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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, December 9, 2005

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Board of Regents. We have a full agenda today, as well as a very special guest, so I will keep my report brief.

I begin by thanking our host for today's meeting, President Ramsay and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. This has certainly been a tremendous couple of months for UMB. We have celebrated the grand opening of the new UMB bio-park; we take pride in the fact that the campus generated over $400 million in sponsored research last year (a 22% increase over the previous year); and we are pleased that UMB had its mot successful fundraising year ever with contributions of nearly $53 million. Congratulations to the entire UMB "family" for these impressive successes. Of course, there has been sad news at UMB as well, with the announcement that Dean Don Wilson will soon retire after a remarkable 15-year tenure. Don will leave with an indelible mark on the school and an impressive legacy of accomplishment.

While we regret Don's impending departure, it is important to note that USM has also had some notable recent additions. First and foremost, we welcome today our newest member of the Board of Regents, Alicia Coro Hoffman. Regent Hoffman brings nearly four decades of commitment to education to her new position. She served as a Senior Executive in the U.S. Department of Education, focusing both on School Improvement as well as Civil Rights enforcement. She also was a member of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, stepping down from that post to take this new position. Alicia has already been hard at work on behalf of the USM. She was a very active participant in the Regent's Mission Statement meeting last week. Alicia, we all welcome you and look forward to our work together.

Last week I was pleased to introduce Susan C. Aldridge, who will assume the presidency of University of Maryland University College early next year. Susan brings impeccable credentials to this post, having served as vice chancellor of Troy University's University College and the eCampus. As you may know, Troy University offers the nation's second largest distance learning program at a public university, second only to UMUC. There is no doubt that her wealth of experience, commitment to academic excellence and integrity, and her vision will serve UMUC well.

Also, Leonard R. Raley has assumed his position as the president and CEO of the University System of Maryland Foundation, bringing more than 25 years of experience in higher-education fund raising to USMF. Leonard served previously at Towson University and the University of Maryland at College Park before assuming the position as Vice President for Advancement at Ohio University. Leonard, we welcome you back home.

I also have a few items of note regarding our institutions, beginning with a special recognition:

Coppin State was honored by Network World magazine in its "Signature Series Enterprise All-Star Issue" as an "Education All-Star" for its groundbreaking developments in communication and education technology. Coppin is one of only five universities worldwide to receive this award.

In other news . . .

After due diligence and careful consideration, the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved the University of Baltimore / Towson University joint MBA program. This partnership offers many exciting opportunities for students and I congratulate Presidents Caret and Bogomolny for their efforts in creating this innovative joint degree program.

An agreement was also announced between the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown and the University of Maryland, College Park, which will offer master's degrees and graduate certificate engineering classes through distance learning at the center. This is exactly the type of efforta partnership that addresses key workforce needs through USM Hagerstownthat we envisioned when the center was dedicated.

Of course, our other education centerthe Universities at Shady Grovecontinues to grow. Last month's groundbreaking for Shady Grove III will enable USG to triple its capacity!

The Frostburg State University Presidential Search committee will be having its second meeting tomorrow as it progresses toward naming a successor to Catherine Gira. We are continuing to hold meetings regarding the Bowie State University Search Committee and should be announcing membership in the near future.

Finally, let me turn to news about our FY 07 budget. . .

As you know, very constructive budget discussions continue with members of Governor Ehrlich's administration. We have stressed a few key priority areas in these discussions:

  • Base funding that will enable all of our institutions to cover mandatory cost increases and protect the quality of our campuses,
  • Per full-time equivalent (FTE) student funding to enable the USM institutions to meet increased enrollment demand and an increase in financial aid fundingespecially need-based fundingto open the doors of higher education to more young people,
  • Workforce development initiatives at institutions across the System that will enable our campuses to address critical workforce needs in the K-12 schools, healthcare, and the technology sector,
  • Targeted research initiatives that will support our state's economic growth potential in nano-technology, homeland security, and the biosciences, and
  • Support for the Flagship Initiative to enable the University of Maryland, College Park, to leverage significant gains in stature and become an elite public research university

 

Throughout all our discussions, I have stressed our collective commitment to continue the highly successful E&E agenda. Over the next four years, our E&E efforts will contribute more that $80 million to the bottom line of our budget and show are determination to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations.

We remain extremely optimistic about the outcome of our budget discussions and should know the final numbers very soon.

Let me now turn to our very special guest who has lead the effort with our Congressional delegation to provide federal funds for initiatives that are vitally important to the advancement of our institutions and our state.

Support for the nursing profession through the creation of the Institute for Nurse Educators, and for the medical school here at UMB are just two examples of how Senator Barbara Mikulski is working to build the excellence of our universities and address critical state needs. If I were to mention all the ways she has helped our institutions and state, we would be here the rest of the day.

Let me simply note as examples that, in addition to her support for UMB, there is over $10 million in support for UMCP, for nanotechnology, fuel sell research, robotics, climatological studies, and other efforts.

Significant financial support for our HBCUs, both individually and as a consortium.

$5 million for Blue Crab research at UMBI and $3 million for Coastal Research at UMCES...$2 million for the Forensic Crime Studies program at UB and $1 million for the Center for Urban Environmental Research at UMBC.

And this is only a sample...the list literally goes on and on. While it's easy to focus on the Senator's many appropriations victories, I know that she is proudest of her record fighting to increase access and affordability for students across Maryland. Goals we all share. It is my pleasure to introduce as our first agenda item, a great friend of higher educationand a great leader for Maryland and the United StatesSenator Barbara Mikulski . . .