UMUC is doing the right thing [Letter]

September 29, 2014

Much has been written recently about the path forward for University of Maryland University College ("UMUC should focus on education, not business," Sept. 18).

Like many Marylanders, I have a vested interest in UMUC. My father attended the university while stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1955. This past May, two of my sons graduated from UMUC. I am proud of them and proud of the education they received.

The university serves a critical and growing constituency — working adults and military service members.

It also faces a perfect storm that includes demographic shifts, military drawdowns, rising costs, growing competition, mature markets and the digital revolution.

So, this is a pivotal moment for UMUC.

I was part of a group recently tasked with reviewing UMUC's business model and exploring alternatives to help the university become more nimble, innovative and efficient while maximizing future investments in academic quality and innovation.

UMUC is a global entity; change is complex and poses risks. But we believed fully and firmly that doing nothing was not an option.

As The Sun stated in its editorial of July 30, "[UMUC] can't rest on its laurels or expect to maintain its preeminent role forever if it doesn't learn to adapt to changing conditions and take advantage of the opportunities they offer."

Fortunately, the university has not been resting on its laurels. Today, working arm-in-arm with the Gates, Kresge and Lumina foundations, Carnegie Corporation of New York and other respected organizations, it is exploring new ways to support the success and achievement of its students.

Our report is now the subject of a spirited community dialogue, initiated by President Javier Miyares to gain input from stakeholders before he offers his recommendations to University System of Maryland leadership later this fall.

President Miyares is to be applauded for his vision and for boldly bringing into public view what is destined to become a national dialogue on the future of higher education.

William T. "Bill" Wood

The writer is a former member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and currently serves on Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland University College, the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc., and the Board of Directors of the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc.

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