Continuing the Trajectory of Academic Excellence
Merrick School of Business Strategic Plan 2011 – 2015
(Approved by the Merrick School Faculty Senate May 2011 and the Dean’s Advisory Board June 2011)
This strategic plan reflects the development process and intent of the Merrick School of Business’ Strategic Plan. An impressive amount of thought and effort by 150 faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and business leaders contributed to the development of this Plan. Through focused discussions with our internal and external constituents, MSB explored the thoughts of the community and discovered where each group hopes the business school will be in five years. Not only was our strategic vision formed from these collective voices, but three overarching values deemed critical to our success emerged:
Quality: We must be recognized for the strength of our curriculum, our commitment to learning outcomes, and faculty excellence. Our AACSB International accreditation is a recognized signal of quality in the marketplace. However, we must go beyond these high standards to ensure that our graduates are prepared for the complexities and competitiveness of the global marketplace.
Learner-centeredness: With teaching being fundamental to our mission, business disciplines being a necessary vehicle to organizing knowledge, and scholarship being key to a vibrant learning environment, we must be a learner-centered community comprised of students, faculty, staff and alumni. As a collaborative, inclusive community we value engaged learning, scholarship, responsible behavior, diversity, courageous leadership, global awareness, and innovative partnerships.
Community engagement: The next generation of successful business schools will be characterized by a broad range of community partnerships needed to leverage institutional capacity and enhance quality. Business schools must become more proactive in taking the campus to the community rather than expecting the community always to come to the campus.
As one of four academic divisions in the University of Baltimore, a priority in developing the Merrick School’s new strategic plan was to ensure its alignment with the strategic initiatives of the University and the University System of Maryland. Powering Maryland Forward, the theme of the University System of Maryland’s strategic plan, examines the education, economic and leadership challenges in the state. Developed in 2011, it focuses on helping the state of Maryland achieve its goal of 55 percent college completion while maintaining academic quality; transforming the academic model to enhance student learning and success; and ensuring Maryland’s competitiveness in the new economy. Consistent with the USM 2020 plan, UB’s strategic plan, Expanding the Shared Vision, outlines four key elements:
- Enhancing the learning experience at UB as measured by retention and graduation rates, student satisfaction, and job placement,
- Growing headcount to 8,000 to serve state and workforce needs,
- Achieving national ranking and recognition in select academic areas, and
- Securing the necessary resources to fully implement and support the University’s vision.
Vision — To be a school of choice for students, faculty, and business leaders.
Mission — To provide exceptional learning experiences that facilitate the transformation and empowerment of students into knowledgeable, responsive business professionals and leaders.
Continuing our trajectory of academic excellence is the focus of this strategic plan. The Merrick School vision is to be a school of choice for students with great potential, faculty with strong research and teaching capabilities, and business leaders with high expectations for thought leadership and talent. As a learning community, our mission is to transform and empower students, while remaining true to our legacy of serving non-traditional and first-generation college students. The key to student success is an intellectual and professional learning environment that brings theory to practice. We at Merrick are dedicated to providing exactly that as we pursue our vision and accomplish our mission by way of the objectives laid out in this Plan.
The Merrick School has continuously been accredited by AACSB-International since 1983, a sign of our commitment to academic excellence. We are 26,000 alumni strong with more than an 85-year history of serving the academic and business communities. We are proud of our unique heritage of serving non-traditional students, many of whom are first generation college students. It is an important ingredient to the rich diversity in population and perspective in the classroom.
In 2008, we launched an effort to significantly increase research output, develop new program offerings, create minors and certificates as alternative access points to business and management education, and expand the experiential learning opportunities for our students, all while solidifying our long history of traditional strengths and rising undergraduate and graduate enrollment. As a direct result of this effort, the Merrick School gained national recognition by US News & World Report for both our undergraduate and graduate programs. This unprecedented growth and national recognition during difficult economic times has brought new challenges requiring creative solutions and new opportunities requiring strategies to mine. This Strategic Plan is responsive to these challenges and opportunities, as well as the changing landscape of the 21st century business education. Essential to achieving our Mission of transforming and empowering our students will be our response to the following challenges and opportunities:
- The faculty is the primary driver of success in achieving our Mission. It is essential that the School’s faculty is at full strength in order to better enhance existing programs and to develop innovative new programs. The Merrick School remains committed to recruiting, developing, and retaining a faculty recognized for both innovative academic programs and rigorous research relevant for the advancement of theory, practice and teaching pedagogy.
- Non-traditional and first generation students, important to the diversity of perspective in the classroom, need support in navigating their college experience. Significant support services include career services, advising and mentoring, internships, international study and other experiential learning initiatives. Our ability to deliver these services is dependent upon the adequacy of resources necessary for the effective design, development, and delivery of these initiatives.
- Our curricula and faculty are expected to yield talented professionals who can solve complex business problems that transcend disciplines and geographies. Traditional models of teaching and learning will require adaptation to meet this challenge.
- Students, faculty and administration are increasingly expected to participate in the global higher education community when resources to support such participation are more difficult to obtain.
Five equally important priorities drive the Strategic Plan. They are inherently interwoven and mutually reinforcing. They collectively position the Merrick School to achieve its Mission of transforming and empowering its students. The priorities are to:
1. enhance students’ academic performance and career growth;
2. attract and retain top, diverse faculty;
3. create a culture of innovation that delivers distinctive programs responsive to market needs;
4. prepare students to succeed in a global market place; and
5. secure the financial and corporate support that is needed to advance the Mission of the School.
Garnering additional finance resources is central to the pace of the implementation of the strategic plan. Implementation has already begun in some cases and the School will strive to bring along the implementation of all the priorities on an equal footing as additional resources are identified to support the plan. Continued institutional support is essential as is an increased level of philanthropic support from alumni and friends.
The complexities and competitiveness of the global marketplace demand that our graduates enter the workforce fully equipped, well-rounded, and focused on their proposed paths to success. Functional skills are not enough for success; to be competitive, students must be critical thinkers who can comprehensively explore issues and ideas before formulating an opinion. They must be able to think creatively and communicate effectively. They must have a high degree of emotional intelligence including the ability to take responsibility for their emotions and understand how the choices they make affect their professional relationships. The primary objectives aligned with this strategic priority include:
1. Create a culture that demands and rewards rigorous and effective teaching.
2. Provide a collaborative and rich learning experience.
3. Ensure that undergraduate students have the requisite skills and competencies to succeed in the business program.
4. Ensure that graduate students have the requisite skills and competencies to succeed in the business program.
5. Enhance support for the professional development of our students. This includes equipping them with social networking skills to better navigate their academic and professional careers.
6. Continuously raise student performance and satisfaction.
The faculty is the primary driver of success in achieving our Mission. Faculty add significant value to our students and their employers with world-class teaching; to the community at large with generating knowledge and providing national leadership in this pursuit; and to the business community, non-profit organizations, and the government by providing service. Attracting and retaining high quality and diverse faculty requires clear identification of appropriate peer and aspirant schools that reflect the Merrick School’s balance of undergraduate and graduate programs and our vision to enhance our national reputation. It also requires the alignment of faculty incentives consistent with national norms and our aspirant schools and the configuration of faculty workload portfolios to better leverage individual strengths in teaching, research and service. The primary objectives aligned with this strategic priority include:
1. Transition to a culture of meritocracy.
2. Promote faculty excellence.
3. Reward research and service contributions that enhance our national visibility, research contributions that make an impact on the business community, and teaching and service contributions that enhance our credibility with the local community.
4. Attract and retain high-quality, diverse faculty.
5. Exercise creativity and commitment in recruiting criteria and flexibility in salaries to attract minority candidates; have our top faculty (from another discipline, if necessary) nurture and mentor them.
Priority 3: Create a culture of innovation that delivers distinctive programs responsive to market needs
While pockets of innovative practice exist within the Merrick School, there remains a habit of incremental change based on established academic practice. Given the expected uncertainty of the global marketplace and the significant shifts occurring in the American higher education system, MSB must reorganize itself to encourage and reward both incremental and radical innovation in its programs and their delivery. These programs and processes must add significant value to students and the markets in which they will operate. Increasing scarcity of resources requires continuous redesign of courses, degrees, and organizational processes, as well as the creation of new initiatives that may disrupt or displace existing MSB organizational structures. The primary objectives aligned with this strategic priority include:
1. Promote and reward innovation within the Merrick School.
2. Support innovative research in pedagogy and in emerging fields of study.
3. Encourage the innovative use of technology in teaching and learning.
4. Ensure ‘best-in-class’ delivery of course offerings and programs.
5. Encourage the emergence of a distinctive, leading edge curriculum.
The world’s economies are increasingly interconnected. Business is not just affected by globalization; it is a driving force behind the process. Thus, to be prepared for a career in an increasingly competitive globalized business environment, students must have well-developed global perspectives as part of their business management education. In addition to learning the technical skills that facilitate the globalization of business, students also require an awareness of the socio-economic and political conditions that drive globalization. Our students must develop the capacity to build partnerships and collaborate across borders and to expand their cultural awareness and sensitivity so that they can successfully compete in a global marketplace. The primary objectives aligned with this strategic priority include:
1. Launch the M.S. in Global Leadership program
2. Expand students’ global awareness and cultural competencies
3. Provide a rich menu of international options for students by expanding global field study courses, global business pratica, and international internships that provide both academic rigor and cultural exposure.4. Advance MSB faculty members’ global research and professional development.
5. Increase international student enrollment to promote better cultural awareness and mutual understanding in the classroom.
The strength of a business school is intimately linked to its connectivity to its alumni and the broader business community. The School’s drive to become the very best in class is only possible through the hard work, dedication and support of alumni and the business community. Whether by making opportunities or jobs available to students, endowing faculty positions, providing scholarships, funding the Speaker Series and databases for research and instruction, and supporting the school’s learning infrastructure, the strong ties maintained with alumni and the business community greatly benefit the School. The primary objectives aligned with this strategic priority include:
1. Strengthen partnerships in the business community.
2. Expand outreach to alumni and promote their involvement in the Merrick School.
3. Leverage the Merrick School’s Centers of Excellence to build strong partnerships in the public and private sectors.
4. Secure the necessary funding to support the Merrick School vision.