Peter Smith, Ed.D., whose distinguished career in higher education includes serving as founding president of both California State University Monterey Bay and the Community College of Vermont, has been appointed the Orkand Endowed Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education at University of Maryland University College (UMUC).
Smith, whose two-year term began April 4, brings a wealth of knowledge in academic innovation and learning science to UMUC—already a global leader in adult higher education. In his new role, Smith will collaborate with UMUC’s academic leadership and collegiate faculty to further strengthen the university’s strategic positioning and its delivery of learning and support services. He will also serve on the provost’s Academic Innovation Advisory Council, which will be established to help guide the academic direction of the university.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Peter Smith has joined UMUC as the Endowed Orkand Chair,” said Marie Cini, UMUC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “In his role as Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education, he will serve as a catalyst for UMUC’s efforts to continue evolving high quality, innovative higher education for adult students. Peter’s extensive and broad-based background as a dean, community college president, University president, lieutenant governor, and US congressman, gives him a unique and integrated perspective on how to solve the difficult issues facing higher education today. We welcome him and look forward to learning from and with him.”
The Orkand Chair was established through an endowment from Donald S. Orkand, founder of the Orkand Corporation and former chair of UMUC’s Board of Visitors, to advance research and scholarship at the university by bringing scholars of national repute to the institution.
“I have long admired UMUC as a gem in the field of innovative higher education,” said Smith. “A senior member of the recently expanding group of online and innovative institutions, UMUC has a deep history spanning nearly 70 years of service, while also being recognized as one of the very best, academically. I am delighted to join this talented community to help imagine, design, and develop UMUC’s next steps as a leader in this field.”
“Peter Smith’s pathfinding work in higher education fits perfectly with our university’s mission – improving the lives of adult learners in Maryland and around the world,” said Javier Miyares, president of UMUC. “He will enrich our community and enhance our ability to sustain quality academic innovation.”
In his role as founding president of California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), where he served from 1995 to 2005, Smith was responsible for building the university, literally, from the ground up. He guided the institution through all stages of accreditation and raised nearly $100 million from external sources for the development of academic buildings and programs. CSUMB is widely recognized for several core characteristics, including an outcomes-based curriculum, a strong science and technology program, the first wireless computer network on a public university campus in America, a focus on first generation college students, and a commitment to service learning as a core component of the curriculum.
Just two years after earning his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University in 1968, Smith led the effort to design and establish the Community College of Vermont. As the college’s first president, Smith accepted an additional assignment from the Chancellor of the Vermont State College System to create the Office of External Programs, which included developing the External Baccalaureate Degree program for non-traditional students and a portfolio assessment program for evaluating students’ experiential learning accrued outside of college.
After leaving Cal State Monterey Bay in 2005, Smith was responsible for the supervision and management of more than 700 staff located in more than 30 countries as Assistant Director General for Education for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris, France.
In 2007, Smith joined Kaplan University as a senior vice president for academic strategies and development and more recently served as founding president of Open College at Kaplan University. In that role, Smith used no-cost Open Educational Resources (OERs) to support learners who work toward a competency-based degree in Professional Studies. Also at Kaplan, Smith was responsible for development and implementation of initiatives to improve academic quality, including a set of policies that are considered the gold standard for online and blended learning.
Smith’s work as dean of the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development from 1991 to 1994 ultimately led to the school being recognized as one of the leading professional schools in the Mid-Atlantic region and among the top 50 in America.
Smith also served his home state of Vermont as a state senator (1980-1982) and as Lt. Governor (1982-1986), while earning his Doctor of Education in Administration Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University in 1984.
He ran successfully for the U.S. House of Representatives as Congressman-at-Large from Vermont and served from 1989-1990. While in Congress, Smith was a member of the Education and Labor and Government Operations committees and served on the post-secondary education subcommittee.
Smith has also been a senior fellow at the American Council on Education and vice president for development at Norwich University.
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is a world leader in innovative educational models, with award-winning online programs in disciplines including biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, and information technology that are in high demand in today’s increasingly technical, global workplace.
UMUC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission — to meet the learning needs of students whose responsibilities may include jobs, family, and military service. The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctoral program, and certificate programs. A pioneer in distance education since 1947, UMUC today is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high quality, low cost, accessible higher education.