Perman Addresses UMB's Achievements, Future
With a pinch of history, a dash of pride, and a heaping helping of
collaboration, University of
Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD, put forth a
winning recipe in his first annual
State of the University Address.
Speaking at a packed School
of Nursing auditorium on April 24 that included dignitaries such as
University System of Maryland (USM)
Chancellor William E. Kirwan, PhD,
Perman discussed UMB's recent achievements and the challenges it will
confront in the coming year.
The address grew out of the transparency and accountability component
of the University's 2011-2016
strategic plan and was the first such speech in a quarter-century
at UMB, the founding campus of USM that dates to 1807.
Perman, president since 2010, paid homage to UMB's history early in his
remarks, mentioning Albin O. Kuhn, PhD,
who became UMB's first CEO, then called chancellor, in 1971.
Said Perman: "Dr. Kuhn said, 'We need to examine the objectives of the
individual schools and how they fit together as a whole. We must
continue to find better ways to work with other campuses of the
"So today when I talk about collaboration within and beyond our
University, I proudly stand on Chancellor Kuhn's shoulders," Perman
said. "But it was surely a simpler time when Dr. Kuhn led this great
University. Today, when higher education, biomedical research, legal
and human services scholarship is so much more complex than it was 43
years ago, working together is even more important."
Teamwork, among schools, disciplines, universities, and the community,
was a recurring theme throughout Perman's address.
He called UMB's strategic plan "a model of Universitywide engagement."
More than 400 faculty, staff, students, and affiliates participated in
forming the plan while hundreds more provided input through surveys.
The strategic plan will shape UMB for the next decade.
Perman then went on to discuss the University
of Maryland: MPowering
the State, a structured collaboration between UMB and the University of
Maryland, College Park (UMCP) formed in early 2012. MPowering the State uses the resources of the two universities to better serve students,
attract more exceptional faculty and researchers, and boost research,
technology transfer, and commercialization of UMB and UMCP
"This has developed into an exciting and powerful relationship that
allows us to create new ideas, solve challenges, and think in new
ways," Perman told the audience. "The power of collaboration!"
Perman gave several examples of MPowering successes: The
Scholars Program allows College Park students who are interested in the
biomedical and health sciences to do summer research at UMB, and UMB
students to enroll in programs at College Park; Baltimore's Carey School of Law
has joined with UMCP to launch several initiatives; and a collaborative
school of public health has been formed from a partnership between the
School of Medicine's Department of
Epidemiology and Public Health in Baltimore and the School of Public Health in College
"Students at the collaborative school of public health will be able to
take a joint curriculum with specializations that draw on the unique
strengths of both campuses," Perman said.
He also said UMB is committed to maintaining and enlarging its
activities in areas such as Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Cecil, and Prince
George's counties, on the Eastern Shore, and in Southern Maryland.
for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging, the Institute
for Bioscience and Biotechnology, the Research HARBOR, and UM
were among other collaborative projects mentioned by Perman.
"UM Ventures has overseen a 35 percent increase in the last two years
in the number of inventions that our scientists have identified for
potential patenting," Perman said. "We have increased the number of
licenses by 47 percent, and we have increased revenue from these
activities by 35 percent. New startups have more than doubled."
One can't discuss research at UMB without mentioning the University of Maryland BioPark,
which Perman said "is already home to the largest cluster of biotech
companies in the city of Baltimore. Our goal is to grow it into the
largest innovation community in the state of Maryland."
Its newest addition is the Maryland
Proton Treatment Center, a $200 million facility that will provide
state-of-the art care to nearly 2,000 cancer patients annually when it
opens in 2015.
Perman, who is co-chair of the Westside Task Force with Mayor Stephanie
Rawlings-Blake and chair of the Downtown Partnership, also spoke of
UMB's commitment to the community and progress made in the last 18
"And, there's more to come," he said. "I have a vision of UMB as
an easily recognizable and vibrant urban university surrounded by a
redeveloped and revitalized Baltimore City."
Health Sciences Facility III, which is under construction and due to be
completed in 2017, will add 429,000 square feet to UMB's campus,
enabling the research enterprise to grow. A recently created Center
for Interprofessional Education (IPE) is serving as a platform for
IPE initiatives across UMB.
Perman lauded incoming Carey School of Law Dean Donald B. Tobin, JD, and outgoing
Dean Phoebe A Haddon, JD, LLM.
He also noted the addition of signage, lighting, walking trails, and
the UM shuttle, but said he is far from satisfied.
"I am often asked why I am so determined to improve our community," he
said. "To me it is core to what we do: education, research, clinical
care, and service are about improving the human condition. We, of
course, cannot do this alone. We will work with our many partners to
enhance the health and welfare of our community in novel and innovative
ways" he said, mentioning the Institute for a Healthiest
Maryland, Promise Heights,
UMB will be facing many challenges in the next year, Perman said.
Cybersecurity continues to grow as a threat and is being addressed.
Financial uncertainty also looms.
"To have a balanced operating budget for FY15, noticeable reductions in
expenses will be required," Perman said. "I need all of you -- my
colleagues -- to work with me to address this challenge. We must
collaborate to innovate, improve, and ultimately remove unnecessary
expenses. To that end, we are undertaking an operational innovation and
expense reduction initiative."
While on the topic of finances, Perman noted the "Making an Impact
Worldwide" capital campaign that raised $665 million at its completion
in December 2012, the "magnanimous" $30 million gift from the Carey
Foundation naming the Carey School of Law, and the UMB Foundation Scholarship
Matching Program, which during the next two years will award $15
million in new endowed scholarships. "There will be many more similar
initiatives as we harness our full fundraising potential," Perman vowed.
Perman praised the governing bodies on campus, the Diversity Advisory Council,
the Carey School of Law's Law and
Health Care Program that was ranked first in the nation recently by U.S.News & World Report, and four UMB faculty members who were
honored by the USM Board of Regents -- "the most of any system
institution," Perman said.
A pediatrician who headed the state Summit on Childhood Obesity in
2011, Perman closed with a salute to the children, including members of
the OrchKids ensemble that opened and closed his address with songs.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in the final analysis, it is for the future of
the children whose sweet music we enjoyed here today -- for children
everywhere -- that we exist," Perman said. "It is ultimately for their
sake that our research; our education and training; our service
missions go forward. Colleagues and friends, the state of UMB is
strong; we are optimistic; and we are determined to excel as a public
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