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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland


Announcing the Center for Community Engagement

Dear campus community,

The University of Maryland's strategic plan, Fearlessly Forward: In Pursuit of Excellence and Impact for the Public Good, boldly reimagines what our university must be to uphold and expand our mission of service to humanity. As we implement the plan, we are forging a diverse and inclusive community of excellence where our differences are celebrated and equity is relentlessly pursued. Our university is deeply committed to collaborating with community partners to enhance the local economy, improve educational access and outcomes, advance social justice, and better the quality of life in our local communities and around the world.

Today, I am pleased to share an announcement with you. Animated by our excellence in community-engaged scholarship and learning, and responding to faculty, student, staff and community member voices who advocated for greater support and coordination of this mission-critical work, the University of Maryland will create a new Center for Community Engagement in the Division of Academic Affairs.

The Center will ensure that community engagement is woven into the very fabric, values, and identity of the institution. The new Center will coordinate with current units in the Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Student Affairs, Division of Administration, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Teaching & Learning Transformation Center, and other units across campus to support existing activities as well as cultivate new opportunities for community-engaged scholarship, instruction, and service aligned with our mission as a public, land-grant, research-intensive university.

Functionally, the Center will provide strategic vision and leadership for UMD community engagement; develop and support partnerships locally and globally; offer training and development opportunities on community engagement best practices for faculty, staff, and students; integrate community engagement into reward and recognition systems; and support logistics and collaboration across units and divisions.

I want to underscore that the decision to launch a new Center for Community Engagement in Academic Affairs emerged through shared governance, stakeholder engagement in the implementation of our strategic plan, and analysis of peer institution organizational structures. It is the result of many good ideas, mapped against our shared vision.

A national search for an Associate Provost for Community Engagement will be conducted. Embedded within the new Center will be the existing Office of Community Engagement, founded and directed by Gloria Aparicio Blackwell. Over the past 25 years, Gloria and her team have forged new and strong partnerships and collaborations with communities surrounding the university and beyond, and we are a better university for the work her team has done with College Park and neighboring communities. I am delighted that Gloria and her talented team will become a part of the new Center for Community Engagement, by late summer 2023.

Ours is a community that is intrinsically connected to our surrounding neighborhoods, our state, our nation, and our world. The Center for Community Engagement, stationed in the Provost’s Office and led by an Associate Provost for Community Engagement, positions UMD to make good on our commitment to reimagine learning, invest in our communities, take on grand challenges, and partner with our communities – locally and globally – to advance the public good.


Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost