The Baltimore Sun Feb. 26 editorial "Moving UM and UMB closer" supports a move in the Maryland General Assembly to strengthen the collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park, but opposes a provision that could strip UMB of its president and of local control.
The Sun cites the success already achieved by the structured research and educational collaboration between the two universities known as, University of Maryland: MPowering the State, and the dramatic increase since 2011 in community engagement and redevelopment initiatives in West Baltimore under the direction of UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD.
Key provisions of Bill SB 1052, the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act of 2016, include:
- The establishment of one university, to be known as the University of Maryland, with two campuses, in Baltimore and in College Park. Although each campus would initially be overseen by its own president, if one of the presidents were to leave office the Board of Regents could opt not to replace him or her, directing instead that both campuses should be run by one president.
- Direction to the presidents of each campus to "jointly develop and implement a plan that encourages and promotes alignment, cooperation, and collaboration" overseen by the Maryland Joint Steering Council, whose members would be chosen by each president.
- The formation of the Center for Maryland Advanced Ventures in Baltimore that would pursue joint grant funding and oversee technology transfer. The center would receive at least $1 million annually for several years to help attract technology businesses to Baltimore.
- The formation of the Maryland Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development in College Park, receiving at least $10 million in annual funding in perpetuity. That center would advance educational programs in the areas of virtual reality, neurosciences, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
- Direction of the Governor to provide $61 million in capital funding to build the Biomedical and Engineering Education Facility at the Universities at Shady Grove.
A hearing on SB 1052 will take place on Tuesday, March 1st at 8:30 a.m. before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.