President Javier Miyares Shares Recommendations of Outside Business Leaders, Says UMUC Will Not Leave University System of Maryland and Will Not Become a For-Profit InstitutionAdelphi, Md. (July 10, 2014) University of Maryland University College President Javier Miyares today initiated a community dialogue at a global Town Hall meeting at the university’s Academic Center in Largo. There, he introduced a report from the Ideation Group—a volunteer team of outside business leaders—that recommended changes to the university’s business model.
UMUC, a pioneer in adult and distance education, is today the nation’s largest public online university, serving Maryland residents, members of the U.S. military around the world and other adult learners.
However, increased competition, the downsizing of the military and shifting demographics have combined to limit UMUC’s current growth potential.
To help meet these challenges, President Miyares invited a group of volunteer, outside business leaders to engage in a far-reaching evaluation of the higher education environment. The group’s goal was to identify opportunities and challenges that are most relevant to UMUC and to offer recommendations.
As part of the process, the Ideation Group reviewed UMUC’s existing business model as well as alternatives that would help the university achieve a sustainable growth path.
The group has now completed its work and one idea put forth is for UMUC to become a not-for-profit entity affiliated with the University System of Maryland.
President Miyares is now seeking input from faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders on the findings of the Ideation Group as part of the process of review by senior leadership.
At the Town Hall, President Miyares emphasized that while the Ideation Group explored a number of business models, the university will not become a for-profit entity, nor will it leave the University System of Maryland.
Once community input is received and assessed, President Miyares said he will share his perspective with the USM Chancellor and Board of Regents for their consideration.
According to President Miyares:
“UMUC needs a sustained growth rate of 5-7 percent per year to be able to keep tuition down while delivering high quality education and continuing on our path of academic innovation for the residents of Maryland. As a tuition-driven university that receives relatively little state funding, this can only be accomplished by increasing enrollment. In its present form, as an institution that primarily serves Maryland citizens and military personnel, it has become increasingly difficult for UMUC to achieve this level of growth. So, the university must compete for students on a national basis. To do this, UMUC needs a business model that allows for greater flexibility to compete with large state universities and for-profit institutions while maintaining its historic public mission and purpose.”In response, USM Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan said:
“UMUC is well known and respected for its innovation, high quality, and strong commitment to preparing students to succeed in the workplace. The University System of Maryland applauds President Miyares’ proactive efforts to explore ways to help ensure the university’s long-term success in the highly competitive online education environment, sustained excellence in academic programs and affordable access for students.For more information about the Ideation Group’s work and report, visit www.umuc.edu/umucfuture.
“We encourage the UMUC community and its many external stakeholders to offer their ideas and perspectives to help the university’s leadership develop a formal recommendation to help ensure a robust future for the institution and the thousands of students it serves in Maryland and beyond.”