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Cini Recognized for Exceptional Professional Excellence

Dr. Marie Cini, UMUC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, has been recognized by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) among its 2014 Class of Fellows for “exceptional professional excellence.” OLC—formerly the Sloan Consortium—announced the seven members of this year’s Class of Fellows at its annual conference this week in Orlando.

The announcement from the professional organization singled Dr. Cini out for her “visionary contributions that have significantly advanced the field of online learning and enabled thousands of people to transform their lives and careers.”

“I was very honored and touched to be selected,” said Dr. Cini, who learned of her nomination in summer 2013 and who refers to the consortium and its leadership as “luminaries in the field of online learning.”

“It was truly touching, because so many impressive folks have received this honor—people who have truly blazed the path for high quality online education,” she said.

Dr. Cini, who holds a PhD in social psychology from University of Pittsburgh and a master’s in counselor education from Pennsylvania State University, taught her first online class in 1996 and said that, from the start, she has loved the potential and opportunity it offers students.

“To receive an honor for simply following my passion is beyond words. It’s been a labor of love, which I know sounds trite, but I really mean that,” she said, adding that the recognition also speaks volumes about the university.

“UMUC set the standard in quality online education,” she said, “and I am thrilled to be a small part of the giants who have gone before me to help us get to this point.”

Before arriving at UMUC, Dr. Cini created some of the first online programs and courses in the nation, and during her UMUC tenure, she has focused on enhancing the university’s outcomes-based curriculum. That curriculum, which is largely delivered online, has increased course completion rates and learning achievement, she said.

“I’m fortunate to have a highly talented team of deans and vice provosts, who work with me to continually improve our learning model to serve our students well and help them achieve their dreams,” Dr. Cini said. “I can’t do anything without this terrific team. In many ways, the award belongs to my entire team and all those I have worked with through the years in developing online education for adult students.”