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Higher Education in Maryland

June 2012 Press Release



For immediate release: June 21, 2012                           

Media Contact: Greg FitzGerald,
Special Assistant to the Secretary



ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 21, 2012) – Governor O’Malley today at the P-20 Council Meeting announced Dr. Danette Howard as Maryland’s Secretary of Higher Education. She has served as Interim Secretary since August 2011.

 “We are pleased that Danette has chosen to continue her outstanding work in our Administration,” said Governor O’Malley. “Her dedication to creating innovative programs and years of expertise in higher education are essential to helping more Marylanders attend and complete college. We believe that under her leadership, we can build on the progress we’ve made to eliminate barriers to completion and help students obtain the skills and education they need to compete and win in the New Economy.”

 “I am grateful to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Maryland as Secretary of Higher Education,” said Dr. Howard. “I am looking forward to helping the Administration move toward its higher education attainment goal.” 

 The O’Malley-Brown Administration has set an aggressive goal that at least 55 percent of adult Marylanders will hold at least one post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. Under Dr. Howard's leadership, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) has launched a statewide reverse transfer program that will award credentials to community college transfer students who enroll at a four-year college or university just a few credits shy of earning their associate degrees. Dr. Howard also leads MHEC’s efforts to redesign developmental education courses that are taught at Maryland’s colleges and universities so that students can more quickly enroll in credit-bearing courses and earn their degrees. Additionally, the “Near Completers” program will help re-enroll students in good academic standing who left college campuses, but are less than a year away from earning their degrees. 

 Dr. Howard earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Howard University and her Master’s in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She has also received her doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park.

 Dr. Howard has spent her entire professional career in higher education, first as a student affairs administrator at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) then as a researcher and policy analyst at the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). While pursuing her doctorate in Education Policy at UMCP, Dr. Howard worked on the Race, Equity and Diversity in the South Project, which examined trends in postsecondary enrollments and completion rates and faculty hiring and promotions. She also served as a key researcher in a multi-year project sponsored by the National Association of Black and Hispanic Physicists which studied factors that contributed to students of color succeeding in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.


MHEC is the State of Maryland's higher education coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and private colleges and universities and for-profit career schools. MHEC also administers state financial aid programs that affect students on a statewide basis.


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