Nation’s Largest Online Public University Taps Award-Winning Teacher, Entrepreneur, Innovator and Results-Oriented Academic LeaderAdelphi, Md. (March 26, 2018)—University of Maryland University College (UMUC), the nation’s largest online public university, has named Alan Drimmer, Ph.D., as senior vice president and chief academic officer. Dr. Drimmer is an accomplished academic leader and innovator with more than two decades of experience in improving access, retention, and the quality of higher education for nontraditional students.
“Alan Drimmer truly understands UMUC—our entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and our historical mission of serving adult students in Maryland and around the world,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares. “He brings to UMUC a unique blend of scholarship and leadership of large, complex academic organizations, and we look forward to the rich perspectives he will bring to our senior leadership team.”
Dr. Drimmer spent more than seven years in key leadership roles with Apollo Education Group, first as president of Western International University from 2009 to 2011 and then as provost and executive vice president of University of Phoenix until 2013. He served as chief academic officer of the entire Apollo Education Group from 2013 to 2016 and led multiple initiatives that involved adaptive and competency-based learning, analytics to improve student success and operational efficiencies, as well as student motivation projects to improve retention. He served more recently as chief executive of PromotED, an education startup that helps employers position personalized coaching, education and technology as employee benefits to reduce frontline turnover and absenteeism.
“I am deeply honored to work with President Miyares and his dedicated and entrepreneurial faculty and staff, as well as with the broader university community to help students transform their lives through education,” Dr. Drimmer said. “Each encounter I have had with the UMUC community has underscored the awareness and responsibility for carrying out the university mission with adult learners, and this is reflected in the way the school develops curriculum, teaches students and supports them during their trajectory from an education to a successful career.”
University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert L. Caret commented, "UMUC, with its singular focus on adult learners, plays a critical role in Maryland higher education. Dr. Drimmer's academic background and track record of innovation and leadership make him an ideal addition to President Javier Miyares' talented senior leadership team. We look forward to welcoming him into our academic community."
Dr. Drimmer holds B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of Chicago, as well as an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. He was a National Security Fellow at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and won a prestigious Derek Bok Undergraduate Teaching Award at Harvard College. In addition, he served as a Research Fellow at the American University in Cairo’s Center for Arabic Study Abroad, a Raoul Wallenberg Scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and attended the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris.
He traces his passion for education to his own personal student experience where he was mentored by inspiring faculty at Chicago, Wharton and Harvard.
“The addition of someone with Dr. Drimmer’s formidable educational credentials, outstanding leadership in academic affairs, and demonstrated commitment to UMUC’s unique mission within the University System of Maryland (USM), will only strengthen the institution’s upward trajectory and its reputation as a national leader in serving adult learners,” said James T. Brady, chair of the USM Board of Regents. "We welcome his experience and perspective as UMUC continues to identify and respond to the needs of adult students and of the increasingly technical, competitive 21st-century workplace."
Dr. Drimmer began his professional career in the federal government, first at the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and then as an International Economic Sanctions Officer for the Treasury Department based in Washington, D.C.
After completing his M.B.A., Dr. Drimmer joined McKinsey & Company as a management consultant in Chicago helping clients develop growth strategies, regional expansion plans and change management programs. This experience led him eventually to become the managing director of UNEXT, a distance education startup associated with the University of Chicago, Stanford University, Columbia University, Carnegie-Mellon University and the London School of Economics.
Dr. Drimmer has also worked with the Career Education Corporation as chief academic officer of the online division as well as chief executive officer and president of American InterContinental University.
Dr. Drimmer said he looks forward to working with Blakely Pomietto, who has been promoted to deputy chief academic officer after serving with distinction as interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
About University of Maryland University College
A pioneer in distance education since 1947, University of Maryland University College is a world leader in innovative education models, with award-winning online programs in workforce-relevant areas such as cybersecurity, biotechnology, data analytics, and information technology. UMUC—which currently serves more than 90,000 students annually—offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission—to meet the learning needs of adult students whose responsibilities often include jobs, families, and military service. Today, UMUC is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high-quality education that is accessible, affordable and valued. UMUC is a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland (USM) and governed by the USM Board of Regents.