Letters to the UMB Community

The Future of Work

April 08, 2022

Dear UMB Community,

There’s an old story about the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in the years after the great fire of 1666. The architect Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold. He asked them the same question: “What are you doing?” The first bricklayer replied, “I’m working.” The second bricklayer responded, “I’m building a wall.” But the third bricklayer said with a gleam in his eye, “I’m building a cathedral.”

I share that story because each of you does meaningful work at UMB. I believe that the work of every single person employed at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) helps meet our mission: to improve the human condition and serve the public good of Maryland and society at large.

What you do here matters.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much of how we function as a society — including, in many instances, how we work. What hasn’t changed is that students from across UMB’s seven schools depend on us for a fulfilling, hands-on education to help them get to their meaningful careers. We are fundamentally an in-person institution, but we aren’t living in a pre-pandemic world.

I’m proud that UMB changed our telework policy last August to allow for increased flexibility, and I want you to know that we continue to think about how UMB will evolve. I've met with and heard from many of you, including the staff senate and the faculty senate. This week, I met with the deans and vice presidents for a conversation about the future of work at UMB as it relates to our faculty and as it relates to our staff. We know that UMB is full of dedicated individuals who, guided by our core values, contribute to the UMB culture and help to meet our mission. We also know that the well-being of our employees matters and that we want to remain an employer of choice. To that end, we are developing a task force that will help us think through the changing needs of this institution, support our existing workforce, and plan for the future.

I ask that you continue to take advantage of UMB’s existing policies, that you remember to focus on your well-being, and that you give us a bit of time and patience as we reimagine what work looks like at UMB.

I am calling on you to help us build a stronger UMB.


Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS


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