Daily Record Staff//April 28, 2023
//April 28, 2023
Valerie Sheares Ashby took over as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in August of 2022, becoming the first woman to lead the school. Before joining UMBC, she was dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University and taught chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she had earned her doctorate in chemistry.
What is the biggest challenge facing higher education?
Every student who wants to get a college education should be able to access it. To truly serve society and to deliver a relevant, meaningful and excellent education, our learning communities must be inclusive and welcoming — supporting diverse perspectives from all backgrounds and bringing those perspectives to bear in solving the world’s most pressing issues.
What is the most encouraging new development in higher education?
I’m continually inspired by colleges and universities because these are places of ideas and knowledge creation, and so higher education is always evolving. It might seem as though change is slow to come, but we are never stagnant, always learning and growing as we live out our mission. It is a distinct privilege to be leading UMBC, an institution that has been at the forefront of inclusive excellence for decades, and gratifying to see other institutions embracing that fundamental value.
What do you do to unwind?
My weekend routine includes exercise, church and seeing friends. I also listen to music every morning, from when I get up to when I walk into the office.