Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Fall Opening Meeting
Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This time each year, we come together to take stock of and highlight our progress and challenges.  When we gathered a year ago, I discussed our continuing fiscal challenges, the fact that we had weathered another difficult year through sacrifice and shared governance, and that we had made substantial progress in several areas.  This year, we are again holding tight while continuing to move forward. 

We have honored our two most important guiding principles – protecting the academic program (providing a distinctive undergraduate experience and building research and graduate education) and supporting people.  These principles framed discussions among campus leaders at our annual retreat the past two days, where we focused on being even more supportive of students and strengthening our infrastructure for research and creative achievement.  We also focused on campus planning and budgeting, our Middle States Periodic Review, and the University System’s strategic plan recently adopted by the Board of Regents.  We focused, too, on strategies to attract and support diverse students, faculty, and staff, and we previewed how the rising Performing Arts & Humanities Building and the proposed Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building, now being planned, will shape teaching and research in those fields.  We ended the retreat mindful of our continuing fiscal challenges, but encouraged by a renewed sense of hope and purpose.

We begin the year in transition in several key areas.  With former Provost Elliot Hirshman’s departure in July, we conducted an internal search leading to the appointment of Dr. Philip Rous as Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Philip has served the past three years as Dean of the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, where he demonstrated his strong commitment to student success, research, faculty diversity, and faculty and staff development and retention.  He was instrumental in creating the College’s Active Science Teaching & Learning Environment (CASTLE), emphasizing pedagogical models based on innovative student-engagement practices.  Philip, who also served as President of the Faculty Senate, is already providing strong leadership in his new role.  During the coming year, we will begin the search to fill the position permanently.  Replacing Philip, and serving as Interim Dean of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, is Dr. William LaCourse, who has chaired the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry the past several years.  Highly regarded as an academic leader and innovator, Dr. LaCourse was the driving force behind the creation of our Chemistry Discovery Center, which has become a national model for active learning, and played a major role in the Kauffman Entrepreneurship Initiative, which is infusing entrepreneurship across the disciplines.

I want to mention several other key leadership appointments this year.  Dr. Judah Ronch became Dean of the Erickson School of Aging, having served as Interim Dean and, before coming to UMBC, as Dean of Freshmen at Vassar College, Executive Director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College, and Vice President of Resident Life at Erickson Retirement Communities.  Dr. Patrice McDermott, former Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences, Chair of American Studies, and co-PI on our NSF ADVANCE grant, was appointed Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.  Both Dr. Don Engel and Mr. Dean Drake recently were appointed Assistant Vice Presidents for Research.  Dr. Engel, who has experience in higher education, private industry, and on Capitol Hill, is supporting faculty efforts to develop research partnerships with agencies and companies, while Dean Drake, who comes to us from the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, is supporting our research administration and compliance efforts, which have become increasingly complex as UMBC’s research portfolio has expanded.  Dr. Linda Hodges became Director of the Faculty Development Center this past year, having served the previous five years as Director of Princeton’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. Steven Smith joined us as the new University Registrar after serving as Registrar and Executive Director of Enrollment Services at Saint Peter’s College in New Jersey.  Elyse Ashburn was very recently appointed Director of Communications, having been a Senior Editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education the past four years.  Rusty Postlewate joined us as Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management after serving with the Corps of Engineers for nearly two decades and for the past 10 years in senior-level facilities management positions in higher education.  And Mark Sparks became our new Chief of Police following a national search and nearly three decades of service in the Department of Public Safety at the University of Maryland, College Park, where most recently he was Interim Chief of Police.

As a community, we have once again shown our compassion and character through another successful Maryland Charity Campaign.  In fact, for the fourth consecutive year – in response to the trying times – UMBC received the Governor’s Cup for Outstanding Performance.  I want to commend this past year’s campaign Co-Chairs, John Jeffries and Lynne Schaefer, for their effective leadership. The campus’s generosity speaks volumes about us as a community; so I’m not surprised that for the second year in a row, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently rated UMBC one of the best colleges in the nation to work for – and the only four-year campus in Maryland – based on its survey of more than 43,000 faculty and staff nationwide. 

Our sense of community is largely the result of our strong system of shared governance, and I especially want to thank our Senate leaders, who have been full partners as we’ve responded to the fiscal challenges in recent years – Tim Topoleski, President of the Faculty Senate the past two years, and Tim Nohe, the new Senate President; Tim Sparklin, the Professional Staff Senate’s immediate past President, and Stanyell Bruce, the current President; and Michael Dick, immediate past President of the Non-Exempt Staff Senate, and current President Terry Aylsworth.  Our student leaders also have been supportive – Yasmin Karimian, President of the Student Government Association this past year (and now a Georgetown University law student), current SGA President Catie Collins, and both Rachel Sturge and Noell Brutus, the Graduate Student Association’s immediate past President and current President.  Finally, I should point out that one of our students, Collin Wojciechowski, a Sondheim Scholar, has recently been appointed by the Governor as this year’s student member of the Board of Regents.    

Fiscal Update

Let me now provide an overview of our budget.  As you know, despite the fiscal challenges of the past few years, the University System of Maryland, under the leadership of Chancellor Kirwan, has fared much better than public higher education systems in most states – and this year I’m delighted to be able to report some bright spots.  For the first time in four years, we are not facing furloughs for State employees.  The furloughs were a burden on everyone, and I want to thank faculty and staff again for consistently putting students first and giving them the support they’ve needed to succeed and thrive.  In addition to facing no furloughs, we also were authorized, and have allocated more than $1 million in State funds, to provide a $750 bonus to all regular employees who were on the campus’s payroll as of July 1st.  In fact the bonus was included in July paychecks. 

Strong enrollments have been another bright spot, including both an increase in the number of new students and higher retention rates among continuing students.  Increased enrollments mean higher revenues that are helping the campus address its priorities. 

We have completed the development of our FY-2012 budget, which totals $354 million, including funds from State, Federal, and other sources.  Our State operating working budget totals $197 million, a net increase of more than $4 million over our adjusted FY-2011 budget. 

Strong enrollments accompanied by modest tuition rate increases approved by the Board of Regents (3% for in-state undergraduates, 4% for out-of-state undergraduates, and 4% for all graduate students) have contributed more than $3 million to the net increase in our State operating budget.  With these funds, we are able to sustain our momentum by investing selectively in priority initiatives across the campus, focusing on protecting the academic core and supporting students, faculty, and staff.  (As previously mentioned, an additional $1 million supported $750 salary bonuses for all regular employees.) 
After addressing mandatory cost increases (e.g., for employee health and retirement benefits, debt service, insurance), we have allocated $2,524,000 in new funds to support our priorities.  Of this amount, we have allocated $1,568,000 (62% of the total) directly to the academic core.  We have hired more than two dozen new tenure/tenure-track faculty members in 21 departments for this fall, nine of whom are funded with $475,000 of these new dollars.  (Attached is a roster of all new full-time faculty members.)  Other investments in the academic core include funds for additional part-time faculty and graduate assistants to support expanded instruction related to enrollment growth and new program start-ups, and funds for student retention efforts, research infrastructure, and the Library.
We also have allocated more than $500,000 to expand financial support of students (primarily for need-based financial aid), to cover tuition and health care cost increases for graduate assistants, to support internship and study abroad opportunities, and for additional counseling center staff and advising staff in the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences.  Remaining funds have been used to add staff support in such critical areas as Procurement and Contract/Grant Accounting, and to cover software license fees and hardware maintenance for systems used by the entire campus.  We’ve also replaced one-time funds with base funding to support a handful of positions in Research Administration, Student Support Services, and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Developing this year’s working budget also presented some significant challenges, especially having to absorb many unavoidable, State-mandated cost increases totaling approximately $4.6 million (e.g., service contracts for housekeeping, PeopleSoft, and other infrastructure services, and restoration of temporary salary reductions).  To fund these increases, we redirected $3.2 million from our utilities budget allocated by the State the past two years in anticipation of cost increases that did not materialize.  In addition, the campus’s divisions and colleges agreed to absorb a 1% base-budget reduction totaling $1,246,000.  Some remaining cost increases are being funded by small growth in several revenue categories, including the technology fee and interest income.

Reflecting on this year’s budget, it’s clear that the strategies we’ve followed in recent years have allowed us to continue moving forward despite very challenging economic circumstances.  We have benefited from campuswide discussions leading to agreement on our priorities; from a spirit of cooperation and collaboration as we have reallocated resources to meet mandated budget reductions; from conservative budget practices ensuring the reliability of our resources; and from the campus community’s willingness – and determination – to work hard to move forward under trying conditions. Early indications are that our FY-2013 State budget will again present tremendous challenges, and we are already planning to address those challenges.

Enrollments & Programs

Fall enrollments are strong, reflecting sustained recruitment and retention efforts and our continuing work to build a number of academic programs approved the past few years.  Of course, we also continue promoting UMBC’s selection by U.S. News & World Report the past two years as the nation’s #1 “Up-and-Coming” university as well as our designation as a “Best Value” campus by both the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

This year, we will enroll approximately 13,000 students, including 1,450 new freshmen.  The new class includes National Merit and National Achievement Scholars, Regents and Maryland Distinguished Scholars, many valedictorians, and new Sondheim, Linehan, CWIT, Sherman, Meyerhoff, and other special scholars.  We also expect to enroll approximately 2,750 graduate students, slightly more than this past year and nearly double the number enrolled a decade ago.  Overall, we continue to attract students from every state and nearly 150 countries, and are sending many students abroad to study around the globe.  We’re also enrolling about 1,300 new transfers, 100 more than this past year.  Our residence halls are again at capacity, housing nearly 4,000 students, including three-quarters of all new freshmen and nearly half of our full-time undergraduates, and we are opening our new addition to Patapsco Residence Hall in a few days to house nearly 200 more students.  (This addition allows us to begin renovating our older apartments without reducing the number of students living on campus.)

In addition to our successful recruitment efforts, we also are retaining and graduating more of our students (85 percent first-to-second-year retention rate and approaching a 70-percent six-year graduation rate) through a variety of curricular and co-curricular initiatives reflecting progressive pedagogy designed to help students succeed.  At the undergraduate level, for example, we continue emphasizing innovation and course redesign – from First-Year Seminars and sections of Introduction to an Honors University to active learning in science and math involving the Chemistry Discovery Center and CASTLE (which received a $300,000 grant this year from SAIC, a Fortune 500 technology company).  Other examples include redesigned Psych 100, which has an online component complemented by peer mentors facilitating in-class small-group discussions, and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics’ introductory courses offering hybrid modes of delivery combining face-to-face instruction with online learning tools.  Also, on the first day of classes, we are opening the new Retriever Learning Center – the idea for which originated with students – an 8,000-square-foot area on the first floor of the Kuhn Library, that will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to facilitate student success through peer-to-peer teaching, group learning, tutoring and informal interactions among students and faculty.  At the graduate level, Ph.D. Completion Project initiatives ranging from Dissertation House and the Summer Success Institute to the Professors-in-Training Program continue to make a real difference in student support.

These initiatives are receiving both growing attention and external support.  This past year, the campus received more than $2 million in new grant and foundation support for research studies on improving the success of freshmen and transfer students.  We are taking the lead in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s National EXperiment in Undergraduate Science Education (NEXUS) initiative, working with Purdue, the University of Miami, and the University of Maryland, College Park, exploring the introduction of a competency-based curriculum in the life sciences.  UMBC also received the first NSF Innovation through Institutional Integration (I-cubed) grant to be awarded for research using a randomized controlled trial to test and compare the effectiveness of five different intervention techniques targeting freshman success and retention.  In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the campus a planning grant to study best practices and develop materials and programs to increase success of transfer students from community colleges.

We also continue building the academic programs we’ve introduced in recent years, including undergraduate programs in Media & Communications Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Management of Aging Services in the Erickson School, and the Public Health track in Health Administration & Policy, as well as new graduate programs in Geography & Environmental Systems, Aging Services, and Systems Engineering.  We also look forward to growing enrollments in our new bachelor’s degree program in Asian Studies – and I want to acknowledge History Professor Constantine Vaporis, the Director, for his perseverance in recent years, leading to the new program’s approval. 

The Continuing & Professional Studies division continues to play a vital role, working with departments in attracting and supporting hundreds of students in programs offered at Shady Grove, including bachelor’s programs in History, Management of Aging Services, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Work, applied master’s programs in Geographic Information Systems and Industrial & Organizational Psychology, and corporate training programs taught by UMBC Training Centers.  The division also has attracted nearly 750 graduate students to its professional master’s, certificate, and closed cohort graduate courses this fall.  And UMBC Training Centers, a private venture supporting the campus, is offering training to more than 3,000 professionals this year in Maryland and beyond, including 700 students in cybersecurity.  Congratulations to Training Centers on just being named by Inc. Magazine to its 2011 Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America, ranking 28th among education-related companies.

Capital Projects and the Environment

The campus has been buzzing throughout the year as construction continues on Phase 1 of the new Performing Arts & Humanities Building.  This first phase is approximately 50% complete and on schedule for completion in summer of 2012, and we are hopeful that funding for Phase 2 will be authorized in the next legislative session, thus avoiding delays in construction.  The facility, with an estimated total cost of roughly $162 million, promises to be spectacular and another major milestone in the campus’s physical transformation and programmatic development.  

The campus has expanded dramatically over the past decade, adding more than 1.5 million square feet of new space – the result of both State-funded capital improvements and building out our research park (bwtech@UMBC).  With completion of the Performing Arts & Humanities Building, campus buildings will total nearly 4 million square feet in area.  The research park, which is thriving despite the challenging commercial real estate market, now includes all five buildings initially envisioned and houses nearly 90 science-and-tech companies and agencies employing more than 1,100 staff and approximately 125 students and alumni in internships and full-time jobs, respectively.  One of the exciting new ventures in the park, Cync, is our cybersecurity-focused business incubator launched in partnership with Northrop Grumman.  Building on the strengths of our programs in Computer Science and Information Systems, the incubator will provide many opportunities for students and faculty to engage in research and product development.

With the campus’s expansion, we have paid increasing attention to both our future physical development and the environmental impact of our actions on the campus landscape, building on our strengths in environmental education and research initiatives.  The wooden footbridge, for example, linking the main campus to both bwtech@UMBC and the green spaces of our Conservation & Environmental Research Areas (CERA), serves both as a physical pathway and, symbolically, as a bridge linking the campus to our efforts involving economic development and sustainability. 

Regarding sustainability, it has been four years since I joined several hundred presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to express our concern about global warming.  Since then, our Climate Change Task Force, co-chaired by Vice President Lynne Schaefer and Economics Professor Virginia McConnell, has spearheaded our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in order eventually to achieve climate neutrality (i.e., zero carbon footprint).  The Task Force, including faculty, staff, and students, is on schedule to submit to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment by this coming January our progress report on the Climate Action Plan, the long-term plan that will guide us in the years ahead as we work to achieve climate neutrality. Also this year, the Task Force drafted a campus sustainability policy, which we anticipate will become effective this fall.  A number of faculty colleagues from wide-ranging fields have been involved in these initiatives, which complement the work of several academic departments with sustainability-related majors and courses – from Geography & Environmental Systems, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Physics, and Civil Engineering to Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, and Public Policy.  Moreover, UMBC is the field headquarters for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (a federally funded urban ecology project), and we house the U.S. Geological Survey’s regional water science center in the research park.  We also are very proud of our nationally recognized Center for Urban Environmental Research & Education (CUERE), under Claire Welty’s direction, which earlier this year and in collaboration with several other campuses, was part of a $5-million grant from NSF (UMBC’s portion is $1.5 million) to study how urban development affects water quality and supply, and how urban landscapes influence climate.  The environmental work of faculty in our centers, departments, and programs continues to fuel our development as a research university and enhance the external perception of our role as a research university and our strengths in geosciences.

The campus also benefits from having so many students actively engaged in, and energizing, our sustainability efforts – from our undergraduate and graduate student government leaders to Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) and our Biodiesel Club.  Their efforts have contributed to UMBC’s being recognized for the second year in a row by The Princeton Review in its new Guide to 311 Green Colleges, designed for college applicants and their parents, as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges.

Faculty & Staff Achievements

Members of our faculty also have continued to distinguish themselves this year.  In the spring, we recognized Presidential Teaching and Research Professors Lynnda Dahlquist (Psychology) and Carlos DiClemente (Psychology), respectively, whose work reflects the faculty’s commitment to students in the classroom, to research, and to mentoring.  Also, Professor Michael Richards (Music) received the Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity, and Professor Bruce Walz (Emergency Health Services) received the Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service

Many other faculty also received recognition.  For example, Tim Nohe (Visual Arts) received a Fulbright award to develop artists’ exchanges focused on issues of sustainability in diverse urban and rural communities, to be exhibited at university and gallery venues in Australia and the United States; Tulay Adali (Computer Science & Electrical Engineering) received the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Signal Processing Society Best Paper Award; Maurice Berger (Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture) curated the award-winning exhibition, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and in museums in New York, Chicago, Reno, and other locales; Andrew Sears (Information Technology, until recently becoming Dean at the Rochester Institute of Technology) was selected as an Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Scientist; Jim Grubb (History) was this past year’s Lipitz Professor of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Michelle Starz-Gaiano (Biological Sciences) received an NSF Career Award; George LaNoue (Public Policy) was appointed by the U.S Commission for Civil Rights to be a member of the Maryland Advisory Committee for Civil Rights; Jim Franson (Physics) was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society; Hillol Kargupta (Computer Science & Electrical Engineering) was elected a Fellow of the IEEE; and Jessica Berman (English) was elected to the Advisory Board of the American Comparative Literature Association.

Several staff members also were recognized for their work this year.  Our Presidential Distinguished Staff Award winners this year include Connie Pierson (Professional Staff), in the Office of Institutional Research, and Michelle Howell (Non-Exempt Staff), in the Erickson School.  Myrle Combs (Student Affairs) and Jim Lord (Institutional Advancement) both received the Regents’ Staff Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Institution.  Joyce Reilly (Health Administration & Policy) received this year’s Jakubik Family Endowment Staff Award, and Janet McGlynn (Office of Undergraduate Education) and Delana Gregg (Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program) both received the President’s Commission for Women Achievement Award.  Jack Suess (Information Technology), was appointed to the Internet2 Board of Directors and also chairs the InCommon Federation, a national consortium of higher education IT leaders. And Ellen Hemmerly (Executive Director, bwtech@umbc) just received Innovator of the Year honors from The Daily Record.  It’s also significant that dozens of UMBC staff members, both Professional and Non-Exempt, completed university degrees; earned professional, trade, or industry certifications; were elected officials in their professional, trade, or industry associations; and presented at professional conferences. 

Research & Sponsored Programs

During this uncertain economic period, a major campus priority is maintaining a strong, diversified portfolio of research and sponsored programs.  In FY 2011, contract-and-grant awards totaled $82 million (including $61 million in Federal awards), compared to $95 million the year before.  NASA, NIH, and NSF continue to be our three heaviest supporters. The one-year decline is attributable largely to the conclusion of our 10-year cooperative agreement with NASA for the Goddard Earth Sciences & Technology Center (GEST).  On a positive note, we received several other major NASA awards, including the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology’s (JCET) 4-year renewal grant totaling $18.6 million, the Center for Space Science Technology’s (CSST) 5-year, $19-million award, and our cooperative agreement (partnering with College Park) with Goddard Space Flight Center for the Goddard Planetary Heliophysics Institute, for which UMBC serves as the PI on the award totaling nearly $10 million over five years. 

Other awards remained substantial and reflect the strong relationships we’ve been building with external partners over time, from NSF and NIH to the U.S. Department of Education and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).  These partnerships not only produce funding and major research-and-training opportunities for faculty and students, but also contribute to our rising national reputation.  CUERE, for example, has played a prominent role in our emergence as a leader in environmental sciences.  In fact, Science Watch, which monitors worldwide trends and performance in basic research, ranks our faculty third in the number of geosciences publications and citations. 
The Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR), in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, was instrumental this year in our increase in non-Federal awards.    The Institute’s support grew nearly three-fold, from $5.3 million in FY 2010 to $15.7 million in FY 2011. 

Over the past year, we also have worked to solidify the transition of the new Department of Marine Biotechnology and the Institute of Fluorescence within the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences.  You’ll recall our beginning this transition a year ago as the result of the reorganization of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, and the transfer at that time of the budgetary support for associated faculty, staff, and operating costs to the UMBC campus. (The Department and the Institute remain based at the Columbus Center in downtown Baltimore.)  Not only has this important development strengthened our research enterprise and increased our research capacity, but it also is creating research opportunities for students. 

Other significant funding and partnering success stories include a variety of initiatives ranging from graduate education in areas of national need and K-16 math-science education, to arts exhibitions, history education, and language instruction.  These initiatives involve a number of our academic departments, the Imaging Research Center, Center for History Education, Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture, English Learning Center, Hilltop Institute, and the Choice Program and other Shriver Center activities. 

For our work involving diversity, we’ve received national visibility and grant support, particularly for successful initiatives focused on women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering – from ADVANCE (which attracted NSF support for recruiting and advancing women faculty),WISE (our Women in Science & Engineering program), and CWIT (our Center for Women & Information Technology), to the McNair and Meyerhoff undergraduate and graduate Scholars Programs for preparing minority researchers, and our PROMISE and AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education & the Professoriate) programs to increase the numbers of minority graduate students in STEM fields.  Significantly, we are one of the nation’s few campuses where women hold the majority of tenure-track positions in chemical and biochemical engineering.  More generally, since 2000, when WISE was launched, and following on   completion this past year of NSF funding for ADVANCE, the number of women faculty in STEM departments has more than doubled (from 20 to more than 40) with at least a doubling in all ranks.  Through the Provost’s Office, we are working to build on our success in these areas through the ADVANCE Executive Committee, which provides counsel and guidance on programmatic initiatives designed to support women in STEM areas, and an executive advisory committee that is addressing issues related to hiring, retention, and advancement of underrepresented minority faculty.

Student Achievements

Many of our 2011 graduates are beginning graduate and professional programs at top schools across the nation, including, for example, the University of Pennsylvania in history and public administration, Johns Hopkins in medicine and biochemistry, Brown and Rice in mathematics, Columbia in chemistry, Stanford in mechanical engineering, Georgetown in law, the University of Michigan in chemical engineering, Washington University in immunology, NYU in theatre, and the University of Arizona in planetary sciences.  Other graduates are launching careers focusing on the environment, education, healthcare, business, and national defense and security, working with a number of major corporations (e.g., Northrop Grumman, GE, Morgan Stanley, SAIC, Constellation Energy, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, Amazon, PNC Technology, Accenture,), agencies (e.g., National Security Agency, NASA, NIH, U.S. Geological Survey, Social Security Administration, U.S. Army), and public school systems throughout Maryland.  Many of these students benefited from internship, co-op, and service-learning opportunities arranged through the Shriver Center, and placement support provided by the Career Services Center.  In fact, the Shriver Center placed more than 2,400 students this past year (nearly three-quarters of whom were paid), and Career Services worked with hundreds of graduates who report in surveys finding employment related to their career goals shaped by their UMBC education, including “being intellectually challenged” and “serving the greater good.”

Many students also have benefited from wide-ranging opportunities to participate in directed research and creative activities.  Particularly impressive were this year’s publications of the UMBC Review: Journal of Undergraduate Research, and Bartleby, our creative arts journal, as well as our 15th annual Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievement Day featuring hundreds of presentations by students with majors in more than 30 disciplines.  It’s not surprising that in a Chronicle article this past year, “Worth the Price of Admission,” New York Times writer Claudia Dreifus and Professor Andrew Hacker, who’ve written extensively on higher education, offer the following endorsement UMBC:  “Of all the research universities we’ve visited, it is the place that has most capably connected research with undergraduate education.”  

A number of graduating seniors and current undergraduates also have successfully competed for prestigious fellowships and scholarships.  Examples include Fulbright fellowships to study in France, Spain, Columbia, and  Botswana, a Goldwater Scholarship in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship in philosophy and bioethics.  As well, two students were invited to attend the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany.  Invitations, which are highly competitive, are extended to the world’s most promising Young Researchers based on their ability, according to the judges, “to contribute to and share the scientific excellence of the Nobel Laureate Meetings.”  This also was another outstanding year for UMBC students participating in intellectual, creative, and athletic competitions.  Our Baja team of mechanical engineering students had another stellar year, finishing in the top three in two international competitions in the U.S. in which college teams designed, built, and ran vehicles in off-road endurance races sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.  The Ethics Bowl Team placed third in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition, and our Chess Team was again among the nation’s elite, finishing second at the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships – the “World Series” of college chess.  The Theatre Department’s student production of Las Meninas was one of only a few university productions invited to perform at this year’s American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington. 

In intercollegiate athletic competition, our Men’s Soccer Team captured its first-ever America East Conference title, automatically advancing to the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s tournament, defeating Princeton and advancing to the second round for the first time in school history.  The Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Teams captured the 2011 America East Conference Championships – the men winning their eighth consecutive conference title and the women winning their third conference crown.  Both teams also achieved Scholar All American Honors from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America based on their academic performance.  The Women’s Basketball Team also distinguished itself both on the court and in the classroom, finishing first and winning the regular-season America East title, while also earning a spot on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for the second year in a row.  The women’s team’s 3.4 GPA ranked 20th among all NCAA Division-I schools in the nation this year.  Three members of the Women’s Tennis Team also distinguished themselves academically and were named Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athletes this year. 

This year, our athletic program received certification from the NCAA following a rigorous self-study.  I want to thank the members of the campus’s Certification Steering Committee, including especially Vice President Jack Suess, who chaired the group which prepared us well for the NCAA’s review.  I also want to recognize Student Affairs Vice President Nancy Young, who recently assumed added responsibility of overseeing our athletic program.  In her new role, Nancy is working closely with Dr. Charles Brown, now in his 22nd year at UMBC.  Please join me in congratulating Charlie on his recent appointment as Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics.  We all know that Charlie bleeds Black and Gold!  

Fundraising & “Friend-raising”

In the light of all these positive developments, and notwithstanding the continuing challenging economic times, we have had another strong year in both fundraising and “friend-raising.”  During FY 2011, we raised more than $10.5 million (40% over FY 2010), including major gifts from Pepsi, SAIC, and BAE Systems.  We also completed our Exceptional by Example Campaign on June 30, having raised nearly $118 million, surpassing our ambitious $100-million goal set at the outset of the campaign eight years ago.  Also this year, we were heartened by a 35% increase in alumni giving.  Over the course of the Exceptional by Example Campaign, more than 7,100 alumni made a gift to support their alma mater.
Throughout the campaign, we have been building endowment support across all disciplines, reflecting our priorities including student scholarships, fellowships, and internships; faculty development and research; and endowed chairs and professorships.  Though the market continues to experience some instability, the endowment has begun to recover and now totals nearly $58 million, up more than $8 million over this time a year ago.  Equally important, donors are fulfilling their pledges to the endowment, helping us move toward our long-range goal of an endowment exceeding $100 million.   

While we continue working with partners on new gifts to the endowment, we also are working to engage alumni more fully in the life of the campus and to develop a strong foundation of alumni giving. Alumni returned to campus to participate in a wide range of programs, including sharing advice with current students during our annual Career Week this past spring.  Alumni traditions have begun to take root, including an annual wine tasting hosted by our Young Alumni Chapter, which raised funds for the Alumni Association scholarship program.  Alumni also have begun to reach out in peer-to-peer fundraising through their involvement in affinity groups, for example the Black & Latino Alumni Chapter, which has raised money to support the Esperanza and Second General Scholarships.  The UMBC Magazine is reconnecting alumni to campus and inspiring them to become involved and contribute financially.  The magazine continues to generate positive comments among alumni and friends of the campus, and it has attracted national recognition, including a half-dozen national awards for the production staff over the first seven issues.  And we are hopeful that this fall’s Homecoming celebration, filled with events from October 12-15, will attract more alumni and families than ever, along with many current students, faculty, and staff.  The Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards will be presented during Homecoming on October 13, and alumni to be honored include Ralph Semmel, ’91 Ph.D. (Computer Science), Director of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and award-winning Baltimore Sun reporter Jamie Smith, ’98 (English). 

In addition, we have been aggressively “friend-raising,” attracting a steady stream of visitors eager to learn more about us.  This year, again, we’ve hosted visits by leaders of national agencies, corporations, foundations, other universities, school systems, and potential individual donors.  And our faculty, staff, and students continue to travel extensively, speaking about their own interests and experiences, and also about the UMBC experience.  Increasingly, people are learning about us, and I want to thank Greg Simmons, Lisa Akchin, and everyone in Institutional Advancement for their outstanding fundraising and “friend-raising” efforts on our behalf.

Information Technology Update

The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) continued to provide strong support this year for wide-ranging administrative and academic activities.  It focused special attention on implementing the recommendations for transforming IT services issued 15 months ago by the IT Restructuring Committee, chaired by Professor Scott Farrow (Economics) and Graduate Dean Janet Rutledge.  DoIT made substantial progress implementing almost all of the recommendations, including especially increased collaboration with the Library.  As previously noted, the Retriever Learning Center, designed to be a “24/7” hub of collaborative learning, will open in the Library in a few days.  DoIT and the Library have been collaborating on integrating services for the new Center, and DoIT has moved its in-person support services from the Engineering Building to the Library; the services will be located in the new Technology Support Center.

DoIT also continued partnering with the Faculty Development Center on pedagogical workshops on the use of technology to support active learning in the classroom. DoIT played an instrumental role in new initiatives supporting clickers in the classroom, promoting active learning, updating the Blackboard course management system, and launching a new one-credit lab course (taught  by DoIT staff) on using Digital Storytelling to teach multi-media and visual communication skills.

Operational continuity also has been a special focus this year.  We established the Business & Academic Continuity Working Group, co-chaired by Mike Carlin (DoIT) and Ben Lowenthal (Financial Services).  With representatives from all divisions and colleges, the group has been reviewing and developing continuity plans, an effort which was helpful to DoIT in keeping critical business and academic services operational during the recent power outage.  This coming year, the group will focus on reviewing and updating plans across the campus.

DoIT also continues working closely with administrative units on business process improvements.  It deployed the iStrategy Finance data warehousing and reporting system (TREX) this year, which will begin addressing the major goal of improving reporting and access to financial information.  DoIT also worked with Enrollment Management and the Student Administration (SA) Faculty Advisory Committee on a number of enhancements, particularly course scheduling.  DoIT also substantially updated the myUMBC system, a key communication tool for the campus, and partnered with Institutional Advancement to migrate all alumni services to myUMBC accounts, and redesigned Retriever Net, our online alumni community, to integrate it with myUMBC

Finally, UMBC responded this past year to an invitation from EDUCAUSE to be part of an exciting new initiative co-sponsored by the Gates Foundation and designed to strengthen college readiness and college completion in the U.S. through the use of information technology and digital media.  Next Gen Learning Challenges seeks to give greater visibility and momentum to America’s efforts to increase educational attainment, and the opportunity that UMBC has to participate in this venture is recognition of our strengths and capacity for innovation in information technology.


 As I’ve frequently pointed out over the years, external attention and investment require a consistently high degree of accountability to ensure that our image is substantive.  With continuing growth in contracts and grants, for example, compliance and internal controls are more important than ever.  Federal and State funding agencies, as well as the University System, are routinely conducting more audits and follow-up audits on campus matters involving research grant compliance, financial systems, information technology, the handling of hazardous materials, and our emergency preparedness plans.  For example, in responding to the campus power outage in June, we benefited from emergency procedures in place – as well as the expertise and dedication of many campus leaders and staff – and we also learned a great deal from the experience and continue to evaluate our performance. 

It is gratifying that audit reports this year have been quite positive in almost all respects, and we welcome constructive comments that help us to strengthen our performance.  The State Legislative Auditors are currently conducting a regularly scheduled, major audit of the campus, which is expected to run through December.  The regular scrutiny of audits reminds us of our responsibility to stay focused on quality, responsiveness, integrity, and accountability.  We also were pleased to learn that the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care has awarded UMBC’s University Health Services a three-year term of accreditation, the highest award achievable.  And the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers has recognized the University Counseling Services’ pre-doctoral internship in psychology for meeting the rigorous standards for training programs.

As I’ve already discussed, we continue focusing on the three major USM priorities identified by the Regents and Chancellor Kirwan: (1) closing the achievement gap, which, for UMBC, means reaching parity between the six-year graduation rates of African American and white transfer students (since no gap exists among the graduation rates of different groups of first-time freshmen); (2) addressing climate change, on which our Climate Change Task Force is taking the lead; and (3) supporting Maryland’s STEM-related competitiveness, which we are doing in numerous ways, from producing STEM graduates (we continue to lead the State’s universities in the percentage of STEM graduates) and many more professional science master’s degree recipients, to supporting faculty research and technology development and building STEM-education partnerships with surrounding school systems.

Finally, we should all be very encouraged by the response of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to our recently submitted Periodic Review Report.  The analysis of that report, conducted by the Provosts of both Georgetown University and the University of Delaware, has just led Middle States to conclude that,

“…remarkable progress…has been taking place at UMBC.   A culture of assessment has clearly been established and the results are being used not only to improve programs but also to establish resource allocation and investment priorities. The faculty, administration, and staff of UMBC are to be commended for their vision and energy.  The progress noted in the 2006 visit has clearly been sustained and enhanced.  The PRR provides a compelling picture of a university emerging as a diverse campus providing a unique undergraduate experience and a rapidly-rising research environment.  Much of this progress has been made during a significant economic downturn.   The university has a strong undergraduate program, a unique student experience, and an emerging research and graduate profile.  This is clearly a well-run university with clear goals and a strong culture of assessment leading to improvement.  While challenges remain, particularly in the library, the university has a plan to handle them and the review which coincides with the 50th anniversary will provide an opportunity to assess their progress on those fronts.

Concluding Thoughts

Over the years, putting people first has been at the heart of our success – supporting and guiding students as they learn and grow; supporting faculty in their research and teaching; supporting staff in their work with students and colleagues; and responding to the needs of our growing external constituents.

Whether you’ve been here for decades or recently arrived, you make a difference through your contributions.  I’m celebrating my 25th year on campus this fall and my 20th as President – and I want you to know how much I appreciate your support throughout the years.  We have become a distinctive model of innovation in American higher education and can take great pride in knowing that the rest of the nation is beginning to understand what we already know – that we are a very special place. 
As I say every year at this time, it is an honor each day to serve as President.  Thank you.


UMBC - New Faculty (2011-12)

Albin O. Kuhn Library
Jeitner, Eric, Librarian I  (start date 11/2010)
B.A., Temple University, 1999; M.A., 2003; M.L.S., University of Pittsburgh, 2009 
Wilson, Tiffany, Librarian I (start date 1/3/2011)
B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 2001; M.A., Carnegie Mellon University, 2002;
M.L.S., University of Rhode Island, 2005

American Studies
Gonzalves, Theodore, Associate Professor
B.S., Santa Clara University, 1990; M.A., San Francisco State University, 1993; Ph.D., University of California at Irvine, 2001

Ancient Studies
Peterson, Anna, Visiting Lecturer
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 2004; Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2010

Phin, Timothy, Visiting Lecturer
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2004

Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering
Blaney, Lee, Assistant Professor/Lecturer
B.S., Lehigh University, 2005; M.S., 2007; Ph.D., The University of Texas, Austin, pending

Enszer, Joshua, Lecturer
B.S., Michigan Technological University, 2005; M.S., University of Notre Dame, 2008; Ph.D., 2010

Chemistry and Biochemistry
An, Songon, Assistant Professor
B.S., Yonsel University, Seoul, Korea, 1997; M.S., 1999; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2005

White, Ryan, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill, 2003; Ph.D., University of Utah, 2007

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Lupoli, Shawn, Lecturer
B.S., Frostburg State University, 2000; M.S., Towson University, 2004

Mohsenin, Tinoosh (Tina), Assistant Professor
B.S., Sharif University of Technology, Iran, 1999; M.S., Rice University, 2003;
Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2010
Dalsimer, Hallie, Artist-in-Residence
B.A., Wesleyan University, 2005

Irish, Teresa, STEM Visiting Lecturer
B.S., Southern Illinois University, 1982; M.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1977; Ph.D., pending

Sanders, Mavis, Professor
B.A., Barnard College/Columbia University; M.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., Stanford University

Tabaa, Mary Jeanette, TESOL Visiting Lecturer
B.S., Towson State University, 1996; M.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2000

DiCuirci, Lindsay, Assistant Professor
B.A., Cedarville University, 2004; M.A., The Ohio State University, 2006; Ph.D., 2010

Erickson School
Ash, Jeffrey, Clinical Assistant Professor
B.S., Towson University, 1996; M.S., University of Maryland, University College, 2001; Ph.D., Morgan State University, 2008

Madjaroff, Galina, Lecturer
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2008; M.A., 2010

Gender and Women’s Studies
Bhatt, Amy, Assistant Professor
B.A., Emory University, 2002; Ph.D., University of Washington, 2011

Drabinski, Kathryn, Lecturer
B.A., Barnard College, Columbia University, 1997; M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 2000; Ph.D., 2006

Geography and Environmental Systems
Holland, Margaret,  Assistant Professor
B.A., Middlebury College, 1999; M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004; Ph.D., 2009

Information Systems
Kane, Shaun, Assistant Professor/Lecturer
B.S., University of Massachusetts, 2003; M.S., 2005; Ph.D., University of Washington, pending

Zhou, Bin, Assistant Professor/Lecturer
B.Sc., Fudan University, china, 2005; M.Sc., Simon Fraser University, Canada, 2007; Ph.D., pending

Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program
Saper, Craig, Associate Professor
B.A., University of Florida; M.A., University of Florida; Ph.D., 1990
Mathematics & Statistics
Adragni, Kofi, Assistant Professor
B.S., Universite de Lome, Lome Togo, 1996; M.S., University of Minnesota, 2006; Ph.D., 2009

Malinovsky, Yaakov, Assistant Professor
B.A., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1999; M.A., 2002; Ph.D., 2009

Nanes, Kalman, Lecturer
B.S., University of Michigan, 2003; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2009

Media and Communication Studies Program
Yang, Fan, Assistant Professor/Lecturer
B.A., Fudan University,2000; M.A., The Ohio State University, 2003; M.B.A., Strayer University, 2005; Ph.D., George Mason University, pending

Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication
Morales, Daniel, Visiting Lecturer
B.A., Universidad de Santiago de Chile, 2007; M.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2011

Revill, David, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of York, 1987; Ph.D., Salford University, pending

Zhang, Zhibo, Assistant Professor
B.S., Nanjing University, China, 2001; M.S. Texas A&M University, 2004; Ph.D., 2008

Political Science
Vetter, Lisa, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991; M.A., Fordham University, 1994; Ph.D., 2000

Else-Quest, Nicole, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999; M.S., 2002; Ph.D., 2006

Watkins-Lewis, Karen, Lecturer
B.S., Howard University, 1986; M.S., 1998; Ph.D., 2007
Public Policy
Zeemering, Eric, Assistant Professor
B.A., Aquinas College, 2001; Ph.D., Indiana University, 2007

Social Work
Mellinger, Marcela, Assistant Professor
B.A., Millersville University, 1998; M.S.W., Temple University, 1999; Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2011

Sociology and Anthropology
Harris-Wallace, Brandy, Assistant Professor
B.S., University of Alabama, 1998; M.A., 2001; M.S., The Florida State University, 2003; Ph.D., 2006

Mair, Christine, Assistant Professor
B.A., University of Florida, 2005; M.S., North Carolina State University, 2007; Ph.D., 2011

Hartman, Nyalls, Associate Professor
B.S., State University of New York; M.F.A., Illinois State University

Visual Arts
Silberg, Steven, Lecturer
B.F.A., University of Delaware, 1997; M.F.A., Maryland Institute College of Art, 2004