The University System of Maryland is a family of thirteen institutions of higher education. Eleven of the institutions grant degrees, and two of the institutions are research based but contribute to the education of students from the degree-granting institutions. In sum, the System institutions enroll over 130,000 students and have an annual budget of nearly three billion dollars.
The ultimate authority in governance of the System is vested in the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is comprised of seventeen members: the state Secretary of Agriculture, one student member, and 15 other members. All appointments are made by the governor and require the advice and consent of the state Senate. State law regarding the Board of Regents includes language saying that one member shall be a full-time student in good academic standing at an institution under the jurisdiction of the Board. State law also allows for a a student member who is a part-time student in good academic standing at the University of Maryland University College.
By law, the Board of Regents
The Student Regent is a full member of the board. This includes participation in all meetings and a vote in all matters. Some of the items the Board of Regents considers include setting tuition and fees for attendance at the institutions; approving capitals and operating budgets; issuing bonds; appointing the Chancellor and all institutional presidents; approving new degree programs; and reviewing and approving mission statements of the System institutions.
The Board of Regents meets at regular meetings approximately six times per year. On occasion there are topics that warrant special meetings of the board between regular meetings. Further, the Student Regent will be appointed to serve on board committees. These committees typically meet once between regular meetings. In addition, the Student Regent has the opportunity to represent the USM at State budget hearings, ceremonial events, and at other times and places where such representation is deemed desirable.
The Student Regent is expected to attend all meetings of the Board of Regents and the committees assigned. The Student Regent also serves ex officio on the University System Student Council, giving reports on the activities of the board at the monthly System Student Council meetings. The Student Regent can then act as a conduit to the Board of Regents to bring student's concerns.
The Student Regent routinely interacts with various leading Marylanders and policy-makers. This includes state and local elected officials: the Governor and administration, members of the General Assembly, and significant local officials. The Student Regent also will interact with the officials in higher education: Maryland Higher Education Commission officials and System and System institution administrators. Lastly, the Student Regent will participate in activities that involve business and civic leaders, dignitaries, and special guests. It is imperative that the Student Regent positively represent students and the University System of Maryland to all people he/she interacts with.
The Student Regent serves without compensation but will be reimbursed for expenses incurred.
The time commitment required of the Student Regent is significant. Duties of the office may require the Student Regent to routinely miss scheduled classes and make other schedule adjustments. The time required to effectively serve as Student Regent is typically over fifteen hours a week. Frequently, the time commitment surpasses twenty hours a week. This time is spent preparing for meetings, participating in meetings, follow-up, visiting System institutions, and various other activities.
The Student Regent is expected to advance the concerns of all students in the System and to approach issues with a system-wide perspective. Because of this responsibility, the Student Regent is expected to limit his/her role in home-institution activities and issues.
Some characteristics that are necessary to be an effective Student Regent include:
Each degree-granting University System of Maryland institution can nominate one candidate to the University System of Maryland Student Council through the institution's System Student Council delegates. The University System of Maryland Student Council will interview all institutional nominees at its December meeting. The Council will then submit a list of three candidates to the Chancellor. The Chancellor will interview the candidates in late December or early January. Subsequently, the Chancellor will nominate candidates to the Governor. The Governor will then appoint a Student Regent subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate. The Student Regent is appointed annually, with the term of office July 1 to June 30.