October 10, 2003
Dear USM Faculty and Staff:
As you are aware, the University System of Maryland is facing a tremendous fiscal challenge. Decreased state support, combined with rising enrollments, compounded by increased teaching, research, and service costs threaten the System's ability to effectively carry out its mission with the quality that our community has come to expect and the citizens of Maryland deserve. As the stewards of the state's public system of higher education, the USM Board of Regents is committed to ensuring that the USM meets these challenges in a way that, first and foremost, preserves the academic quality of its institutions while, at the same time, maximizes the effective and efficient use of the public and private resources entrusted to the System.
In keeping with this commitment, the Board of Regents has undertaken an initiative that is designed to review and revise, as needed, specific business and academic operations of the University System. This effort, which will be known as the Initiative on Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E), will be overseen by a work group of regents appointed by the Chairman of the Board and the Chancellor (the list of members is attached at the end of this letter). The work group will be advised and assisted by the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, USM presidents and other senior officers, by the System Councils and other faculty and staff, and by consultants from inside and outside the academy. Vice Chancellor Vivona will be the senior staff person for the Work Group.
The goal of the E&E work group, simply put, is to increase the quality of the University System of Maryland and its value to the citizens of the state by reducing the System's overall cost structure and, thereby, freeing up funds for reinvestment in academic priorities. The ambitious — but, we believe, — achievable vision of the work group is to create a university system that is a national leader in "transforming the operating model of public higher education to provide world class education, research, and public service at costs that are affordable to students and taxpayers." To achieve this vision, the work group -in consultation with the campus communities -- will consider a number of options, including but not limited to the development of alternative models for service delivery, reduction of administrative and other costs, and the adoption of new standards for benchmarking and accountability reporting based on best practices in higher education and other sectors.
Unlike previous System work groups, the E&E work group is not expected to operate as a short-term initiative focused on a narrowly defined issue or policy area. Instead, the E&E work group will operate as an ongoing, long-term initiative with the freedom and authority to review all aspects of the University System's operations. Recommendations from the work group will be based on discussions with the presidents and other university leaders and forwarded to the appropriate USM councils for discussion before any action is taken.
Finally, while the work group does not plan to hold public hearings, it will welcome public input on ways in which the USM and its institutions can improve their effectiveness and efficiency. Letters and proposals addressing this topic may be sent to an electronic suggestion box on the work group's Web page. The address for the link is /EEWorkGroup/. All information or suggestions received will be forwarded to the work group for consideration and action.
We thank you for your attention to this letter, and for your future cooperation with the activities and recommendations of the E&E work group. Through our combined efforts, we are sure that we will be able to preserve and enhance the quality of the University System of Maryland while also increasing its efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of all Maryland citizens.
Clifford M. Kendall William E. Kirwan
Chair, Board of Regents Chancellor
Members of the E&E Work Group:
Clifford M. Kendall, Chair
Charles R. Larson
Patricia S. Florestano
Richard E. Hug
David H. Nevins
Robert L. Pevenstein
James C. Rosapepe