New UMUC president named

A veteran higher-education administrator was named Monday as president of the University of Maryland University College, an online-focused school with tens of thousands of students in the United States and abroad.

Javier Miyares, 65, a vice president at UMUC since 2001, succeeds Susan Aldridge, who resigned in March with little public explanation. Aldridge had faced some internal dissent over her management style and academic priorities but also drew praise from University System of Maryland officials for her accomplishments as she left the school.

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Miyares had served as acting president while the system’s Board of Regents sought a replacement. On Monday, system Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan and others described Miyares as a consensus choice.

“He is an effective leader whose 30 years in higher education and strong knowledge of UMUC bode quite well for the university’s future,” said James L. Shea, chairman of the board.

UMUC, which was founded in 1947 and has its headquarters in Adelphi, reported fall 2011 enrollment of 42,713 students, but its year-round total is more than 90,000 worldwide. That makes the school a leader in the online sector among public institutions. More than half of its students are active military personnel and their families, a UMUC spokesman said.

Miyares left his native Cuba as a teenager in 1961 after his father was taken prisoner during the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. He went to Venezuela, Miami and eventually to Baltimore. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland in College Park.

Miyares, whose base annual salary will be $275,000, said he plans no dramatic changes but wants to keep UMUC at the forefront of innovation as online higher education expands. He said he also wants to ensure that UMUC retains key contracts with the military to serve U.S. troops in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Miyares said he was pleased that the school’s senior leadership remained intact after the abrupt departure of Aldridge. “Everybody closed ranks,” he said, “to keep the university focused on what we do.”

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