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State of the Campus 2012

The State of the Campus Address
November 1, 2012
Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland

Today, I officially begin my third year as President of the University of Maryland. My respect and admiration for this community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni have only deepened.

When I came here there were many open or interim positions in senior administration, more than there had been in a generation.

We proceeded incrementally and in a balanced way. We had national searches and brought in top people from the outside with fresh perspectives. But we also looked at internal candidates, because they bring stability, long-term insights, and an appreciation of institutional culture. Now we have a permanent team on board with a balance of both. I am very, very proud of this team.
The two latest additions in senior administration are here today and I'd like to introduce them. I'm delighted to welcome our Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin, a biologist, the former Dean of Science at the University of Texas-Austin and then President of the National Math and Science Initiative. Thank you so much for joining us, Mary Ann. Will you please stand to be recognized?

I would also like to introduce our new Vice President for University Relations Peter Weiler, who formerly served at UCLA, Penn State, Ohio State, and University of New Hampshire. Thank you for joining us, Peter, and will you please stand?

And we have an incredible cadre of deans. Most of them are here today. I believe we probably have the finest group of talented, committed, and effective deans anywhere. Could you please stand so we can express to your our appreciation for your service.

The state of our campus is strong. The University is ascendant. It is a University in bloom.The University of Maryland is strong in academics, research, and in its impact on society—locally and around the world.

Now, I would like to speak of the university's progress the past year. Then, I will focus on some of our challenges—the agenda of the University for the next two or three years.

Financial Outlook

Our University is strong because of the commitment and support of our elected officials in Annapolis. In the Great Recession and its aftermath, Governor Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly have protected our budget. Yes, we have had cuts, but nowhere near those suffered in other states. Our leaders have protected access for students by providing additional state funding to keep tuition as affordable as possible. We are very grateful to our elected officials for their support.

And now, we appear to have turned the corner. The state of Maryland began the Great Recession with a structural deficit of $1.5 billion. Over the past two years, Annapolis has whittled that down. Now, in the third year, $500 million of the structural debt remains, while projected revenue in the next fiscal year is $800 million. So, we are in a fine position.

As a result, starting in January (2013), we are getting a 2 percent cost-of-living increase. We have not had any increase for the past several years. We need it. We deserve it. And we appreciate this action by the legislature.

The state's Department of Budget and Management and the Governor's Office have proposed another cost-of-living increase for January 2014—an increase of 3 percent. Then, finally, in the spring of 2014, the proposal calls for a merit increase of 2.5 percent. We will advocate very strongly in the coming General Assembly session for those increases proposed by Governor O'Malley.

However, the recovery is fragile. The fragility is centered nine miles down the road on Capitol Hill. On January 2, our nation faces a "fiscal cliff." If we go off the cliff, regardless of who gets elected, we will all be faced with draconian, across-the-board cuts as well as substantial tax increases when the Bush-era tax cuts expire.

Massive cuts in the federal workforce would follow. The state of Maryland will be hit very hard because of the high proportion of federal workers who live here.

This is a scenario, a possibility. I do not think it will happen, because I cannot believe that leaders of either party will allow it. But, if they do, we are prepared. The University has made contingency fiscal plans. We must all hope this will not come to pass.

Private support

In these tight times, the University of Maryland has remained strong because of our efforts to secure alternative, private funding—most dramatically our $1 billion capital campaign, Great Expectations. Because of the extraordinary work of our University Relations staff over the past several years, and with the extraordinary support of the Board of Trustees of our UMCP Foundation, we have reached the $990 million mark. We are only $10 million short of the $1 billion goal, and we fully expect to cross the finish line by the end of the year when the campaign officially ends.

This is an amazing achievement! We will join the "One Billion Dollar Club." And we have reached this goal during the Great Recession! This speaks to the strength of our alumni and our campus community. Our private benefactors are enabling us to shape our own destiny. So far, their support has given us:
 

  • More than $320 million to support students—financial aid that will help make a top-notch Maryland education more affordable. More than $320 million in financial aid! That is an extraordinary number.
  • More than $220 million to support faculty—creating endowed chairs and professorships.
  • Nearly $250 million to support academic programs and research. For example, Northrop Grumman Corp. recently gave us more than $1 million to create the nation's first living and learning honors program for undergraduates specializing in cybersecurity. This is another way that philanthropy supports the needs of students while addressing an urgent national need in the 21st century.
  • Approximately $200 million for bricks and mortar. Remember that for every private dollar we raise for building projects, we can use that to leverage $4 in state support. Ultimately, this private funding will yield us $800 million for construction.

    As an example, we will build the St. John Learning and Teaching Center—a $50 million building now in the planning stages; and a $125 million bioengineering building, state of the art, also in the planning stages. Both are made possible by significant private gifts that we used to leverage state funding.

This state match on construction projects has allowed us to devote 80 percent of the funds we've raised to students, faculty, and research—people and programs, rather than buildings. This, I believe, is a remarkable expression of university values.

The generosity of our benefactors and the work of Vice President Peter Weiler's University Relations team are making a major contribution to the continued growth and strength of this university.

Student Achievement

Another reason we are strong is because our students are outstanding. For many years, the credentials of our entering students have steadily risen. Did you know that the median grade point of the entering class is over a 4.0? And that the average SAT score is 1300? That's on the order of an A-minus average—good enough to place us among the top 10 of student credentials among U.S. public universities.

Another marker of the high quality of our students is their success in getting fellowships and scholarships—almost 100 in all. It's really quite amazing. Let me just give you one example.

I was going through the whole list and the work of Brock Macintosh caught my eye. He just graduated this summer with a degree in history and sociology. Brock, a veteran, served a tour of duty in Afghanistan before coming to Maryland. At the University, he was an active student leader. Since graduation, he has taken his sense of civic duty on the road, and reports that he is working 80 hours a week in support of a political candidate.

We can all take great pride in the success and achievements of students like Brock who demonstrate excellence in both their academics and beyond the classroom. Consider last spring's remarkable Do Good Challenge. This social entrepreneurship campaign drew the participation of over one hundred teams, 400 students in all! The Stamp Student Union Grand Ballroom was packed for the finals.

That night, the Food Recovery Network and its co-founder Ben Simon took top honors for their incredible work. Simon and his teammates collect unused food from campus dining halls, the Comcast Center, and Byrd Stadium. Then they deliver it to shelters in the Washington, D.C. area—so far about 30,000 meals per semester; 30 thousand!

Simon's goal is to take the organization national. Their not-for-profit organization has been replicated at Berkeley, Pomona, and Brown University. They want to create 500 chapters and recover 5 million meals each year.

This is what I call the Terp Spirit—fearless turtles, with fearless ideas doing "good" in the world. It is a great source of pride to me—in addition to our students' entering credentials and amazing academic achievements.

Student Graduation Rates

Having assembled this remarkable pool of academic talent, we must do more to advance our graduation rates. These have stagnated for the past several years at around 82 or 83 percent.

Some context: About 15 years ago, the university's graduation rate was around 62 percent, but thanks to the efforts of my predecessor Dan Mote and his team, it jumped by about one-third. But it has not budged in recent years past 83 percent.

Now, that is far above the average of other public universities. It is above the average of other AAU institutions (Association of American Universities). Still we can do better. The highest graduation rates among our public peers are around 92 percent.

We have talented students, why aren't more graduating? They are not leaving because they cannot do the work. Most are not leaving because they cannot afford the tuition, though some do have financial aid issues.

The major reason: limits on majors—they cannot get into the programs they want. This is especially true among students who want to pursue an engineering degree. Why? Because we do not have the money to hire more faculty or provide extra facilities to accommodate all students who want to major in certain fields.

We do not want students to come here and leave with their hopes and dreams dashed because they could not get a degree in their chosen field. We don't want to shortchange the state that has invested in their education by having them leave here without a degree.

I am issuing a challenge to you the faculty, to the deans, and to my new provost: In five years, by 2017, we will have reached an 87 percent graduation rate, 1 percent a year for the next five years. This is not an easy challenge, but it is the task that I set before you today.

Faculty Achievements

We have an incredibly talented faculty. I was just looking at the long list of prizes and scholarships our faculty has earned this year—Humboldt, Sloan, Guggenheim, Fulbrights; we have 11 new fellows elected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science representing a number of departments. These are just a few examples of the highly distinguished recognition given to our faculty members.

Faculty research has been extremely productive, and they are to be commended for the excellence of their achievements. I'd like to congratulate Pat O'Shea for leading the effort in research, and supporting our faculty to generate $500 million in research funding. That's a remarkable accomplishment at any time, but especially in an austere financial time.

Additionally, under Pat's leadership, we have already created five new companies this fiscal year—in just four months, five companies. Our average is three or four in a whole year, and we've already exceeded that level.

We are also growing our research partnerships in dramatic ways. The latest example: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, just opened its Center for Weather and Climate Prediction at M Square, our University of Maryland Research Park. Some 800 atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, earth scientists, other staff work there. They, plus our own scientists on campus, along with those at NASA Goddard and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, represent the greatest single concentrated cluster of weather, climate, and earth scientists in the world—all packed into this small area.

That is a huge, huge impact for this region and the nation because of the impact of weather prediction and long-term climate prediction for property, safety, and national security.

Thanks to all the many people—especially our faculty and students—who contribute in so many vital ways to make this a great research University!

Staff Dedication

Our staff performed brilliantly during the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. We emerged quite quickly and quite well due to the incredible dedication and work of our staff—in our Police Department, Resident Life, Facilities, and Dining Services. Many of them worked for two or three days straight, living on the job to keep us safe and protecting our property. We owe them our gratitude and our thanks. I commend their dedication and commitment. They have earned our esteem and deepest appreciation.

At Convocation last month, we recognized six staff members for the dedication and excellence of their work. Each, through his or her unique contribution, earned the Distinguished Service Award. We are very appreciative and congratulate our staff for their dedication to our University. Let's give them a round of applause!

Challenges

Now let me turn to four challenges and opportunities that face this university. We are already a great research University. What should we look like as the 21st century progresses?

Challenge 1: How do we reimagine education in the face of online and blended education?

In July, Coursera—a platform delivering free MOOCs, massive open online courses worldwide—announced that a dozen top universities, mostly AAU members, were joining. Within 24 hours, a steady barrage of phone and email were asking, where is the University of Maryland?

Even without inviting volunteers, within 24 hours, we had over 24 faculty members offering to participate in Coursera. We made sure the University of Maryland was among the next group of universities joining Coursera this past September.

We picked four courses to begin: "Developing Innovative Ideas for Real Companies;" "Women and the Civil Rights Movement;" "Exploring Quantum Physics;" and "Software Defined Networking." The one on innovation has 30,000 students signed up so far.

Last week, I was at a meeting of AAU presidents. We devoted an entire session to this issue of online education. I took part in a panel with two other people. The president of Stanford said that we are facing a "tsunami" in higher education in the form of online education, and specifically MOOCs.

The other participant, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, related how one of her English professors is now using Coursera to teach poetry to 35,000 students around the world—a lifetime's worth of pupils in a single course.

I was asked to speak on the subject from the point of view of the president of a public research university. Our perspective must differ from privates like Stanford and Penn.

I told them, "From the point of view of public higher education—especially from the view of a flagship research university—the major challenge in the 21st century, in the face of state cutbacks, of flat growth, is: 1) How do you educate more students? 2) How do you educate them better—meaning better learning outcomes, better retention rates, better graduation rates, narrowing the achievement gap? 3) How do you drive down the costs?"

In other words, the public research university of the future will have to provide greater access to more students; greater quality, in terms of educational outcomes; and greater affordability.

This is our new reality. The days of abundant state funding are over. At best, it will be flat or we will see only very modest increases. A lot of institutions—not Maryland— have dramatically increased their tuition.

So tuitions go up, students cannot afford to pay for it, and they get huge loans. Student loans are now the second-highest consumer debt, right behind credit cards. And then graduates can't get jobs! Fifty percent of recent college graduates do not have jobs commensurate with their education. It is not surprising that college affordability has been a political issue in the current presidential election.

The issue of productivity and accountability faces public institutions in a way that will not affect private universities, and I pointed this out. What is productivity? It is ratio of outputs over inputs. In this case the outputs are the number of graduates and the quality of education they receive. The denominator—the input—is cost. We have to increase the numerator and drive down the denominator.

That is what legislators, governors, and citizens expect of public universities. These same pressures do not exist at the Stanfords and Penns. So, the question from our point of view is whether educational technology can help us drive down the denominator.

I do not know the answer to that question, but I am calling on this faculty, our deans, and our provost to lead us in that conversation. I want the University of Maryland not simply to participate, but to help transform the landscape of public higher education for the 21st century.

What does that mean, practically? Let me give you one small example.

First of all, recognize that two forces are coming together. One the one hand, the technology for online education is nothing like it was 10 years ago, or what you have even now at UMUC (University of Maryland University College). A decade ago, online education was a video of a professor giving an hour lecture posted to the Internet. How exciting is that?

If you go online and look at Khan Academy or Coursera, you'll find that their videos are 10 to 15 minutes, interspersed with interactive questions and answers, with collaboration, with adaptive analytics that determine your learning patterns and give immediate feedback to the faculty member. It is a totally different way of learning and teaching.

It is a little like the old days when television first went on the air. They filmed a staged theater presentation and put it on TV. They were trying to replicate on the screen what was live on stage. And that was not a full, effective use of the technology.

So, now we have new educational technology that no longer simply tries to replicate the classroom experience on a little screen. Remember, the screen students use these days is often a tablet or a mobile device.

Look at this slide.

[Slide: Aerial view of future site of new classroom building]

This is the footprint of our new $50 million St. John Learning and Teaching Center right in the middle of McKeldin Mall. That building will be around for 100 years or more. We're planning it right at this moment.

[Slide: Young child comfortably equipped with a technological array, including a laptop, digital camera, cell phone]

This young girl will be coming here in 14 years. She is a digital native. She is what I call the "A-O Generation"—"always on." In fact, this is already common among some of our students. If you see undergraduates in a large room, how do they communicate? They are texting each other. They have Internet-molded brains. They live in a virtual world. And so communicating, downloading information, virtual learning is second nature to them in ways that, frankly, I cannot comprehend.

We are designing our new classrooms for this generation. Yet, some architects are designing classrooms for this the A-O generation that look like this—traditional auditoriums...

[Slide: Crowded lecture hall filled with students, each using a laptop]

...where the professor sits in front, students fumble with their laptops, and they only talk to one another to ask a question. Do you think that the little girl, the digital native, will want to have every single course taught like this? Do you think she'll want to sit through 55-minute lectures as the standard mode of learning? I don't think so.

I think that right now most of our undergraduates would like to explore complementary ways of learning—not get rid of lectures entirely.

[Slide: Blended classroom; students sit at round tables at their own video station, working collaboratively, while teacher circulates and interacts individually]

This is what is happening at many large universities. They are no longer designing auditorium-style classrooms. These classrooms have tables where students work collaboratively. The professor circulates and works with them, problem solving and so forth.

What happened to the lectures? Professors still deliver them—sometimes in the class, but more often, students download them and watch in their dorm room or at home. Most of the deeper learning takes place in the classroom. This is hybrid education.

When we talk about online education at this university, we are not talking about a technological shift; we are talking about a new way of learning and teaching. It is a cultural change, and we need the engagement of the faculty to address that issue.

Online and Internationalization: If I may digress for a moment, I'd like to offer this example of the potential impact of online technology. Last year at this time, when I was in on a trade mission with Governor O'Malley, I met with the president of Indira Gandhi University in New Delhi. He asked me, "Do you know how many students we have?" And I said no. He said, "We have 3 million students in India and throughout Asia. Three million! Further, all instruction is in English. We are reaching the poorest of the poor."

"How do you reach them?" I asked.

"Mobile devices," he said. "They don't have the wherewithal to leave their farms or homes to come to a classroom. But they deserve an education nonetheless. What we need is content. Can you, the University of Maryland, help provide content modules for some of their courses?"

Then, to bring home his point, he added," Somewhere among those three million may be your next Einstein, a genius who sees that course online, and says, 'I want to go to the University of Maryland to study face to face with those great professors.'"

That is the world we face. Universities around the world are exploring how to take advantage of this technology. But, these MOOCs—massive open online courses—are not just for emerging economies. The technology can be applied right here to enhance residential learning and teaching at the University of Maryland.

Our Maryland challenge: I've talked to Provost Mary Ann Rankin, and she is going to put together a small group to study: 1) whether we need one central office to focus on this issue, and 2) how will it affect the quality of our courses.

We have already begun to address that second question. Right now, we are running a randomized control experiment with one of those MOOCs from Penn. Some of our students take a statistics course the traditional way. Others use the MOOC. Our researchers will compare the learning outcomes. Does it really improve quality?

We also need to determine whether the new technology can really help us drive down costs. And how do we generate revenue from MOOCs? At some point we cannot keep giving them away. Nobody thinks they'll be provided free forever.

Don't worry about the fact that there is no business model. Think about Facebook and Google. When they were first created, nobody knew how they would make money. The answer is scale. When you scale it, then you can discover possible sources of revenue.

Finally, how do we change the educational culture on campus? Not everybody has to participate, but over time, how do we support and enable a core faculty engaged in online, blended learning on campus?

Challenge 2: Increase UMD innovation and entrepreneurship

We are a great research University, and we continue to remain one. We emphasize education and we emphasize basic research. But, I believe in the 21st century we need to emphasize something more. In addition to basic research, we need to emphasize innovation and entrepreneurship.

Innovation to Impact—"I to I"—is the expression of our land-grant mission of putting knowledge into practice. How do we take the knowledge we create or discover in the ivory tower, and apply it to address the pressing problems of our day?

"I to I" is vital to our nation's economic competitiveness: How do we create new jobs, new processes, new products, new services that are better, cheaper, or both? How do we create a more sustainable environment and develop green energy? How do we improve the quality of life?

"I to I" is not just about business and engineering. It involves the entire university—the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts. My goal is nothing less than exposing all of our 37,000 students to education in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) through new and existing courses. I&E is a mindset, a way of thinking—one that must be learned.

I am not talking simply about learning to create ventures that produce revenue. As I mentioned earlier, students need to learn about creating social ventures that make a social difference.

Again, allow me to use an example from India. During Governor O'Malley's mission last year, I went to Delhi University, which has 300,000 students, and spoke with the president.

It has an admission rate of 2.5 percent. This is the most selective university in India. The president had this incredible vision for making Delhi an innovation and entrepreneurship university.

They are taking freshmen and dividing them up into groups of 60 students. These groups work together for three years. The students take regular courses—math, history and literature, what have you—but each is focused around a common theme: poverty; urban transportation; good government. So they are learning all their subjects with examples drawn from those problem areas.

By their sophomore year, they come up with an actual plan to solve a particular problem. And by their senior year, they have to implement the plan and actually do something about it. That is their notion of innovation and entrepreneurship of a research university.

Comprehensive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education: Our idea is to provide a more comprehensive innovation and entrepreneurship education. We have a fantastic start with Mtech in the Clark School of Engineering, and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship in the Smith School of Business, and the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership in the School of Public Policy. The Honors College has living and learning entrepreneurship programs. But these programs are scattered all over. The whole is not more than the sum of its parts.

We want to bring it all together and provide coordinated leadership that will help expand these programs to all the colleges. And we will provide the needed funding. To do this, we are launching an Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship that will expand and build on our fantastic assets.

We have begun a national search for a director to lead the academy, and have two finalists. CMNS Dean Jayanth Banavar, who is leading the search committee, tells me we will have somebody on board by January.

I'm committed to raising $20 million to making innovation and entrepreneurship the signature feature of the University of Maryland—building upon our basic research and education. Right now, I count about 2,500 students exposed to I&E in many different forms. My goal, in five years, is to expose 50 percent of our students to I&E education. That is a very ambitious goal, but that is what we will aim for.

Technology Commercialization: In addition to the education component, Vice President for Research Pat O'Shea is leading an effort to bring together University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland, College Park tech commercialization by creating a new entity called University of Maryland Ventures. In this way we will jointly engage in commercialization of research from both campuses. I believe the search has just begun to hire an associate vice president to lead that effort. Both UM Ventures and our Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship will work together and share offices in the same building in College Park.

Challenge 3: Creating a truly comprehensive research university.

To compete in the 21st century a research university must be comprehensive. Without professional schools we are at a disadvantage. That means we must seek to bring in the health sciences and the law school. We fought last year to merge Baltimore and College Park. We advocated vigorously. I thought we made a very good case, but for all sorts of reasons this was not effective, and what we have now is MPowering the State.

MPower is less than merger, but far more than simple collaboration. Indeed, if we did merge, I think what we'd be doing for the first 10 years is no different from what we are doing right now under MPower.

We're creating a Collaborative School of Public Health, joining forces between Baltimore and College Park. We're establishing a new Institute for Bioinformatics. We're expanding our seed funding to put together our engineers and scientists to work jointly with the physicians and researchers in Baltimore.

My favorite project teams a mechanical engineer specializing in robotics with a neurosurgeon and radiologist in Baltimore. They are developing a tiny little robot than can wend its way to the brain, guided by the surgeon, and make incisions.

The team just got over $2 million from the National Institutes of Health. If this robot is successful, you can just imagine that they will patent it and take it to commercial success.

The future of translational sciences is bringing the assets of engineering and computer science together with the biomedical sciences.

Finally, there is a dramatic expansion in Shady Grove. We will offer additional courses there—new degrees that are not offered here in College Park. UMB will bring in new health sciences courses to Shady Grove.

The challenge, then, is how we continue this path of building deep collaboration with UMB to create a more comprehensive university, one that together will generate more than $1 billion a year in research funding.

Challenge 4: Economic development and community revitalization of College Park

How does the flagship university catalyze the economic development and community revitalization of College Park?

I am convinced that the primary hurdles to our continued rise as a preeminent research University do not lie within the institution itself. We've got the talent, we've got the enterprise, and we've got the resources. The hurdles are in the relationship between our University and the surrounding community. This University will flourish to the extent that College Park flourishes, and vice-versa.

The images tell the story.

[Slide: Master plan image]

Here is the facilities master plan that was approved just last spring. It is the plan for 2011 through 2030. All the green space is the university. All the gray space is the surrounding neighborhood of College Park.

This fantastic master plan—unanimously approved by the Board of Regents—is entitled "A First Class Campus for a First Class University, An Academic Park in the City." Think about that: an academic park in the city.

As a result of talking with a lot of people, the light bulb went on. There is nothing in this otherwise excellent master plan that tells anything about the surrounding city. It views the campus as an academic refuge from the world around us—a place of serenity and quiet with beautifully manicured grass, wonderful rectangles so people can think and learn and teach and do research. And that is what the core of a university should be.

Now look at the next slide.

[Slide: Shows details of both campus and surrounding community]

This shows that there is also something called Clover Hills. There is also something called Old Town, which is 90 percent student-occupied. All those beautiful old homes have been taken over as rooming houses for students. Look at what is happening to Lakeland and Berwyn and the other communities.

We have developed the campus with minimal attention to the city that surrounds us.

What are the issues we face? There are issues of safety. There is the fact that only 4 percent of our faculty and staff today live in College Park. A generation ago, it was 30 or 40 percent; they have voted with their feet by leaving our city to find other or more K-12 educational opportunities for their children. Quality K-12 schools are community anchors. Quality schools make a huge difference on the quality of life in the community.

We have 400 new faculty and staff come to the university each year as part of normal turnover. You talk to the real estate agents. They often don't even mention College Park. They mention other surrounding areas for possible family housing.

We have to focus our planning energies not only within campus boundaries, but also on the edges between the campus and the surrounding community. Focus on Route 1 that bisects the campus. Focus on Knox Road. Make these into vibrant areas, where there is mixed use development—a combination of good housing above, and at the retail level, bookstores, entertainment, cinemas, coffee shops, and upscale restaurants.

We provide incentives for faculty and staff to live in College Park. If we can get just ten percent of the 400 who move in and out each year—that's 40 families—it starts changing the dynamics and economics of College Park.

Together with College Park, we are proceeding to build a charter school. We don't think we can meet the goal of opening it in 2013, but it will certainly start in 2014. We already have a long list of people who want to join that charter school—in fact, they have told us, "We will come live in College Park if that charter school is open."

[Slide: Plan for developing border campus areas in College Park]

We have been working in a very close relationship with the city through a group called the City-University Partnership. Vice President for Administration and Finance Rob Specter has been leading that effort. After countless hours of meetings, talks, and negotiation, we formed a vision.

  • Implement a charter school that will enhance existing education;
  • Implement incentives for faculty-staff to live in College Park;
  • Increase safety, expand police jurisdiction: We have 100 police officers here; College Park has no police department;
  • Implement Route 1 improvements: Selectively buy strategic lots and develop anchors on them that galvanize private development; the rule of thumb is that for every dollar you invest, you generate $6 in private development;
  • Diversify our housing supply: Create market-rate housing for faculty and staff and subsidized housing for students.

If we do these things over the next 10 years, we can transform College Park, and that will transform the University of Maryland. It will make it much easier to attract top faculty, top graduate students, and top undergraduates.

These are the challenges I set before you for the next five to 10 years—challenges that can transform the University of Maryland:

  • Embed online and blended learning in our classrooms, with faculty engagement;
  • Make this an innovation and entrepreneurship university;
  • Strengthen and expand our ties with Baltimore;
  • Revitalize our surrounding community.

Each represents a vital step that prepares us to compete in a challenging 21st century. They will move us forward and upward.

Thank you.