Reporting Derek Valcourt
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)—Mystery continues to shroud Maryland’s largest public university. The president of UMUC is placed on administrative leave without any explanation to the faculty and 90,000 students who use the online university worldwide.
Derek Valcourt has the latest from the head of Maryland’s university system.
Even though the UMUC president has been placed on leave — and no one will say why–WJZ has learned she’s still collecting her paycheck.
Susan Aldridge is considered a national leader in online higher education.
Since 2006, she’s been president at UMUC headquartered in College Park. The school claims to be world’s fastest growing virtual campus.
“We are now the largest state university in the United States, with 94,000 students,” Aldridge once said.
But in a stunning announcement to UMUC staff last week, the head of Maryland’s university system–Chancellor William Kirwan –announced Aldridge had been placed on indefinite leave, offering no explanation.
Thursday afternoon Kirwan still guarded details.
“I really can’t tell you anything that I haven’t already said. That she’s on leave for an indefinite period of time and that Javier Miyares is the acting president. That’s all I can say at this moment. When I can be more forthcoming I will be, but I just cannot be at this time,” Kirwan said.
At their location in Largo, Prince George’s County, staff and faculty are also being tight-lipped about Aldridge’s departure. Everyone we spoke with declined to be interviewed.
“She’s on paid leave,” Kirwan said.
Kirwan acknowledges that for now Aldridge will continue to collect her $306,000 salary while that indefinite leave continues.
In a letter to faculty and staff, Chancellor Kirwan says it could be weeks before he’s able to say why Aldridge is on leave. He says the management team serving under Aldridge will continue to push on in her place.
UMUC board members have also declined to discuss Aldridge’s departure.