USM Raises $3 Million in Gifts to Support William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation
New Name Would
Take Effect Upon Chancellor Kirwan's Retirement
Adelphi, Md. (April 23, 2015) -- As the culmination of a fundraising effort that
secured $3 million to support its work in academic transformation, the
University System of Maryland (USM) will name its Center for Academic
Innovation to honor the legacy of retiring USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan.
Clifford Kendall, former
chair of the USM Board of Regents, presented the name of the new William E.
Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation on Saturday, April 18 to an audience of 750
state and USM leaders and friends at a gala that paid tribute to Kirwan's 52 years
of service in public higher education.
The privately funded evening
program was held at the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland, College
Park (UMCP). Kendall, current Board of Regents Chair James L. Shea, and Regent
Barry P. Gossett served as celebration committee co-chairs. Distinguished speakers
included Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin
L. Cardin, and U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer.
Net proceeds from the event will
support an endowment for the Kirwan Center and its work in the evolving field
of academic transformation-universities' efforts to create optimally effective
and efficient learning environments that enhance student success.
Kirwan in May 2014 announced that he would step
aside as chancellor, a position he has held since August 2002, upon the start
of his successor. He has served as president of UMCP (1988-98) and The Ohio
State University (1998-2002). Earlier, he served as vice president of academic
affairs and chair of the Department of Mathematics at UMCP. He will remain as
chancellor through June 30, when University of Massachusetts System President Robert L. Caret succeeds him.
Under Kirwan's leadership,
the USM launched the Center for Academic Innovation in late 2012 to increase
student success at all campuses.
"Thanks to advances in
cognitive science, we now understand the triggers in the brain that promote
learning," Kirwan said. "And, thanks to the power of adaptive learning, made
possible by intelligent software, we are opening the possibility of reducing
the costs and improving the quality of higher education delivery. The Center
for Academic Innovation is at the forefront of these efforts and I am deeply
honored to have my name associated with its important work."
The center is the first
system-level center in the nation designed to meet the coming challenges of
higher education head-on. Public colleges and universities increasingly face
calls for more transparent accountability, return on investment, and creative
solutions to challenges such as budget constraints and accommodating the
increasingly diverse needs of students.
center's charge is to capitalize on recent findings from the learning sciences
and the capabilities of emerging technologies to increase access,
affordability, and outcomes of higher education. Building on the spirit of
collaboration and innovation for which Kirwan is well-known, the center brings
together academic change leaders from across the system to identify ways to
improve student success and sustain the most promising academic models.
these efforts, the center is helping to achieve Maryland's 55 percent college
completion goal by identifying strategies to improve student success and
implementing those strategies across USM institutions.
date, the center's initiatives have included work in such important areas as
course redesign, online learning, open educational resources, learner
analytics, competency based education, and digital badging (digital "tokens"
that recognizing the completion of projects within a traditional college
program or online learning venue).
"Naming the center
after Brit Kirwan is a fitting way to honor his achievements over the span of
an incredible career and his deep dedication to making higher education more
accessible and affordable for everyone," said MJ Bishop, Ed.D., whom Kirwan
appointed in July 2013 as the center's director. "We're proud to have the center
carry his name."
William E. Kirwan
Center for Academic Innovation
(Video) 50 Years of Innovation and Excellence: The Kirwan Legacy
(Video) Thank You, Chancellor Kirwan
Contact: Mike Lurie