Faculty, staff, and students-130 in all-attended the first monthly question-and-answer session by University President Jay A. Perman, MD, on Sept. 20, asking him about a variety of topics ranging from the University's future to crime to global outreach.
"I think it's very important that we engage each other and that we are able to have a dialogue," Perman said at the event, which took place at the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center. The Q&A sessions will be held at various campus locations throughout the year.
Asked to explain his vision for the future of the University, Perman, who became president July 1, said it includes a stronger focus on "interprofessional education" among the schools.
"We need to come together, to a greater degree than we are, as a university," he said, adding that the schools "need to leverage each other."
In reply to a question about a recent report on Baltimore television station WBAL's news website that the Baltimore campus of the University of Maryland is among the most dangerous college campuses in the country, Perman said the information used in the report reflects crime in nearby areas and not at the University.
"This is a very good and safe community we are in," Antonio Williams, MS, police chief and director of public safety, added at the Q&A session. "We want the truth to get out about just how safe this campus is."
Perman said that "we have to play our part in re-creating" adjacent neighborhoods through community outreach work. "We can't continue to be an island," he said.
Regarding outreach efforts well beyond Baltimore, Perman said in reply to a student's question that global outreach "is very front and center" at the University. The University president said about 20 percent of external funding goes toward work on health issues and other concerns around the globe.
Along with questions from the audience, Perman answered questions submitted anonymously through a new University website used exclusively to pose questions to the president (www.umaryland.edu/president/feedback).
Anonymous questions are also answered in Perman's monthly newsletter, which debuted Sept. 17.
Regarding the campus' identity, Perman said, "We are working very hard on a branding and marketing campaign to say who we are and to try to tamp down the confusion" about the University of Maryland's similarly named Baltimore and Baltimore County campuses, and the University of Baltimore.
Perman also talked about the importance of regularly scheduled evaluation of staff performance, saying employees "need feedback" from their supervisors on how well they are doing their jobs.
"I feel very strongly that everyone deserves an annual evaluation," he said. "I will reinforce that."
The next Q&A session will be noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 18 in Pharmacy Hall Addition.
Questions and answers from the sessions, including a summary of the questions asked most frequently, will soon begin appearing on the president's website, www.umaryland.edu/president.