Inaugural Academic Symposium showcases UDC’s history, accomplishments

Inaugural Academic Symposium showcases UDC’s history, accomplishments

Inaugural Academic Symposium showcases UDC’s history, accomplishments

Edington Academic Symposium Banner
Dr. Edington led a President's roundtable on issues specific to HBCUs and public universities as part of Inauguration Week. The roundtable featured, from left, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area President and CEO Andrew Flagel, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Vice President for Academic Innovation and Transformation Terry Brown, Morgan State University President David Wilson, and Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities President Mark Becker.

Faculty, students, staff, Board of Trustee members, community and guests gathered on March 13 for the Inaugural Academic Symposium, which celebrated the University of the District of Columbia’s (UDC) history, highlighted its programs, provided a forum for faculty and offered a vision for the university’s future.

Held at UDC’s Community College, Lamond-Riggs Campus, the Symposium began with an Academic Program display, meet and greet, lunch, a faculty panel highlighting program achievements and concluded with a President’s Roundtable.

The Faculty Symposium was moderated by April Massey, Ph.D., Interim Chief Academic Officer, and included 15 professors who participated in candid discussions about their program’s successes, the importance of their work at UDC and the university’s priorities and future.

“The Academic Symposium plants firmly for President Edington that he has a strong faculty core, which is not only doing good work locally, but they are really on top of the pulse of higher education, nationally and internationally,” Dr. Massey said. “It’s an opportunity to showcase who our faculty experts are as we are welcoming a new president.”

The Academic Symposium was a part of the weeklong festivities celebrating the investiture of Maurice D. Edington, Ph.D., as UDC’s 10th president.

Dr. Edington served as the moderator of the President’s Roundtable, which included Dr. Mark P. Becker, president, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities; Dr. Terry Brown, vice president for Academic Innovation and Transformation, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Dr. Andrew Flagel, president and CEO, the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; and Dr. David K. Wilson, president, Morgan State University.

President Edington led the discussion on the “Next Chapter” with topics ranging from the current critical climate in higher education around diversity and inclusion; complex missions of urban, land-grant universities; retention; funding and developing corporate partnerships.

“I see two things that we are facing in higher education that may be uniting all of us across the various sectors,” Dr. Brown said. “One is the enrollment challenge, and the way public education is funded.

“The second is, I think it’s hard not to call it an assault, but it feels like an assault on some of the fundamental values related to academic freedom on our campuses in particular parts of the country. Those two things that we are experiencing among our members is particularly urgent.”

Dr. Wilson, who has served as Morgan State’s president for nearly 14 years, acknowledged the work and challenges of being the only public high research university in the state of Maryland’s largest city—Baltimore.

“With regard to that, how do we anchor ourselves in that environment,” Dr. Wilson said. “We defined it in research centers rooted in equity and justice and closing the gaps.

“We now have $22 million in ongoing state appropriations that is supporting national research centers, including National Center for Equitable AI, National Center for the Elimination of Educational Disparities, Center for Urban Violence and Crime Reduction and Center for Research and Education in Microelectronics. We have to figure out what’s going to be our legacies as institutions. If we are determined to rise, we have to take the neighborhoods and communities with us.”

Speakers highlighted UDC’s unique role in closing the gap in equity disparity, especially in the District’s Wards 7 and 8.

“This is the nation’s public flagship and that provides a hub,” Dr. Flagel said. “We have to be really bold about answering the concern that a college education has value and it hits harder here because we have more high-paying positions that are related to college degrees here than anywhere else in the country.

“The work that UDC is doing is already directed at transforming pathways in this region including eliminating hunger, so I am so excited about [Dr. Edington’s] presidency, because I think this is the institution to take on some of our biggest issues.”

Dr. Edington challenged Roundtable members with the question, “What keeps you up at night?” Answers ranged from how to tap all the unrealized potential in the District and the region to how to keep educational leaders inspired.

The event concluded with special thanks from Dr. Edington to the panel and all the special guests and audience.

“This was a great event and I thank our dynamic, vibrant faculty,” Dr. Edington said. “Our intention was to learn. I’m sure everyone heard something, learned about something that’s going to help you with the piece of the puzzle that you are responsible for as we work collaboratively to deliver on a promise of a worldclass university as we continue to support one vision for ONE UDC in this District and region.”