Meet REED’s New Program Director

Seema D. Iyer, PhD

It is my honor and pleasure to now serve as program director for the University of Baltimore’s Real Estate & Economic Development Program (REED), the only bachelors program in Maryland designed to prepare graduates for careers in real estate investment, commercial property development and/or management, economic development and related fields. Students explore the connection between theory and industry practice as they delve into a curriculum developed in collaboration with real estate professionals, bankers, property managers and others. Our partnering industry experts serve a guest speakers, adjunct faculty and Advisory Board members (see below) to lead classroom discussions, facilitate field trips and site visits, provide internships and offer students invaluable guidance and career opportunities.  UB’s applied and practical approach to the business of real property prepares our students for their future employers and the real estate community. Examples of core courses include:

  • Real Estate Principles and Transactions
  • Real Estate Market Analysis
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Real Estate Law
  • Property Management
  • Introduction to Economic Development
  • Real Estate Investments

By way of background, I am the Associate Director of the Jacob France Institute, the Merrick School of Business’s economic research center. I oversee the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at JFI which collects, integrates and disseminates community-based quality of life indicators. BNIA-JFI annually produces the City’s Vital Signs report that “takes the pulse” of what’s going on in Baltimore’s neighborhoods. The indicators are bits of information that, when compiled together, reflect the profile of places. By continuously monitoring neighborhoods, we can notice changes that might not be evident without this ongoing measurement. The data has proven invaluable to real estate industry professional, particularly those working in New Market Tax Credit areas.

When I arrived at UB in 2011, I brought with me an idea for a project that would both create a database of as well as expose students to the development review process that most projects need to go through before building permits are issued. Understanding and keeping track of the status of projects during the development review phase is complicated because projects evolve as developers ensure compliance with local land use regulations and produce contextually sensitive final designs. I invited student volunteers to work with me during that first summer semester to develop a sustainable, reliable way to track projects based on publically-available information that did not infringe on the potential need for confidentiality as projects moved through the process.  Based on a prototype developed by the students in 2011, the Baltimore Chapter of the Association of Builders & Contractors has supported ongoing development of the database so that their members of contractors and developers from across the region can efficiently plan and track the status of projects as early as possible in the developmental stage.  In 2014, the Baltimore Pipeline was launched and continues to not only provide early information but also employ the talents and ingenuity of UB students.

This is just the beginning of where the REED program is headed.  I invite all real estate industry professionals to connect with UB’s REED Program in any or all of these potential ways to advance the programs strategic goals:

1)      Raise awareness of the program among Baltimore area industry firms and professionals—Learn more about the program during our Lessons From Legends series and other events hosted at UB

2)      Increase student enrollment—The REED program began in 2007, and aims to grow to 25 new students enrolled per year

3)      Mentor current UB students—Formal internships and informal mentorships are vital ways that students apply classroom knowledge to real work experiences

4)      Ensure timely completion/graduation—Whether students are full-time or part-time, our goal is to identify and overcome barriers to timely completion of their degree

5)      Align curriculum to meet industry needs—Our curriculum is developed in collaboration with industry professionals so that students have the needed skills to hit the ground running on the job or in advanced degrees

Finally, I want to sincerely thank past and present board members for their time, thoughts and support to the REED program and students.  For more information, visit www.ubalt.edu/realestate or contact me at siyer@ubalt.edu.

 REED Board Members, 2014-2015

 Robert M. Aydukovic, CRE (Chair), President, Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation

Nichole Battle, Executive Director, GEDCO

Wendy Blair, Senior Vice President, Remax Commercial Logic

Jeffrey R. Connolly, Director, Asset Management, Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

Karen Forbes, Asst Dir. Community Access& Partnerships, Md Dept of Housing & Community Development

Kathleen Flynn, Vice President, Alex. Brown Realty

Terri Harrington, Senior Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle

Toni R. Harris, Regional Property Manager, WPM Real Estate Management Co.

Elizabeth (Liz) Jones, Esquire, Managing Settlement Attorney, Home First Title Group

Jeffrey Kayce, Development Manager, Bozzuto Development

John (Chip) Lambertson, Senior Cost Manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

William (Willy) H. Moore, Vice President, Southway Builders

Josh Neiman, Assistant Director for Development, Maryland Economic Development Corporation

Monica A. Robertson, AIA LEED AP, Principal, Hord Coplan Macht

Barbara Simmons, Group Manager / Administrative VP, M & T Bank, Commercial Real Estate Finance

Joseph L. Sutton, President, Insurance Services Group, Inc.