Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 24, 2012

An opportunity

Move to Big Ten about more than just sports

When the University of Maryland announced last week it was leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten Conference, the buzz was all about how the switch would impact the school’s basketball, football and other athletic programs.

The move, though, also will be significant from an academic standpoint, as was detailed in a report by The Washington Post.

Maryland will join one of the most effective academic partnerships in the country via its Big Ten membership. The Committee on Institutional Cooperation, made up of Big Ten schools and the University of Chicago, promotes a vast number of cross-campus ventures in areas such as purchasing equipment, digitizing library collections and hosting scholars.

 The committee, founded in 1958, has a staff of 18 and an annual budget of nearly $2 million.

The Post said doctoral students at CIC schools are allowed to spend a year at another CIC campus, without extra charges, if their research requires it. Undergraduates at CIC schools are able to obtain study-abroad slots sponsored by other member schools.

CIC schools pool resources for purchasing, information technology and professional development. CIC libraries are working with Google on a project to digitize millions of volumes in their collections. They co-own and operate a fiber-optic network, which CIC officials say enables speedier e-mail.

From the athletic side, the University of Maryland expects to make out financially since Big Ten schools reportedly receive more than $7 million more per year in TV revenue than those in the ACC. Enhancing the academic offerings at the same time makes the Big Ten deal even sweeter.

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