The University System of Maryland Board of Regents has named Valerie Sheares Ashby the next president of UMBC. She begins her presidency on Aug. 1, when she will replace the retiring Freeman Hrabowski.
Since 2015, Ashby has served as dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, which enrolls 80 percent of Duke’s undergraduate students and 40 percent of its graduate students in disciplines across the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. As dean,
at Duke, Ashby brought the Trinity community together in a shared mission: To deliver to every Duke student a world-class liberal arts and sciences education in a research environment. She and her team built three pathways to that mission: excellence through diversity; excellence in teaching, research, and service; excellence through leadership and mentoring.
In her seven years as Trinity dean, Ashby focused on strengthening the college’s core through the recruitment and retention of talented faculty and support for curricular innovation. She fortified the relationship between faculty and staff and the administration through regular engagement – from from mentoring sessions with faculty at all ranks to annual celebrations.
Under Dr. Ashby’s leadership, Trinity has increased its Black faculty members to 8 percent of all faculty, and is on track to meet its goal of 13 percent Black faculty by 2025. The college’s international reputation in the humanities and social sciences has grown, with top 10 rankings in political science, classics and African and African American Studies. Meanwhile, the Duke Science and Technology initiative is bringing new research and teaching talent to the natural sciences.
Ashby’s team has won significant support for innovations like humanities labs that incorporate visiting scholars and a teaching fellows program with the local community college. Investing in the arts, Trinity created a Dance MFA program and hired renowned working artists.