Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
March 2011

Introduction | Our Vision | The State of the University | Students | Faculty
Research | Professional Education and Service | Technology Development | Sustainability | Private Giving
Summary of FY 2012 Budget Request | Response to Legislative Analyst's Comments


As Maryland and the nation pursue economic recovery and growth, 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 continued to invest in student success and in faculty and staff productivity, developing brainpower and discoveries that drive innovation and economic momentum in Maryland and beyond.

As a growing research university focused on national eminence and quality, UMBC strongly endorses the University System of Maryland (USM) strategic plan’s goals of increasing college completion and enhancing research and economic competitiveness. As State investment in these priorities grows, we are prepared to increase the number of graduates, support expanded research capacity, and strengthen technology transfer capability.

We are especially encouraged that the Governor’s capital budget proposal includes $42 million to complete construction of the first phase of our Performing Arts and Humanities Building, which is rising rapidly on our campus.   This first phase includes classrooms, teaching laboratories, a 275-seat main theater, a 100-seat black box theater, and support spaces.  As the economy recovers, we seek your support to close a funding gap between the completion of Phase 1 in FY 2012 and groundbreaking for Phase 2, which now is not proposed to be funded in the Governor’s capital budget until FY 2015.  Moving Phase 2 construction funding to FY 2013 also would allow us to maximize efficiencies and jobs by keeping the current construction team in place.  Phase 2 will include facilities critical for keeping up with enrollment growth, including classrooms, lecture halls, music technology labs, and dance studios.  With approximately 40 percent of our students majoring in the liberal arts, a large portion of our students will spend the majority of their undergraduate years in this new facility.

USM’s 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 and appreciate that higher education in Maryland has been far better supported than higher education systems in most other states.  Our campus takes stewardship of the State’s investment seriously.  We have continued to build enrollment while carefully managing costs and focusing investments on four institutional priorities: student success; infrastructure for research and creative achievement; environmental issues; and campus safety and security. The campus has achieved $18.7M in savings through the USM Effectiveness and Efficiency process over the past 4 years, and will absorb $4.5 million in unfunded mandatory costs, including restoration of furlough savings and employee fringe benefits, under the proposed budget.

As we continue working to minimize the impact of budget reductions on students, we must also acknowledge that our campus is stretched.  Growing enrollments (resulting from increased national visibility and retention efforts), following $19 million in fund-balance and budget reductions over the past 4 years, challenge our capacity to accept as many first-time freshmen and transfer applicants as we would like.  We have had to be especially cautious in setting enrollments in relatively costly program majors science and engineering.  Also, a shortage of science and engineering research facilities limits our capacity to compete for federal research grants. In addition, we have deferred facilities maintenance and repair projects, increasing a backlog of work that now 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 continued to achieve a great deal.  I am delighted to report to you on UMBC’s progress and respond to questions you may have regarding our FY 2011 and FY 2012 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 45 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.

This past fall, my colleagues and students were excited and proud to be recognized for the second year in a row as America’s #1 “Up-and-Coming” national university by U.S. News and World Report. The U.S. News rankings also placed us on a list of universities whose faculty demonstrate “unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching,” along with Princeton, Yale, Brown, and Stanford.  The Princeton Review also recently identified us as one of the nation’s 50 “Best Value” universities and earlier ranked us second on its “Most Diverse Student Population” list.  Also, Kiplinger’s included us on its list of “Top 100 Best Values in Public Colleges 2010-2011” based on academic quality and affordable education.

A recent National Academies report cites UMBC as a national leader in preparing underrepresented minorities for careers in the natural sciences and engineering.  The Congressionally mandated report notes that UMBC is among the top U.S. institutions – and is the top producer among predominantly white institutions – in preparing African American undergraduates who go on to complete Ph.D.s in these fields. 

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 nearly 12,900 students (including approximately 10,200 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students), and we employ approximately 1,885 full-time and 350 part-time faculty and staff.  Our operating budget is $360 million, including almost $95 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 collaborations with others. The recent realignment of the former University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute has brought many new scientific and technology-development assets to UMBC.  Faculty from the Center for Marine Biotechnology (COMB) and the Institute of Fluorescence (IoF) have joined UMBC.  Dr. Yonathan Zohar, chair of our new Department of Marine Biotechnology, has recently licensed novel marine-aquaculture technology to Maryland Sustainable Mariculture, a biotechnology start-up company in Baltimore. Plasmonix, a biotechnology start-up based on technologies licensed from the IoF, is now located at bwtech@UMBC, our research and technology park.  In addition, our core facilities in mass spectrometry, imaging, and high-performance computing support both faculty research and companies. We work aggressively in 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 developed 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 – see Figure 3) and from IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SAIC, 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 and the Center for Aging Studies), 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, the Center for Excellence in STEM Education, and the Maryland Geographic Alliance).

Funding from NASA
FY2008 2Q

Federal R&D Expenditures

Our campus, located just 10 miles from the new home of the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, supports Maryland’s development as a cybersecurity hub with degree programs, faculty research, and technology transfer activities.  We offer master’s, certificate, and professional training programs to prepare technical professionals for management and leadership roles in cybersecurity-related companies and agencies. UMBC is also a founding sponsor of the Maryland Cyber Challenge, a competition and conference for high school and college students and professionals seeking to develop their skills and build careers in Maryland’s growing cybersecurity industry. The campus is certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a Center of Academic Excellence in both Information Assurance Education and Research.  In fact, NSA’s Advanced Computing Systems (ACS) Research Program will begin leasing space at bwtech@UMBC later this month, with the goal of delivering a steady stream of technologies to help meet the government’s future computational needs.  Also regarding cybersecurity, a new partnership between Northrop Grumman Corporation and bwtech@UMBC will create a business incubator for start-up companies developing technology to protect the nation from cyber threats.  Finally, 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.   

Another exciting 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 Center has also attracted new NSF funding to establish an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research directed by a UMBC faculty member, with partners at Georgia Tech and the University of California, San Diego.

Other exciting partnerships reflect our growing strength and national reputation in earth and environmental science. A $3-million grant 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 in Maryland, training 120 women from diverse backgrounds and launching more than 35 companies built on technology developed on Maryland campuses and in Federal labs.  In August 2009, we received a grant from NSF to duplicate the ACTiVATE program in Montgomery County.  The INNOVATE program, developed in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, is geared to post-doctoral research fellows (both male and female) at NIH and other Federal labs. Following ACTiVATE's economic development model, INNOVATE gives 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

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.

We continue our rapid development as a major research university.  In fact, NSF ranks UMBC 139th out of 659 campuses nationally in Federally funded research in science and engineering, up from 200th in 1996 (Figure 8).  (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 10,500 (+30%); sponsored contracts and grants grew by more than a third, from $64 million to almost $95 million (Figure 7); total degrees conferred per year increased from approximately 1,800 to 2,605 (+45%); and the number of students living on campus increased 62% – from 2,350 to 3,800 – including almost three-quarters of our freshmen and nearly half of our full-time undergraduate population. 

Federal R&D Expenditures

Federal R&D Expenditures


Research Grants and Contracts
FY1998 – FY2010

Federal R&D Expenditures

We also have developed special honors programs in the humanities, arts, and public policy, reflecting 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 strengths 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.

Our strengths and our success, especially during this period of constrained resources, have also created challenges related to meeting the needs of students for more full-time faculty, more instructional space, additional sections (in programs ranging from biochemistry to mechanical engineering), and more support services.  Moreover, while we have been successful in attracting increasing grant support, lack of research space hampers our ability compete successfully for even more contracts and grants.  We also need additional scholarship funding to support our students, particularly in science and engineering, and students who want to teach math and science. 

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Quality, Achievements, Contributions

Our student body is among the most diverse nationally (39% minority, including 18% Asian, 15% African American, 4.5% Hispanic and Native American, and 1.4% two or more races).  The full-time freshman class of 1,485 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 nearly 2,700 students includes increased numbers of domestic students (83% of our graduate enrollment), women (53%), and minorities (20%).  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 2010 total headcount enrollment of nearly 12,900 has contributed to an estimated annual FTE enrollment of 10,500 in FY 2011, 251 above our total FTE enrollment in FY 2010 (10,249).  Among our challenges in continuing to build enrollment are UMBC’s relatively small program base (Figure 6) 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 more than 1,000 more applications for new freshman admission than we did a year ago.

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

Federal R&D Expenditures


Higher retention rates also contribute to strong enrollments. Following substantial gains in freshman-to-sophomore retention during the past decade, retention remains stable.  Our overall freshman-to-sophomore-year retention rate (2009 to 2010) for full-time freshmen was 84.5%, compared to 81.7% in fall 2004.  It is particularly noteworthy that the latest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate among African American students – 90.3% – is even higher than our overall rate (and more than 3% higher than just a year ago).  In addition, our overall fall-to-spring semester freshman retention rate increased from 91.9% (fall 2005 to spring 2006) to 93.6%  (fall 2010 to spring 2011).  A recent analysis of student success using National Student Clearinghouse data indicates that nearly three-quarters of all new, full-time freshmen who entered UMBC in fall 2004 had graduated from UMBC or another four-year institution six years later.    

Rising retention rates are the result of a multi-year, campuswide effort focusing on student success and retention.  Redesigning foundation courses that previously relied on large lecture formats is at the heart of these efforts.  In fall 2005, the Chemistry 101 course was reconfigured to include weekly, hands-on discovery learning sessions in which teams of students, whose members work collaboratively, take responsibility for solving problems together.  This active learning model has increased the percentage of students passing this essential gateway course for science majors from 71 percent to 86 percent (Figure 2.) We have built on this success by redesigning our Introductory Psychology course and opening the CASTLE (College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences Active Science Teaching & Learning Environment) this past fall.  The CASTLE facility now hosts redesigned introductory math courses that are the foundation for all science and engineering majors, and faculty members are preparing to launch additional redesigned courses in other science and technology subject areas.

Chemistry 101 Pass Rates

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

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. This year, we have added supplemental instruction for Pre-calculus, which has historically been difficult for transfer students.  Strong students are recruited to lead weekly group discussion sessions that reinforce material covered in class.  We have also strengthened our Transfer Student Alliance program, which enrolls students at Montgomery College and the Community College of Baltimore County who plan to transfer to UMBC after completing their AA degree.  These students benefit from discounted tuition for concurrent enrollment, access to student activities, and priority for UMBC housing, registration, and orientation upon transfer.

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 distinguished student scholars.  Senior Michael Young, for example, was just named one of only 30 U.S. Gates Cambridge Scholars.  A double-major in philosophy and biology, he will study abroad next year at the University of Cambridge and pursue a master’s degree in philosophy focusing on bioethics.  Another senior, Phillip Fitzgerald, a brilliant young African American biochemistry and molecular biology major, is the third UMBC student to be invited to participate as a “Young Researcher” in the prestigious annual Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Germany this coming summer.  Phillip was nominated by Dr. Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.  Other recent distinguished student scholars have included Goldwater and Jack Kent Cooke Scholars; Merck, NSF GEM, Department of Energy Computational Science, and Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies Fellows; and National Security Education Boren and Fulbright scholarship winners. 

Our student theatre productions regularly compete in the Annual American College Theatre Festival, including this year's production of Las Meninas, which was invited to the regional competition.  Also, a team of undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering students placed first this past year among U.S. campuses in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Mini-Baja vehicle competition, capturing judges’ attention with innovative design features executed cost effectively.  Other students have received prestigious awards from the American Mathematics Society and the Center for Medieval Studies at the University of York (England).  In intercollegiate athletics, our men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams recently won the 2011 America East Conference championship.  Also, the men’s soccer team defeated Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Championships this past fall, and 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. 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 2010, half had grade point averages 3.0 or higher, including 25 with 4.0s and 90 with 3.5 or higher.  And this past December, our much heralded Chess Team once again finished in the top group of competitors 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 recently selected as U.S. State Department Internship Fellows.

Responsive Program Initiatives
Although UMBC has a narrow program base in comparison to its institutional peers (Figure 6), we have introduced a small number of programs in recent years that are responsive to student and market demands. 

We are developing critically needed leaders in a new Cybersecurity Master of Professional Studies Program (M.P.S.).  Designed with a group of industry advisors, this program recruits young professionals with strong technology skills and provides them with advanced technical training, management, and policy background.  Employers of current students include Northrop Grumman, SAIC, U.S. Cyber Command, NSA, and the Social Security Administration.  Additional M.P.S. programs supporting workforce development include programs in Biotechnology, Geographic Information Systems, and Industrial/ Organizational Psychology.  Also, the new Public Health track in our Health Administration & Policy program has grown rapidly since its inception.

As communication technology becomes increasingly digital, interactive, and pervasive, our recently launched bachelor’s program in Media and Communication Studies 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 and prepares students for the media and communication world of the 21st century.  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 emphasizing historical, cross-cultural, and international perspectives and critically examining 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.

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., cybersecurity, 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, Amazon.com, Lockheed Martin, Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, the Social Security Administration, National Public Radio, and Teach for America.  The proactive, innovative efforts of our Career Services staff to support students in their job searches were highlighted recently in the Wall Street Journal.

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, 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 President of Senior Living with Maryland-based Sodexo, to the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Maryland. 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 two dozen new students from across the nation in the fourth cohort of students in our Management in Aging Services master’s program, and the third cohort of 30 students is scheduled to graduate in May. Courses in our undergraduate Aging Services program have attracted more than 700 students this academic year, up from 480 students the previous year.  The School’s Executive Education program now offers a variety of professional development courses, including three online serving professionals across the country and around the world.

Finally, the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, now in its 22st 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.  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 481 State-supported full-time faculty members who teach and conduct research, 283 full-time research faculty funded from contracts and grants, and 268 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 connect with 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 their success in competing for such major prestigious awards as Fulbright, Guggenheim, NSF CAREER, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator awards. Biochemist Michael Summers, who leads a research team of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows mapping the structure of HIV and related retroviruses, was recently recommended for a fourth, five-year term as an HHMI Investigator.  In addition, Dr. Summers, the first scientist at a Maryland public university to be designated by HHMI as an Investigator, and neuroscientist Robert Provine, whose work on the neural causes of behavior is internationally recognized, were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this past year.  A number of other UMBC faculty in recent years in a variety of fields have become Fulbright Scholars, NIH Presidential Early Career Award winners, IBM Faculty Award and IBM Innovation Award winners, and fellows of the Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, U.S. Department of State Jefferson Science Program, American Council of Learned Societies, Huntington Library, Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Physical Society, American Statistical Society, Optical Society of America, American Meteorological Society, and American Institute for Medical &  Biological Engineering.  This year, one of our faculty members received MSDE’s Outstanding Change Agent Award.

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.  With support from NSF’s ADVANCE program, for example, we have more than doubled the number of female tenured and tenure-track STEM faculty at UMBC since 2000. 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 as the result 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 cybersecurity to Medicaid policies and the K-12 academic achievement gap.  Faculty members also publish cutting-edge books and articles across the academic spectrum and produce wide-ranging creative achievements in the arts.

Faculty research in the geosciences, for example, was 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 were ranked eighth and tenth, respectively, in their fields by Academic Analytics, LLC, in its most recent 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 across the campus continue to be recognized as leaders in their fields, from economist Scott Farrow, who received a MacArthur Foundation grant to launch a new journal on cost-benefit analysis, to Zena Hitz, assistant professor of philosophy, who was selected for a year-long fellowship at Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, to Maurice Berger, senior research scholar at the Center for Art Design & Visual Culture, who curated For All the World to See, an exhibit of Civil Rights movement images that opened in New York this past summer, is currently in Chicago, and will be featured at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in June and is supported by a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which currently is featuring the exhibit on its homepage.

Faculty also continue seeking solutions to critical problems involving health and environmental issues.  The Swedish biotech firm Vironova has licensed patented technology developed in UMBC’s 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.  Our Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), for example, recently had its Cooperative Agreement with NASA-Goddard’s Earth Science Directorate renewed through 2014 with support totaling more than $18.6 million for that period.  JCET faculty not only conduct cutting-edge research but also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in physics, geography, mathematic, chemistry, computer science, and mechanical engineering.  JCET has launched other successful research centers at UMBC including the Goddard Earth Sciences & Technology (GEST) Center and the Center for Research in Exploration in Space Science & Technology (CRESST).  Our Center for Urban Environmental Research & Education (CUERE) is leading a multi-institution team that recently received a $5-million water sustainability grant from NSF – one of only three awarded nationally – to develop a model of urban development focusing on water quality and supply.  UMBC also continues 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 may yield new products to protect public health and the environment.  Other major research initiatives are being conducted by our HHMI Laboratory, 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.

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.  NIH recently awarded $7.9 million to UMBC and the University of Maryland campuses at Baltimore and College Park, collaborating as a consortium to acquire a superconducting 950 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) magnet.  The NMR will support researchers working to unravel the mysteries of molecules and develop new agents to treat cancer, AIDS, and other diseases.  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. 

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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, SAIC, 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 26 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 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, 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 125 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.  We also host the FIRST (For Inspiration &  Recognition of Science & Technology) Lego League Competition, where more than 190 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.  We have also introduced Engineering is Elementary, which teaches students about engineering and design, in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County schools.  The faculty leader for these innovative STEM education models, Mechanical Engineering Professor Anne Spence, recently received MSDE’s Outstanding Change Agent Award of Excellence.  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 reached 300 students, parents, and teachers with information about college access and STEM careers. And with support from Constellation Energy, the Shriver Center and our Physics Department are partnering with WeatherBug to bring an innovative alternative energy curriculum into two local middle schools. 

Other examples of outreach in support of professional development include the work of our Center for History Education, which has won approximately $8 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.  Over the past decade, the Center has worked with more than 500 teachers who have enrolled in graduate-level history education courses.  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 Social Security Headquarters and field offices in several cities. We have launched a “UMBC Learning Center” on site at SSA, where we offer graduate-level courses in management and information systems. 
Moreover, our Hilltop Institute conducts research, analysis, and evaluation for State and Federal agencies, foundations, and other non-profit organizations. Hilltop is nationally recognized for its expertise involving Medicaid issues and in improving publicly funded health care systems to increase access and positive outcomes for vulnerable populations. This past year, Hilltop provided staff support to the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council. Hilltop’s researchers conducted an in-depth analysis of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and developed a financial model to project Maryland’s costs and savings associated with implementing health reform.

Finally, the Shriver Center continues to provide applied experiences each year for more than 2,100 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 70 biotech, IT/engineering, and cybersecurity tenants: one site, adjoining the main campus, is a 41-acre acre research park housing companies spanning all stages of development; 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 that currently houses Erickson and Allegis corporate IT functions. 

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 three buildings housing approximately 165,000 square feet of research, office, and conference facilities.  We lease space to more than 35 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 focused in cybersecurity. The Advantage Incubator is located in a Class A office suite at bwtech@UMBC.  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 emissions of greenhouse gases.  We are part of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  Our Climate Change Task Force 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).  Our Greenhouse Gas Inventories show a consistent decline in total carbon emissions.  We also have 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 continue to work with the State and the University System office to finalize the financing for an energy performance contract.  Under the contract, the State will finance 10 major energy conservation projects on campus at a cost of $13 million, with the debt to be repaid through energy cost savings over 10 years.  These projects will result in a 16% reduction in energy use, and a 9.5% reduction in our carbon footprint.  In the meantime, we are moving forward with one major project, optimization of our chilled water system, borrowing nearly $6 million from the University System.  This project will result in a 7% reduction in our energy use, and a 3.5% reduction in our carbon footprint. 

For the fifth 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.

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In September, 2006, we announced a $100-million capital campaign and have raised more than $111 million, substantially surpassing that goal.  Our current endowment (as of December, 2010) is approximately $53.5 million (up from about $45 million a year ago), reflecting 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 appreciate the difference 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 through the Maryland Charity Campaign.  In 2008, the campus was recognized with the Governor’s Cup award for the first time, after raising $160,000 – the highest amount donated by a mid-sized State agency.  In 2010, even during these difficult economic times, our faculty, staff, and students made more than 1,150 gifts to the campaign, totaling nearly $160,000.  We take great pride in having established a strong culture of charitable giving.

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of FY 2012 Budget Request

Operating Budget
UMBC’s FY 2012 budget request of $366.1 million reflects an increase of $6.1 million (1.7%) over the adjusted FY 2011 working budget.  The proposed increase includes $1.2 million in General Fund appropriations to cover the difference between our originally proposed  tuition rate increase and the 3% increase we now anticipate.  The budget increase also includes a $2.1-million increase in tuition and fees attributable to proposed rate increases; $2.4 million attributable to revenue growth in auxiliary and other revenue adjustments; and a $0.4-million increase in restricted revenue.  The tuition increase requested is 3% for undergraduate Maryland residents and 4% for graduate and non-resident students.

The FY 2012 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; elimination of furloughs; and to cover the portion of our mandatory cost increases that ordinarily would come from General Fund appropriations.

Capital Budget
UMBC is requesting $41.2 million in capital funds in FY 2012 to complete construction of Phase 1 of our Performing Arts & Humanities Building.  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


Graduation Rate Gap between African American and White Transfer Students Widens
The President should comment on factors contributing to the two-year decline in the graduation rates for African American, White, and African American male transfer students and efforts being taken to improve student success.

Campus Response:
Year-to-year fluctuations in the graduation rate are natural.  The number of African American male transfer students is relatively small (low of 48 in 1999 and high of 63 in 2001 and 2003), which amplifies the impact on fluctuation data year-to-year.

As the result of student-success initiatives implemented in recent years, we are beginning to see improvements in graduation rates.  With the fall 2004 cohort, the six-year graduation rates increased.

  • African American full-time fall transfers:  55.1% - up 7.3 percentage points (over the 2003 cohort)
  • White full-time fall transfers:  61.6% - down 1.8 percentage points
  • African American male full-time fall transfers:  52.2% - up 9.3 percentage points
  • White male full-time fall transfers:  62.9% - up 4.1 percentage points

Also, with the fall 2004 cohort, the achievement gap decreased.

  • African American and White full-time fall transfers:  6.5% - down 9.1 percentage points
  • African American and White male full-time fall transfers: 10.7% - down 5.2 percentage points

National trends point to increasing enrollment at community colleges, resulting in larger classes of incoming transfer students.  UMBC’s numbers are rising steadily each year.

Efforts to Improve Transfer Student Success
Some of the obstacles new transfer students may face initially include not being sufficiently prepared for rigorous university-level academic work, especially in STEM disciplines; not knowing other students; feeling somewhat isolated on campus; not being familiar with how to seek out and obtain academic advice; encountering problems related to commuting.  Our efforts are addressing these issues.

Academic Support
All of UMBC’s First-Year Experiences are open to new transfer students.  Moreover, we have established specific Introduction to an Honors University (IHU) Seminars for transfer students.  This one-credit course (TRS 201) focuses on the academic- and social-transition needs of transfer students.  It includes curricula developed in collaboration with departments to address known weaknesses or gaps in knowledge that typically impede transfer students’ success.  We have linked supplemental instruction (SI) to courses with high transfer student failure rates.  SI instructors (high-achieving students) are selected from diverse special scholars programs (e.g., Meyerhoff Scholars Program, Sherman Teacher Education Scholars Program, Center for Women & Information Technology, and the Honors College).

Other initiatives include the following:

  • Transfer leadership positions, such as IHU peer facilitators, to engage transfer students more fully with the UMBC community and allow them to share their knowledge and experience.
  • An early-alert program for transfer students with fewer than 30 credits, to alert students at mid-semester if they are in jeopardy of receiving lower than a C in the course.
  • A three-year pilot program designed to promote the success of select transfer students from area community colleges.  Students became College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences Community College Students (CCC-STEP) Scholars and received a small stipend their first year.  CCC-STEP Scholars are required to participate in monthly activities, seminars, mentoring programs, and intensive advising geared to enhance their academic success at UMBC.

Social Integration
UMBC’s Off-Campus Student Services Office focuses on students’ social transition to UMBC.  The office hosts receptions for transfer students during Welcome Week as well as informational and social programs including special roundtable discussions and social gatherings for African American male transfers.  The number of transfer students living on campus has increased substantially (by more than 60%).  Our Residential Life Office offers programming designed to help residential transfer students integrate smoothly into the student residential population.

Enrollment Management
A cross-campus group has worked to increase program-to-program articulation agreements with community colleges.  Recognizing the financial needs of many transfer students, UMBC allocates merit-based and need-based financial aid totaling more than $250,000.  Newly developed scholarships available to transfer students include the following:

  • Sherman Teacher Education Scholars Program for students interested in the teaching profession and STEM.
  • Transfer Recognition Award for academically strong students with demonstrated financial need.
  • Transfer Student Alliance Scholarship – UMBC has a growing partnership with local community colleges offering concurrent enrollment, guaranteed housing, priority registration/orientation, and, for eligible participants, a guaranteed scholarship.
  • Arthur T. Johnson Transfer Scholarship – for academically talented Maryland community college students who wish to continue their studies by pursuing baccalaureate degree programs at UMBC, including UMBC@Shady Grove.

Looking Forward
Future efforts to help transfer students succeed include the following:

  • Seeking funding from the Gates Foundation for a partnership program supporting the success of transfer student in STEM.
  • Expanding transfer IHUs in number and disciplinary offerings.
  • Expanding Supplemental Instruction to more courses across disciplines.
Creating academic and/or Residential Learning Communities in conjunction with efforts to increase on-campus housing for transfer students.

Undergraduate Productivity Declines While Graduate Increases
Given that UMBC implemented iStrategy in order to be more strategic in its efforts to improve student success, the President should comment on the reasons for the decline in the number of degrees awarded and what steps are being taken to ensure student success.

Campus Response:
Degrees awarded in any given year depend on the numbers of students in the entering classes several years prior to degree attainment.  Enrollment growth at UMBC over the period in the analysis resulted in a percentage decline in degrees awarded per 100 FTES.  It was also during this period that UMBC implemented new programs to improve degree completion.  While the number of undergraduate degrees awarded declined from 1,844 in 2008 to 1,798 in 2009, the total number of undergraduate degrees awarded in 2010 reached an institutional high of 1,915.  In 2010, UMBC had 9,540 undergraduate FTES based on the IPEDs 12-Month Enrollment Report (the source of the data used in Exhibit 5 of the USM report). This produces a rate of 20.1 degrees per 100 FTES, an increase of nearly one percentage point over the previous year.

The iStrategy student module was implemented in summer, 2009. This module provides online, automated degree audit for students and mentors.  It allows students to view “what-if” scenarios on how their current credits would apply as they consider alternate majors. The module allows for online advising notes that can be viewed by all advisors and relevant faculty members.  The iStrategy student module has been used by our Enrollment Management staff and other senior administrators to monitor student progression more effectively, and we fully expect that the module will become an even more effective tool as our data warehouse matures.  For example, the coming addition of a student financial aid module will be critical in analyzing the important link between student financial need and student success.

 Evidence shows that these efforts are working.  According to MHEC’s 2010 Retention, Graduation, and Transfer Rates at Maryland Four-Year Institution Report, UMBC has posted its highest six-year first-time full-time graduation rate (fall 2003 Cohort: 67.9%), the highest five-year graduation rate (fall 2004 Cohort: 60.4%), the highest three-year retention rate (fall 2006 Cohort: 69.2%), and the highest two-year retention rate (fall 2007 Cohort: 75.7%).

Instruction Positions Per FTES Decline
The President should comment on the impact the decline in positions, particularly in instruction and academic support, has on the quality of education.

Campus Response:
Given resource challenges, we have instituted multiple initiatives to ensure that our instructional faculty and academic support staff are operating as efficiently as possible. These include (a) enrollment pressure procedures that add sections when, and only when, enrollment demand indicates; (b) the use of student-faculty ratios, including both FTE credits and majors, to prioritize the allocation of faculty positions to areas with highest demand; and (c) course utilization statistics to facilitate the enrollment of students in courses with capacity.  While these initiatives have resulted in cost savings in order to absorb losses in State funding, the reduction in positions has had two important negative effects: (a) in a number of instances, students have been unable to enroll in courses, delaying academic progress and sometimes graduation; (b) the challenges of reduced support have motivated a number of faculty and staff members to consider, and sometimes accept, other job offers. Both of these challenges are likely to intensify as fiscal constraints continue.

Institutional Aid Distribution
The President should comment on athletic scholarships accounting for an increasing portion of total institutional aid and the amount spent on need-based aid declining $0.2 million in fiscal 2011 despite a 3.0% increase in tuition.  The President should also comment on efforts to meet the needs of those students in the lowest EFC categories.

Campus Response:
The fiscal 2011 MHEC figures represent a snapshot of our spending in late fall.  As a result of this timing, the athletic awards are overstated, and the amount actually spent by year-end will be lower because of cancellations of awards (students who either lose eligibility or do not return in the spring).  There are no new athletic awards made in the spring. Conversely, the need-based aid amount does not reflect awards made for spring 2011 admits, nor does it account for summer awards.  These amounts will be reflected in the final expenditure numbers, which will increase the total amount spent on need-based aid. UMBC has increased the need-based aid budget by an average of 9.3% per year for the past four years. The budgeted increase for FY 2011 was 13%. We have used these increases to focus our institutional need-based aid on our neediest students. We package our institutional aid in EFC order giving priority to those students with the highest need.

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