by BREANA BACON
The University of Maryland’s move to the Big Ten athletic conference after 61 years in the Atlantic Coast Conference brought about more money for the school, but it also included more academic opportunities for students in the forms of research and resources.
By joining the Big Ten, UMD also joined the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a partnership of universities in the athletic conference that “collaborate on research projects, offer educational opportunities for students , and share resources in areas such as purchasing and buying libraries,” according to the university website.
The university library system immediately saw benefits of joining the Big Ten conference because of an expansion of the interlibrary loan process, where students can request books from other schools if a UMD library does not have the book in its stacks. The program, named UBorrow, gives the university access to over 90 million volumes and is much faster than the traditional loan process with no book recalls, according to the university library system’s website.
Another component of the CIC is the shared purchase program, in which all schools in the conference contribute funds that are used to expand the materials that can be made available to students. The funds for the program will be used eventually for shared journal and book repositories at each school, where the school’s library system will house large amounts of materials for a certain subject in an effort to preserve space.
“I think everybody sees CIC or Big Ten and they assume it’s just about the athletic department, but there really is an academic side to it and the library has definitely seen benefits of that side,” said Maggie Saponaro, interim head of collection development at McKeldin library.
UMD’s admissions office was also immediately impacted by the switch to the Big Ten conference, being able to meet and work with other admissions offices in the conference to solve issues and discuss trends in recruitment.
Although the number of applications for the 2015-16 school year increased from that of the previous academic year, Shannon Gundy, director of the office of undergraduate admissions says that there is no way to tell whether there is a direct correlation with UMD joining the Big Ten and applications. Gundy did say, however, that being able to work with other admissions offices in the conference has made the task of academic recruitment easier.
“The University of Maryland by itself wouldn’t be able to reach a lot of the potential students, but now that we are under the Big Ten name, we can draw a larger audience of students from all over the country. I think the benefits can only increase from here,” Gundy said.