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Javier Miyares, president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC), has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities.

Miyares’ election to the board came during ACE’s 98th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

“It is an honor to represent UMUC and to serve ACE during this time of historic change in higher education,” Miyares said. “ACE’s dedication to improving access and preparing every student to succeed is in total alignment with UMUC’s mission as an open-access university serving adult students, many of whom must balance their education with family responsibilities, jobs and military service.”

Since his appointment in 2012, Miyares has expanded access and opportunities for adult learners through key initiatives and has been in the forefront of leveraging “big data” and analytics to fuel advances in learning science.

Miyares was instrumental in establishing the Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success at UMUC, positioning the university in the vanguard of schools conducting research in learner analytics.

UMUC recently completed a major phase of its large-scale effort to adopt open educational resources (OERs), replacing costly publisher textbooks. All undergraduate courses are now textbook free, saving UMUC students tens of millions of dollars each year.

In September 2015, UMUC spun off its highly successful analytics unit into a wholly owned company, HelioCampus, which offers business intelligence products and services, for a fee, to universities nationwide. The new company leverages technology developed at UMUC that guides the university’s strategic priorities, and which produced enrollment increases of 20 percent even as marketing expenditures were reduced by 20 percent.

The university has also expanded its alliances under his leadership, signing a first-of-its-kind agreement with the federal Office of Personnel Management to help fill identified skills gaps in the 2.7-million-strong federal workforce. This alliance brings federal subject matter experts together with UMUC curriculum developers to infuse a public sector perspective into courses designed to prepare students for future federal employment.

In 2013, Miyares created the UMUC Completion Scholarship, enabling Maryland community college graduates to earn a bachelor’s degree from UMUC for a total cost of $20,000 (including the cost of the community college degree). Since its launch, more than 800 UMUC Completion scholarships have been awarded.

Miyares joined UMUC in 2001 and prior to his presidency, served as senior vice president for Institutional Effectiveness. He was previously associate vice chancellor for Finance and Administration at the University System of Maryland, where he earlier served as assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. His higher education experience also includes positions with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the University of Maryland, College Park.

He currently serves on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the regional accrediting body for degree-granting institutions.

Miyares has often cited higher education as his gateway to the American Dream. Born in Havana, Cuba, he was spirited out of the country by his Jesuit teachers on July 4, 1961, at age 14, after his father was taken prisoner by Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Miyares later joined Operation Pedro Pan and eventually moved to Maryland, where he attended the University of Maryland, College Park, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in sociology.