UMBC visit offers Chancellor Caret glimpse of “innovation that matters”

Published: Sep 29, 2015

Chancellor Bob Caret and Ganna Vikhlyayeva '15, animation and interactive media, in UMBC's Imaging Research Cente
(Chancellor Bob Caret and Ganna Vikhlyayeva '15, animation and interactive media, in UMBC's Imaging Research Center. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11.)

UMBC welcomed new University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Bob Caret for a busy, full-day campus visit on September 24, 2015. Chancellor Caret has a long relationship with UMBC, but this visit offered a special opportunity for him.

“We are delighted the chancellor is taking this time to connect directly with our students, faculty, and staff, and to develop a deeper understanding of UMBC’s culture, vision, and priorities,” said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski.

Chancellor Caret shared his view of the special role Maryland’s public universities play in a region that boasts so many high caliber, internationally known centers of higher education. “In the USM,” he said, “we wake up every day and think about what we can do for Maryland.”

This theme carried through the day as UMBC community members shared their experiences, goals, and innovative work with the chancellor.

One highlight of Caret’s morning was a meeting with undergraduate and graduate student leaders, which included a discussion on college affordability. Caret remarked that this meeting with students, in particular, gave him “a sense of excitement about the future.”

A subsequent meeting with faculty and staff senate leaders demonstrated the important role of shared governance at UMBC, where faculty, staff, and student groups actively collaborate to make decisions that impact the university.

Following a lunch with college deans, Chancellor Caret toured spaces known across campus as hubs for collaboration and hands-on learning—places that foster interdisciplinary work and harness creative potential. These spaces included, among others, the Retriever Learning Center, Linehan Concert Hall, Imaging Research Center, English Writing Labs, and Science Learning Collaboratory, a model for the future Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building.

Vice President for Research Karl Steiner explained that while the university is tremendously excited about these new facilities, in a certain sense “a building is just a building.” When it comes to how the university advances education and research, he said, “It is what happens inside that matters.”

A tour of the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park offered a clear picture of what makes UMBC a distinctive community: promoting collaboration among creative faculty researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni entrepreneurs and key partners.

UMBC provides essential support to bring innovations and best practices to the public, for the benefit of the state’s economy and the health and well-being of Marylanders. Faculty from psychology to cybersecurity, as well as young companies led by talented USM alumni, explained what this can look like across academic disciplines and industries.

Each conversation offered a different glimpse of what Karl Steiner has called the “unique research culture here at UMBC”—a culture focused on bringing together inquisitive minds with diverse perspectives, but the shared goal of social and economic impact. The recent expansion of collaborative research between UMBC and the University of Maryland-Baltimore demonstrates the exciting potential of this work. Steiner explained, “We call it innovation that matters.”

Caret began his service as USM chancellor in July 2015, after four years serving as president of the University of Massachusetts System. His time in Massachusetts followed more than 25 years at Towson University, where he began as a faculty member and served as president 2003-2011. The chancellor will visit additional USM institutions during a statewide listening tour, October 12-15, 2015.

Learn more about Chancellor Caret through his video greeting to USM communities:

Image: Chancellor Bob Caret and Ganna Vikhlyayeva ’15, animation and interactive media, in UMBC’s Imaging Research Center. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11.

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