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ACHIEVING THE VISION IN HARD TIMES: III

USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan's Report to the
University System of Maryland Board of Regents
Friday, April 8, 2005

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Board of Regents. Once again, I offer my congratulations to the recipients of the 2005 Regents' Faculty Awards for Excellence. Your commitment to the expansion of knowledge, discovery, service, and the education of our students is a source of great pride for the entire USM.

As you know, it has been almost two months since our last regularly-scheduled full board meeting. We have several issues to cover, so I will keep my report brief. There are, however, a few noteworthy items I would like to highlight:

I begin with our host-Bob Bogomolny-and our host institution-the University of Baltimore, which today boosts its highest enrollment in a decade -- just over the 5,000 student mark.. Whether it be accommodating surging enrollment, meeting pressing workforce needs, or expanding community service efforts . . . President Bogomolny and UB have shown true leadership. A perfect example of this is the Maryland Higher Education Commission's recent approval of the Joint MBA program between UB and Towson University. By joining forces to meet the growing demand for access to MBA programs, we have a result that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. I commend both President Bogomolny and President Caret.

I am also very proud to note that several members of the USM "family" were honored by the Daily Record as among Maryland's Top 100 Women:

- Dr. Jami Rene' Grant, Director of Forensic Studies, from here at UB

- Sandra Nix Harriman, Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of Maryland School of Medicine

- Margaret Hayes, Director, Student Educational Services & Outreach, UM School of Pharmacy

- Dr. Shohreh Afagh Kaynama, Dean, College of Business & Economics, Towson University.

- Dr. Eleanor A. Walker, Professor of Nursing & Special Assistant to the President, Bowie State University

- Susan M. Wozenski, Vice Chair, Dept of Family & Community Health, UM School of Nursing

- And last-but certainly not least-Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach , President, Salisbury University

Congratulations to Dr. Dudley-Eshbach and to all those honored by the Daily Record.

In other items of note . . .

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team won its third consecutive Final Four of College Chess earlier this month defeating the University of Texas at Dallas. UMBC's dominance in the arena of collegiate chess is simply remarkable. I know we all join together in congratulating UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski and his championship team.

Honors were also bestowed upon the University of Maryland, College Park, where the entrepreneurship program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business ranked among the top 13 nationally in the April 2005 issue of Entrepreneur magazine. In addition, the Industrial Partnerships program won the national "Best Practice" award for technology transfer programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration. UMCP also was widely represented in the latest U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate schools, including two top ranked programs. All in all, UMCP now has 31 total programs ranked in the top 10 nationally by the magazine

The University of Maryland, Baltimore was also recognized in the 2005 rankings of graduate schools by U.S.News & World Report . The ranking for the School of Law is its highest ever and is now top-tier; The School of Pharmacy maintained its ranking as one of the best in the country; The School of Medicine placed 27th out of 123 schools for instruction in primary care and maintained its place as 43rd in research. In earlier rankings, the School of Nursing and School of Social Work placed 10th and 19th, respectively.

I also note that I have had the opportunity to meet with several editorial boards recently-the Annapolis Capital, Montgomery Gazette and Baltimore Sun. I talked about the future of higher education in Maryland, the significant impact of the Board of Regents' E&E initiative, our status in the legislature (more on that in a moment), and our focus on the need for a long-term, systematic approach to funding higher education. The Senate Joint Resolution for a higher education commission would be the ideal vehicle for this examination. I am pleased to note that my meetings with both the Capital and the Gazette generated positive articles and editorials about the USM and our efforts.

Our Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications, Anne Moultrie, could not have picked a better time to set up these meetings with the media . . . . . they came on the heels of a major new study from the Institute for Higher Education Policy that clearly demonstrates that the investment in higher education by states has dramatic and measurable impacts on both the collective well-being of each state as well as on individual citizens. Of course, this was hardly "news" to anyone who works every day in higher education, but I think the message is finally gaining widespread currency.

Consider, for example, the Governor's budget proposal (and commitment to future funding), and the legislative reaction. Support for higher education is one of the few issues that enjoys wide-spread agreement in Annapolis. There weren't even any recommended cuts to the Governor's proposal. That is almost unheard of. I want to commend Joe Bryce, Roz Hamlett, their team in Annapolis, and the entire State Relations Council. Together they did an extraordinary job. I know that many of the Regents were called upon to testify on behalf on individual institutions as well and I appreciate your time and effort.

I really think-thanks to all the work of this Board, our Presidents, our staffs, and the entire USM-that people are starting to "get it". They see that with Maryland's economic advantages and educational advantages, we are poised to be an economic powerhouse. They also see the challenges of reduced funding and surging enrollment that we must overcome to achieve this vision and have expressed a real commitment to address those challenges. This really is great news for the USM and a validation of our efforts: E&E; Financial Aid Task Force; Strategic Plan; and our day-to-day example of the importance of excellence in higher education.

Turning briefly to our agenda . . .

One item I would like to highlight is of great interest to our host today. It is the effort to expand the tremendous impact of this institution by authorizing UB to proceed with plans to develop a four-year undergraduate program. In a classic "win - win" sense, approval would enable UB to take fuller advantage of its facilities, while helping the USM meet growing enrollment demand.

Enrollment demand is growing even more rapidly than we thought. Today you will also consider the USM enrollment projections for FY 2005-2014. Overall projected headcount growth for the 10-year period is 32.7 percent, with undergraduate enrollment growing by almost 30% and graduate enrollment increasing by an incredible 42.3%. So we are talking about a 10-year expansion from 128,800 students to 170,800 . . . . a jump of almost one-third. Accommodating that growth-which will be disproportionately lower-income and minority students-represents a significant challenge.

As you know, one of the most important tools we are employing to address that challenge is our Regional Education Centers. I end my report today by reminding you that on April 22 there will be a reception at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown to formally celebrate the opening of the center AND to raise scholarship money for students enrolled in classes there. The fact that this event is made possible by the extraordinary support of the Hagerstown community, including Mayor William Breichner and the business community, speaks volumes about the Center's tremendous potential. Aristides Melissaratos, Maryland Secretary of Business and Economic Development, will be the featured speaker and I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Board, that completes my report.