Jarrell: 'We're Making a Lot of Progress'
With a new semester upon us, Chris Zang, managing editor, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, sat down with Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, chief academic and research officer and senior vice president and dean of the Graduate School.
What changes do you see in the coming months?
I see a broad set of changes taking place. Some are external to the University, such as improving our relationships with the surrounding neighborhoods. Some are internal, such as looking at processes within the University at the campus level and how they relate to each school. If you’re asking about big, specific changes, the new UM shuttle, the MPowering the State initiative with College Park, and implementing the strategic plan certainly would qualify.
Speaking of changes, you have moved since last time we met.
Yes, in addition to some title changes, the senior leadership has been physically reorganized with Pete Gilbert [chief operating officer and senior vice president], Kathy Byington [chief administration and finance officer and vice president], and myself now sharing a suite of offices in the Lexington Building. It is working out quite well.
Put on your chief academic research hat for a minute and tell us what’s happening with MPowering the State, our structured collaboration with the University of Maryland, College Park.
Well, the two scholars from College Park who started here this summer are finishing up. They conducted research as well as shadowed some faculty and faculty physicians. We’re making a lot of progress on UM Ventures, a joint institute to promote tech transfer and commercialization through collaborative leadership. The Center for Biomedical Informatics and Imaging has been moving along very well. We’ve already received provisional accreditation for our Collaborative School of Public Health. A lot of work has been done to gain library access for groups at both campuses, and now we have a system to manage grants across the campuses, too. A ton of things are happening. As additional funding is found, that will allow us to do even more.
What’s new in the Graduate School?
The roles of Roger Ward [chief accountability officer and associate VP] and Flavius Lilly [assistant VP, academic and student affairs] have expanded. Dr. Ward has greater responsibility for organizing and leading University efforts to monitor federal, state, and system policies and regulations. Mr. Lilly has taken on greater oversight for campus life services, including the campus center. He is also involved in helping to establish collaborative academic programs within the Graduate School. In the future we will take a broader look at more clearly defining the role and identity of the Graduate School.
In addition, Dr. Perman has asked me to continue to oversee the Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) in my overall University role. The HRPP and its office [HRPO] provides support for the UMB Institutional Review Board, which conducts ethical and scientific review, compliance, and oversight activities for clinical research protocols and provides training for research involving human subjects. There will be a concerted effort in the months ahead to educate the University community on the HRPO’s important work.
I know you’ve been involved in the new UM shuttle, but I also heard you were on another bus with University leaders?
Yes, Brian Sturdivant and the Office of Government and Community Affairs recently took 18 of us on a bus tour of UMB community engagement sites in West Baltimore, including schools and health centers. Some of the schools we already impact through the President’s Outreach Council and CLUB UMD, as well as the SWCOS and Promise Heights programming through the School of Social Work. It was an eye-opening experience; there is much more to do.
My friends on the Sustainability Steering Committee want to know how your Chevy VOLT is doing?
I love it! I can see the garage charging station from my office. I’m getting 171 miles a gallon. Basically what that means is I run on battery 80 to 90 percent of the time. I don’t even know what side the gas tank is on.
I know you are an accomplished metalsmith who, among your many projects, has made two mace holders and the Davidge elm installation at the Campus Center. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about any future projects at the University.
Oh, I have a good one for you. Sam Fauver and his Facilities associates found a piece of the original Davidge elm tree for a future project. We sawed it up into boards and it’s gorgeous wood. Now we are looking into how to use that wood for a School or the entire University.