Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
February 2010

Introduction | Our Vision | The State of the University | Students | Faculty
Research | Professional Education and Service | Technology Development | Sustainability | Private Giving
Summary of FY 2011 Budget Request | Response to Legislative Analyst's Comments | Issues

Staying Focused in Challenging Times

More than ever, my students, colleagues, and I are grateful to the General Assembly and Governor for your continued support of public higher education in general, and of UMBC in particular, as we stay focused on building capacity and quality.  With your help, we have focused on student success and faculty and staff productivity.  The University System of Maryland’s (USM) emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency has resulted in our maximizing the use of State funds and relying on a variety of accountability measures.  We recognize that higher education in Maryland has been far better supported than higher education systems in many other states.  We are encouraged by proposed legislation to continue the State Higher Education Investment Fund and by the long-term higher education funding targets recommended by the Commission to Develop the Maryland Model for Funding Higher Education.

We are especially encouraged that the Governor’s capital budget proposal includes $37.4 million for the first year of construction of our Performing Arts and Humanities Facility (PAHF), which we are ready to begin this summer.  This first phase includes classrooms, class and open laboratories, multi-media study and collaboration spaces, a 275-seat main theater, a 100-seat black box theater, and support spaces.  The new PAHF is central to the education of every UMBC undergraduate student.  Each student, regardless of major, takes a minimum of four courses taught by one of our Arts and Humanities departments.  Approximately 40 percent of UMBC’s students major in the liberal arts, so a large portion of our students will spend the majority of their undergraduate years in this new facility.

We appreciate the fact that the State is continuing to do all it can to support our campuses and our students, and we understand the need to participate in the necessary sacrifices – from furloughs to budget cuts.  We have worked very hard to protect academic programs from a substantial portion of the $11 million in reductions to our budget in FY 2010.  To meet our reductions, we have had for some time a general hiring freeze with few exceptions.  The freeze has included not filling positions as vacancies occur, combining staff positions, and implementing a very small number of selected layoffs among the professional staff.  Some services, such as student advising and IT support, are being reduced and new programmatic initiatives, such as writing-intensive courses, are being postponed.

As we continue working to minimize the effect of the budget reductions on students, we must also acknowledge that our campus is stretched.  Growing enrollments (resulting largely from increased retention) coupled with further fund-balance and budget reductions will mean that our capacity to accept as many first-time freshmen and transfer applicants as we would like next year will be taxed.  Additional budget cuts would also significantly reduce the number of courses available, especially in relatively costly STEM majors, leading to fewer STEM graduates per year in each of the next four years.  Also, the shortage of additional science and engineering research facilities limits our capacity to compete for federal research grants. We have also deferred facilities maintenance and repair projects, adding to a backlog of work that totals more than $30 million.

  To help families in their support of students during this difficult period, we have been active in identifying student jobs on campus (slightly more than 2,000 students work on campus, not including graduate assistants) and connecting students with part-time employment in the region related to their majors. We also have increased our institutional need-based financial aid pool by five percent this year, are offering families payment plans, and have extended the period of time for payment. Finally, we have engaged in entrepreneurial activities, including revenue-generating training courses, additional grant writing to national agencies and private foundations, and fundraising from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Because of our fiscal challenges, we have had to be even more focused on our core priorities, including protecting the academic program and supporting students, faculty, and staff.  Our Student Government Association Senate recently approved a Resolution of Appreciation to the UMBC Faculty and Staff recognizing that “while UMBC continues to face substantive financial challenges…UMBC has maintained an unprecedented quality education for all its students.” Most important, even during these difficult times, we have achieved a great deal.  I am delighted to report to you on UMBC’s progress and respond to questions you may have regarding our FY 2010 and FY 2011 budgets.

Academic Excellence, Economic Development, and Social Vitality

UMBC is a public research university, emphasizing graduate programs in the sciences, engineering, public policy, and human services, and building on a strong undergraduate liberal arts and sciences core.  We stand out among the nation’s research universities because of our emphasis on undergraduate education, reflecting our tradition of linking research and teaching, coupled with our bold vision and entrepreneurial spirit.  It is an amazing story that we have come so far so fast, in just 44 years. Your investment in us has generated a high return for the State, and we are determined to continue attracting and educating growing numbers of students who will enter Maryland’s workforce and reflect the diversity of our State.

My colleagues and students were very proud to be recognized as the country’s #1 “Up-and-Coming” national university this past fall by U.S. News and World Report, which also ranked us fourth nationally for the faculty’s “unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching,” tied with Stanford and just behind Dartmouth, Princeton, and Yale.  The Princeton Review recently identified us as one of the nation’s “Best Value” universities and ranked us second on its “Most Diverse Student Population” list.  UMBC was also included in Kiplinger’s “Top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges 2009-2010,” based on academic quality and affordable education. We also are recognized increasingly as a major resource for both building the State’s economy and addressing its social concerns.  We foster economic development primarily through (1) research and training contracts and grants; (2) technology development, including the activities of bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park; (3) partnerships involving continuing education and business outreach; and (4) workforce development. 

We now enroll approximately 12,870 students (including 9,950 undergraduates and 2,920 graduate students) and employ approximately 1,850 full-time and 360 part-time faculty and staff.    Our operating budget is $342 million, including $88 million annually in external funding for research and training.  More than 50,000 alumni, nearly three-quarters of whom live and work in Maryland, contribute to the State’s and nation’s economic and social vitality.  We offer bachelor’s and selected master’s and Ph.D. programs in the physical and life sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, mathematics, information technology, education, and the humanities and visual and performing arts. 

Brainpower and talent are constantly fueling discoveries and innovation on campus, and increasingly we are building on these strengths in collaboration with others.  Our core facilities in mass spectrometry, imaging, and high-performance computing support both faculty research and companies. We are creating multi-level partnerships that connect faculty and students with companies, agencies, foundations, and school systems – and these partnerships enable us to leverage State funds.  For example, we have been able to develop major new research centers and other partnerships with support from NASA (we continue to rank second nationally in NASA-funded federal assistance, which includes university research grants and cooperative agreements, Figure 2) and from IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency (NSA), and other organizations.  Other partnerships with Federal and State agencies have allowed us to leverage State funds and contribute to the policy arena in gerontology (through the Erickson School for Aging, Management, and Policy), the environment (through our Center for Urban Environmental Research & Education – CUERE), health care (through our Hilltop Institute), and teacher education (through the Center for History Education and the Center for Excellence in STEM Education).

Funding from NASA
FY2008 2Q

Federal R&D Expenditures

UMBC faculty also are leaders in cyber security research and education.  The campus is certified by the NSA as a Center of Academic Excellence and a Center of Academic Excellence in Research.  Faculty researchers are leading a six-university team on a $7.5-million, five-year Assured Information Sharing Lifecycle grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The UMBC group, collaborating with colleagues from Purdue and the Universities of Illinois, Michigan, and Texas, is working to translate recommendations by the 9-11 Commission for more effectively sharing classified information into an effective, secure technology network. 

A particularly exciting recent partnership with IBM has established UMBC as a center of excellence in cell computing (the Multicore Computing Center).  This initiative is only the second such center in the nation (the first was at Georgia Tech) and positions the campus as a research and education leader for the next generation of high-performance computing and enhances our ability to attract top science and technology talent.  The center also increases our capacity to support high-performance computing needs of companies and State and Federal agencies, including those coming to Maryland through the BRAC process. The hardware installed most recently uses new IBM “green computing” technology that reduces both power consumption and the carbon footprint. 

Other exciting partnerships reflect our growing strength and national reputation in earth and environmental science. A $3-million grant this past year from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides real-time, wireless, online monitoring of Baltimore’s Gwynns Falls watershed. The grant expands upon research and fieldwork by CUERE in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Princeton University. In addition, with support from NSF and NOAA, CUERE has created a Computational & Visualization Lab, a high-tech facility to track environmental changes related to flash floods, follow the movement of road salt through the water system, and monitor the path of nutrients through the urban water cycle to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Working in collaboration (and with support from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center), UMBC, the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) operate the Center for Research & Exploration in Space Science and Technology (CRESST), which brings together NASA Goddard researchers and scientists from the Maryland campuses. CRESST research is focusing on the study of neutron stars, black holes, and extremely hot gas throughout the universe. CRESST also is working to increase involvement of minority and women scientists in space science research and to facilitate university student participation in such research.

We also are excited about having raised nearly $7 million to complement an earlier $2-million investment by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, enabling us to infuse innovation and leadership throughout our curriculum.  The Kauffman Foundation is working to cultivate entrepreneurship in settings outside of business schools, and UMBC was one of only nine campuses originally selected.  Hundreds of students participate in our Alex. Brown Center courses and programs each year.

ACTiVATE, another entrepreneurship initiative, is our applied training program for women seeking to become technology entrepreneurs.  Since its creation in 2005, it has been instrumental in increasing the number of women entrepreneurs commercializing groundbreaking research developed in labs throughout Maryland and starting new businesses. ACTiVATE has trained nearly 100 women from diverse backgrounds and launched more than 30 companies built on technology developed on Maryland campuses and in Federal labs.  In August, we received a grant from the National Science Foundation through its Partnerships for Innovation program to duplicate the ACTiVATE program in Montgomery County. The INNOVATE program, developed in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, will be geared to post-doctoral research fellows (both male and female) at NIH and other Federal labs. Following ACTiVATE's economic development model, the INNOVATE program will give scientists the training and support needed to transform their research into viable businesses that will contribute to the growth of Maryland's life sciences industry.

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Facing Challenges From a Position of Strength

We continue our rapid development as a major research university.  In fact, NSF ranks UMBC 138th out of 659 campuses nationally in Federally funded research in science and engineering, up from 200th in 1996 (Figure 7).  (There are approximately 3,000 four-year institutions in America.)  This leap is especially significant because most other nationally ranked institutions are substantially larger and older (and often include medical centers).   Also, since 2000, the number of full-time-equivalent students increased from nearly 8,100 to 10,249 (+27%); sponsored contracts and grants grew by more than a third, from $64 million to almost $89 million (Figure 6); total degrees conferred per year increased from approximately 1,800 to 2,459 (+37%); and the number of students living on campus increased 62% – from 2,350 to 3,800 – representing nearly half of our full-time undergraduate population and three-quarters of our freshmen. 

Federal R&D Expenditures

Federal R&D Expenditures

Research Grants and Contract
FY1998 – FY2009

Federal R&D Expenditures

We also have developed special honors programs in the humanities, arts, and public policy to reflect our strengths in these areas.  In fact, we are among a relatively small number of colleges and universities with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, reflecting our strength in the liberal arts.  We also are one of only two public campuses in Maryland with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and have twice received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.  Further, we are among a small number of universities to have received both a multi-million-dollar NSF ADVANCE grant, in recognition of our strengths in preparing women in science and engineering, and a major grant through NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program to prepare more minority Ph.D.s in science.  We have become a national model for preparing students of all backgrounds in science and engineering, including minorities and women, at a time when both the nation is focusing intensely on strengthening its position in the global economy and America’s demographic profile is shifting dramatically.

While these kinds of changes have contributed to UMBC’s continuing transformation, they also have generated new demands on our operations.  One way the campus has responded is by emphasizing efficiency and effectiveness measures through business improvements, outsourcing, energy management, external partnerships, and new revenue generation. Relying on these measures, over the past five years, we have reduced or avoided costs of more than $25 million.

Our current strengths reflect the efforts and commitment of State leaders, our faculty, staff, and students, and years of careful thinking, ambitious planning, and hard decisions, and strong support from the University System, Board of Regents, and our Board of Visitors.  We have managed for results, and the State’s investment and confidence in us have yielded solid returns. 

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Quality, Achievements, Contributions

Our student body is among the most diverse nationally (41% minority, including 21% Asian, 16% African American, and 4% Hispanic and Native American).  The full-time freshman class of 1,524 students includes hundreds of valedictorians and 4.0 GPA students, reflecting our attractiveness to high-achieving students and the success of our special scholars programs—the Humanities, Linehan Artist, Sondheim Public Affairs, Meyerhoff, and Center for Women & Information Technology Scholars programs – and our prestigious Honors College.

The graduate population of approximately 2,920 students includes increased numbers of domestic students (84% of our graduate enrollment), women (55%), and minorities (21%).  Our doctoral enrollments remain strong, and we continue to attract large numbers of working professionals to master’s programs responsive to the growing needs of businesses, school systems, and other employers.

Our fall 2009 total headcount enrollment of 12,870 represents an increase of slightly more than 600 students above our headcount total a year ago and has contributed to an annual FTE enrollment of 10,249 in FY 2010, 499 above our total FTE enrollment in FY 2009 (9,750).  Among our challenges in continuing to build enrollment are UMBC’s relatively small program base (Figure 5), fluctuations in the information technology market, and higher out-of-state tuition costs.  The campus’s aggressive response to these challenges has resulted in our exceeding projected enrollments the past two years, and dramatic increases in applications. In fact, we have received 1,000 more applications for new freshman admission than we had a year ago.

Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. Programs
UMBC and Peers

Federal R&D Expenditures

Higher retention rates, of course, contribute to strong enrollments, and we are excited that our retention rates are rising.  In fact, our overall freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rate (2008 to 2009) for full-time freshmen was 85.2%, compared to 81.7% in fall 2004 (Figure 4).  It is particularly noteworthy that the latest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate among African American students – 87.1% – is even higher than our overall rate.  In addition, our overall fall-to-spring semester freshman retention rate increased from 91.9% (fall 2005 to spring 2006) to 93.7%  (fall 2008 to spring 2009).  A recent analysis of student success using National Student Clearinghouse data indicates that nearly 75% of new, full-time freshmen who entered UMBC in fall 2002 had graduated from UMBC or another four-year institution six years later.     

Percent of First-time, Full-time Freshmen
Retained After One Year
2000 – 2008

Federal R&D Expenditures

Rising retention rates are the result of a multi-year, campuswide effort to focus on student success and retention.  Through such initiatives as small First-Year Seminars, Living Learning Communities, and redesign of large lecture classes, students are increasingly engaged in group and hands-on learning experiences early in their academic careers.  This year, we are restructuring introductory math courses for math, physics, and engineering majors to reduce class sizes from 270 to 90.

Strong transfer student enrollment also has contributed to healthy enrollments.  Our primary feeder schools continue to be Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Howard Community Colleges and the Community College of Baltimore County.  To recognize the academic achievements of our transfer students, we have established Maryland’s first chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society and added merit scholarships for transfer students.  At the same time, the campus is focusing intensely on data analysis and developing strategies for increasing retention among transfer students who are less well prepared, particularly African American males.

We also are experiencing considerable growth at Shady Grove, where we offer undergraduate programs in social work, psychology, political science, and history, and graduate degrees in industrial and organizational psychology and geographic information systems.

In doctoral education, we are one of 22 universities (e.g., Cornell, Duke, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill, Yale) participating in the Council of Graduate Schools’ Ph.D. Completion Project. UMBC is among the top three research universities in the U.S. in the production of IT degrees at the undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. levels and is consistently among the top producers of public policy Ph.D.s.

Student Scholarship, Achievement, and Intellectual Competition
Providing undergraduates with wide-ranging opportunities for research, creative achievement, and intellectual and athletic competition both on and off campus is a vital part of our culture.  As a result, the student body routinely includes Gates Cambridge, Goldwater, and Jack Kent Cooke Scholars; Merck, NSF Graduate Research, GEM, Department of Energy Computational Science, and Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies Fellows; and Fulbright winners.  Particularly noteworthy this year is one of our recent graduates, a brilliant young African American scientist, just accepted into the Johns Hopkins M.D./Ph.D. program, who has been invited to participate as a “Young Researcher” in the highly prestigious 60th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Germany this coming summer.  (He was nominated by Dr. Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.) 

Other students have received prestigious awards from the American Mathematics Society and the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of York (England), and we are among the most frequently invited participants in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.  This past year, the Biodiesel Club won the top prize in the MTV “Dream It, Do It Challenge,” an international competition for the best environmental sustainability ideas.  In intercollegiate athletics, the men’s lacrosse team has won three America East titles in four years and competed in the NCAA tournament four years in a row.  After earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, the men’s basketball team reached the America East Conference championship game again in 2009, while the men’s swimming and diving team won its sixth consecutive America East crown.  The NCAA’s most recent Academic Progress Report ranked our women’s swimming team and men’s basketball and cross country teams in the top 10 percent of colleges and universities nationally.  Overall, our student-athletes perform extremely well academically.  In fact, in fall 2009, 51% had grade point averages 3.0 or higher, including 21 with 4.0s and 76 with 3.5 or higher.  And this past December, our much heralded Chess Team once again took first place in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Chess Championship and is advancing to the “Final Four” college chess tournament in April.

Many of our students are selected regularly for a variety of prestigious internships and study abroad experiences.  For example, several of our graduates are studying at Cambridge this year, and four undergraduates were selected this past year as U.S. State Department Internship Fellows.

Responsive Program Initiatives
Although UMBC has a narrow program base in comparison to its institutional peers (Figure 5), we have introduced a small number of programs in recent years that are responsive to student and market demands. 

Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. Programs
UMBC and Peers

Federal R&D Expenditures

As communication technology becomes increasingly digital, interactive, and pervasive, our bachelor’s program in Media and Communication Studies, introduced this past year, represents an exciting, interdisciplinary response to the need for citizens, generally, and the workforce, in particular, to be able to communicate across a range of media and cultural contexts. The program emphasizes critical media literacy and intercultural communication.  Some current majors have had internships at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the Discovery Channel, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Comcast Sportsnet.

We also are building our new undergraduate major in Gender and Women's Studies, an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes the importance of historical, cross-cultural, and international perspectives and critically examines issues of gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and ability.  Graduates will pursue careers in business, education, public service, healthcare, social services, law, politics, and communications.

UMBC's Games, Animation, and Interactive Media (GAIM) program builds teams of students with arts and computer science backgrounds to learn real-world, industry-ready skills in video game design. The resulting experience can be applied to careers in Maryland's gaming sector or the computer graphics, aerospace, architecture, and healthcare fields, among others. The Baltimore/Washington region is among the nation’s leaders in the number of computer game companies, and employers are recruiting talented programmers and artists to meet demand.

Other new, fast-growing programs include our master’s and Ph.D. programs in Human Centered Computing and in Geography & Environmental Sciences, which are responding to strong demand.

Well Prepared Graduates
Producing well-prepared graduates for Maryland's workforce is one of our most important and lasting contributions to economic development.  Thousands of physicians, attorneys, teachers, scientists, engineers, IT workers, policy-makers, social workers, artists, and other professionals are among UMBC alumni living and working in the State.  NSA, for example, employs hundreds of our math, computer science, and language graduates.  The campus will continue producing large numbers of graduates in these and other areas responsive to Maryland’s and the nation’s workforce needs, e.g., cyber security, biotechnology, health care, and the environment.   Many of these graduates will be active in business start-ups and work in local entrepreneurial ventures.  Our graduates contribute directly to the quality and supply of the State’s workforce, two of the most critical factors in relocation decisions by companies.

We are encouraged by the impressive number of companies making recruiting visits to campus and the number of seniors receiving very attractive offers from such companies and organizations as General Electric, Lockheed Martin, the Social Security Administration (SSA), and Teach for America.  The proactive, innovative efforts of our Career Services staff to support students in their job searches were highlighted in a recent New York Times article.

We are partnering with the State on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Enrollment/Research Business Plan to address the need for more university-level academic programs at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) and Fort Meade. With support from the BRAC Higher Education Investment Fund, UMBC will offer new, hybrid online graduate coursework in electrical engineering, engineering management, systems engineering, and cyber security as well as noncredit professional and scientific training for relocating professionals. In addition to existing courses and programs in administration and management, business technology administration, engineering, information systems, and project management, we have additional programs in Communications Engineering and Biotechnology, as well as a Contract Administration certificate.

Our Erickson School, highlighted in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, is the first professional school in the nation to integrate the study of business management, public policy, and human aging.  We are grateful for the State’s start-up support a few years ago, which matched a $5-million gift from the School’s founding donor, John Erickson. Increasing numbers of undergraduate and graduate students are finding the Erickson School’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum an attractive alternative to traditional business degrees. Master’s degree recipients range from the CEO of Broadmead retirement community in Baltimore County to the Director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging. Many of the graduates are already making a difference in the lives of older adults and changing the way society thinks about aging. We have just admitted a record 33 students from across the nation in the third cohort of students in our Management in Aging Services master’s program.  Courses in our Aging Services undergraduate program have attracted more than 460 students.  And the School’s Executive Education program now offers a variety of professional development courses to 70 students.

Finally, the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, now in its 21st year, is a national model for preparing high-achieving students from all backgrounds in science and engineering and increasing the numbers of underrepresented minorities pursuing research careers in these fields.  In fact, UMBC is among the nation’s leading universities in graduating African Americans who go on to complete Ph.D.s in science and engineering.  Hundreds of program graduates, many of whom have earned Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., M.D., or M.S. degrees, are serving in faculty and post-doctoral research positions at universities throughout the country – from Harvard to Hopkins and Duke – or working as researchers in companies ranging from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Becton Dickinson to Rohm & Hass.  The Meyerhoff model is now being replicated by such institutions as Cornell, the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University, and Morehouse College.

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 UMBC has 480 State-supported full-time faculty members who teach and conduct research, 258 full-time research faculty funded from contracts and grants, and 279 part-time faculty.  They are dedicated to their students and their work, and our full-time instructional faculty are accountable through a rigorous process of review for promotion and tenure.  Because of our emphasis on hands-on experiences for students, faculty work to connect to students not only through teaching, but also in their research.  These experiences lead to substantive faculty-student interaction in labs, studios, and other settings, and to student internships. 

Awards & Recognition
Another measure of the quality of our faculty is the faculty’s impressive per capita ranking for such major competitive awards as Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, comparing favorably, for example, with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia (Figure 8).  In fact, UMBC has recently had several Fulbright Scholars, an NSF Presidential Early Career Award winner, a U.S. Department of State Jefferson Science Fellow, Mellon Research Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, IEEE Fellow, American Physical Society Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow and Mentoring awardee, an Optical Society of America Fellow, American Institute for Medical &  Biological Engineering Fellows, IBM Faculty Award and IBM Innovation Award winners,  American Council of Learned Societies’ Digital Innovation Fellow, Huntington Library Fellow, and an MSDE Outstanding Change Agent Award recipient.  Our faculty also are consistently among recipients of the prestigious NSF Career Award for young scientists (including half of our faculty in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering).  We also ranked 13th in prestigious arts and humanities awards per capita among public universities in the study, The Rise of the American Research University.

Average Awards Per Year Per 100 Faculty
2005 – 2009

Bachelor's, MAster's and Ph.D. Programs - UMBC and Peers

UMBC is playing a leadership role in helping to increase the numbers of women and minority faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.  For example, the University's NSF-supported ADVANCE program has helped to more than double the number of female tenured and tenure-track STEM faculty at UMBC over the past 10 years.  In addition, the head of our Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (a physicist) and the Dean of the Graduate School (an electrical engineer) are both African Americans.

As State support for higher education has fluctuated over the years, because of changes in the economy, faculty hiring also has fluctuated and has not been commensurate with enrollment increases, new programs, and institutional plans and aspirations.  The size and quality of UMBC’s faculty will largely determine for many years our level of success as a research university.  As the budget permits, we must continue to hire superb faculty to meet enrollment shifts, replace retiring faculty, and replace faculty we lose to other universities and corporations with whom we compete intensely.

It is important not only to build our faculty complement, but also to retain faculty by providing the necessary support structure for research and teaching and competitive salaries.  Faculty drive the campus’s research enterprise, attracting revenue-generating grants and contracts, creating research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and  developing new knowledge and innovations leading to technology transfer.  Retaining faculty is important also because of the costs associated with replacing them.

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We help anticipate and shape the future by producing new knowledge through our faculty’s research – either individually or through partnerships with corporations or public agencies.  The authors of The Top American Research Universities, An Annual Report from The Lombardi Program on Measuring University Performance (2004), state that research institutions change very slowly over time; yet their data on Federal research expenditures show that among research universities in the nation, UMBC’s rise has been extraordinary.  Our research is important, in part, not only because it addresses scientific, technological, and public-policy issues facing society, but also because it gives our undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work with us on these issues – from AIDS and cyber security to Medicaid policies and the K-12 academic achievement gap.  Faculty members also publish cutting-edge articles and books across the academic spectrum.

In fact, in recent years faculty research in the geosciences has been ranked third nationally by Science Watch for citation impact (the number of times peer professors cite UMBC faculty work in their own research papers). According to Science Watch, the only other U.S. universities with more frequently cited research on the environment, water, soil, atmosphere, pollution, and climate change were Harvard and Georgia Tech.  Our Departments of Information Systems and Public Policy have been ranked eighth and tenth, respectively, in their fields by Academic Analytics, LLC, in its Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, which measures the number of books and journal articles written by faculty members, the number of times other scholars have cited these publications, and the grant funds, honors, and awards the faculty members received.  UMBC historians have a long record of excellence in scholarly research and publication. Within the past decade the department (with an average of only 16 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty) has produced more than 50 books. Their publishers include many of the most prestigious university presses (e.g., Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, University of North Carolina, University of Illinois, Johns Hopkins).

Faculty also continue seeking solutions to critical problems involving health and environmental issues.  The Swedish biotech firm Vironova licensed patented technology this past year developed in UMBC’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Laboratory that may lead to new anti-HIV drugs.  And CUERE scientists are studying pervious concrete, a building material designed to decrease the flow of storm water and pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways. 

One reason for the faculty’s rising productivity has been the creation of several research centers.  For example, UMBC is collaborating with Princeton in one of just 15 NSF-supported Engineering Research Centers (ERC) in the nation.  The ERC is developing engineering technologies using light for ultra-sensitive chemical sensing.  The ERC’s work, involving our Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR), whose Director serves as the consortium’s Deputy Director, is creating research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and will likely yield new products to protect public health and the environment.  Other major research initiatives are being conducted by CUERE, our HHMI Laboratory, Goddard Earth Sciences & Technology (GEST) Center, Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), Center for History Education, Center for Art, Design, & Visual Culture, the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis & Research (MIPAR), and the Hilltop Institute, which focuses on health care issues.

This year, faculty also have successfully competed for numerous research grants and contracts through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), including awards from NIH and NSF.  We also attracted Congressionally designated funding totaling $5 million for two projects, one focused on restoring the Chesapeake Bay and another focused on creating a new generation of sensors with applications in imaging, biomedicine, cryptography and space communications. We are challenged in both the short term and long term by limited research space and have submitted proposals to NIH and NSF for ARRA funds to upgrade and expand our life sciences research space.  We are also in discussions with the State about the possibility of a UMBC presence on the Spring Grove campus, should the State decide to move forward with its plans to consolidate the Spring Grove Hospital facilities.

We are also encouraged by growth opportunities presented as a result of the Board of Regents’ restructuring of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.  Several faculty specializing in marine biotechnology housed at the Columbus Center are joining the UMBC faculty, while the Institute of Fluorescence also will be affiliated with UMBC.  These researchers will continue to explore clinical, environmental, biological, and industrial questions of State, national, and international interest, with an emphasis on commercializing new intellectual property and technologies. 

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Consistent with our mission, we also serve as a center of professional development, working with agencies and business and industry in the Baltimore-Washington region.  Some of our major partners include school systems in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, NSA, SSA, and DBED.  Through our Division of Continuing & Professional Studies, we offer individuals and organizations customized credit and non-credit graduate, certificate, and training programs on-campus, on-site, online, and at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville.

We are especially committed to supporting the USM’s initiative to graduate more students qualified to teach courses in STEM disciplines in Maryland schools.  A $5-million gift from George and Betsy Sherman is funding our Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program (which currently enrolls 27 students) to increase the number of STEM graduates who move immediately to public school teaching careers.  We also have attracted substantial Federal support for our efforts.  One such initiative has involved a $10-million, multi-year grant for a Math-Science Partnership (MSP) among UMBC, the Baltimore County Public Schools, and NSF to strengthen student achievement and teacher proficiency in STEM fields in selected high-needs elementary, middle, and high schools. Another grant, for $2.2-million through NSF’s Discovery Research K-12 Program, has bolstered our ability to provide professional development for STEM teachers.   We also serve as the Statewide affiliate for two key MSDE STEM education initiatives aimed at generating excitement among K-12 students in STEM disciplines.  For one initiative – Project Lead the Way – in which 100 Maryland schools have begun teaching middle school and high school engineering courses, UMBC provides a Professional Development Summer Training program for teachers to become proficient with the engineering curriculum.  UMBC also hosts the FIRST (For Inspiration &  Recognition of Science & Technology) Lego League Competition, where more than 160 teams of middle schoolers from across Maryland match wits in hands-on, research-based competition using state-of the art Robotic Lego kits.  We partner with Northrop Grumman Corporation to sponsor the event and support creation of 10 new LEGO teams at middle schools serving low-income families in the greater Baltimore area. Finally, UMBC’s Shriver Center is currently partnering with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and two Baltimore City elementary/middle schools (Cherry Hill and North Bend) to deliver Adventures in College & Career Exploration in STEM.  Through this program, UMBC STEM majors will reach 300 students, parents, and teachers with information about college access and STEM careers. 

Other examples of outreach in support of professional development include the work of our Center for History Education, which has won approximately $7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education in conjunction with public school systems in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard Counties to help strengthen history instruction in elementary, middle, and high schools.  We also have partnerships with Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Charles, Howard, and Queen Anne’s County Public Schools to provide training programs for scores of teachers in mathematics, science, English, and ESOL, and our Center for Art, Design, & Visual Culture works with area schools to strengthen arts education for K-16 students. 

In addition, UMBC Training Centers offer project management and business analysis training at SSA Headquarters and field offices in several cities.  We also will be offering graduate-level courses this coming fall for SSA in management and information systems.  And we will soon launch a “UMBC Learning Center” on site at SSA.

Moreover, our Hilltop Institute conducts research, analysis, and evaluation for State and Federal agencies, foundations, and other non-profit organizations.  The Institute is nationally recognized for its expertise regarding Medicaid issues and in improving publicly funded health care systems to increase access and positive outcomes for vulnerable populations.  In addition, the Shriver Center continues to provide applied experiences each year for more than 2,000 students through internships, co-ops, and community service positions in more than 600 organizations in the U.S. and abroad.  The Center has attracted millions of dollars in grants and contracts in recent years from national and State agencies and foundations, and is serving hundreds of at-risk youth daily through its nationally acclaimed Choice Program.

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Over the past 20 years, we have been a model for developing partnerships focused on technology development and commercialization, and our bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park supports these growing activities.  bwtech@UMBC includes two sites that house more than 50 biotech and IT/engineering companies: one site, adjoining the main campus, is a 41-acre acre research park housing established companies; the second site, located on our South Campus, is a 30-acre business incubator and accelerator that houses developing firms. 

The research park is fully built out, with five major facilities, including the 62,500-square-foot RWD Technologies’ Applied Technology Lab; a 60,000-square-foot multi-tenant building, completed in fall 2004; the 23,500-square-foot U.S. Geological Survey regional water science center, completed in spring 2007 and occupied by more than 60 USGS scientists and support staff; a 110,000-square-foot multi-tenant building developed by Corporate Office Properties Trust; and a $20-million building constructed by Erickson Retirement Communities to house its Retirement Living cable television channel and IT division. 

Our business incubator and accelerator facility at South Campus overlooks Interstate 95, just minutes from both our central campus and BWI Airport, and within view of thousands of north- and southbound travelers daily.  The site includes five buildings housing approximately 165,000 square feet of research, office, and conference facilities.  We lease space to more than 30 early-stage firms employing hundreds of workers.  For the incubator companies, we provide a variety of university resources, including low-cost office/lab space, shared administrative services, access to UMBC’s library and computing resources, access to faculty expertise, and availability of business, legal, marketing, and technical advice.  The General Assembly, DBED, and Baltimore County all strongly supported UMBC’s efforts to acquire these facilities (originally a Martin Marietta Research lab site), which are an excellent example of UMBC’s collaboration with business and government in the interest of economic development and enhancing the region’s quality of life.  The incubator and accelerator facility received Baltimore County’s 2008 New Directions Award for its contributions to the County's economy.

An independent study of the economic impact of bwtech@UMBC conducted by the Sage Policy Group, Inc., in 2007 reported that nearly 850 jobs are located in the facilities, and that these employees are engaged in work that has produced more than 2,000 additional jobs Statewide.  The number of direct jobs at bwtech@UMBC is now 1,250.  The study also reported an $11 return in tax revenue on each State dollar invested.  Moreover, bwtech@UMBC emphasizes tenant interaction with faculty, staff, students, and alumni producing research collaborations, employment, and internships. Our Office of Technology Development works closely with tenant companies and faculty, pursuing strategies for commercializing faculty inventions and technology transfer designed to contribute to economic development and garner new resources for the campus.  Increased emphasis on identifying applied uses of faculty research and on faculty collaboration with industry has resulted in increased invention disclosures.

Success with our licensing efforts has also increased our licensing revenue over the past few years.  Examples of faculty research with potential commercial applications range from developing technologies to fight AIDS and cancer to creating a lightweight “skin” that protects aircraft from shrapnel.

Two recent initiatives at bwtech@UMBC are the Clean Energy Incubator, a partnership with the Maryland Clean Energy Center, and the Advantage Incubator, designed for early-stage companies that are minority-, women- or veteran-owned. The Advantage Incubator is located in a Class A office suite at the bwtech@UMBC Research Park. In addition to the benefits associated with being located in a federal Small Business Administration HUBZone and state Enterprise Zone, Advantage Incubator clients have access to specialized business mentoring and support services tailored to the needs of tenants.

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Our campus community is working to address global warming every day. Through our research and academic programs, we are producing knowledge and a new generation of informed citizens and leaders to move Maryland and the nation toward dramatically reduced use of greenhouse gases.  We are part of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  Our Climate Change Task Force has developed an action plan and is actively implementing projects to reduce our carbon footprint on campus and beyond. We are keeping the campus and external communities apprised of our plans and environmental research through our sustainability website (www.umbc.edu/sustainability).  We have completed our third Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and it shows a decline in total carbon emission of nearly 7.5 percent between 2008 and 2009.  We also successfully worked with Maryland’s Department of Budget & Management to plan for and fund LEED certification for our new Performing Arts & Humanities Facility. Our Facilities Management department now has two LEED-accredited professional staff members, and a current staff member now serves as associate director of campus energy and utilities.  We are also in the final stages of negotiating an energy performance contract with the Board of Public Works.  Under the contract, the State will finance a total of nine major energy conservation projects on campus at a cost of $16 million, with debt repayment coming from energy savings over 10 years.

For the fourth year in a row, we also are participating in Recyclemania, a 10-week annual recycling competition in which more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide collect and record the weight of products gathered on campus as they are about to be recycled.  This past year, UMBC captured several second-place awards for its efforts.

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In September, 2006, we announced a $100-million capital campaign.  Our fundraising goal is the third highest in the System, and we have already raised more than  $102 million toward that goal.  Our current endowment (as of November, 2009) is approximately $45 million (down from $59 million at the end of FY 2008, reflecting the market’s sharp downturn), which is still a dramatic increase over the past decade when our endowment totaled only $3.6 million.  Major gifts by corporations, foundations, alumni, faculty, and staff have built endowment supportfor student scholarships, faculty research, endowed professorships, faculty and staff development, and other programmatic initiatives ranging from the sciences and engineering to teacher preparation, the arts, and community service.

Our success in fundraising is particularly significant because Maryland, unlike other states (e.g., Virginia, North Carolina), has not enjoyed a long tradition of private giving to public institutions.  (In fact, before 1990, the campus had never raised a million dollars in any year.)  We set aggressive fundraising goals and have worked especially hard to surpass them.  We have consistently demonstrated that top-flight programmatic initiatives – led by faculty and staff – can attract donors, and our successes have helped the public understand the difference that private giving and endowment can make.  Alumni, corporations, and all Maryland citizens can take pride in our privately supported achievements.  

I also want to note my colleagues’ and students’ strong commitment to charitable giving to help those less fortunate.  The campus was honored to receive the Governor’s Cup award for raising $160,000 in the 2008 Maryland Charity Campaign – the highest amount raised by a mid-sized State agency.  Even during these difficult economic times, we set institutional records in the 2009 Maryland Charity Campaign with 57% of our faculty and staff community contributing.   Faculty, staff, and students made nearly 1,120 gifts to the 2009 campaign totaling $172,000, compared to 930 gifts totaling $160,000 in 2008.  We take great pride in having established a strong culture of charitable giving.

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of FY 2011 Budget Request

Operating Budget
UMBC’s FY 2011 budget request of $350.6 million reflects an increase of $8.8 million (2.5%) over the adjusted FY 2010 working budget.  The proposed increase includes $2.7 million in General Fund appropriations to cover the difference between our originally proposed 5% tuition rate increase and the 3% rise we now anticipate; restoration of the 2010 furlough savings and Higher Education Investment Fund dollars; and replacement for FY 2010 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds that are no longer available.  The budget increase also includes a $3.3-million increase in tuition and fees attributable to enrollment growth and a proposed tuition rate increase; $2.5 million attributable to revenue growth in auxiliary and other revenue adjustments; and a $0.3-million increase in restricted revenue.  The tuition increase requested is 3% for undergraduate Maryland residents and 5% for graduate and non-resident students.

The FY 2011 funding increases are required to meet such mandatory expenses as health care and retirement cost increases; insurance and debt-service costs; need-based financial aid to support access initiatives; the direct instructional costs of our growing student body; and to cover the portion of our mandatory cost increases that ordinarily would come from a higher undergraduate tuition rate increase.

Capital Budget
UMBC is requesting $37.4 million in capital funds in FY 2011 to begin construction of our Performing Arts & Humanities Facility.  We are grateful to the Governor and the General Assembly for their continued support of this important building.  Completion of this facility, our first LEED-certified building, will transform the delivery of the arts and humanities programs and enrich the lives of our students, and of other members of the campus community.

Of special note, the construction of this facility will employ 177 FTE highly skilled construction workers, engineers, and architects over the two-year duration of Phase-1 construction, and 149 FTEs over the two-year span of Phase 2.

The facility will provide space to meet the current and future instructional, research, and student-life needs of the UMBC community, and it will house the Departments of Theater, Music, Dance, Ancient Studies, English, Philosophy, and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.  (It is significant that the plans for the new facility proved instrumental in attracting a half-million-dollar gift to name and expand the role of the Center for the Humanities.)   

Intended primarily for teaching and research in the arts and humanities, the new facility will play a major and essential role in the required general education curriculum.  It is so central to our academic mission that virtually every undergraduate will use the facility’s classroom and lab spaces.  Maryland employers often remind us how important it is that our graduates, whether in science and engineering or the liberal and fine arts, know how to think and communicate clearly – writing, speaking, problem-solving, and thinking critically and creatively.  Our arts and humanities departments and programs provide such a foundation for all our students – educating well rounded citizens and strengthening Maryland’s workforce.  In fact, we have increased the writing requirements in our General Education Program (mandatory for all undergraduates), responding in part to industry’s needs for highly literate employees.  These revisions to our General Education Program make arts and humanities courses even more available and appealing to students in all fields, thereby increasing the demands on those departments that will be housed in the new facility.

This will be one of UMBC’s most public buildings, unique in southwest Baltimore County and the surrounding area, serving the needs of the Greater Baltimore community through performances and outreach activities.  Indeed, the facility will be instrumental in strengthening the institution’s role as a cultural destination for this region and beyond.

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to Legislative Analyst's Comments on UMBC


After Double Digit Growth, Research and Development Expenditures Per Full-Time Faculty Dip
The President should comment on factors leading to the decline in research and development expenditures per full-time faculty and the outlook for increasing the number of research grants and contracts.

Campus Response:
Between 2003 and 2007, the campus experienced very substantial growth – nearly 50 percent – in research and development expenditures per full-time faculty member (from $111,000 to $163,000).  In this context, the $3,600 fluctuation from 2006 to 2007 is relatively small.   Research grant-and-contract awards continue to grow, and the amount of funding spent each year may vary depending on the nature of the research projects conducted.  Our comparable R&D expenditures figure for 2008 is $167,267, our highest level ever.

It also is important to note that the campus has continued to grow steadily in Federal R&D awards and expenditures.  Our ranking by the National Science Foundation for Federal R&D expenditures for science and engineering rose from 200 in 1996 to 138 in 2008 (out of 659 institutions ranked).  (Figure 7) This record places us ahead of several other highly regarded mid-sized research universities without medical schools, including Brandeis and Rensselaer.

Federal R&D Expenditures

Given our rapid development in research funding, we now find that space limitations are the greatest constraint on further growth.  The most critical challenge we face in the research enterprise is acquiring or adding the space necessary to be competitive for major awards.  We have taken an entrepreneurial approach to securing additional research space, partnering with companies and the State to develop core facilities shared by faculty members in such areas as high-performance computing and microscopy.  Some of our research centers utilize space at the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park.  We also have partnered with sister institutions, most recently submitting an NIH proposal jointly with the University of Maryland, Baltimore for a brain imaging facility that will be located at the Maryland Psychiatric Center at Spring Grove.

The best immediate opportunity for UMBC to increase its research capacity and funding is through the reorganization and reallocation of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute’s five research centers and education unit.  As the reorganization has proceeded, several faculty members specializing in marine biotechnology, along with the Institute of Fluorescence have affiliated with UMBC.  Realizing the benefit of this transition depends completely, however, on continued funding of technology transfer and facilities operation and renewal funds in the UMBI current services budget.  Full funding of the current research program and related facilities is critical to moving the restructuring forward, maximizing the existing research program, and developing new research programs.

Gap in Retention Rate at Narrowest Margin While Gap in Graduation Widens
The President should comment on efforts that appear to be successful in improving the retention of all students and the steps being taken to improve the graduation rate of minority students.

Campus Response:
Most important, there is virtually no difference between the retention and graduation rates of all students from different backgrounds.  Moreover, the fluctuations that have occurred in recent years in retention and graduation rates also are slight.  Also, regarding the six-year graduation rates of African American students between 2005 and 2009, it is important to point out that given the size of the corresponding freshman cohorts, a small change in the number of graduates (5-10 students) accounts for a fluctuation of several percentage points in the graduation rate.

Needless to say, we are pleased with the strength and comparability of our students’ retention and graduation rates, which reflect numerous initiatives we have undertaken in recent years.  Some of these key initiatives include the following:

  • Our Learning Resources Center has provided superb tutoring (often for students motivated to strive for As rather than Bs) along with LRC 101A (an IT Microsoft Windows classroom/lab), an effective early alert system, and important placement testing.
  • A variety of First-Year Experiences give new students a firm academic foundation (from First-Year Seminars to “Introduction to an Honors University” Success Seminars). 
  • Our emphasis on undergraduate research experiences includes a rigorous Undergraduate Research Awards program culminating in the annual Undergraduate Research & Creative Achievement Day and publication of the UMBC Review highlighting some our students’ outstanding work).  
  • In addition to research, students also capitalize on wide-ranging applied learning experiences – from internships, cooperative education, and study abroad o service-learning, performance, and student leadership initiatives.
  • Innovative approaches to instruction, e.g., our Chemistry Discovery Learning Center and our CASTLE initiative (both described below) are engaging students more fully and yielding positive results in terms of retention and higher grades.
  • Careful attention to academic policy administration (e.g., course repeat policy) has also served to strengthen our retention and graduation efforts.

Notwithstanding these effective initiatives, in order to increase our retention and graduation rates, we will need to increase our academic program base, which remains relatively small compared to those of our peers.  While we accept the fact that State policy constrains us in adding new programs, it is clear that if we had more programs, many more students would be retained and complete their degrees here.

Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded Decline While Graduate Degrees Grow
The President should comment on the overall decline in degrees awarded, particularly the decline in undergraduate degrees.

Campus Response:
Fluctuations in the numbers of undergraduate degrees granted over the past five years have been modest, while the numbers of graduate degrees granted during this period have increased steadily, and by more than a third since 2006. 

The six-percent decline in undergraduate degrees awarded since 2007 is related in part to a decline several years earlier in the number of transfer students who came to the university.  That decline in transfer students was the result of not replacing the Transfer Coordinator (because of budget cuts) who had worked with community colleges to cultivate and maintain relationships.  Seeing the adverse results after two years, we filled the position and have rebuilt our ties with our community college partners, resulting in a substantial increase in transfer students enrolled. 

Moreover, there were decreases in the numbers of undergraduate IT degrees awarded between 2005 and 2008 – decreases associated with the national trend toward reduced IT enrollments that accompanied the “dot.com bust” that began in the early part of the decade.  Notwithstanding these trends, UMBC has remained one of the nation’s leading producers of IT degrees.

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Making College Affordable
The President should comment on efforts to increase expenditures going toward need-based aid and why expenditures are not growing at the same rate as the tuition.  The President should also address whether a student’s EFC is a factor in what type of aid is awarded.

Campus Response:
UMBC made a commitment, beginning in FY 2007, to increase need-based institutional aid annually by at least 5% over any increases in tuition rates.  From FY 2006 to FY 2010, we increased need-based institutional financial aid by 60%, far exceeding that commitment.  With no tuition rate increase for resident undergraduate students over this time period, all of these funds have gone directly to expand support for our neediest students.  UMBC has proposed another 13% increase in need-based aid in FY 2011, exceeding the proposed 3% resident undergraduate tuition rate increase by another 10%. 

The campus awards additional need-based aid from external sources, and the total amount awarded, including institutional, State, and Federal sources combined, has increased steadily from a total of $11.6 million in FY 2005 to more than $21 million in FY 2009.  FY 2010 is still in progress, but we fully expect to exceed $21 million in need-based aid awarded. 

Because of budget constraints, UMBC is not proposing an increase in merit-based institutional aid in FY 2011.  Additional costs related to the proposed tuition rate increases will be managed through reduced packages for new students, fundraising for additional private dollars, and identification of other sources.

Also, a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the key determinant regarding the type and dollar amount of aid a student receives.  In the case of the Federal Pell grant, a student’s award is directly indexed to the EFC.  As UMBC packages student aid, the many sources of need-based aid are combined to meet as much of a student’s total need as possible, less the EFC.  In the case of our institutional need-based aid, the higher a student’s EFC, the lower the institutional aid award is likely to be.

Chemistry Discovery Learning Center
The President should comment on how the institution is accommodating the increase in students majoring and minoring in chemistry and biochemistry, the status of CASTLE, and plans to incorporate this methodology in other courses.

Campus Response:
The Chemistry Discovery Learning Center’s dramatic success in inspiring and preparing chemistry and biochemistry majors is the kind of challenge our campus welcomes.  As the DLS analysis notes, the Discovery Center approach, emphasizing teamwork and personal responsibility in solving problems, produced substantial increases in the pass rates (a grade of C or better).  The impact of this success is a growing number of majors and increased demand in advanced courses and for laboratory sections.  We have responded by opening several additional lab sections in Chemistry 102 and organic chemistry, including a night lab.  A decrease in support for graduate assistants because of institutional budget reductions has made it especially challenging to secure teaching assistants for the additional labs.  In some cases, we have turned to graduate students from other campuses and advanced UMBC undergraduates to fill this role.  Because teaching undergraduates is a priority for the campus, full-time faculty teach chemistry and biochemistry course lecture sections.

The College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences’ (CNMS) Active Science Teaching & Learning Environment (CASTLE), modeled after the Chemistry Discovery Center, will support students in foundational math, physics, and biology courses essential to success in STEM majors. Renovation of the basic classroom space has been completed.  We expect to complete the custom technology and AV installation and begin pilot programs this semester.  CASTLE accommodates 90 students at a time in flexible, small-group learning spaces suited to hands-on, active-learning instruction.  The first sequence of courses offered in the CASTLE will be pre-calculus, calculus, introductory physics, and introductory biology. Comprehensive assessment and evaluation efforts will monitor the impact on student success.

Erickson School of Aging Services
The President should comment on the current and long-term financial viability of the school and efforts to increase revenues from other sources than tuition and fees.

Campus Response:
Our Erickson School – the first professional school in the nation to integrate the study of business management, public policy, and human aging – is healthy and doing very well.  It continues to attract growing numbers of undergraduate, graduate, and executive education students.  There are currently 33 new students from across the nation in the third cohort of our Management in Aging Services master’s program.  A total of 49 students in the first two cohorts have graduated and now are applying their knowledge in fields ranging from seniors housing and public health to law and business.  Courses in our Aging Services undergraduate program have attracted nearly 460 students, and 17 have graduated thus far.  Also, the School’s Executive Education program now offers a variety of professional development courses attracting 70 students in 2009.

We are grateful for the State’s start-up support a few years ago, which matched a $5-million gift from the School’s founding donor, John Erickson. When the economic downturn challenged our projections for enrollment and fundraising, we had to make tough decisions involving layoffs on the one hand, and restructuring the School’s business model on the other hand to support more conservative growth in these areas.  We have not significantly reduced services to students because prior staff and faculty levels were based on projected enrollments that had not yet been realized.  As the School’s reputation grows, we are attracting students with minimal tuition discounts and are working to attract additional philanthropic support for student scholarships from alumni and industry.  As the result of current enrollment patterns, the Erickson School has become financially stable and poised for growth as the economy improves.

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