President Bell charts 'The Path Forward'

  • Sunday, April 21, 2013

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD. - (April 19, 2013) - Juliette B. Bell is confident after 9½ months at the helm of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore that it has the foundation to achieve eminence in teaching, research and public service.

    Dr. Juliette B. Bell displays her UMES presidential medallion"UMES is already an excellent institution," Bell said today in an inaugural address that followed her formal installation as president.  "I have been many places, and (have) seen many different college campuses. I know quality when I see it."

    Moving from excellence to eminence, the motivational theme Bell has chosen for her administration, however, "is more than a slogan or mantra."

    "It is a state of mind, a way of life and a statement of expectations," she said.

    "It is UMES saying that we expect to start with excellence as the baseline. We expect to engage in continuous improvement. We aim high to move our university to the next level."

    In a 20-minute speech to an audience that included Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan and her immediate family, Bell laid out a six-point plan for reaching that goal.

    She called on university constituencies to support a strategy that emphasizes marketing, investment and collaboration. UMES, she said, also should be nimble while focusing on niches that define it as a university.

    And, she added, doing so with a sense of excitement, "because … we are poised at the precipice of change."

    "We have to tell our story," she said. "We can no longer be the 'best kept secret' or 'diamond in the rough.' We must develop, build and protect our brand."

    Bell's vision for shaping a path forward is aligning "our budget with our strategic priorities" and ensuring UMES achieves "measureable outcomes that support our goals."

    Topping her list of priorities is rallying support for a new library, just one element in a sustained effort "to ensure the state of Maryland … continues to make the necessary investments in UMES that will allow this university to rise to the level of its full potential."

    In addition, Bell said, "we must identify what is unique about UMES and those areas that are specifically suited to our character and our capabilities."

    Examples she cited the public already knows about are degrees offered in hotel restaurant management, construction management, professional golf management and pharmacy.

    Since its founding in 1886 as a place to educate teachers and preachers and now as a doctoral research university, "We are poised to make continuing and significant contributions to the research and economic development of this region and the state," Bell said.

    Universities, she noted, "are under increased scrutiny and public concern over access, affordability and accountability."

    "We must … act with agility and … adapt and respond" to a rapidly changing landscape, she said. "We must be nimble."

    Bell pledged to establish and strengthen partnerships with primary and secondary schools, community colleges, other universities as well as business and industry.

    "We have to make connections and develop those relationships that help the university move forward," she