Cuban-born immigrant named to top position at national leader in distance learning and online higher education.
Adelphi, Md. — James L. Shea, chair of the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents, today announced the appointment of Javier Miyares as president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Miyares has served UMUC as acting president since February 22, 2012, and has been a member of the UMUC management team for more than 10 years. The appointment is effective today.
An institution of the University System of Maryland (USM), UMUC offers online and on-site programs in 20 locations throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and in more than 27 countries.
“The Board of Regents is very appreciative of the effective leadership Javier Miyares brought to his role as acting president,” Shea said. “It was impressive to the board that the UMUC Board of Visitors expressed unanimous support of naming Javier the institution’s next president. He is an effective leader whose 30 years in higher education and strong knowledge of UMUC bode quite well for the university’s future.”
Miyares, 65, joined UMUC in 2001 as vice president for institutional effectiveness. Before joining UMUC, he served the USM office as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs. In that role, he was lead staff member for USM on issues related to strategic planning, accountability, student learning assessment, and institutional research.
The board’s appointment of Miyares was made on the recommendation of USM Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan.
“During his months as acting president, Javier has led UMUC very effectively. His vision and commitment and his ability to build consensus make him the ideal person to lead UMUC at this time. All of the shared governance councils at the university were very enthusiastic about his appointment,” Kirwan said. He added, “In a time of unprecedented technological change in higher education, UMUC’s online model has become a vital resource for USM and the state. And with its international outreach, serving our military wherever they are stationed around the world, UMUC is an important resource for our nation, as well. I have every confidence Javier will provide the strong leadership necessary for UMUC to continue serving our state and nation in an exemplary fashion.”
During the past five years, UMUC has achieved many notable milestones, including growth of statewide enrollment by an annual average of 7 percent, successfully bidding for U.S. Department of Defense contracts to provide higher education to American troops in Central Asia and the Far East, and offering the first programs in cybersecurity in Maryland.
“Javier answered the call to serve in such an important role-and at such an important time-demonstrating inspired leadership and energizing the UMUC community,” said Mark Gerencser, chair of UMUC’s Board of Visitors. “He has put UMUC on a steady course and has led the university with integrity, openness and vision.”
The recommendation of the UMUC Board of Visitors that Miyares be appointed as president was also strongly supported by the university’s advisory councils representing UMUC faculty, staff, and students.
“I am honored and humbled to accept this appointment,” said Miyares. “As I have said publicly, this is not a position that I sought. My role as acting president has been to bring our university community together during a challenging time, to remain focused on our most important task – the education of our students – and to prepare UMUC for continued success as a 21st century global leader in higher education. Over the past seven months I have been heartened by the dedication of our faculty and staff, and encouraged by the progress we have made together on behalf of the institution. I offer my sincere thanks to the USM Board of Regents, the UMUC Board of Visitors, our UMUC advisory councils and Chancellor Kirwan for this vote of confidence. My focus throughout this period has been academic integrity, transparency, and communication, and this will not change.”
Miyares was born in Cuba and attended the Jesuit High School Seminary. On July 4, 1961, at age 14 and while in the care of the Jesuits after his father had been taken prisoner by Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion, he was sent to Venezuela. Eventually, he moved to Baltimore, where he was reunited with his brother. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees and beginning work on his doctorate. Before finishing his dissertation he was offered a full time position in the counseling center and has spent the rest of his career in higher education in Maryland. “Both of my parents were educators,” says Miyares. “So, I feel a particular sense of pride in being appointed to lead UMUC.”