As we near the end of another amazing year, I had the recent honor of delivering my 10th annual report to the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents at Salisbury University. Again, the outstanding and dedicated leaders, faculty, staff, and students comprising the system community were put front and center as we reviewed our accomplishments of the past year.

The annual report charts the progress on implementing our strategic plan, Powering Maryland Forward. Here are a few highlights from the FY 2012 annual report.

  • As part of our focus on academic innovation, college completion, and student success, we strengthened our leadership in course redesign, our nationally lauded initiative that is resulting in higher levels of student success and lower course-delivery costs. Across the USM, more than 40 courses have been redesigned, serving more than 12,000 students.
  • We launched University of Maryland: MPowering the State, a bold collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). This new partnership will leverage the resources of these two institutions to serve students better and boost research, technology transfer, and commercialization.
  • As part of our strategic goal to advance Maryland’s innovation economy, the USM is making major strides:
    • We are helping to launch new companies at an impressive clip, expecting to end the fiscal year with at least 35 start-ups for the second consecutive year. We’re on track to meet our goal of helping to create 325 new companies during the 10-year period (FY 2011-20) of our strategic plan.
    • USM institutions since FY 2010 have increased total enrollment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses by almost 2,500 students. This increase of almost 10 percent is well on our way toward our goal of a 40 percent increase by 2020.
    • We have boosted undergraduate enrollment in STEM teacher education programs by 45 percent, with the goal of tripling the number of STEM teachers graduating from USM institutions by 2020.
    • We added the commercialization of intellectual property to our decision-making process in granting tenure and sabbatical leave to faculty.

  • Efforts to close the “achievement gap” that exists between our minority and non-minority students are showing results. For example, the gap between the second-year retention rate for all USM students and for all USM African-American students has decreased to its lowest level since 1999, only six percentage points.
  • And thanks to our generous donors, our federated campaign has surpassed its $1.7 billion goal and is closing in on $2 billion in support of scholarships, fellowships, research, community service, workforce development, and knowledge expansion.
USM’s continued advancement is a tribute to not only the hard work and accomplishments of the system community, but also a tribute to your support, advocacy, and appreciation of USM’s value to the state. You can access the full FY 2012 annual report HERE .


Governor Martin O’Malley and legislative leaders during the special session of the Maryland General Assembly in May came to agreement on a revenue package and operating budget that reaffirmed their mutual commitment to higher education in Maryland. The USM in fiscal year 2013 will be required to provide a $5 million fund balance transfer to the state and absorb $5.3 million in direct budget cuts. Thankfully, that’s a far cry from the $50 million cut under the so-called “doomsday” budget that would have resulted in drastic financial aid cuts, reduced enrollment, programmatic cuts layoffs, and a double-digit tuition increase.

I invite you to read a summary of the legislative session, including information on the capital and operating budget, as well as other legislative initiatives in the USM’s post-session reports. Click here.


More and more, higher education is judged through the lens of both affordability and quality. Forbes magazine issues a Top 100 Best Buy Colleges list, The Princeton Review offers a “Best Value College” guide, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranks the nation's 100 “Best Values” in public higher education. Four USM institutions—University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), Salisbury University (SU), Towson University (TU), and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—are represented across the most recent editions of all three of these lists.

During the past year, our institutions also received these prestigious undergraduate rankings from U.S. News & World Report:

Salisbury University ranked 9th and Towson ranked 11th among Public Regional Universities (North)University of Maryland, Baltimore County ranked as the Number 1 "Up and Coming" National University for the third straight year. UMBC also ranked 4th among national universities for undergraduate research.UMCP ranked 17th among all U.S. national public universitiesUMES and Bowie State University (BSU) were both ranked among the nation’s best historically black colleges and universities, coming in at 25th and 28th respectively.

In the U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate programs:

At UMB, the schools of Law and Medicine at UMB are both ranked in the top 20 among public institutions, with the schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work included in the top 20 overall. The Towson University-University of Baltimore joint MBA program ranked among the nation’s best online graduate programs.At UMCP, the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the College of Education are both ranked in the top 25.

Learn more about current rankings HERE.


At the annual meeting of the Board of Regents, we honored and thanked three members of the board whose terms re scheduled to end June 30. Regents Patricia Florestano and Orlan Johnson, who have both chaired and served on the board with distinction, concluded their two five-year consecutive terms, the maximum allowed. They will continue as board members until Governor O’Malley appoints replacements.

We also honored Collin Wojciechowski, who served so ably as the student regent this past year. Now a senior at UMBC, he is majoring in political science and communications studies. On July 1, we will welcome new student regent Steven Hershkowitz, a government and politics major at the UMCP. (Student regents serve one-year terms; other members serve five-year terms.)

After 45 years of service to the USM community, Irv Goldstein on June 30 is stepping down from his position as USM senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. He has an extraordinary record of service and accomplishment at UMCP—as a faculty member, department chair, and dean—and as a senior leader at the system office. Succeeding Irv will be Joann Boughman, executive vice president of the American Society of Human Genetics. She also is a former vice president for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at UMB. She joins the system office September 17.

On July 1, we welcome Juliette Bell as the new president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. A biochemist and the current provost and vice president for academic affairs at Central State University in Wilberforce, OH, she has a remarkable track record of outstanding leadership that will serve UMES, USM, and the state well.


Commencement ceremonies are unquestionably the highlight of the academic year’s end. For me, they punctuate one of the many ways the University System of Maryland serves the state and the greater region. In this past year alone, USM institutions awarded more than 30,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Many of those graduates entered the region’s workforce; others continued to even higher levels of education.

When you consider our graduates in the workforce, the critical research and knowledge transfer performed on our campuses daily, and the myriad public services delivered by our institutions, it is clear that USM plays a leading role in advancing the quality of life across Maryland and beyond.


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:

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