On Tuesday, I outlined a path forward for our University in the annual State of the Campus address to the University Senate.
The University of Maryland is a premier research and land-grant institution. Our goal is to become "equal to the best" among our peers, as mandated by the state when it designated us the flagship university.
To continue our ascent, we must further invest in our students, faculty, staff, and facilities. This is the defining task in today's "new normal" of constrained resources.
I am proud of our amazingly talented and diverse student body. Our outstanding faculty engage in path-breaking scholarship and creative work. Last year, research funding exceeded $550M, a new record. Basic research is resulting in the start-up of 4 to 5 new high tech companies each year. Our partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, begun in 2012, has led to 70 joint faculty appointments and generated over $80M in joint research.
To support our educational and research mission, seven new campus facilities—totaling about $1B—have been built or are underway. Because the future of the University is intertwined with the future of the surrounding community, we have helped catalyze over $400M in private development to implement the vision of a "Greater College Park."
Our new partnership with the Phillips Collection builds on our programs in art, art history, performing arts and our broad excellence in arts and humanities. We are truly a STEAM university; the arts stand side-by-side with the STEM disciplines. Our affiliation with the Big Ten Conference and its academic arm, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, has spurred extensive collaborations with the other 13 schools.
Going forward, we must continue to build on our strengths, despite the fact that state appropriations and tuition revenues will likely stay relatively flat. That means using our collective ingenuity to diversify and expand our revenues.
To raise critical funds for scholarships, endowed professorships, programs and facilities, we will soon launch the University's largest philanthropic campaign—after three consecutive years of record fundraising. We will strategically increase enrollments, entrepreneurial academic programs, and new partnerships with industry and government to generate the new revenues to propel our University's ascent.
We will also work to modernize administrative processes so that they work better, faster, and more economically—savings that departments can reinvest in their own work. I have asked Provost Rankin to lead a team to develop proposals and work with the campus on implementation.
All this will allow us to make strategic investments:
- For students, we will raise endowment dollars to make college more affordable and increase funding for career-readiness programs.
- For faculty and staff, we will create a new fund to address salary compression, while continuing to advocate strongly in Annapolis for competitive salaries to attract and retain our talented people.
- We will make targeted investments in interdisciplinary research areas that build on existing strengths. These include, for example, big data, cyber-security, global climate change, brain and behavior, and contemporary African American life—issues that are among the grand challenges of our time.
Thank you for your dedication to our University. Working together, we will become a flagship institution that is "equal to the best."
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland