"I am here to incite a revolution," Donald N. Langenberg said last week in his inaugural address as chancellor of the University of Maryland. What he has in mind are sweeping changes to transform the state's vast university system. The alternative, he said, is for UM to become "a historical anachronism, a bastion of arrogant irrelevance."
Dr. Langenberg's address amounted to a harsh condemnation of hidebound campus leaders who have thwarted past efforts to bring about much-needed reforms at UM. Failure to respond to "a swiftly evolving global society" has robbed the university of its role as "a vital engine of our society."
Academic leaders have been smug and self-satisfied and missed a golden opportunity in the boom years of the 1980s to re-direct campuses in new, imaginative directions, the chancellor said. Instead, UM and other colleges "used our new-found wealth to create new and sometimes questionable programs without cutting the old, the outmoded, or the mediocre. Today, we are paying the price."