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April 22, 2009

Patrick Callan

Travis Reindl
202.955.9450 x322


Freeman Hrabowski III Receives National Award for Innovation in Higher Education

San Jose, CA— The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) today named Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the 2009 winner of the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award.

The award, presented annually by the National Center and CAEL, recognizes leaders who have made exceptional contributions to advance innovation in American higher education.

Under Hrabowski's leadership, the university has become an exemplar in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, particularly involving underrepresented minority students, through its Meyerhoff Scholars Program. Created in 1988, the program is designed to increase minority participation and leadership in the STEM fields. The program's unique approach emphasizes cooperation and collaboration rather than competition among students, an intensive six-week orientation, a robust advising system, and substantive research experiences for the students working closely with faculty mentors.

"The U.S. does not have a person to lose in the race to be a world leader in the sciences," said Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center. "Freeman Hrabowski understands that. His passion and creativity have impacted students' lives, as well as our thinking about how to position math and science as fields to be embraced rather than avoided."

Since 1993, the Meyerhoff program has graduated more than 600 students, more than 200 of whom have earned graduate and professional degrees in science and engineering. Additionally, approximately 300 program alumni are currently enrolled in graduate and professional degree programs. A recent study found that Meyerhoff Scholars were five times more likely to pursue doctoral studies in STEM fields than students who declined invitations to participate in the program and attended other universities.

Hrabowski has conducted extensive research in the areas of math and science education, focusing on the participation and performance of minority students. He has co-authored two books on the subject: Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males (1998) and Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Young Women (2001). Among numerous honors, U.S. News and World Report named Hrabowski one of "America's Best Leaders" in 2008.

A native of Alabama, Hrabowski holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics, with highest honors, from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), a master's degree in mathematics, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and statistics, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The National Center and CAEL established the award in 1999 in honor of Virginia B. Smith, president emerita of Vassar College and founding director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Throughout her career, Smith led efforts to develop new approaches for improving opportunity and excellence in higher education. A committee of national experts selects the award winner, who receives a $4,000 stipend.

Previous winners include:

2008 - Ralph Wolf
Executive Director
Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Redesigning regional accreditation, with an emphasis on student learning assessment.

2007 - Carol Twigg
National Center for Academic Transformation
Increasing learning productivity through course redesign and the use of technology

2006 - David Spence
Southern Regional Education Board
Providing leadership in developing and implementing the California State University Early Assessment Program.

2005 - George Kuh
Chancellor's Professor of Higher Education
Indiana University Bloomington
Providing leadership in developing and implementing the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

2003 - Barbara Leigh Smith and Jean MacGregor
National Learning Communities Project
The Evergreen State College
Providing leadership in developing and helping others develop learning communities.

2002 - Robert Olin
Professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
University of Alabama
Providing leadership in the use of technology in the classroom.

2001 - Tim Riordan
Professor of Philosophy
Alverno College Institute
Pioneering strategies to assess student learning.

2001 - Peter Ewell
Vice President
National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
Providing leadership for institutional change and assessment strategies.

2000 - Susana Navarro
Executive Director
The El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence
Developing and implementing community-based educational achievement strategies.

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The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education promotes public policies that enhance Americans' opportunities to pursue and achieve a quality higher education. Established in 1998 by a consortium of national foundations, the National Center is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in San Jose, California. It is not associated with any institution of higher education, with any political party, or with any government agency.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a non-profit organization committed to providing better access to education for adults through partnerships with business, government, labor, and higher education. CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services.

For more information about the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, visit www.umbc.edu/meyerhoff/index.html.

For more information about the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award, including information about nominations, visit: www.highereducation.org/vsmithaward/.


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© 2009 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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