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Jay A. Perman M. D.

University System of Maryland

Dr. Jay A. Perman believes the opportunity for a higher education is essential to fixing most, if not all, of society’s biggest challenges. As chancellor of the University System of Maryland, he leads an organization that educates 170,000 students each year.

Perman has been chancellor for nearly two years, during a time when the education system was upended by COVID-19. As a result, the system has learned to be more flexible and innovative.

“COVID has us working in new ways,” Perman said. “We’re traveling less, gathering remotely, collaborating online. We’ve created efficiencies that save us dollars and allow us to reinvest those dollars elsewhere — in mission critical activities.”

Perman, a pediatric gastroenterologist, served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, for nearly a decade before becoming chancellor for the university system.

Perman’s career includes service on many national and regional boards and committees, including chair of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board as well as the boards of the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Deans, the Children’s Cancer Foundation, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is a past chair of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

What is the biggest challenge your organization now faces?

A big challenge is being responsive to opportunities for academic and operational innovation without discarding as old/outmoded some things that are very important to us in higher ed. A campus setting breeds connection and community … We have to strike a balance – valuing the access that remote options provide and the community that shared spaces nourish.