Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since May, 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He currently chairs the National Academies’ Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Science & Engineering Workforce Pipeline.
In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which in 2009 ranked UMBC the #1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation and fourth among all colleges and universities in the nation for commitment to undergraduate teaching. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents.
He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally. He also serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation (Chair), The Urban Institute, the Constellation Energy Group, McCormick & Company, and the Baltimore Equitable Society. He is a past member of the board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (member and Chair).
Examples of recent honors include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; receiving the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, and the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service; being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Marylander of the Year by the editors of the Baltimore Sun; and being listed among Fast Company magazine’s first Fast 50 Champions of Innovation in business and technology. He also holds honorary degrees from more than a dozen institutions, including Princeton, Duke, Haverford College, the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and Harvey Mudd College.
With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing minorities in these fields. The program has become a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. Both books are used by universities, school systems, and community groups around the country.
A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, Four Little Girls, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his M.A. (mathematics) and four years later his Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.
Charles Fadel is Global Education Research Lead at Cisco Systems, and the Cisco board member at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and Innovate/Educate (STEM). He is vice-chair of the Education committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD and actively works with three of its education committees – CERI, AHELO, and TALIS. He has consulted with a wide variety of education ministries/boards including Massachusetts, France, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Tunisia, and the Dominican Republic, and has worked on education projects with more than thirty countries and states. Fadel has co-authored a book titled “21st Century Skills – Learning for Life in our Times” www.21stcenturyskillsbook.com/index.php, and frequently lectures on this topic, as well as STEM, and education technology. He is a visiting scholar at Wharton/UPenn where he recently taught a class on Technologies for Learning.
He is presently advising two non-profit organizations, and an innovative school system in Chile (Innova100). He is also incubating a non-profit organization addressing the convergence of 21st Century Skills and STEM to better teach Statistics and Probabilities. He has recently served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Readiness Project as well as its 21st Century Skills task force.
Fadel has been awarded five patents on video, content, and communication technologies. He holds a BS in electronics with course concentration in quantum and solid-state physics with a minor in neuroscience, and a MBA in international marketing. An avid reader, he has autodidactically learned disciplines such evolutionary psychology, comparative linguistics, and classical history.
Ann Higdon is president and founder of Improved Solutions for Urban Systems (ISUS). The organization began in 1992 to develop more effective ways to educate and train underachieving and dropout youth. In 1999, ISUS created the first of three dropout recovery career and technical schools. By 2009, the schools placed 2nd, 4th and 15th highest performing of all 62 Dayton, Ohio public schools.
ISUS students gain industry certifications, work experience, apprenticeship, college credits and life-changing perspectives. Healthcare students volunteer in hospitals and nursing homes; computer technology students refurbish computers that are gifted to inner-city children; advanced manufacturing students engineer wall panels for construction students who rebuild neighborhoods─now “building green” and installing renewable energy systems.
Prior to ISUS, Higdon created the public/private partnership in Ohio that replaced food stamps with smart cards. She managed large national demonstration projects, supervising a staff of two thousand in twenty-three cities. She was a newspaper columnist, writing weekly Color Me Human articles published in the U.S., Mexico, Africa, Russia, and the Caribbean. She also co-hosted a radio talk show, The Hidden Face of Reality.
Higdon and ISUS have received such honors as the Dayton Business Journal Not for Profit Business of the Year and Regional Leadership Awards, the Dayton Daily News Top Ten Women Award, the HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence and the Points of Light Award. ISUS was selected by Rotary International as One of the Top Six Programs Supported by Rotary Worldwide. In August, Higdon was featured on Lifetime Channel’s Remarkable Women series.
She is a former New Yorker and the mother of four adult children.