USM Board of Regents Launches Independent Governance Review

Baltimore, MD (Jan. 30, 2019) – The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has commissioned an independent review of the system’s governance structure and operation by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the membership of which includes 1,300 boards representing 1,900 colleges, universities and institutionally related foundations. The review is expected to launch in early February and be completed in March 2019.

The USM was formed in 1988. The system’s governance structure was last reviewed in 1998, 10 years after its formation and two decades ago.

The objective of the assessment is to better understand how the board’s culture, policies, processes and practices currently work to enable it to serve Maryland, its public university system, the system’s 12 institutions, and its students, faculty and staff.  AGB has recently provided similar assistance to university systems in Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota.

The review will be led by AGB President Rick Legon, an expert on board governance and a veteran of several college and university boards.  To ensure that the review is conducted independently, a committee of Marylanders has been appointed to receive and review AGB’s assessment and to monitor the board’s implementation of any resulting recommendations. 

Patricia Florestano, who previously served as a member and as the chair of the USM Board of Regents and as the Maryland Secretary of Higher Education, will coordinate the oversight committee’s work.

Other members include:
  • Norm Augustine:  Former member of the USM Board of Regents, former chair and CEO of Lockheed Martin, and former chair of the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission;
  • Rushern Baker:  Former County Executive of Prince George’s County and former candidate for Governor of Maryland;
  • Molly Broad:  President of American Council on Education (ACE) and former president of the University of North Carolina;
  • Calvin Butler: CEO of Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) and member of several boards including University of Maryland Medical Center, Institute of International Education, and Bradley University Board of Trustees (Chair);
  • William ‘Brit’ Kirwan:  USM Chancellor Emeritus and former University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) president.

“Since being elected chair of the USM Board of Regents in the fall, I have worked with the board and the chancellor to increase the transparency of the board’s work and refocus everyone’s attention on the board’s role in overseeing Maryland’s public university system in ways that best support our students,” said USM Board of Regents Chairwoman Linda Gooden.  “Regardless of other circumstances, and after two decades without a review, good governance demands that we examine best practices for 21st century governing boards and assess the current governance structure to determine if changes are needed to improve governance.”

In recent months, the board has taken several steps to operate more transparently and effectively.  Chairwoman Gooden and USM Chancellor Robert Caret have met with legislators in Annapolis and Washington, D.C., as well as the leadership of the UMCP University Senate and the UMCP Foundation Board of Trustees.  On November 29, the board conducted a day long refresher at its annual retreat for members on the basic role and operations of both the system and the board, which included a presentation by AGB President Legon regarding the appropriate role of governing boards.  The board is also creating a new committee focused on Enterprise Risk Management to better anticipate, mitigate and respond to future crises.


Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719