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Dr. Marie Cini Named To Top Academic Post At University Of Maryland University College

UMUC Taps Nationally-Recognized Expert in Technology-Mediated Education and Adult Learners as Provost and Senior Vice President

Bob Ludwig
By Bob Ludwig
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Adelphi, Md.—Marie Cini, PhD, an experienced administrator who has an extensive background in the areas of technology-enabled higher education and leadership development in adult learners, has been named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland University College, the nation’s premiere online, state university dedicated to serving working adults and active duty military personnel around the world. Cini came to UMUC in 2008 and has served as acting provost and chief academic officer since June 2012.

“We have been fortunate to have Marie demonstrate her strong leadership skills and a vision for the future right here at UMUC,” said university President Javier Miyares, who made the announcement following a national search. “Her scholarly research and experience in adult and online learning, along with her ability to lead key academic initiatives has kept UMUC in the forefront of adult and technology-mediated education.”

Cini will have responsibility for the overall strategic direction of the university’s 95 academic programs—including certificate and bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs—that serve more than 90,000 students, as well as guiding its teaching and research activities. UMUC’s scholar-practitioner faculty numbers more than 2,700 and educates students at more than 170 locations in 28 countries.

Cini first served as UMUC vice president and dean of the Undergraduate School when she arrived in 2008. In an academic career that spans more than 25 years, she has been an instructor, scholar and administrator in both undergraduate and graduate program development.

As undergraduate dean, Cini’s focus on student success was the driving force behind a 2011 redesign of UMUC’s undergraduate curriculum. Major milestones in the project included the evidence-based shift to a standard eight-week term and a complete redesign of class content and assessments to reflect an outcomes-based curriculum.

Since 2008, Cini has been instrumental in attracting nearly $2 million in grants, including $1.2 million from the Kresge Foundation for a project on data analytics and student success and $500,000 from the Carnegie Corporation to redesign three science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related courses with Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative.

In her role as acting provost, Cini has worked collaboratively with groups throughout the university to strengthen shared governance, restructure academic affairs at the institution and develop new academic programs such as digital forensics and data analytics.

“It is a privilege to work with our dedicated faculty around the world,” said Cini. “With the steady stewardship of President Miyares, who has such a deep understanding of the direction of higher education, we will continue our long history of innovation in distance education while offering high quality academic programs delivered in accessible and affordable ways.”

After earning a PhD and a master's degree in social psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a master's degree in counselor education from the Pennsylvania State University, the Hershey, PA, native began her career in higher education teaching adult students. She later administered programs for adults at Duquesne University, followed by roles at Thomas Edison State College (NJ), and more recently as associate vice president for Academic Affairs and interim dean of the School of Management at City University of Seattle.

Cini has published and presented extensively on the topics of authentic assessment and academic integrity, leadership development in adult learners, retention and adult learners, and curriculum design for adult students. Her current interest is focused on the next generation of technologically-enabled postsecondary education.

In addition to her degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and her master’s degree in counselor education from, Penn State, she earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences, also from Penn State.