It is incredibly exciting to lead a school that has so much going for it—and even more to come. I also benefit enormously from a personal connection—I am a graduate—and that experience gives me an advantage in understanding our community.
I am a proud alumna of the University of Baltimore, having received my B.S. in Business Administration in 1978 and an M.B.A. in 1980. I was pleased to return "home" in 2005, when I was appointed associate dean. This experience has provided me with ample knowledge about the school, and, most importantly, about the people who make the University of Baltimore and the Merrick School such a vibrant place to learn and grow. I am continually impressed by how warm and welcoming the community is—and I have discovered the many positive ways the school is different from other business schools.
Our faculty is exceptional. They go well beyond the traditional methods of teaching in order to deliver an integrated and holistic educational experience at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. When our faculty members teach, they blend theory and practice with a genuine concern for the learning and success of their students. They always want to see their students do well. The Merrick faculty is available to students in many different ways, which is a hallmark of an excellent small university.
I have never seen a student and alumni body quite like Merrick's. Students are driven to get things done and have a strong work ethic. What students here have in common is a laser-like focus on business and entrepreneurial outcomes, coupled with intensity and a seriousness of purpose. I see the same qualities in our alumni, often reflected in a passion for their work and their communities. People here believe in living life to the fullest, and it's inspiring to us all.
Our staff is different, too. Many have been with Merrick for a long time and mentor those who are newcomers to campus. Their competence and commitment to the school and its mission make life easier for faculty and students. They don't just talk about taking the initiative and engaging in teamwork; they practice it.
When an extraordinary faculty and student body are matched up with an exceptional staff, the result is a unique culture with opportunities that make a difference on many fronts. In today's highly competitive world of higher education, we have to be much faster, more flexible and well-resourced to continue attracting talented students, faculty and staff. My job is to complement these strengths, by building awareness, enhancing resources and to investment in strong faculty and students. At the same time, I am compelled to make sure everyone in the community is focused on being as good as he or she can possibly be. You can count on me for support, guidance and an eagerness to engage.
As we start the process of building Merrick's future together, your ideas and suggestions really do matter. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org—tell me what you think. I promise I will personally review and respond to your messages. I am committed to furthering this school's greatness, and I look forward to your wonderful contributions in the coming months and years.
With UB Pride,
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.