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University of Maryland University College President Javier Miyares announced on Feb. 9 that Marie Cini, Ph.D., has decided to step down as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, effective July 1. Cini will continue at UMUC as senior research fellow in the university’s Center for Innovation In Learning and Student Success and as a member of the collegiate faculty in The Graduate School.

“Since accepting my offer to become provost four years ago, Marie’s impact has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Miyares in an announcement to the university community. “I invited Marie to step in and build an academic organization focused on program quality, accessibility, and innovation. Clearly, our size had outgrown our support structure. She proceeded to assemble a first-rate team and establish a strong core, providing robust support for our schools and helping them achieve their goals.”

Miyares said that enhanced program quality and student outcomes were hallmarks of Cini’s tenure, along with the trailblazing transition to Open Educational Resources (OERs), an initiative that eliminated publisher textbooks and embedded digital resources in most undergraduate and graduate classes, saving students millions of dollars each year.

Cini also led the university’s effort to develop the enhanced learning model (ELM), the formation of the Academic Advisory Board, stronger support and training for faculty, and creation of the Center for Innovation In Learning and Student Success, all of which have contributed to UMUC’s stature today as a world leader in innovative educational models.

“As Marie has often said, her deepest passions focus on innovative methods and models that drive high-quality, low-cost, accessible programs for adult learners,” Miyares added. “Her new position will allow her to concentrate on foundational work in areas including artificial intelligence, learner analytic models, and new technologies to support learning, all of which will benefit UMUC.”

By joining the collegiate faculty of The Graduate School, Cini will also bring her formidable skills back to the classroom. She will continue to write and speak on behalf of the university as one of the nation’s foremost thought leaders in adult higher education.

Miyares referred to Cini as “an invaluable partner” in helping build a solid, successful, sustainable model for UMUC going forward. “She has accepted and met all of the challenges I have asked her to take on and I owe her the opportunity now to transition, as she wishes, into a position that allows her to contribute to our future, and hers, in new ways.”

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to President Miyares for his unwavering support as we have worked together to better serve our students in this transformational time in adult higher education,” said Cini. “I have been honored to work with my extraordinary colleagues on the faculty and across the university, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the noble mission of UMUC in this new and exciting capacity.”

In the coming weeks, Miyares said he will announce an interim provost who will work alongside Cini to ensure a smooth transition. The university will also establish a search committee to assist in the selection of the next provost with the goal of having that individual in place by the beginning of 2018.

Cini, whose academic career spans more than 25 years, joined UMUC, the nation’s premiere online public university dedicated to serving working adults and active-duty military personnel around the world, in 2008. She was named provost and senior vice president in 2013 and served previously as vice president and dean for The Undergraduate School. She has a broad academic background as a faculty member, scholar, and administrator in both undergraduate and graduate program development and management.

After earning doctoral and master’s degrees in social psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a master’s degree in counselor education from the Pennsylvania State University, Cini began her career in higher education teaching adult students. She later administered programs for adults at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; undertook various roles at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey; and served as associate vice president for academic affairs and interim dean of the School of Management at City University of Seattle in Washington.

Cini recently completed a one-year term as president of the Online Learning Consortium’s Board of Directors and was a Class of 2016 inductee into the International Adult Continuing Education Hall of Fame.