President's Letter on ERM

As our University moves forward in pursuing our collective objectives, it is important that we do so with full knowledge of the implications of our decisions and actions. That includes ensuring that we understand and manage the inherent risks in our activities and that we include a balanced risk-reward analysis in evaluating potential opportunities available to us. It is with this in mind that I have launched the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) initiative.

Some describe ERM as a holistic approach to risk management that provides a framework for entitywide risk identification, prioritization of key exposures, and development of operational responses to potential adverse events and outcomes, based on a foundation of accountability and transparency. On a more basic level, others may describe ERM as management of a process for identifying that which keeps you up at night. However we define it, within the business of higher education, understanding and effectively managing risks that may impact our strategies, operations, finances, safety, compliance, and reputation is critical to our continued growth and success.

To accomplish the goal of establishing a successful ERM program, I have asked Pete Gilbert, vice president for planning and accountability, to lead this initiative. Our ERM program will include participation from leaders all across campus, from each school and our major administrative units. The structure and process encourages broad participation by faculty, staff, and students within our campus community.

This website, which will be updated periodically, serves as one means for providing information on our ERM program. There will be other opportunities to learn more about our program through presentations made by Pete and others, across campus, and in updates provided in our other University communication materials.

Our ERM program will be an ongoing activity. Strategic analysis of risks and opportunities must be part of the everyday fabric of how each of us conduct ourselves, and our program will serve to encourage increased awareness of risk in decision-making at every level throughout our institution. In this way, all of us are a vital part of our ERM program.

Jay A. Perman, MD
University of Maryland, Baltimore