Dear campus community,
I am writing to inform you that after eight remarkable years of accomplishment and service, Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin has informed me of her decision to resign from her position as Provost at the University of Maryland as of January 29, 2021. As a community, we owe a significant debt of gratitude to Provost Rankin for her vision, leadership and commitment to academic excellence during a period of steady ascent for our institution.
Shortly after her arrival in 2012, Dr. Rankin led an update to the University’s Strategic Plan, which led to a budget redesign and launch of the Administrative Modernization Program (AMP) aimed at improving campus operations. This included the TerpEngage program to improve student advising, and the recently launched ERP initiative to upgrade software infrastructure in human resources, finance and student services.
Dr. Rankin spearheaded significant advancements in academic opportunities for students as well, establishing the First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) that offers over 500 new students annually hands-on research experience. Her vision for student success opportunities also led to the reinvention of the university's Honors College.
She has been a driving force in the development of numerous new undergraduate programs in business, information sciences, public health sciences, public policy, neuroscience, immersive media design in computer science and art, and two new majors in data science.
Dr. Rankin established the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship that has led to nearly 15,000 undergraduates annually enrolling in an innovation course to pursue fearless ideas. She also established the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC), which provides faculty with support and training in the best pedagogical practices and oversees several student success initiatives. This was particularly important in assisting faculty and students in the recent, rapid move to online instruction. With colleagues in the College of Education and
College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, Dr. Rankin founded Terrapin Teachers, a Maryland replication of the UTeach program she developed at UT Austin to address the need for more discipline-based STEM teachers trained by both experienced public school teachers and university experts. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016, in part for her role in developing UTeach nationally.
Dr. Rankin also played a key role in establishing a partnership with the Phillips Collection to expand scholarship, visibility and innovation in the arts. She leads the university's partnership with the Big Ten Academic Alliance, and serves on the Joint Steering Council for the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State with the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Dr. Rankin was a leader in the creation of the Maryland Promise Program, an effort to build a $100 million endowment to support need-based awards for undergraduates. She also leveraged a $3 million gift to support an endowed chair and new partnership in machine learning; solicited support for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and related programs; and facilitated significant private gifts to support the design and construction of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering.
A major focus for the last eight years has been upgrading existing academic facilities and working to expand and enhance capital projects, including adding the new vivarium to A. James Clark Hall and the chemistry teaching addition to the Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center. Most recently, she was a key driver in obtaining support for construction of the new Wing 1 of the Chemistry Building, and making the new Cole research wing Phase 1A of the Brain and Behavior Research Building and the administrative home of the Brain and Behavior Institute. She has also supported construction of the School of Public Policy building that will provide a new home for the Do Good Institute and a new program in civic innovation.
Dr. Rankin and her senior leadership team expanded the role and effectiveness of the Office of Faculty Affairs, and initiated new programs through that office that expanded the hiring of underrepresented minority faculty, improved job titles and opportunities for professional track faculty, and made the APT process more equitable, consistent, inclusive, and teaching focused.
In 2020, Dr. Rankin led our academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with deans, chairs, and senior campus leadership, she and her team transformed the campus’ physical teaching spaces to provide safe, functional in-person instruction; and with the Division of IT and the TLTC developed a highly successful grant program to assist faculty in improving UMD’s online and blended instruction.
I thank and applaud Dr. Rankin for her numerous accomplishments.
Dr. Ann G. Wylie, Professor Emerita of Geology, has agreed to serve as interim Provost during this time of transition. After more than two decades on the faculty, Dr. Wylie earned leadership positions on campus, including Senior Vice President and Provost, Vice President for Administrative Affairs, Assistant President and Chief of Staff to former President Dan Mote, and many other roles within her department and college.
I appreciate Dr. Wylie’s depth of experience and willingness to again step into this role.
An internal search
I intend to launch an internal search to name a permanent Provost. With the benefit of 25 years at Maryland, I am uniquely familiar with the abundance of talent embedded in our academic leadership. I do not need to look far to find the next chief academic officer equipped to write the next chapter of excellence at the University of Maryland.
Please join me in once again thanking Mary Ann Rankin for eight years of transformational change.
With Terrapin pride,
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland