We Reimagine Learning
Dear University of Maryland community,
It is a pleasure to see our campus bustling again as we begin a new semester. Our faculty and staff have been hard at work preparing for our students' return—ready to take on a year full of new ideas, challenges and opportunities. To our first-time students, faculty and staff: we enthusiastically welcome you to our Terrapin family. To our returning community members: I am confident you will all continue to show the world how Terps relentlessly pursue excellence and impact for the public good.
Together, we advance our shared commitment to move our university Fearlessly Forward, and we have much to look forward to this fall in our quest to reimagine learning and teaching in our classrooms and communities.
Innovative and inclusive teaching and learning is the Terrapin way.
Our faculty and staff continue to demonstrate their steadfast commitment to spur creativity in both traditional and non-traditional classroom settings, and in particular to explore how the latest advancements in AI can play a role. The Teaching & Learning Transformation Center is hosting a series of workshops this semester for faculty and staff on incorporating AI into instruction and active learning activities. We will also launch another call for proposals for our signature Teaching & Learning Innovation Grants—this year motivating faculty to develop innovative educational projects focused on the intersection of education and technology.
We continue to invest in modernizing our learning environments to expand opportunities for instructors and students for active and engaged learning. We will welcome students and instructors to more than 25 upgraded learning spaces this year, including three lecture halls, three new classrooms, three new TERP classrooms and one new outdoor learning space.
Experiential learning enhances the student experience.
The undergraduate student experience has traditionally focused on classroom learning. However, here at Maryland, we recognize the importance of experiences that take our students into their communities, and provide them with rich opportunities to explore their passions through hands-on projects and research. I'm excited to say that we will be making new investments to expand undergraduate student involvement in research—more to come on that later this fall.
This semester, we will formally launch a new co-curricular program out of the IDEA Factory. The XFoundry@UMD will combine classroom learning on entrepreneurship and leadership with a campuswide competition intended to fund, mentor and launch student-driven initiatives that will take on some of the grand challenges of our time.
In addition, a new Maryland branch of the UMD Fellows Program welcomes an inaugural class who will participate in classroom and professional experiences that provide an understanding of local and state policy and practice.
Collaborating across disciplines will prepare the leaders of tomorrow.
Great ideas and innovative methods are driven by multidisciplinary collaboration—like with our $30 million Grand Challenges Grants program. The grant recipients will further advance their interdisciplinary projects this fall as they continue to build collaborations with local communities; develop partnerships with regional, national and international organizations; make connections with government representatives; and engage students across campus in their work. From literacy to climate change, digital accessibility to global health, social justice to renewable energy, Terps are addressing today's pressing issues, and we are excited to see their projects progress in the coming months.
Some of our newest undergraduate multidisciplinary academic programs like Immersive Media Design; Philosophy, Politics, and Economics; Neuroscience; and Social Data Science are taking off quickly and enrollments continue to rise. Students' interest in these programs is a testament to the importance of preparing students for life beyond our university where they will need to tackle our world's greatest challenges through multiple lenses.
Diversity is the cornerstone of an excellent and inclusive learning environment.
This summer's Supreme Court decision on the role of race in admissions will inevitably have ripple effects across all of higher education. However, as we have said: the educational value of campus diversity is one we will not sacrifice. We will multiply our recruitment efforts focused on what Maryland offers its students, and we will remain a national leader by encouraging and supporting students of all backgrounds as they apply to, enroll at, and graduate from the University of Maryland.
We are actively seeking to create an inclusive workplace where staff thrive through new opportunities to learn, lead and advance, and are recognized for their talents and contributions. As part of this effort, a new staff awards program is launching later this fall recognizing staff who move our university Fearlessly Forward with their original ideas and outstanding service.
Our work is a shared commitment.
I extend my sincere gratitude to every member of our community who has contributed to these accomplishments, and I challenge each and every one of you to continue to find new and creative ways to reimagine learning here at Maryland.
Together, we can foster a university that is innovative, bold, caring and committed to our vision of service to humanity.
I wish you a fantastic—and fearless—fall semester.
Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost