After five years as head of one of the nation's largest public university systems, University of Maryland President John S. Toll gave the university high marks yesterday for the its new "emphasis on excellence and equity" during his tenure.
In his annual "State of the University" report to the school's Board of Regents yesterday, Toll wrote, "We have maintained our momentum as one of the nation's major public universities and have reached new levels of excellence and responsiveness in many fields."
The report cites a recent National Academy of Sciences survey that placed several graduate programs at Maryland's College Park campus in the nation's top 10 for public institutions. Toll also referred to the campus's 14th-place ranking of the 25 public institutions in the Association of American Universities in terms of doctoral programs as evidence of the school's improved national image.
Some faculty leaders say the university's newfound progress does not benefit everyone.
"Despite Toll's insistence that advances in quality and salaries of faculty members are among his proudest accomplishments, that progress has not significantly improved the lot of College Park faculty members," said Stephen Brush, chairman of the campus's Faculty Council.
"We recognize the things Dr. Toll has done," Brush said, citing programs such as the university's $600,000 faculty recruitment and retention fund, begun in 1980. But, "there are still some problems in that faculty members still don't have a voice in decisions. It's still a situation where Toll runs things from the top."
Strong opposition from Toll and other Maryland officials helped stop a bill in the state's General Assembly this spring that would have given university faculty collective bargaining rights, and Brush said some teachers have held that against the president.
Toll and Brush agree that the most serious problem facing the school is is a lack of adequate state funding.
"The state of Maryland has been stingy in funding the University of Maryland over a long period of time," Brush said.
"Through nobody's fault, resources for the university have been less," Toll said. "With limited resources, we amplify our successful programs."
The stirrings of economic recovery augur well for increased funding of the university, Toll wrote in his report. "There will be a real chance to move ahead in the next five years," he said.