Attman Incubator Unveiled at Entrepreneurship Center's Anniversary
Entrepreneurship at the University of Baltimore hit new heights this year with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation celebrating its tenth anniversary of serving the students and alumni of the university. And in most cases celebrating an anniversary milestone would have been enough for any given event, but the school had one additional ground-breaking occasion to celebrate in November—the grand opening of the Edward Attman and Mildred Cohen Attman Student Incubator.

Entrepreneurship at the University of Baltimore hit new heights this year with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation celebrating its tenth anniversary of serving the students and alumni of the university. And in most cases celebrating an anniversary milestone would have been enough for any given event, but the school had one additional ground-breaking occasion to celebrate in November—the grand opening of the Edward Attman and Mildred Cohen Attman Student Incubator.

The School of Business’ was packed with new and old friends of the university many of whom are engaged in activities of the Baltimore region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. John Zuknick, MBA ’14, B.S. ’12, former manager of the center, built an event program that captured that testimonials from alumni who used the center’s services to help launch and grow their ventures as well as celebrated the lives and the philanthropic gift bestowed upon the University to help more business ventures take off.

During the official program, one of Edward and Mildred Attman’s four sons, Gary Attman, who is also a Regent for the University System of Maryland, took the podium to share his thoughts the new facility dedicated in honor of parents.

“My parents were the first of their families to attend a university, and they did so right here at the University of Baltimore,” said Attman. “When my brothers and I were growing up, we were surrounding by the University of Baltimore. My parents went here, all their friends went here. We never heard of Harvard, we never heard of Yale, we never heard of the University of Maryland. When we thought of higher education, we thought the University of Baltimore. My parents were always extremely proud of this university.”

“My father was a true entrepreneur. He started with almost nothing, but had an idea, and he worked hard and built a company—Acme Paper—from scratch. Acme Paper is now in its seventh year of business and employs hundreds employees in the Mid-Atlantic region, including several members of my family. And my mom, Mildred Attman, was my father’s first and favorite partner. He attributed all of his success to her.”

“On behalf of our entire family, it is our sincere pleasure to dedicate this beautiful facility in memory of Edward and Mildred Attman. We hope many more Acme Papers will be spun out of this facility.”


Stu Silberg, B.S. ’71, the first Entrepreneur in Residence, former Entrepreneurship Board Chair, and former UB Foundation Board president, followed the address by Gary Attman to share his perspectives of ten years of entrepreneurial spirit at UB.

“Today, I am delighted on how well the center has successfully established itself, and how it continues to develop a brigade of talented volunteers who so generously share their business acumen with advising and mentoring our students.”

Silberg voiced his enthusiasm for a list of goals the center is hoping to accomplish going forward including continuing to grow and expand partnerships, develop funding opportunities for student startups, secure additional grants and donations to increase the programing and services, and to integrate entrepreneurship across the UB campus.”

Prior to the final unveiling of the new Attman Incubator, Josh Marshall, B.S. ’07 and one of the first three businesses that started in the center, recalled why the support he received allowed him to be the entrepreneur he is today.

“The Center’s ten year anniversary is special for me as 2016 marks a ten year anniversary for my company, MFS Accounting,” said Marshall. “In May of 2006, I wandered into the center and spoke to Jim Kucher, DPA, ’14, MBA ’01, to learn more about entrepreneurship. At the time, it was only weeks after I decided to quit my full time job to commit fully to the ‘bookkeeping’ company that I had been running part time over the 16 months. My visit to the center, was also not long after I was fired by one of my major clients. I was a full time student, I had two kids at home, and the reality of running a business had given me a solid kick in the pants. Simply put, I wouldn’t be standing here talking about my business were it not for the support of the center in those early years.”


Two Decades of UB Accounting Alumni Have Shaped Area's Largest Firms
20 years
For the past two decades, alumni from the University of Baltimore have served in senior leadership positions for the majority of Baltimore's leading accounting firms—a claim that can be made by no other institution, public or private. Over those years, UB alumni typically have held senior management positions in about half of the metropolitan area's 25 largest firms, with a concentration holding University of Baltimore graduate degrees. Currently, University of Baltimore alumni are serving in top leadership positions at nine of these 25 firms.

For the past two decades, alumni from the University of Baltimore have served in senior leadership positions for the majority of Baltimore's leading accounting firms—a claim that can be made by no other institution, public or private. Over those years, UB alumni typically have held senior management positions in about half of the metropolitan area's 25 largest firms, with a concentration holding University of Baltimore graduate degrees. Currently, University of Baltimore alumni are serving in top leadership positions at nine of these 25 firms.

UB's dominance in this category—as compiled in the Baltimore Business Journal's annual Book of Lists—has been steady going back to the 1990s. Consistently, UB has been a top producer of alumni leaders in accounting, with one or more of its graduates in the position of managing partner or its equivalent. In 2013, the University had its highest number of alumni represented, with 13 in the survey of the top 25 largest area firms. Year over year, UB's alumni numbers far surpass the representation of accounting graduates from other universities and colleges.

"University of Baltimore promotes leadership and an early exposure to the business environment through interaction with students who have already entered the workplace," said Art Flach, M.S. '83, current chair of UB's Accounting Advisory Board and former managing partner of the Grant Thornton Baltimore office. "This interaction allows for an accelerated business understanding which allows the student to be successful as a leader. I firmly believe this is the reason so many University of Baltimore students have become leaders in the accounting profession."

The leaders and their firms' respective ranking in the 2017 Book of Lists are:

In its undergraduate accounting specialization, UB offers expertise for careers in public accounting, banking, financial analysis, credit management, government, nonprofits, and more. High achieving accounting students are invited to join the school's Accounting Honors program, a program that exposes them to a deeper understanding of the industry and encourages leadership. On the graduate degree side, the M.S. in Accounting and Business Advisory Services is a specialized program built for both current accounting professionals and career-changers. Rounding out the portfolio, the institution offers an M.S in Taxation program that is paired with the UB School of Law's L.L.M. in Taxation program as well as several certificates including the newly offered Graduate Certificate in Internal Audit Services.

U.S. News Ranks Merrick School of Business Online MBA - Only Maryland School to Receive Accolade Six Years in a Row
Best Online MBA Program
For the sixth straight year, U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, has included the University of Baltimore's Online MBA program in its 2017 Best Online Programs rankings. The program, delivered through the Merrick School of Business, is among the best in the nation, according to the magazine. It is the only online program of its kind among Maryland institutions to receive the accolade for six years in a row.

For the sixth straight year, U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, has included the University of Baltimore's Online MBA program in its 2017 Best Online Programs rankings. The program, delivered through the Merrick School of Business, is among the best in the nation, according to the magazine. It is the only online program of its kind among Maryland institutions to receive the accolade for six years in a row.

"What is astounding is that most of the faculty who spearheaded the Online MBA program 18 years ago are still here teaching in our program today," said Murray Dalziel, dean of the Merrick School of Business. "They continue to help our new faculty learn the 'UB way' of teaching online and delivering an excellent master's-level education. I can only imagine the impact we have had on all of the MBA students who have had full-time careers and were simultaneously earning their degree online."

The methodology for the online rankings for master's of business administration program was weighted in areas focused on student engagement (28 percent), admissions selectivity (25 percent), peer reputation (25 percent), faculty credentials and training (11 percent) and student services and technology (11 percent).

Launched in 1999, the Merrick School of Business was the first AACSB accredited MBA program in the world to be offered fully online. At its inception, there was only one other program, at Duke University, that used a hybrid online/residency model. Many other colleges and universities have since created an online presence for their MBA offerings; thus the start of U.S. News' rankings in 2011.

UB's program was launched after a team of business school faculty members identified that online and AACSB accredited business programs were nonexistent. The institution knew that it could provide working professionals with a high-quality MBA program online, exactly like the one offered in the classroom, Dalziel explained.

"It's simply been a matter of implementing for growth since then," he said.

In 2016, the Online MBA was modified to offer a new tuition and fee structure, allowing students from outside the state to have the same tuition rates as those living in Maryland.

The University of Baltimore was the sole Baltimore-area school ranked. The University of Maryland's Smith School of Business was the only school in Maryland ahead of UB in the rankings.

Message From the Dean

A job well done is often its own reward and this year we have some good reasons to celebrate our successes and our moments of impact. Whether it was with the students in our acaadmic programs, or scholarly research or with the outreach to the greater community, we can feel the momemtum of our hard work. 

For instance, according to a recent survey of 184 MBA students, the Merrick School of Business has done a good job of providing graduate students with the knowledge they need and the connections they want to make in order to enhance their professional careers. Nearly 90 percent of the survey respondents reported that the MBA curriculum provides knowledge that could be applied to their professional lives, while 80 percent felt adequately prepared to pursue their career goals. Those are, indeed, rewarding outcomes for which we are justifiably proud.

But we don’t idle. The survey also pointed out some areas where we could improve the student experience, especially in the development of soft skills such as leadership and networking, and in increasing course accessibility and options. We are an institution that prepares Baltimore’s leaders; we want our students to have well-rounded and challenging experiences that propel them forward in their careers. To keep doing a great job, excellence must pervade all we do.

One area of undisputed success is the quality of knowledge production by our faculty. We are fortunate to have a deeply diverse group of intellectuals who conduct and publish their research annually. This past semester alone, six faculty members were recognized for research excellence, including Assistant Professor of International Business, Amir Pezeshkan for his co-authored paper titled “Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Performance.” Professor Pezeshkan earned the school’s “Outstanding Article of the Year award during a recent ceremony.

Faculty research contributes to innovations in the classroom and a broader understanding of the context within which individual courses exist. Research offers theories and evidence, which can spur students to investigate pressing social and economic issues in our communities through the lens of their specific major. Whether it is accounting, economics, finance or entrepreneurship, our faculty find new ways to perceive, present, and educate with their research—and our students find new ways to interpret and apply what they learn. This also is a job well done.

We also count on our partners in the community to help us do the best possible job of relating academics to real business issues.  Our Merrick Engages guest speaker series offered the best and brightest innovative thinkers, each of whom has a personal mission to make a positive impact on communities through their business ventures. This year, we heard from Eric Becker, founder of Caretta, and Lane Epperson, president of HiTech Assets, whose partnership resulted in a profitable business focused on the ecologically sound disposition of used electronics. Good for the community; good for business. Amon Anderson from Acumen America focused on efforts to tackle poverty by providing capital to high-impact entrepreneurs working on social issues. And finally, the Merrick School’s Real Estate and Economic Development department featured Lessons from Legends in Real Estate. Donald Manekin and his son Thibault energetically interviewed one another about their experience founding Seawall Development, a Baltimore-based firm focused on redeveloping historic buildings into mixed-use projects.

“Doing good by doing well” is far more than a cliché to these MSB speakers. Our audiences, were excited to hear from these leaders and eager to ask questions following their presentations, offered affirmation that our guests had something meaningful and relevant to say.

Speaking of good jobs, our students and alumni do an excellent job of keeping us on our toes. Their ability to be direct about what they appreciate in the curriculum and what they don’t helps us consistently fine tune our programs. We want to be responsive to their issues while maintaining a high level of quality. I am consistently amazed and touched by our students’ personal stories – how they got here, how they juggle their many commitments, and also why they chose UB as their school. Our students’ lives are complicated, their stories are inspirational, and their triumphs reason to celebrate.

Good job, everyone!

Murray M. Dalziel, Ph.D.











2017 Lessons from Legends
'Recap of the event'

In 2006, Donald and Thibault Manekin founded Seawall Development, a Baltimore-based firm focused on redeveloping historic buildings into mixed use projects. Now, a decade into Seawall's multiple efforts, the father and son team shared their story during the yearly Lessons from Legends event.

The Manekins' mission was to develop attractive, affordable housing for teachers and cost effective, efficient and collaborative office space for non-profit organizations. Two of their projects in Baltimore City are the highly acclaimed Miller's Court and Union Mill in the Remington and Hamden neighborhoods. Seawall also rehabilitated homes in Remington and many were purchased by teachers wanting to make Baltimore their home, especially those in the Miller's Court apartments. To date, the company has completed or is pursuing development of more than $200 million of creative adaptive reuse projects in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

With more than five decades of combined experience, Donald and Thibault Manekin have brought their passion and wisdom for urban revitalization to life with Seawall. Seawall's projects, focused on social good, have won numerous awards, including President Obama's Champion of Change Award, Community Impact Awards, recognition through NAIOP, and Green Housing Awards through ULI to name a few.

View the hour-long event video featuring the Manekins during their Lessons From Legends' talk.

Thank you to all the event sponsors for this year's event.

M&T Bank | Continental Realty Corporation | MCCEI | WPM, LLC | Atapco | Enterprise Communities | Howard Bank | Southway Builders | MB&F CPA Group | Bozzuto Group | MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate | Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP | Whiting-Turner | CohnReznick



Merrick Engages Series Take a Look at Community Impact, Opportunities – and Threats
'Recap on the Merrick Engages Speaker Series'

An important goal for the Merrick Engages speaker series is that the audience comes away with learning something new and insightful. Dean Murray Dalziel has been leading the conversations with notable industry professionals, semester after semester. During the 2016-17 academic year, he focused on two key areas: cyber technology and business ventures that make an impact.

Events Summary

In the fall of 2016, Rhett Hernandez, a retired U.S. Army General and the first Commander of Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER), came to campus to share his vast experience in cybersecurity. With responsibilities for the daily operations and defense of all Army networks, and, when directed, the full range of the nation’s cyberspace operations, Gen. Hernandez had the ideal background to discuss the future of this vital activity. He spoke about cybersecurity as both a business threat and an opportunity.In addition to Dean Dalziel interviewing the general,Eusebio Scornavacca, the Parsons Professor for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture and associate professor of information technology in the Merrick School of Business, urged Gen. Hernandez to delve deeper into the business of cyber. The conversation teed up a dedicated effort by the school’s leadership to create additional specializations for the University of Baltimore’s MBA program. The program is now offering specializations in Cyber Security and Organizational Resilience, Data Analytics and Digital Business.

The spring semester’s Merrick Engages offering was all about business ventures that deliver to the community.

In February, the dean led a conversation with Eric Becker, founder of the venture capital and private equity firm Caretta, and Lane Epperson, president and CEO of HiTech Assets, a client of Caretta. The two shared their story, "How Well-Run Businesses Can Make an Impact," Which revealed that the  business model for Caretta is different than many venture capital firms, in that they invest in companies that are creating lasting value and changing the world for the better. Their client, HiTech Assets, delivers the most innovative and secure technology disposition services to leading companies around the world. Essentially, HiTech is a company that takes digital assets and sorts, wipes the data, repairs, remarkets and/or recycles digital assets, such as computers and mobile phones. In addition, the firm employs and trains people from low-income communities to help acquire solid business skills and a living wage.

View the hour-long event video on YouTube.

In April, Dean Dalziel and Amon Anderson, associate director of Acumen America, discussed the ways that venture philanthropy can make a difference in America. Acumen has invested in three areas: financial inclusion, health and workforce development. They use seed and Series A investments, follow-on capital, a network of advisers and post-investment support to invest in startups with the capacity to make both markets and government systems work better for disenfranchised communities. This will generate sustainable, long-term solutions to poverty and establish a more inclusive economy for all. Dean Dalziel and Anderson’s conversation showed that companies in Baltimore and other cities can be structured to emphasize these capabilities.

View the hour-long event video on YouTube.


Overall, this year’s Merrick Engages events were simply that: a chance for the Baltimore business community to sit back, relax, and engage in inspired conversations. Look for news about upcoming events in the series on the Merrick website.



Business School Earns U.S. News 'Best Undergraduate Business Program' Ranking

The University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business tied with 33 other institutions from across the country in the 2017 U.S. News Best College rankings, in the category of "Best Undergraduate Business Programs."

The Merrick School of Business ranked #150, climbing six spots from the 2016 ranking. The school tied with 33 other institutions offering an undergraduate business program, including California State University - Los Angeles, Clark University, Duquesne University, Kennesaw State University, Pace University, Quinnipiac University, University of Massachusetts - Boston, University of North Carolina - Greensboro, University of Vermont, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and several others.

"At the Merrick School of Business, we strive to show steady improvement in an assessment like this, which balances reputational factors alongside strict data points," said Dean Murray Dalziel. "As we climb each rung, we're demonstrating to our peers that we're working diligently to respond to what students need in the marketplace. But it's our students, not news outlets conducting rankings, that tell us how we're doing. We’re happy to be recognized by U.S. News, but even happier when our students let us know that we are delivering an excellent, relevant education."

The Merrick School of Business is AACSB International accredited, a distinction earned by only one third of business schools in the country. The U.S. News rankings include information on more than 1,000 schools nationwide. Over the past two decades, these rankings have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Learn more about the U.S. News ranking for the Merrick School of Business.

We Are More Than You Know
"What's New at Merrick?"
MBA Updates
New this fall, the MBA program will offer a few new specializations, these include:
  • Cyber Security and Organizational Resilience
  • Data Analytics
  • Digital Business
  • Managing Financial Performance
  • Global Management
These are among the 11 specializations that the program already supports. The most popular specialization is the "customized option" which allows the students to decide what electives meet their career objectives.

Accounting at UB
The accounting faculty continue to bring relevant industry-focused course work to the undergraduate and graduate programs. The faculty recently approved program and course changes and received approval to begin offering a new post-baccalaureate certificate in Internal Audit Services.

The Plan

The Merrick School of Business faculty have approved the Strategic Plan that goes through 2020. The plan emphasizes the importance of using our urban education hub to offer practical, career-minded and globally engaged business education that inspires professional and entrepreneurial growth.
Management Professor Wins School of Business's Outstanding Article of the Year
Assistant Professor of Management and International Business Amir Pezeshkan
During a May luncheon, Assistant Professor of Management and International Business Amir Pezeshkan received the Merrick School of Business's Black & Decker Outstanding Article award for calendar year 2016 for co-authoring the paper, "Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Performance: A Meta-Analytic Evaluation and Extension," which was published last December in the Journal of Management Studies. The journal is on the Financial Times’s list of top 50 scholarly publications worldwide, and exemplifies scholarly excellence in the field of management research.
During a May luncheon, Assistant Professor of Management and International Business Amir Pezeshkan received the Merrick School of Business's Black & Decker Outstanding Article award for calendar year 2016 for co-authoring the paper, "Dynamic Capabilities and Organizational Performance: A Meta-Analytic Evaluation and Extension," which was published last December in the Journal of Management Studies. The journal is on the Financial Times’s list of top 50 scholarly publications worldwide, and exemplifies scholarly excellence in the field of management research.

Professor Pezeshkan described the research this way:

“Dynamic capabilities encompass sensing (continuous observation of a firm’s external environment to capture opportunities and threats arising from changes), seizing (ongoing evaluation of firm capabilities and resources accompanied by substantial investment in tangible and intangible assets), and reconfiguration capabilities (recombination of a firm’s resources to optimize firm’s adaptability with the change and new environment). While firms investing in dynamic capabilities are believed to outperform the others in theory particularly in turbulent environments, empirical evidence regarding the role of dynamic capabilities remains unclear. In fact, some studies have found non-significant or even negative relationships between dynamic capabilities and performance in dynamic environments, which partially pertains to costs associated with the development of such capabilities.


“To disentangle the equivocal empirical evidence and move the theory forward, we took stock of the literature and conducted a meta-analysis (analyzing prior empirical studies and their results) to evaluate two core assertions: (1) dynamic capabilities have a positive impact on performance, and (b) such impact is stronger in environments characterized by rapid technological change. Our results support an overall positive contribution of dynamic capabilities to performance. However, we found that the contribution is not stronger when there is a high rate of technological change. Instead, our results reveal that dynamic capabilities are more strongly related to performance in developing economies. In our view, the relatively weaker levels of competition and the reluctance of many firms to change their old ways in developing markets, enhance the value added for firms that systematically seek to improve their adaptability with the environmental changes by investing in dynamic capabilities.”

Pezeshkan explained that the research findings illustrated the overall contribution of dynamic capabilities to firm performance. He further noted that their findings regarding the role of economic context and their distinction between higher vs. lower order dynamic capabilities, offer a more nuanced conceptualization of the dynamic capabilities-performance relationship. This is an important finding because the economic context and hierarchical ordering of dynamic capabilities have been neglected by prior studies and uncovering their significance, their study opens a new venue for future research. Finally, their results show managers, particularly in developing countries, that investing in dynamic capabilities and especially higher order ones can very well pay off.


“It is an honor to have received the Black & Decker Outstanding Article award. I would like to thank our leadership team at Merrick School of Business for their support,” Pezeshkan said at the awards luncheon. “As the field evolves towards maturity, a meta-analytic assessment of the core theoretical tenets within the dynamic capabilities view seemed essential to bring together the proliferating theoretical and empirical works and I think our study and its results are quite compelling in that regard.”

Learn more about Prof. Pezeshkan.  

In addition to the Outstanding Article Award, the School of Business announced professorships, chairs and annual teaching awards for the academic year 2016-17 at the school’s May awards ceremony:

Professorships / Chairs

  • Veena Adlakha, professor of management, awarded the CSX Leadership Chair
  • Regina Bento, professor of management, awarded the Baltimore Gas and Electric Chair
  • Mikhail Pevzner, associate professor of accounting, continues to hold the Ernst & Young Chair in Accounting
  • Dennis Pitta, professor of marketing, continues to hold the J. William Middendorf Distinguished Professor
  • Eusebio Scornavacca, assistant professor of information systems, continues to hold the John P. & Margaret M. Thompson Professorship in MIS
  • Jaya Singhal, professor of decision science, continues to hold the Frank Baker Chair for Research Excellence
  • Kalyan Singhal, professor of supply chain management, continues to hold the Doris and Robert McCurdy Chair
  • Lourdes White, professor of accounting, awarded the Lockheed Martin Chair
  • Nafeesa Yunus, associate professor of finance and real estate, awarded the Harry Y. Wright Chair

Annual Teaching and Service Awards

  • William Carter, assistant professor of management, and Praneet Randhawa, assistant professor of marketing, received the Dean Clifford C. James Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Dong Chen, associate professor of finance, received the Chase Manhattan Bank Research Award
  • David Lingelbach, associate professor of entrepreneurship, Dean’s Special Service Acknowledge for Shaping the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program
  • Tigi Mersha, professor of management and international business, received the Turner Medallion.
  • J.C. Weiss, senior lecturer in finance and entrepreneurship, Dean’s Special Acknowledge for University Service
  • Jan Williams, associate professor of accounting, received the Yale Gordon Chair for Distinguished Teaching and the Dean Daniel Costello Service Award.
  • Frank van Vliet, executive-in-residence in marketing and entrepreneurship, received the G. Maxwell Armor Professorship.
  • Ting Zhang, assistant professor of economics received the T. Rowe Price Excellence in Teaching.


MIS Faculty Named Parsons Professor for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture

Eusebio Scornavacca, associate professor of management information systems in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business and a world-renowned expert on mobile information systems and digital transformation, has been named the University's Parsons Professor for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture. The professorship is funded by Bob Parsons, B.S. '75, D.H.L. '08, founder of website hosting and domain registry giant Go Daddy and founder and CEO of Yam Worldwide, Inc.

The two-year appointment also includes the role of director for UB's Center for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture, part of the University’s Office of the Provost. The center is a university-wide initiative that capitalizes on UB's intellectual assets, ranging from information assurance architecture, entrepreneurship, gaming and simulation, systems risk and resilience, forensic investigation, user experience, digital design, content and intellectual property rights. It aims to foster the development of digital competencies and leadership across constituencies, as well as the diffusion and advancement of digital innovations.

"We are delighted to have Prof. Scornavacca take on this important role at the University," said Darlene Smith, UB's executive vice president and provost. "We based this appointment on his international reputation as a scholar in digital transformation, as well as on his many relationships with companies large and small, both here and abroad, with key interests in making the most of the digital environment. There is great potential there, for his professorship and guidance of our center, to make a major impact in the field."

According to Scornavacca, "Digital technologies are rapidly disrupting a variety of industries across the globe and challenging institutions, organizational and social structures. Most importantly, the increasing presence of digital is changing the skillset needed for a successful workforce."

The center, he said, has the potential to serve as an interdisciplinary hub that promotes an understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with an evolving digital ecosystem—from individual users to vast networks of people and devices. Through its activities in research, education and the application of knowledge, the center will convey an important understanding of the digital world in which we live.

"Helping our students, and communities far beyond the University, to achieve this understanding and acquire digital competencies will be vital to their careers and their lives," Scornavacca said.

Currently, Prof. Scornavacca, who also holds the Dean Clifford C. James Chair for Distinguished Teaching and the John and Margaret Thompson Professorship in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business, is focused on mapping the digital environment, identifying key stakeholders and initiatives in order to develop a strategic plan that ensures the long-term viability of the center.

Over the next year, the Center for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture will foster a number of research projects and host academic and industry events. In November, for example, the center hosted a presentation on cyber security by retired Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, former commander of the United States Army Cyber Command. The center also is preparing to bring on a number of collaborative research projects and its first research fellow.

Learn more about Prof. Scornavacca.

2016-2017 Academic Achievement Awards

In a yearly tradition, the Merrick School of Business held its Academic Achievement Awards event in May. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the hard work of our students before we send them off into the world to pursue their chosen careers.

During the ceremony, the 2017 Dean’s Award was presented to Tehillah Diamond, B.S. ’16. Diamond was selected from a pool of undergraduate students who most clearly demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership and service.

Diamond began her University of Baltimore educational journey in the spring of 2014 and quickly joined the Helen P. Denit Accounting Honors Program. She excelled as an accounting major, making Dean’s List with high honors during several semesters as well as joining the accounting honor society, Beta Alpha Psi. And like many UB students, she worked while attending school. For the last six years she has worked as an office associate at the State of Maryland Comptroller’s Office. While working she found time to participate in a summer internship at the accounting firm, RSM and tutor her peers. Her outstanding academic achievements afforded her scholarship awards from the University of Baltimore, the UB Foundation, the law firm of Ashcraft and Gerel, and the Maryland Society of Accounting and Tax Professionals. Diamond’s leadership skills were prominently on display in the classroom as well as in the community. Her future is bright and her talents will continue to be an asset to any organization.

Diamond’s academic achievements earned her Summa Cum Laude status at the fall 2016 Commencement.

The following students were awarded plaques and cash awards for their stellar achievements. Those who graduated in fall 2016 and spring 2017 were eligible for these awards.

Keli Zhang, M.S. ’17, MACPA Outstanding Student Award

Keith Crowell, B.S. ’16, Accounting Merit Award

Armani Vaughn, B.S. ’17, Finance Merit Award

Stefani Spector, B.S. ’16, Real Estate and Economic Development Merit Award

Jenifer A. Agnes, B.S. ’17, Human Resource Management Merit Award

Lacie Lynne Thomas, B.S. ’16, International Business Merit Award

Zachary Nelson, B.S. ’17, Management Merit Award

Patrick Dooley, B.S. ’16, and Kristin Riesett, B.S ’17, both received the Charles Siegmann Information Technology Award

Chase Gebhardt, B.S. ’17, Dr. Peter Lynagh Marketing Practitioner Award

Alexander Van Allen, B.S. ’17, Dr. Peter Lynagh Marketing Merit Award

Tanika Craig-Speaks, B.S.’17, Entrepreneurship Merit Award

Our congratulations to all of these outstanding members of the Merrick School of Business family!

2016-2017 Honor Society Inductees

Below are a list of the 2016-2007 Business Honor Society Inductees.

Beta Alpha Psi

Adviser: Jan Williams. Ph.D., Associate Professor of Accounting

Beta Alpha Psi is a national honor society with a goal to encourage and recognize scholastic and professional excellence in the fields of accounting, finance and information systems.

Jeanjuilet Alam

Zakiah Albalbisi

Ivan Baca

April Bolling

Robert Bowie

Amy Brandt

Romel Calip

Allison Cheatham

Moumini Cisse

Dejene Dessie

Nkosomzi Dlodlo

Paul Gilmore

Jean Idrovo

Michele Jankowski

Renata Ernst Kerche

Erin Long

Shahzad Manzoor

Nicole May

Renata Pacheco dos Reis

Alexander Rosenberg

Amandeep Saluja

Jennifer Smith

Breanna Warren

Beta Gamma Sigma


Adviser: Amir Pezeshkan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of International Business and Strategy

Beta Gamma Sigma is the national honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in an AACSB accredited business program.

Jenifer Agnes

Courtney Ayers

Andrew Faughnan

Jack Fraker

Ernest Gitau Xianhong Jiang

Allison Jordan

Yueh-Chiao Lee

Lisa Martin

Alexander Rosenberg

Ryan Seybuck

Jason Thompson

Ganiatu Tinubu

Mu Kappa Tau

Adviser: Frank van Vliet, Executive in Residence in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Mu Kappa Tau is the national marketing honor society, founded in 1966 in order to pursue and recognize academic excellence in marketing.

Joshua Thorn

Signma Nu Tau


Advisoe: Frank van Vliet, Executive in Residence in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Sigma Nu Tau is the national honorary fraternity in entrepreneurship. Its purpose is two-fold: to encourage the study of principled entrepreneurship, that is, entrepreneurship practiced with high ethical standards, honor, and integrity, at colleges and universities and to recognize, honor, and reward students who work hard and succeed in their entrepreneurship studies.

Olusegun Aje

Bjorg Asgeirsdottir

Nija Anise Bastfield

Giovanni Castellucci

Rosaria Eraso

Ryan Hampton

Sumar Hasan

Samantha M. Hildwein

Yueh-Chiao Lee

Lisa A. McClain

Unique Moore

Justin Pierce Nance

Jamie Nash

Theodora O. Nnagbo

Stephanie Nicole Peck

Ievgeniia Pogorelsky

Frederick Christopher Pollard

Alexander Rosenberg

Kayo Lisa Rusin

Ryan Leon Squires

KaeShawn M. Stewart

Marguerite Agnes Stiemly

Grace Sweeney

Stacie Laverne Teal-locust

Stefany A. Turcios

Alexander R. Van Allen

Armani J. Vaughn

Lindsay Wilt

Danika Yampierre

Sigma Iota Epsilon


Adviser: John "Chip" Galloway, (retired) Lecturer Management

Sigma Iota Epsilon is the national honorary and professional management fraternity. Its purpose is two-fold: to encourage and recognize scholastic excellence and to promote cooperation between the academic and practical aspects of management.

Vindira Balram

Paola Bleichner

Jeffrey Claggett

Sumar Hasan

Alexander Karras

Jerry Parker

Stephanie Nicole Peck

Alexander Rosenberg

Alexander R. Van Allen

Armani Vaughn

Destiny Wilkins

Lindsay Wilt

Greece: A Professional Reflection of a Global Field Study
by Kate Ford, interdisciplinary major

As an Interdisciplinary Studies major with a concentration in business, I found the company visits to be extremely fascinating and informative. Considering that I am 25 years old and only one month away from my graduation, I have been attempting to sort out my professional life and move onto my career.

The experience I had during the global field study has not only shaped my personal life, but it has also aided in the moulding of my professional goals. So much so that before leaving for Greece, I started applying for government-based jobs. I am also  now steering many of my applications towards private corporations in hopes of landing a role as a junior project manager.  Much of this sense of urgency to figure out my life plan, occurred between my visit to Greece and hearing the stories of the Greek financial crisis from the locals.

While in greece and on nearly all of the company visits, it was made clear that due to the lack of opportunity, low wages and political instability, many people, at all skill levels are leaving Greece. In the wake of this problem, Greece is trying to boost its economy by trying to attract some key industries, in hopes that this will bring back those who are leaving. As an American student, I found this interesting—people are trying to come to our homeland, whereas the Greeks are trying to leave theirs. The thought of working abroad is intimidating to me, because the European Union is not fully stable from an economic perspective.

Another impact that the global field study had on me was that many Greek businesses are family-owned. Their level of trust of outsiders is low. As their businesses prosper, extended families work together and combine their finances to keep their livelihood afloat. Conversely, in America it’s a commonly held belief to “never mix business with friendship.” This saying embodies  the idea that in order to prevent emotional decisions and family clashes, business should not be co-mingled with family relationships.

My global field study in Greece has impacted my professional life enormously, and at a very critical point in my life. I am fortunate to not have to endure the financial hardships of this beautiful country – something I saw first-hand. I plan to take what I have learned and apply it to my future job applications and incorporate it into my graduate education starting this  fall.

Sas efcharistó gia tin efkairía – that’s Greek for “thank you for the opportunity!”

Kate Ford is an interdisciplinary studies major. She is expects to graduate in 2017, and will immediately begin her graduate students at the University of Baltimore. She currently working part-time UB's Legal Studies department will begin a paid internship as a GS-4 level employee for the Communications and Electronics Command sector of the USARMY in the fall. This internship may become a full-time, government job where she can utilize her graduate studies and eventually become a project manager.

Greece: A Personal Reflection of a Global Field Study
by Adam Markley, MBA Candidate

Having never traveled abroad as part of a school-related function, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I travel quite a bit as a professional, but other than comfortably navigating a foreign airport, I didn’t know how those experiences would translate. As it turns out, it combined those experiences and took them to the next level.

Right off the bat, I was able to feel comfortable in a place that wasn’t home. Through traveling for work, I’ve already crossed the bridge in understanding the level of respect that cultures and people outside of the U.S. deserve. The classic “American tourist” stereotype is not one I subscribe to, and one I look to avoid. Fortunately, the class was filled with students who also were looking to experience another culture in the same way I was, without the noxious behavior the stereotype represents.

Overall, the trip had a very collegial feel, with elements of summer camp from childhood. Any time you spend nearly 24 hours a day for a full week together with people, walls come down quickly, and the process of developing trust and friendships is accelerated. Independent of the professional and educational side of the trip, the opportunity to race through the process of developing human connections is exciting.

These human connections are developed in shared experiences, and one of the more memorable ones for me was the trip to Aegina, an island near Athens. Clearly a mecca for all things pistachio, the trip was most memorable for the time spent riding ATVs around the island with a group of guys. Just imagine: sharing the thrill of freedom to explore while racing along the pristine coast. Enjoying a freshly prepared meal overlooking a view impossible to adequately capture with a camera. Getting doused by a wall of water that outraced us back to the port. None of those memories will be forgotten, as the place, the people, and the experience are truly a once in a lifetime combination.

As I mentioned before, there is something to be said for being respectful of a culture unlike your own. For myself, my rapidly expanding desire to travel, and, in the future, perhaps live, being abroad is an addiction that requires fulfillment. Learning to enjoy the comfort of being slightly uncomfortable in a place that isn’t what you’re used to is an acquired skill. Gaining an appreciation for yet another culture outside of the states, especially one with the tremendous food, people, and history of Greece, is exhilarating.

I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have experienced this, and can finally cross “study abroad” off my bucket list.

Adam Markley is a MBA candidate specializing in finance at the University of Baltimore. He is currently a director of operations, analysis, and strategy at 14 West, a professional services business that supports a global group of media and publishing companies. In his role, he manages both U.S. and Ireland-based employees that provide services to their global clients.

Adam Markley and his fellow Global Field Study classmates take a selfie at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece




Alumni Spotlight
Phaedra Stewart: Helping People and Spreading Joy

Phaedra Stewart, MBA ’96, is vice president of Human Resources at LifeBridge Health, a healthcare organization with about 10,000 employees, working in multiple Greater Baltimore locations. Over the years, she has embarked an several entrepreneurial endevors including establishing and thening sell a daycare center and more recently, starting a new business called Seriously…Positive, LLC. The mission of which is to bring forth uplifting “seriously positive” messages to the community using apparel and accessories to spread the joy.  And when she has “some down” time she plays drums in an amateur women’s rock band. Stewart recently sat down with The Merrick Exchange and shared some thoughts about her career, as well as some valuable advice for our students.


Merrick Exchange: Why did you pursue a career in human resources? 


Stewart:  Shortly after completing my undergraduate degree, I was hired as a classification analyst with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I was required to audit jobs to determine the appropriate classifications and compensation levels. I would travel throughout the state to meet with employees and their supervisors to gain a thorough understanding of the duties and responsibilities associated with various positions, and after the discussions, I would spend time writing reports with my recommendations. The position offered the perfect combination of people interaction and independent work.


While in the position, I learned about the wide array of areas that fall under human resources, and developed an appreciation for the impact that human resources has on the bottom line of an organization.


Merrick Exchange: Where did you get your start? What led you to your current position?


Stewart:  The first position that I held within Maryland state government allowed me to sharpen my analytical and critical thinking skills. Over the years, I have held positions with progressive levels of responsibility. Some at high levels within organizations where I have worked have noticed my talents and abilities, and as a result, have given me opportunities. I was hired at LifeBridge Health in February 2015 in a director role, and within about three months of joining the organization, the former president of Sinai Hospital suggested that I move into my current role on an interim basis., I was offered the permanent position within about five months.


Merrick Exchange: What were your expectations in pursuing a career in human resources?


Stewart:  Human resources is inclusive of many different areas, and depending on your individual interests, personality type, knowledge, skills and abilities, there are multiple opportunities.  From recruiting the right people, to ensuring that employees are engaged and appropriately compensated, to training and developing the workforce, to helping build leadership skills, to maintaining information systems used for daily transactions and analytics, to contract negotiations, to workplace safety, and more. I understood that a career in human resources would allow me to have a career path within practically any industry that offered flexibility as well as mobility, and an opportunity to impact the bottom line of the organization by focusing on the most important asset of the organization - the employee.


Merrick Exchange: Please describe your current position at LifeBridge Health.


Stewart: As vice president of Human Resources, I am responsible for the daily HR operations at Sinai Hospital. In addition, I oversee employee and labor relations, workforce development and occupational health for the entire enterprise. I have the greatest team members, and we partner with each other to ensure that we are balancing the needs of the employees with the needs of the organization.


Merrick Exchange: What are some challenges that you, your organization are currently facing in the industry?


Stewart:  Similar to other healthcare organizations, recruiting and retaining qualified nurses is a major focus. Also, we want to ensure that we develop and maintain a highly engaged workforce. Changes in legislation related to healthcare also is a major concern.


Merrick Exchange: What advice would you give to students who might want to pursue a career in human resources?


Stewart: Human resources is a great career choice, but there are many options within the field.  Explore the different options and think through your personal interests. Starting in a position that allows you to gain experience in multiple areas within the field may be beneficial if you are not sure about a specialized area that interests you. Also, there are companies that offer corporate development programs, and participants have an opportunity to rotate through various divisions within the company while performing multiple HR functions. In addition, these types of programs offer a fast track to management-level positions. Do your homework, make informed decisions, and remain open to options that you may not have previously considered.


Merrick Exchange: What’s the one job-hunting secret that you wish all students knew?


Stewart:  I believe most people know this, but sometimes, a reminder is needed. You have one chance to make a first impression, and you need to present yourself in the absolute best light at the beginning.  Your appearance and level of enthusiasm are important. Take advantage of networking opportunities that are offered though the school, and do some research on the participants and their companies prior to the event. Seek out the participants who can provide you with advice and potential leads. Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.


Merrick Exchange:  Why did you choose to attend UB?


Stewart: I chose the University of Baltimore because of the reputation of the school and the MBA program. When I attended, the campus was geared towards “older” working students. There was a concerted effort to schedule classes during times that were convenient for those who worked full-time. I also believed I could learn more by having my classmates share their practical experiences, and I could relate the practical experiences to the theory that was taught in the classroom. 


Merrick Exchange: How do you stay involved with what is happening at UB?


Stewart: I hosted the first “Dinner with 12 Strangers” event, participate in networking sessions with business students, attend alumni events, function as a mentor to a current student, and I provide financial support to the university.  I also participate in activities sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as often as possible.


Merrick Exchange: How has attending UB helped you in your career?


Stewart: Being at UB really helped to jump start my career. The MBA program really prepared me academically. I sharpened my research skills, and I learned how to function as a member of a group in completing projects. Upon graduating, I was accepted into a corporate development program with a manufacturing company. A classmate from UB referred me for the program. As I have moved through various positions and organizations, I have encountered many fellow UB grads, and they know the quality of the education that I received.


Merrick Exchange: What personal goal have you set for yourself this year?


Stewart:  One goal is to read at least one book per month for professional/personal development. I am off to a good start. Another goal was to complete the Towson University’s Women’s Leadership Program, and I just graduated from that. I also want to grow my personal business significantly by the end of the calendar year.


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UB Alumni Business Directory
Submit. Sell. Shop. Save. Showcase your business through the new online University of Baltimore Alumni Business Directory. Created to encourage networking and to suipport alumni-owned or affiliated businesses, the directory can help you reach more than 55,000 UB graduates: you can even offer exclusive discounts on products and/or services. If you're a UB graduate and would like your company to appear in the UB Alumni Business Directory, visit www.ubalt.edy/alumnibusinessdirectory.
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Past Issues of the Merrick Exchange
A 'Sweet' Victory for UB Entrepreneurs
Robin Holmes receving the check from Len Attman

One of the highlights of Global Entrepreneurship Week is the finale of the Leonard and Phyllis Attman Competitive Business Prize, and this year the event continued to showcase many of the University of Baltimore community's most talented and driven entrepreneurs.

One of the highlights of Global Entrepreneurship Week is the finale of the Leonard and Phyllis Attman Competitive Business Prize, and this year the event continued to showcase many of the University of Baltimore community's most talented and driven entrepreneurs.

With 21 students and recent alumni entering the competition, a team of preliminary judges narrowed the finalists to just six for the Nov.15 live finale. Those six were coached by volunteers affiliated with UB’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with the hopes that their business pitch would earn them the coveted Attman Prize.

Gathered in the M. Scot Kaufman Auditorium, a capacity crowd cheered on the competitors. One by one, each of the finalists articulated their business ideas to the judges and the audience. In the end, only one could earn the top prize of $2,500: this year's winner is Robin Holmes, B.S.'12 (human services administration major) and her Deddle's Mini Donuts food truck business.

Holmes's business is known for serving hot and fresh mini donuts, crispy fried chicken, fresh squeezed lemonade, and local Baltimore coffee brand, Zeke's. Holmes shared her products and put together an outstanding business pitch. In addition to the prize money, Holmes received rent-free office space in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation so that she can grow her brand.

The Attman family were integral in selecting Deddle's Donuts as the winning pitch. Both Leonard and Phyllis Attman were judges, along with their daughter Wende Levitas, vice president for Attman Properties, and their granddaughter, Rebecca Steller, director of marketing and advertising for A&G Management Co. Rounding out the judging team were Ted Goloboski, B.S. '75 (business) and Beverly A. Cooper, board chairwomen of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.


UB Entrepreneurship Fellow Hiba Mohammed was the competition's runner-up and also voted Crowd Favorite, for her for-profit online retail business which designs and sells sports clothing for active Muslim women of all ages.


Mohammed saw that there was a need for her product, after watching her daughter playing soccer in the heat. She noticed how uncomfortable her daughter was in the layers of clothing she wears in order to meet the modesty requirements of her faith. For her efforts, Mohammed won $500, plus an additional $250 for being selected as Crowd Favorite. Each of the remaining contestants won $100 for making it to the finals.

The Six Finalists 

  • Jean-Paul Badjo and Meejee Kim – Badjo Suit is the world's first fully customizable exoskeleton suit that can be adapted for many purposes.
  • Robin Holmes – Deddle’s Donuts is a food truck that sells mini donuts and buttermilk fried chicken strips throughout Baltimore.
  • Hiba Mohammed – Asli is a for-profit online retailer that designs and sells sports clothing for active Muslim women of all ages.
  • Lisa Parisi – Mandala Massage Baltimore LLC is a holistic health service that offers massage therapy and acupuncture to employees of mid-size companies.
  • Mustafa Wahid – TransitioningU is an evidence-based mobile student success platform that helps higher education institutions retain students through automated coaching.
  • Shane Yeager – ShortKlips is a marketing service that provides an easy way for businesses and agencies to create, measure and implement video across the channels to their consumers.


Startup Maryland Bus Makes Campus Stop for Rally, Sept. 28

Now in its sixth year, Startup Maryland's "Pitch Across Maryland" bus tour will stop at the University of Baltimore for a rally and business pitch session on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 4-6:30 p.m. at Gordon Plaza. Are you an entrepreneur? Come out and pitch your best ideas and concepts for new businesses, and be heard by some of the state's most successful business leaders.

This year's event features a happy hour and network opportunities for those who want to join Baltimore's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Open to the public, "Pitch Across Maryland" includes opportunities to: 

  • practice your business pitch;
  • pitch your business idea to a panel of expert judges;
  • connect with others who want to start or grow their own companies. 

Startup Maryland is a regional initiative launched from the Startup America Partnership. This peer-driven movement, focused on high-growth ventures, strives to connect innovation communities and recognize the importance of founding entrepreneurs, as well as start-up, ramp-up and speed-up companies to Maryland's innovation economy. Startup Maryland rallies entrepreneurs, supporters and other innovation stakeholders around four main initiatives:

  • connection 
  • celebration 
  • coaching 
  • capital 

Learn more about the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Learn more about Startup Maryland.

Digital Entrepreneurs Mentored by Two UB Centers

The University of Baltimore's Center for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation are working together to support UB's "digital entrepreneurs"—those students who are making their way in developing new businesses with deep roots in high-technology, such as apps, web development and 3D printing.

The two centers established a partnership to support mentoring opportunities for digital entrepreneurs, and to make it easy for these students to test out their ideas in the Digital Design and Fabrication Corner in the newly established Edward Attman and Mildred Cohen Attman Student Incubator in CEI's location in the William H. Thumel Sr. Business Center (home of the Merrick School of Business), 11 W. Mt. Royal Ave.

Eusebio Scornavacca, the University's Parsons Professor for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture and director of the CD3C, said the partnership will strengthen UB's expertise and infrastructure in the area of digital transformation as well as entrepreneurship, with the goal of creating socio-economic prosperity and vital, forward-thinking communities.


"In this changing world, where the most popular media company on the planet—Facebook—produces no content, the largest taxi company—Uber—owns no vehicles, and the leading accommodation provider—Airbnb—doesn't own real estate, there is an urgent need to align workforce development initiatives and entrepreneurial activities with transformative digital innovations and business strategies that create positive social impact and prosperity," said Scornavacca, who also serves as an associate professor of management information systems in the Merrick School of Business and is a world-renowned expert on mobile information systems and digital transformation. "Our partnership is great for maximizing the University's capabilities in service to our students."

John Zuknick, who recently resigned as director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said, "Digital is set to revolutionize the world, and this partnership just makes sense. Digital technology is a key ingredient to creating innovative startups—something of great interest to our students."


Matthew Jung, a member of the Merrick School's 2018 cohort of Entrepreneurship Fellows and a transfer student from Howard Community College, is enthused by the centers' partnership as he continues work on his start-up, Synaesthetic Solutions. The company plans to create holographic 3D displays for businesses in a variety of ways. Jung points to holographic figures like Tupac and Whitney Houston and their appearances in concert settings as an application of the technology.

"Just having someone who knows the 3D process already was really helpful," Jung said of his involvement with the centers.

Learn more about the Center for Digital Communication, Commerce and Culture. the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Merrick School of Business.

Vital Signs 15 Provides Data Tracking Quality of Life in Baltimore's Neighborhoods

Vital Signs 15, a comprehensive statistical portrait of Baltimore and its neighborhoods, marks 15 years of continuous monitoring of community-based quality of life indicators. The 15th edition of the report, published by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI), tracks more than 100 indicators that "take the pulse" of neighborhood health and vitality. The report, along with new indicators and several data visualization aids, is available now on BNIA-JFI’s updated website.

Seema D. Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute in the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business, said the release of Vital Signs 15 is more relevant than ever as neighborhoods try to manage change and the City of Baltimore tries to support the local vision of all neighborhoods.

"Neighborhoods are continually changing," Iyer added. "To better understand how various trends impact quality of life, residents, businesses, and city agencies use these data in order to proactively take action to support or potentially reverse those trends."

Vital Signs 15 comprises a well-defined set of both long-standing and newly emerging issues that are important for understanding Baltimore’s unique neighborhoods. Highlights include:

Changing Demographics

Vital Signs 15 provides the first glimpse of demographic change since 2010, due to the latest release of data from the 2011-2015 American Community Survey. Overall, between 2010 and 2015, the percent of African-American and white population declined while the percent of Asian-American and Hispanic population increased. 

  • Baltimore's overall racial diversity index increased slightly from 54.5 to 55.5. As of 2015, 6 out of the 55 communities that comprise Baltimore City consist of people where no one racial or ethnic group has a majority (Brooklyn/Curtis Bay/Hawkins Point, Downtown/Seton Hill, Greater Charles Village/Barclay, Orangeville/East Highlandtown, Patterson Park North & East, Southeastern).
  • Adjusting for inflation, the median household income in Baltimore increased from $41,686 from 2006-2010 to $42,241 from 2011-2015. The CSAs that experienced the greatest increases in median household income over the two periods were South Baltimore (+$21,547), Canton (+$14,172) and Fells Point (+$12,565).

Understanding Housing Affordability

Following national trends in other metropolitan areas, the percentage of renter households is increasing in Baltimore. However, rent affordability is a burden for more than 50 percent of Baltimore renter households, and the neighborhoods with higher rates also have high rates of housing voucher use.

  • In 2015, more than 66 percent of households in Belair-Edison, Washington Village/Pigtown and Madison/East End spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent costs. These same three communities had the highest rates of housing choice voucher utilization, more than two times the citywide average. With median sales prices of homes below the citywide average, the fact that renters are housing burdened is a function of the higher demand for moderately-priced rental units in Baltimore. 

Although some neighborhoods are experiencing housing pressure, in many others, the supply of housing in Baltimore today greatly outnumbers current demand which, over many decades, has resulted in deferred maintenance of residential properties and ultimately abandonment.

  • Between 2014 and 2015, the percentage of homes receiving a vacant house notice (VHN) in Baltimore City increased from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent.

A Difficult Year in Crime

After many years of positive trends, the summer of 2015 was marked by spikes in homicides and violence crimes, the severity of which hadn’t been experienced in years. While crime rates soared, adult and juvenile arrests declined.

  • In 2015, there were 344 homicides in Baltimore City, up from 211 in 2014.
  • Between 2014 and 2015, the Part I crime rate in Baltimore City increased from 60.5 offenses per 1,000 residents to 65.1 offenses per 1,000 residents. The subset of Part I crimes that make up the violent crime rate increased as well, from 13.7 violent offenses per 1,000 residents to 16.1 per 1,000 persons.
  • Conversely, the arrest rate for adults was dramatically lower in 2015 than in the previous year. Between 2014 and 2015, the arrest rate in Baltimore City decreased from 48.7 to 30.9 arrests per 1,000 residents aged 18 and above. In 2015, the CSAs with the highest arrest rates were Downtown/Seton Hill (127.8 arrests per 1,000), Washington Village/Pigtown (107.0), and Southwest Baltimore (106.1). 

Youth Engagement and Neighborhood Context

In response to the civil unrest in 2015, there was a concerted effort by the City and local organizations to improve job access and increase employment opportunities for Baltimore City residents. These efforts were largely directed towards residents from neighborhoods affected by the violence particularly young people ages 16-24.

  • Based on the 2011-2015 American Community Survey, 81.0 percent of the persons aged 16-19 were either in school and/or employed, which is a decline from 86.0 prcent during 2006-2010.  
  • The percentage of students 16 or above who withdrew from Baltimore City public schools increased from 2.0 percent to 3.7 percent between the 2014 and 2015 school years.
  • Many neighborhoods with large numbers of high school students in the public school system also have high rates of housing vacancy, such as Greater Rosemont, Southwest Baltimore and Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park. 

In total, Vital Signs 15 is a compilation of "big data." There are more than 100 indicators for each of Baltimore's 55 community statistical areas, which translate to more than 5,000 data points in the latest edition of the study. The report is also rooted in "open data": All of the indicators, maps and report chapters from Vital Signs are freely accessible online for anyone to use in a variety of innovative ways. BNIA-JFI is currently working with city government to upload Vital Signs data on the OpenBaltimore data portal.

On July 14, BNIA-JFI also hosted an annual workshop, Baltimore Data Day, in which community leaders, nonprofit organizations, governmental entities and civic-minded "hackers" come together to analyze the latest trends in community-based data, technology and tools, and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change. 

Vital Signs analyzes data provided at the Community Statistical Area level. CSAs are clusters of neighborhoods organized around census tract boundaries, which are consistent statistical boundaries. Neighborhood borders don’t always fall neatly into CSAs, but CSAs represent conditions occurring within the particular neighborhoods that comprise a CSA.

BNIA-JFI began in 1998 as a partnership between the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. In 2006, BNIA joined with the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute in an expansion of its capabilities. BNIA-JFI has strengthened the Vital Signs report and provided additional services and resources for those who seek data, information, and analysis about the city.

The complete Vital Signs reports, along with a separate executive summary, data, maps and other research by BNIA-JFI, are available at