
The USM community will welcome Jay Perman as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) July 1. After a nationwide search, our Board of Regents appointed Perman to the position; he is currently dean and vice president for clinical affairs at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He has distinguished himself as an educator, administrator, and fundraiser. He also is a former chair of pediatrics and chief of pediatrics for the University of Maryland Medical System.

Dr. Perman will succeed David J. Ramsay who has served as president for 15 years. The university and our state clearly benefited from David's visionary leadership during the institution's impressive growth in academic, research, and public service excellence.

Earlier this week, I announced the appointment of the search and screening committee for the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). As many of you know, C. D. (Dan) Mote Jr. has announced that he will retire as president on August 31. At that time he will have led the university for 12 years, moving our flagship institution to the top ranks of public universities nationwide. Donald F. Kettl, professor and dean of UMCP's School of Public Policy, is chairing the search committee.

Without question, USM and the State of Maryland are both stronger thanks to the leadership provided by both David Ramsay and Dan Mote.

USM Institutions are "Best Values"
Four USM institutions-University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); Towson University (TU); and Salisbury University (SU)-rank among the nation's 100 best values in public higher education, according to the February issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance. This is an interesting ranking because it combines quality and cost. It is especially notable that UMCP was ranked as the nation's 8th Best Value.  In addition, SU was ranked by The Princeton Review as a Top 50 "Best Value" Public College. 

Closing the Achievement Gap
Three USM institutions were cited by The Education Trust as among the Top Gainers in Underrepresented Minority Graduation Rates. Among public research universities, UMCP is ranked 14th and UMBC 22nd. UMCP also has the fourth highest graduation rate for under-represented minorities and UMBC is one of the few non-Historically Black Institutions at which the minority graduation rate exceeds the non-minority rate. Among public master's institutions, TU ranked 8th in minority graduation rate gains and is another Traditionally White Institution where minorities graduate at a higher rate than non-minorities.

Contracts and Grants Top $1 Billion Again
For the third consecutive year, USM institutions and system office competed successfully for more than $1 billion in contracts and grants support. This extramural funding supports initiatives in research, education, and service. The system was led by UMB and UMCP, each of which topped $515 million.

USM Leadership Attracts Lumina Grant to State
Maryland was one of seven states chosen by the Lumina Foundation, through a highly competitive process, to receive a $1 million "college completion" award. The state's proposal, developed under the leadership of USM Associate Vice Chancellor Nancy Shapiro, will include a focus on expanding our course redesign initiative. Through the redesign of large-enrollment courses, commonly known as introductory gateway courses, USM institutions are improving students' learning and success outcomes, delivering instruction at lower costs, and using faculty resources more efficiently.   

The University System of Maryland is a remarkable place. Our faculty, staff, and students take pride in their contributions to our state's qualify of life. We offer excellent and affordable academic opportunities, conduct path-blazing research, fuel economic and workforce development, and provide vital services to communities and individuals. We hope you share our pride.


William E. (Brit) Kirwan

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