The month of June has given Baltimore (and Maryland) a lot to celebrate. The city was buzzing with locals and tourists alike during the week of Sailabration—an event commemorating the bicentennial of the start of the War of 1812. Of course our significant contribution to history didn’t occur until the Battle of Baltimore in 1814—which lead to Francis Scott Key’s poem and the lyrics for our national anthem. That being said, the huge gathering of tall ships from around the world put Baltimore in the spotlight and clearly showed that our state played an important role in sustaining our country in turbulent times.
It’s interesting how history repeats itself. In 2012, Maryland is once again helping to drive our nation’s economic success. Studies released in June find that Maryland is a top-ranked state in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship—all of which are crucial factors in determining a region’s future economic success.
For the third year in a row, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has rated Maryland among the top five in the country for economic growth, job creation and innovation. In its annual report on Enterprising States, the chamber reported that Maryland is one of the nation’s foremost tech centers with its most productive sectors over the past decade being in professional, business and technical services. The report further elaborated on Maryland’s educational attainment, affordable college tuition, the high percentage of science, technology engineering and math-related jobs in the work force, as well as innovative programs like the InvestMaryland initiative that’s providing $84 million in venture capital funding to high-tech startups.
As dean of one of the region’s top business schools, I am proud of the role that higher education in general—and the University of Baltimore specifically—has played in helping to drive the region’s economy. In a recent op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun, Kristen Campbell of the Baltimore Collegetown Network discusses the role of colleges and universities in giving the area a real competitive advantage. She cites a recent study that ranks Baltimore as the third most “metroversity-impacted” urban area out of the 40 largest regions in the country—behind only Boston and Raleigh. A metroversity is an urban area whose colleges and universities positively influence the quality of life for all who work, live and study there. Sure sounds like Baltimore, doesn’t it?
The University of Baltimore has certainly played a major role in the economic strength of the region. As an urban-engaged university, UB is growing in terms of its student population, its programs and its outreach into the community. We are an innovative, entrepreneurial university that prides itself on providing “Knowledge that Works” for the region and beyond. Whether it’s our new Master of Science in Innovation Management and Technology Commercialization or the new Ratcliffe Fellows program in entrepreneurship or our Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), the Merrick School understands the drivers of our economy and is responding in real time with new programs targeted to these high growth sectors.
These aren’t platitudes: Given that Maryland ranks fourth in the concentration of technology jobs and third in research and development intensity, the M.S. in Innovation Management and Technology Commercialization is a one of its kind in the state targeting scientists, engineers and other technical workers who need the requisite business skills to successfully launch the high-tech startups fueling our economy.
Our new Ratcliffe Fellows program in entrepreneurship, along with the CEI, is all about supporting small business and the emerging class of entrepreneurs. Our programs are designed to ensure that Maryland (and Baltimore) stays out front as a great home for entrepreneurs.
If you haven’t visited the UB campus lately, you don’t know what you’re missing—new programs, a new building for the School of Law, the new Varsity student housing, our fantastic bookstore at the Fitzgerald. We are not your father’s UB. In 2012, we are a rich and vibrant urban campus that is solely focused on providing an education to meet the needs of the citizens and employers in the 21st century. Indeed, we’ve come a long way since 1812—and for that we should “sailabrate”!
With UB Pride,
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D. Dean B.S. '78 and M.B.A. '80