Heidi M. Anderson has been named the next president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, effective Sept. 1. She will replace Juliette Bell, who stepped down earlier this month.
Anderson will be tasked with leading a historically black college that has struggled with enrollment but counts programs in pharmacy and agriculture as strengths.
She comes to Princess Anne from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where she was a special adviser to the president and had previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“UMES is an institution that attracts students who are from underrepresented minority groups,” Anderson said. “I am attracted to that because that has been a passion of mine.”
As part of her duties at Kingsville, Anderson managed the university’s academic departments and majors, oversaw the creation of new degrees in areas including computer science and engineering, implemented articulation agreements with community colleges and led a plan to create a new College of Allied Health Professions at the school.
She carries a background in pharmacy, an area that has emerged as a key program at UMES. She has received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in pharmacy administration, all at Purdue University.
“The Board of Regents and I are pleased to welcome Heidi Anderson as the new president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore,” Robert L. Caret, the University System of Maryland chancellor, said in a statement. “Everyone we spoke to described Heidi as a visionary, dynamic, inspirational and trusted leader who fosters strong, collaborative and collegial teams, and who values transparency, integrity and shared governance.”
At UMES, Anderson will face a school with declining enrollment and student retention issues, similar to Maryland’s other small schools like Coppin State University and Frostburg State University.
In the fall of 2011, UMES enrolled more than 4,500 students, both full time and part time. In the fall of 2016, the last year for which data is available, enrollment had fallen to just over 3,900.
Anderson acknowledged the enrollment struggles but believes she will be able to turn them around.
“I think nationally, you’ll find that a lot of institutions have had enrollment issues and I think lots of institutions have been able to turn that around without any problem,” she said. “One of the quick ways that I believe I’ll be looking at is just getting some of the students back.”
When she arrives on campus, one of Anderson’s first orders of business will be getting to know the local community. As she spoke to The Daily Record on Tuesday afternoon, Anderson was preparing to go to a local rotary club meeting in Texas. She intends to do the same on the lower Eastern Shore.
“I’m looking forward to really getting engaged with the community,” she said.
In addition to Kingsville, Anderson has also held leadership positions at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, the University of Kentucky and taught at Auburn University and the University of Tennessee.
Former Bowie State University President Mickey Burnim has been serving as interim president at UMES since Bell stepped down July 1.