ADELPHI, Md. (WJZ)– Less than a month after being placed on leave, the president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC) suddenly and mysteriously announces she’s stepping down. And now, the university system is refusing to comment on her abrupt departure.

Jessica Kartalija has the story.

Considered a national leader in online higher education, since 2006 Susan Aldridge has been president at UMUC.

Now, one month after the school revealed she was placed on leave, University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan refuses to answer questions about the abrupt change at the top and will only confirm Aldridge is stepping down.

“She said she felt it is in her best interest and the best interest of the university to pass the baton to someone else,” he said.

UMUC employs 2,000 faculty members in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In a statement released Thursday, Aldridge says:”Given all that we have accomplished over the past six years, I think this is a good time to step down. UMUC has flourished academically and its students have benefitted.”

But the mystery surrounding her sudden departure grows. Board members refuse to comment. The chancellor will only say he respects her decision.

Kartalija: “Had she not decided to step down, would the University have asked her to resign?”
Kirwan: “I am not going to get into any personnel questions.”

UMUC claims to be the world’s fastest-growing virtual campus. Open records show Aldridge made around $300,000 a year.

Kirwan has named Javier Miyares interim president. Miyares has been serving as the school’s senior vice president for exactly one month.

Comments (7)
  1. Ricci Adams says:

    to evident, just Google UMUC’s news article and you will be able to read about fraud in the Asian Division of UMUC.

  2. Reality Check says:

    In just six years, Dr. Aldridge was able to turn a struggling UMUC program into an efficient, profitable and academically sound worldwide university. Quite an incredible feat given the fact that there are 5,000 employees in 100 country which serve 90,000 student. A few lazy, just-send-me-my-check-in-Asia faculty conducted their own “survey” probably with saki in hand whining about how they actually had to work for a living again. And the results are published as being more scientific than a Gallup poll. How ridiculous.
    Dr. Aldridge has done an incredible job. We all will miss her dearly. We wish her all the happiness and success in her next endeavor which certainly will be just as successful as UMUC.

  3. Skywriter says:

    Everyone at UMUC will miss the warmth, enthusiasm, dedication and incredible management skills of Dr. Susan Aldridge. She took a floundering UMUC and made it flourish. A new, exciting global opportunity awaits her arrival. Those who know her well will understand and appreciate the reasons for this strategic move.

  4. Reality Check says:

    Since coming to Adelphi in 2006, Dr. Susan C. Aldridge has been able to turn a struggling, in-the-red University of Maryland University College into an efficient, profitable, proud, and academically-sound worldwide university with over 90,000 in-class and online students. She has assembled a highly qualified team of 5,000 faculty and employees at 100 different global locations. However at times, it has been frustrating for Dr. Aldridge to have to deal with certain constraints … some of which are explain below. Fortunately for her (but unfortunately for UMUC), Dr. Aldridge decided several weeks ago to pursue another higher education opportunity at most prestigious institution.

    For six years, Dr. Aldridge’s UMUC administration received outstanding reviews from across the country and from almost every corner of the world … with a couple of minor exceptions. A year ago, several faculty member in Asia were upset that after many years of effectively having fully-paid, vacation-abroad UMUC “jobs” that Dr. Aldridge was actually making them work for their UMUC paycheck. One of these faculty members had an inside contact at the Washington Post which happens to own Kaplan University, an online university that competes directly with UMUC. The disgruntled group fabricated their own “survey” about Dr. Aldridge and UMUC and forwarded the “survey” to their contact at the Post. Several weeks later their laundry list of personal complaints was not-so-surprisingly headlined in the Washington Post as a scientifically-conducted UMUC Asian Faculty Survey.

    Some discontent at UMUC has resulted from the state of Maryland’s policies and statutes. For the past four years, the Maryland has prohibited any and all merit or cost-of-living pay increases for state employees. This restriction has been especially frustrating to Dr. Aldridge … since she has many deserving UMUC faculty and employees who deserve financial rewards for their exceptional performance. However, Dr. Aldridge is, of course, not able override state policies and law.

    In addition, the state of Maryland has a (ridiculous) law requiring state-funded institutions to provide certain employees one month notice of their termination for every year that they have worked at their state job. Maryland administrators are saddled with the burden of retaining “terminated” employees for many months after the employees have actually been fired. This obviously creates an extremely toxic situation within the workplace. In some situations where a terminated UMUC employee could be a potential major distraction or even a physical threat to other employees, Dr. Aldridge has elected to pay those employees their remaining salaries and in return has secure agreements from those employees to disassociate themselves immediately and completely from UMUC. A few uninformed outsiders have called this practice “hush money”. Those who understand administration and management know that this is a smart, logical and safe business practice.

    There is not one hard-working faculty or employee at UMUC who hasn’t been amazed at Dr. Aldridge’s intelligence, energy, enthusiasm, warmth and incredible management skills during the past six years. She has done an absolutely incredible job at UMUC. When her new position is announced, those who know her well will better understand why Dr. Aldridge decided in February to leave UMUC. At her new institution, she will have total control over all personnel and salary decisions and will not have her hands tied by outside policies and statutes. We wish her the best of luck in this new endeavor.

  5. informed says:

    Hey CBS…. get a clue. You are being gamed.

  6. Gaston says:

    Hmmm, these comments sure don’t jive with the very negative comments on the Washington post site. These comments sound ‘planted.’

  7. Roger Smith says:

    According to the Middle States official report issued in 2006, the ‘…struggling,
    in-the-red…’ UMUc, had earned a suplus of $50 million in the four years
    immediately before Aldridge assumed the Presidency.

    Page 42 of the MSA 2006 report.

    The MSA also notes that this $50…was turned over to the USM.

    if a $50 millions surplus is considered to be ‘…in the red…’ then new definitions
    of ‘…’ have been adopted.

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