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UMBC has come farther than most might have imagined when the campus was founded in 1966. An Honors University, UMBC attracts top undergraduate students of all backgrounds and offers them special learning opportunities traditionally found at small liberal arts colleges. Our growth in research funding places us among the most rapidly developing research universities, and we are building one of the most inclusive graduate education communities in the nation. 

Our strategic plan sets a vision for 2016 – our 50th anniversary year – and our direction for the future builds on strengths that already distinguish UMBC. We ask you to see tomorrow as we see it – rich with possibilities.

arrow An Honors University for All
Writing and Communications
International Global and Diversity Studies
Center for the Humanities
arrow Creativity and Competitiveness
Science, Math and Engineering Education
Leaders for the Aging Boom
Entrepreneurship Education and Technology Commercialization
Art and Artists for the Contemporary World
arrow Inquiry Focused on Solutions
Environmental Science, Studies and Policy
Molecular Aspects of Life Sciences and Health
Information Technology and Informatics
Biomedical Applications of Ultrafast Optics and Imaging
arrow Investments in Talent

An Honors University for All

UMBC attracts top students who often arrive focused and passionate about their areas of interest. Our role as an Honors University is to feed this passion and give all students a well-founded liberal arts context to prepare them for successful careers. Our academic plan includes expanding writing requirements, new programs in communication and cultural studies and additional emphasis on applied humanities. These enriched offerings will continue to distinguish UMBC as a public university providing Maryland’s best and brightest students with an outstanding education at an accessible cost.

Writing and Communications: The ability to communicate effectively is a characteristic of the most successful leaders. Our core curriculum now includes a second required writing course. This foundation will be strengthened by a planned new undergraduate program, Intercultural Communication and Media Studies, which will fuse existing liberal arts and social sciences courses with UMBC’s strength in emerging communications technologies to provide highly marketable career preparation in written and oral communication.

Goal: $2 million for faculty and program development

International Global and Diversity Studies: Cultural understanding and language skills are vital in the global business and policy environment. Our academic plan identifies the opportunity to complement our innovative graduate programs in Intercultural Communication and Language, Literacy and Culture with a new undergraduate program that would unite existing expertise in languages and studies of cultures, political science and economics, providing students with multiple frames for understanding the world in which they will live and work.

Goal: $5 million for faculty research support and program development

Center for the Humanities: Awareness of the human dimension of decisions and events is important for leaders in all fields. The academic plan identifies the opportunity to connect our nationally and internationally recognized humanities faculty with students in all disciplines through a Center for the Humanities that would sponsor research and programming, bringing humanities scholarship to bear on a range of contemporary issues in science, technology and policy.

Goal: $1 million for faculty research support and program development

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Creativity and Competitiveness

Innovation is UMBC’s tradition. As a new public university in 1966, we had to be entrepreneurs to make our way among older, established institutions. Our culture encourages curiosity, new approaches and risk-taking. Our graduates are well-prepared to join the “creative class” experts say will drive the nation’s economic growth in fields from science and engineering to aging services, entertainment and education. We plan to take this strength to the next level by transforming math and science education, scaling up entrepreneurship education and technology commercialization activities and developing artists and arts programming for the contemporary world.

Science, Math and Engineering Education: Leading-edge work in science and technology is now global and national competitiveness is at risk as the U.S. produces fewer professionals for these careers. Our Meyerhoff Scholarship and Fellowship programs are nationally known for expanding the pipeline of scientists and engineers by attracting underrepresented groups in these fields.

We are building on this success through our Center for Women and Information Technology and Center for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education which focus on the front end of the pipeline, increasing the pool of students prepared for college-level studies through K-12 teacher education and curriculum innovation. Our goal is to create a scholars program modeled on the Meyerhoff Scholarship program that will draw highly talented students into math and science teaching careers.

Goal: $15 million for scholarships, fellowships and faculty development

Leaders for the Aging Boom: The Erickson School of Aging Studies was established at UMBC in 2004 through a $5-million commitment from John Erickson, founder and chief executive of Erickson, the Baltimore-based developer of residential communities for seniors. His visionary gift recognizes the unprecedented demand the aging of the baby boom population is creating for well-educated leaders to set new standards of excellence in aging services and policy.

The Erickson School will prepare undergraduate and graduate students with lifetime career flexibility to take advantage of workforce demand in healthcare, real estate, travel and hospitality, marketing, finance and nonprofit and government organizations serving the aging market. The Erickson School’s innovative blend of management, aging services and policy expertise is already gaining national recognition, reflected by more than $5-million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health and a National Advisory Board that includes top executives from industry and government.

Additional investment is needed to accelerate development of the Erickson School and meet the pressing need for professionals and innovation in this critical field.

Goal: $10 million for scholarships, fellowships, internships and endowed chair and professorships

Entrepreneurship Education and Technology Commercialization: The Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship is a vital resource supporting faculty and students with technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities. Working seamlessly with the University’s Office of Technology Development and research and technology park, the Alex. Brown Center facilitates business advisory services for entrepreneurs, formal and informal education in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization and extracurricular activities for student entrepreneurs.

The next stage of development for the Alex. Brown Center will be launching a summer institute to support faculty in developing entrepreneurship content throughout the curriculum.

Goal: $10 million for faculty development, curriculum development and student internships

Art and Artists for the Contemporary World: The arts inspire creative thinking broadly, making our leadership in contemporary visual and performing arts an asset for all UMBC students and the regional economy. As the campus looks forward to opening a new Performing Arts and Humanities Facility in 2010, our academic plan identifies the opportunity to complement this State capital investment with funds to enhance and increase arts performances for campus and regional audiences. Our plans also include expanding the Linehan Artists Scholars program and extending entrepreneurship education to arts majors to prepare them to launch successful careers and businesses.

Goal: $2 million for scholarships, faculty development and visiting artists

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Inquiry Focused on Solutions

The future of science and technology will unfold at the intersection of disciplines. From computer mapping of the genome to space-based environmental research, the most important new discoveries will come from labs that focus teams of experts on questions that can’t be answered with traditional knowledge and methods. Our academic plan identifies opportunities for focused investment in several centers of research excellence.

Environmental Science, Studies and Policy: Complex environmental questions raised by long-term climate change, economic and demographic shifts and natural disasters have far-reaching social, economic and policy implications. Our existing research strength in environmental engineering, geography and environmental systems, physics, public health and environmental policy, along with the pending move of the U.S. Geological Survey’s regional office to the University’s research park, create an opportunity to firmly establish UMBC as a major regional and national center in environmental science and policy.

Goal: $5 million for faculty research support

Molecular Aspects of Life Sciences and Health: In the post-genomics era, the next questions to be answered are: What activates genes and how do they relate? The science of proteomics – analysis of the behavior of proteins produced by cells – will reveal the answers to these questions. UMBC life scientists are already using proteomics to learn more about cancer, infectious diseases, biomaterials and pollutants.

Our academic plan identifies a dedicated proteomics lab as a way to dramatically accelerate the progress of their research, attract additional federal research funding and expose students to technology and analytic techniques that will become the new standard in the biotechnology industry.

Goal: $5 million for faculty research support and equipment

Information Technology and Informatics: The rapid development of information technologies continues to change the way people work, shop, communicate and entertain themselves. UMBC plans to build upon established strengths in databases, data mining, human-centered computing and accessibility. Our academic plan identifies the opportunity to establish and support focused research groups of current and new faculty with backgrounds in computer science, information systems, psychology and industrial engineering. Faculty affiliated with these groups will attract increased federal research support, offer research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and provide opportunities for collaboration with industry.

Goal: $10 million for faculty research support

Biomedical Applications of Ultrafast Optics and Imaging: UMBC’s Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research is among the nation’s most advanced laboratories for applying ultrafast optics and quantum imaging to such environmental and biomedical applications as detecting minute levels of toxins in the atmosphere and identifying cancer cells. The Center is a partner with Princeton University in a multimillion-dollar National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center focused in this pioneering research area. Our academic plans identifies the need for “proof of principle” support for this exploratory work which will position UMBC for substantial federal funding in the future and lead to technology commercialization that will further the region’s growing biotechnology sector.

Goal: $5 million for faculty research support

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Investments in Talent

As higher education is increasingly viewed as a private investment rather than a public good, the combination of increasing tuition and declining financial aid is an obstacle to higher education for many talented low-to-middle income students.

Ten years ago, UMBC students paid only 40 percent of the cost of their education. This year students pay 53 percent – the result of recent State budget pressures. Many undergraduates must choose between spending time on studies and campus involvement or working to pay their bills. Many will graduate with debt levels of $18,000 or more. Fellowships for graduate students are often not competitive with those offered by other research universities, causing UMBC to lose promising prospective students and the region to lose future workforce.

Additional support for student scholarships and fellowships is needed to reverse these trends and secure UMBC’s mission to provide high quality, affordable education that benefits Maryland families and the region.

Goal: $25 million for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships

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Overall Campaign Goal

An Honors University for All $8 million
Creativity and Competitiveness $37 million
Inquiry Focused on Solutions $25 million
Investments in Talent  $25 million
Annual Giving  $5 million
Total Goal  $100 million

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John C. Erickson
“Imagine if you found yourself at a crossroads in history, where the actions you took could have a profound impact on the future wellbeing of literally millions of Americans. You would turn to a partner with the vision, creativity and drive to help you develop a new kind of solution. For me, UMBC has proven to be that partner.”
John C. Erickson
Chairman of the Board, Erickson
Chair, The Campaign for UMBC
Co-chair, UMBC Board of Visitors

In just two years, UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging Studies is emerging as a leading national center for education and research linking aging studies, management science and public policy. The School recently launched the nation’s only undergraduate degree in Management of Aging Services. Established through a major commitment from the Erickson Foundation, the School reflects continuing support for UMBC by John and Nancy Erickson, now totaling $10 million.