- Proposed legislation that would combine the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore has its share of critics, but it is garnering a good deal of support following success of a years-long collaboration between the two entities that has included joint faculty appointments.
- The Baltimore Sun reports that UMB President Jay Perman is concerned a merger will take away some of his university’s autonomy and limit its impact in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III worries a merger will hurt his existing collaboration with UMB.
- The merger would increase the national stature of the two universities, bringing the medical and law schools at UMB together with the research departments at College Park and increasing the grant opportunities for the combined institution, but as written, the law allows for a single president to one day oversee both campuses, which has created some concern.
The University of Maryland Board of Regents rejected a merger proposal five years ago, creating instead the MPower agreement, which includes joint appointments for 60 faculty members and a range of collaborative projects among research and academic programs. The original proposal’s call for one president and a complete merger helped doom it. Now, legislators have suggested keeping two presidents but giving the Board of Regents power to seek a single president in the event of a future retirement.
The business community is looking forward to the additional strength of the combined universities, expecting greater grant funding and research prowess. Combining programs and campuses is a complicated endeavor, however, and it seems as though there is still much to discuss in Maryland.