The University of Maryland earned its place among the nation’s best schools for entrepreneurship in new rankings that reflect its commitment to innovative education during the height of virtual learning amid the pandemic.
In the 2022 edition of the annual rankings, announced today by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, UMD ranked 10th for undergraduate entrepreneurship education across all institutions – its seventh consecutive year in the top 10 and 10NSyear in a row in the top 25 – and ranked 4 among public universities. It was also listed at number 24 for graduate education in entrepreneurship. New this year, Princeton Review ranks schools regionally, with UMD coming in second in the Northeast.
“Anyone who has been part of the University of Maryland community—faculty, staff, students, and external partners—has heard time and time again for more than a decade about the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dean Chang, associate vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship. Every part of this campus is constantly thinking about how to do things in more creative ways and more ways to change the rules of the game.”
The university’s consistent run in the top 10 in The Princeton Review coincides with a campus-wide initiative, led by the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, to engage the entire student body in innovation and entrepreneurship. Collaboration includes business, such as through UMD’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, and engineering, such as through Mtech, as well as all 12 schools and colleges and key partners such as the Undergraduate Studies Office (including live learning and public education programs), and student organizations (Startup). Shell, Bitcamp and Hatchery), economic development (I-Corps and UM Ventures) and social innovation groups (Do Good Institute, Technica, Ladies First and AgEnterprise Challenge).
For example, Zhang said, UMD’s Southern Department Leadership Program provides financial support and mentorship to low-income and first-generation students interested in entrepreneurship and leadership, and the newly launched Arts for All initiative fosters a culture of creativity and innovation at the campus level through a partnership in the arts, sciences and and technology.
“A lot of people are balancing entrepreneurship with just startups,” he said, “but in Maryland, it’s broadly all about creativity, innovation, and applying an entrepreneurial mindset to any challenge in public health, agriculture, the arts, social justice, and more.”
Princeton Review posted its rankings for entrepreneurship after a survey of more than 300 schools conducted from June to August. Among the criteria analyzed were academic performances and the proportion of faculty, students, and alumni actively involved in entrepreneurial endeavors.
From 2020 to 21, Zhang said, 4,766 undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one entrepreneurship course at UMD, and 568 were in secondary entrepreneurship. One online entrepreneurship class allowed 1,600 students to learn how to start new ventures while meeting key general education requirements. Besides traditional entrepreneurship, UMD offers over 100 courses in innovation-related areas such as creativity, social value creation, business principles, and design thinking. In all, about half of undergraduate students take at least one innovation and entrepreneurship course each year.
The methodology behind the rating also looked at the students’ experience outside the classroom. This included factors such as the number and reach of mentorship programs, scholarships and grants for entrepreneurship studies, and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions. Another innovation teacher said this kind of support has helped students persevere and expand their entrepreneurship even during the turmoil caused by the coronavirus.
said Holly D. Armond, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship in Maryland Smith, which provides resources to empower students with startups. “In terms of arrangement, it’s good to be a part of something bigger.”