Gregory Fowler, Ph.D., grew up in Albany, Georgia, one of eight children; his mother was a secondary school teacher and other family members included ministers and pastors. He realized from an early age the power of education and the need to engage with people and help them wherever they are in life. These lessons have driven his success as a distinguished scholar, faculty member and innovative administrator during his 25-year career in higher education.
Based on that extensive track record of leadership in helping students succeed, the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents announced today that Fowler has been selected as the next president of University of Maryland Global Campus. He will begin his new position on January 4, 2021.
Fowler comes to UMGC after nearly nine years at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), where he served in a dual role as chief academic officer and vice president for academic affairs before being elevated to president of SNHU’s Global Campus in September 2018. He has been responsible for academic functions in support of the university’s learning experiences and modalities—online, competency-based and hybrid—that met the rapidly changing demands of the workforce and global communities, including programs for refugees in Africa and the Middle East and for learners in Mexico and Columbia.
“The board has identified an outstanding leader to move UMGC forward,” Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden said. “Given that UMGC is the nation’s largest online public university and serves a broad diversity of students, the selection of UMGC’s next president has been critically important to the university and to the USM. Dr. Fowler’s extensive leadership experience with the Southern New Hampshire University Global Campus is an ideal fit for leading UMGC.”
Fowler’s portfolio at SNHU included oversight of more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and social sciences, nursing and health professions, and STEM programs. He has provided vision and leadership to executive teams and faculty, including academic vice presidents, executive directors, deans, and more than 6,500 faculty and subject-matter experts.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the next president of University of Maryland Global Campus,” Fowler said. “I have always admired the institution’s mission and success in transforming the lives of adult learners. I look forward to joining the UMGC team as well as being part of the larger team that is the University System of Maryland.”
After completing his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Fowler moved to the Washington, D.C., area and spent nearly four years at the National Endowment for the Humanities. There he worked as an outreach specialist helping to share the stories and empower the voices of underserved populations, while also earning a master’s degree in English at George Mason University.
He left the NEH and became a lecturer and assistant professor of literature and American studies at Penn State University–Erie, at the same time he was completing his doctorate in English/American Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Fowler is a two-time Fulbright Senior Scholar (Germany and Belgium) and has presented his research at events throughout the world, including in Germany, where he also taught at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universitat–Berlin.
He has held senior-level academic and administrative positions at a number of institutions, including Western Governors University, where he served as associate provost and dean of liberal arts and ensured student success by overseeing the development of new degree programs for all of WGU’s colleges. He also was chief academic officer and vice president for academic affairs at Hesser College in New Hampshire.
Fowler currently serves as a board member and Commissioner for the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), where he has worked with a team reviewing the shift to remote learning and its impact on the future of higher education.
Fowler also holds an MBA from Western Governors University and was a Charles A. Dana Scholar at Duke University. He has completed several higher education and executive leadership and negotiation programs at Harvard University.
“I thank Regent Sam Malhotra for his skillful leadership of the search committee that identified Greg Fowler as UMGC’s next president,” USM Chancellor Jay Perman said. “All of us are deeply impressed with Dr. Fowler’s scholarship and his talents as a strategic and creative thinker. SNHU Global Campus is recognized as a pioneer in online higher education, and there’s no doubt that Dr. Fowler has contributed greatly to that leadership.”
The search for UMGC’s next president began in September 2020, after Javier Miyares announced his retirement following a 45-year career that culminated in his transformative eight-year tenure as UMGC president. In Fall 2020, Miyares transitioned into an advisory capacity to Chancellor Perman, focusing on Systemwide data analytics and how to better position the USM for distance education during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawrence E. Leak, Ph.D., immediately assumed the role of interim president at UMGC while the board completed its search for a permanent replacement.
“I would like to thank Dr. Larry Leak for his service as interim president,” Perman said. “Dr. Leak’s deep knowledge of UMGC and his energetic leadership have provided stability and momentum throughout the search process, and I’m delighted he’s agreed to stay on at UMGC temporarily to advise throughout the presidential transition.”
“It has been a special honor to serve in this capacity,” said Dr. Leak. “I thank our staff and faculty for their support, their professionalism, and above all their friendship, which has meant so much to me. UMGC is well-positioned for Dr. Fowler’s arrival. We are operationally and financially stable, enrollments are strong, and while we deal with the realities of the coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to provide our students with the outstanding service they so richly deserve. I could not be more pleased with Dr. Fowler’s appointment or more confident in the future of our university under his expert leadership.”