For the third consecutive year, University of Maryland Global Campus President Gregory W. Fowler has been named to the Daily Record’s Higher Education Power List, which spotlights the most influential higher education leaders in Maryland.
The Daily Record, based in Baltimore and founded in 1888, reports commercial, legal, and government news for a Maryland audience; it has published its Higher Education Power List annually since 2021.
Fowler began his tenure as president of UMGC in January 2021 and was a leading voice in higher education as schools adjusted to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. UMGC has an established online presence and a long history of educating military servicemembers around the world, and the university assisted other schools in the University System of Maryland and around the country as they transitioned to alternative learning models. At the same time, UMGC itself implemented advanced tools to monitor academic progress and was continuing efforts to develop a new paradigm for academic integrity.
Fowler also undertook major initiatives to establish a new student affairs division and is now in the forefront of pilot projects that seek to harness the power of virtual reality and immersive learning technology to build social cohesion among students studying online. Last fall, UMGC became one of the first universities in the country to offer classes in the virtual reality “Metaverse.”
In a profile for the Power 30 list, Fowler discussed what he sees as among the most encouraging new developments in higher education, such as “the digital realities that allow us to … see in real-time when and where individuals are struggling so we can reach out before they give up or fail … create experiences to teach and assess students based on their environments … and use machine learning to certify and credential workers as they gain skills in their lives and jobs rather than in the formal environment of typical classrooms.”
He also addressed what he sees as the biggest challenge facing higher education—the “public perception of and support for higher education as primarily a coming-of-age residential experience [which] is out of alignment with reality.” Fowler said that “most postsecondary learners are adults seeking agile experiences, and workforce demand will only grow for new skills taught in shorter, stackable bursts of learning that fit with family and work priorities.”
Fowler believes the ability to fund these new approaches will be a particularly tricky challenge and said that “shifting the paradigm to increase funding for ‘nontraditional’ experiences while still supporting other educational missions will involve a balancing act.”
In introducing the Higher Education Power List, Tom Baden, the Daily Record’s editor, said that “Maryland has justly earned a reputation as home to some of the finest institutions of higher education in the nation. The men and women who make up our 2023 Higher Education Power List are among the reasons why.
“They are presidents and other senior administrators leading their colleges and universities, policymakers charting a course for the future, advocates striving to improve access and equity, and faculty members on the cutting edge of research and the liberal arts,” he said. “They are helping guide their institutions in the ever-changing field of education. They are working for or with programs that aim to bring new technology or change to the region.”
This list was chosen by members of the publication’s editorial team, who also sought input and perspective from readers and others. “Many of the Power 30 are familiar to all of us, but some are known only inside their organizations or communities,” said the editors. “We explore how these leaders view the higher education landscape, how it now exists and what it may look like in the future. And we’ve tried to provide a glimpse into the kind of people they are, what drives them to excel, to serve, to teach.”
Away from the demands of his job, Fowler was asked what he does to unwind. “The gym and the arts (movies, shows, concerts and museums) are all at the top of my list,” Fowler said. “One of the things I was happiest about when I moved back to the DMV [Fowler came to UMGC from New Hampshire, but earlier launched his professional career with the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.] was the opportunity to get lost on a regular basis on the National Mall. This year I hope to take up bicycling again on some of the trails in the area. And, being raised in the South [Fowler is a Georgia native] has resulted in me loving to grill in the backyard in the evenings or on weekends.”
About University of Maryland Global Campus
University of Maryland Global Campus was founded more than 75 years ago specifically to serve the higher education needs of working adults and military servicemembers. Today, UMGC is the largest provider of postsecondary education in Maryland and continues its global tradition with online and hybrid courses, more than 175 classroom and service locations worldwide, and more than 125 degrees and certificates backed by the reputation of a state university and the University System of Maryland. For more information, visit umgc.edu.