An update about the University System of Maryland.


With the spring 2013 commencement season in full swing, the University System of Maryland (USM) continues to distinguish itself. We expect USM institutions to have awarded a record number of degrees—34,500—once the last graduate walks across the stage. This number includes approximately three-quarters of all bachelor's degrees, two-thirds of all degrees awarded in the STEM fields, and 88 percent of all professional degrees awarded in Maryland.
I am also pleased to note that our universities attracted very prominent individuals as commencement speakers, including First Lady Michelle Obama at Bowie State University's ceremony; Bill Cosby at the University of Baltimore; and Cal Ripken Jr. at the University of Maryland, College Park.
With a record number of graduates and a stellar lineup of speakers, the USM is ending the 2013-14 academic year on a particularly high note.  
The Maryland General Assembly earlier this year approved the state's budget for fiscal year 2014. Once again, the USM received strong support from Governor Martin O'Malley and General Assembly for the system's operating and capital budgets. 
Operating support for the USM is on track to increase by just over $95 million in FY 2014, to approximately $1.17 billion. The budget includes $20 million in enhancement funds, which will be augmented by $10 million from the USM fund balance, to support three critical priorities in the system's strategic plan—targeted enrollment increases in the STEM disciplines; greater support for research, entrepreneurship, and commercialization; and academic transformation and college-completion initiatives. This marks the first time in five years that the USM is slated to receive a programmatic funding increase.
With regard to the FY 2014 capital budget, the Maryland House and Senate approved every USM project submitted by Governor O'Malley, and then added a few other items. All told, the USM will receive approximately $225 million for capital projects at locations across the state. 
To access the 2013 USM Legislative Session Report, click HERE
After four months of extensive work, the Coppin State University (CSU) Special Review Committee has completed its extensive study of the institution. The USM Board of Regents in December 2012 established the committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the university and develop recommendations to increase student retention and graduation rates, improve administrative operations and financial stability, and build a culture focused on excellence.
Chaired by Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the committee included representatives from Coppin's faculty, staff, student body, alumni, and volunteer boards; and members of the Maryland General Assembly and the national higher education community. Committee members solicited input and detailed reports from a wide range of audiences.
The committee presented its report to the Board of Regents May 15; the report outlines the university's strengths and weaknesses, enumerates significant findings, and recommends a series of action steps to help reestablish Coppin as a vital provider of higher education in Maryland sharply focused on student success. Access the full report HERE.
The Milken Institute earlier this year released its 2012 State Technology and Science Index 2012, which tracks and evaluates every state's tech and science capabilities and their success at converting those assets into companies and high-paying jobs. The index ranks Maryland second in the nation, behind only Massachusetts. The only area where Maryland does not rank in the top five is the category of "Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure." The USM is taking steps to overcome this particular challenge.
The USM has become much more active and aggressive in its support of marketable research, technology transfer, and commercialization. The work of the USM Board of Regents Committee on Economic Development and Technology Commercialization, the addition of intellectual property creation and technology transfer to faculty's promotion and tenure criteria, the specific targets on commercialization in our strategic plan, and many other efforts are moving the USM—and Maryland—in a productive direction. Particularly noteworthy is that the USM directly assisted in the development and/or creation of 51 companies in fiscal year 2012; we are firmly on track to meet our strategic plan goal of helping to establish 325 new companies over 10 years. 
In addition, the Board of Regents earlier this month presented its inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, honoring three distinguished USM faculty members who are advancing academic entrepreneurship. The awardees are Scott Strome from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a co-founder of Gliknik, and Martin Peckerar and Neil Goldsman from the University of Maryland, College Park, who are the co-founders of FlexEl. To learn more, visit HERE.
The USM welcomed Robert Rauch and Tracye Turner to the Board of Regents in March.  Rauch is a principal with the civil engineering and construction management firm Robert D. Rauch & Associates, and Turner is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Optimal Solutions Group, an economic and policy analysis research and consulting firm. They replace Orlan Johnson and John Young, who provided exemplary service to the board.
Samim Manizade, a May 2014 candidate for a B.S. in physics at Salisbury University, joins the board July 1 as the new student regent. Manizade replaces Steven Hershkowitz, who has been a strong USM advocate. Student regents serve one-year terms, while other regents serve five-year terms.
MJ Bishop on June 1 will join the USM as director of our new Center for Innovation and Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CIELT), housed in the system's Office of Academic Affairs. She will join us from Lehigh University where she is director of the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Program in the College of Education. Bishop has conducted extensive research into instructional technologies that improve teaching and enhance learning. Under her leadership, CIELT will enable the USM to secure and expand its leadership in course redesign and other innovative teaching models designed to increase student success rates.  
In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate and professional schools, UMCP's A. James Clark School of Engineering, College of Education, and Robert H. Smith School of Business all rank in the top 20 among public universities.
At the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the School of Medicine ranked 37th among 149 medical schools surveyed and the School of Law ranked 39th among the 194 surveyed.
For a comprehensive list of current rankings, click HERE.
I had the honor of delivering the Robert H. Atwell Lecture at the 95th annual meeting of the American Council on Education earlier this year. I invite you to read my full speech, '"The Completion Imperative: Harnessing Change to Meet Our Responsibilities."
On June 21, I will deliver my fiscal year 2013 annual report to the Board of Regents. The report will outline progress on our strategic plan goals, applaud the excellence of USM individuals and institutions, and show how we are powering the state of Maryland forward. If you would like to receive a copy, please send a note to:
As always, I very much appreciate hearing from you. If you would like to offer feedback on this letter or any other USM news, please write me at:
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