Dear MSB Alumni and Friends,
In May, I had the honor of welcoming 530 new undergraduates and graduates to the ranks of our business alumni during the 111th commencement ceremony. We are now more than 26,000 strong and celebrate an 86-year history of serving Baltimore’s business community. These graduates attended UB during one of the University’s largest surges in growth in our history. They are also entering a workforce and an economy full of unknowns.
That’s one of the reasons why the 2010-11 academic year has been a time of reflection for the faculty and staff in the Merrick School of Business. Last fall, more than 150 faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the school’s advisory boards embarked on a journey to develop a comprehensive five-year strategic plan. Through focused discussions with our internal and external constituents, we explored the responses of the community and discovered where each group hopes the business school will be in five years. Our finalized plan, Continuing the Trajectory of Excellence, will be highlighted in the fall edition of the Merrick Exchange.
Before unveiling our new strategic plan, I want to share examples of how the Merrick faculty, staff and alumni are working to achieve our mission of empowering and transforming the lives of our students.
Since 2008, when I assumed the role of dean of my alma mater, we have witnessed unprecedented growth, achieved national recognition, and negotiated the trials and tribulations of difficult economic times. We made a considerable effort to develop new program offerings, enhanced experiential learning opportunities, expanded global learning, and significantly increased research output—all while solidifying our long history of traditional strengths and managing a rise in both undergraduate and graduate enrollment. Some of the highlights of our experiences include:
- Unprecedented Growth: Since Fall 2008, undergraduate and graduate headcount has increased 17 percent and 24 percent, respectively, with student credit hour production up by 19 percent.
- AACSB Reaccreditation: Merrick gained accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in 1982 and was reaccredited in 2010. Less than five percent of business schools worldwide are accredited by AACSB, the leading accreditation of business schools in the world. AACSB approval signals that we are focused on continuous improvement, our curriculum is current, and our graduates meet specified learning goals.
- Recognition by U.S. News & World Report: Merrick gained national recognition from U.S. News & World Report for both our undergraduate and our part-time M.B.A. programs. This is the first time that the Merrick School achieved this level of national recognition; it is a testament to our academic quality and student satisfaction.
- Launch of Merrick Honors Programs: Students were strongly encouraged to participate in honor societies, with the result being an impressive 213 percent increase since fall 2008. The region’s only honors accounting program, launched in fall 2011, added to our legacy of serving the region’s accounting professionals as UB ranks #1 in alumni managing Baltimore’s 25 largest accounting firms as measured by the Baltimore Business Journal. Our new Helen P. Denit Business Honors program will be launched in the upcoming academic year.
- Expanded Internship Program: We are committed to involving students in applied, action-based learning. Student participation in internships has doubled since fall 2008. Prospective employers are encouraged to visit the internship webpage for more information.
- More Study Abroad Opportunities: Preparing students to succeed in the global marketplace is critical. Part of this initiative is student participation in global field studies, which has increased by 57 percent with study tours to Chile, China, Germany, Ireland, Mexico and Portugal.
- Launch of New Degrees and Majors: Several new programs provide students with greater depth and breadth in their areas of interest. UB is proud to be home to the state’s only undergraduate real estate and economic development program. A testament to the excellence of our students and the program is that for the third time a UB student has won the coveted national Commercial Real Estate scholarship. Other new initiatives include the new B.S. in Information Systems and Technology Management (formerly the B.S. in Management Information Systems) and five new minors – open to students in any undergraduate program—in Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing Communications, Social Entrepreneurship, and Economics and Public Policy. A new M.S. in Global Leadership will be added to the curriculum in the upcoming academic year.
- Enhanced Faculty Scholarship: Faculty add significant value via world-class teaching: to our students and their passion for learning, to the community by generating knowledge and providing national leadership in this pursuit, and to the business community, non-profit organizations and the government by providing service. I am proud to say that 15 percent of our faculty members are now recipients of Fulbright awards. Sponsored research grants secured by faculty and staff have increased 136 percent, totaling $3.5 million this academic year.
- Growing Alumni Support: The Merrick School is proud to have the support of more than 110 alumni and friends who serve on our advisory board. While their advice and counsel is important to our future, so is the growing involvement of our alumni. Stay informed! Join us on Twitter (1,000+ followers), be a fan on Facebook (535+ fans), connect with us on LinkedIn (over 1,160 connections); and subscribe to the Merrick Exchange (7,200 subscribers).
- Building the MSB Legacy: This year the School of Business received an outstanding $1.6 million in gifts and pledges and are 90 percent toward our capital campaign goal of $8 million. How can you be part of this dedicated group of alumni and friends who are securing a strong and innovative future for business students? Visit the website for the Office of Institutional Advancement to make your gift to the Merrick School of Business today.
As an alumna and dean of the Merrick School of Business, I am thrilled by the growth and transformation of the Merrick School of Business. I want to personally thank you for your support, and I ask you to bring on board your fellow alumni to support the school. Through your many contributions, we can ensure that the school will continue to engage with our many talented, insightful students, in a learning environment that is charged with excitement and possibility.
Have a happy and safe summer.
With UB Pride,
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.