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Our Team

Peter Smith

Orkand Chair and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Innovation

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)


Peter Smith, EdD, serves as Orkand Chair and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Innovation, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). Smith has assembled a distinguished career in higher education, which includes serving as founding president of the Community College of Vermont and California State University, Monterey Bay. Smith was also appointed Endowed Orkand Chair and professor of innovative practices in higher education at UMUC in April 2016.

Just two years after earning his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University in 1968, Smith led the effort to design and establish the Community College of Vermont. As the college’s first president, Smith accepted an additional assignment from the chancellor of the Vermont State College System to create the Office of External Programs, which included developing the External Baccalaureate Degree program for nontraditional students and a portfolio assessment program for evaluating students’ experiential learning accrued outside of college.

In his role as founding president of California State University, Monterey Bay, where he served from 1995 to 2005, Smith was responsible for building the university from the ground up. He guided the institution through all stages of accreditation and raised nearly $100 million from external sources for the development of academic buildings and programs.

After leaving CSUMB in 2005, Smith joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris, France as assistant director general for education, where he supervised more than 700 staff located in more than 30 countries.

In 2007, Smith joined Kaplan University as a senior vice president for academic strategies and development and more recently served as founding president of Open College at Kaplan University. In that role, Smith used no-cost open educational resources to support students who work toward a competency-based degree in professional studies. Also at Kaplan, Smith was responsible for development and implementation of initiatives to improve academic quality, including a set of policies that are considered the gold standard for online and blended learning.

Smith’s work as dean of the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development from 1991 to 1994 ultimately led to the school being recognized as one of the leading professional schools in the Mid-Atlantic region and among the top 50 in America.

Smith also served his home state of Vermont as a state senator (1980-82) and as Lt. Governor (1982-86), while earning his Doctor of Education in Administration Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University in 1984.

He ran successfully for the U.S. House of Representatives as Congressman-at-Large from Vermont and served from 1989-1990. While in Congress, Smith was a member of the Education and Labor and Government Operations committees and served on the post-secondary education subcommittee.

Smith has also been a senior fellow at the American Council on Education and vice president for development at Norwich University.

Education & Training

Smith earned his Doctor of Education in Administration Planning and Social Policy and MAT in Social Studies from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University.

Outside Interests

Smith enjoys being outdoors and singing both individually (accompanied by his autoharp) and in his church choir. He reads and writes a great deal and serves as chair of Santa Fe’s community CPB radio station, KSFR. Also, being a grandfather to five young women and three young men is a deep passion of his.

Why I Work With NCHEMS

I have loved the notion of NCHEMS since I first learned of it 40 years ago. A non-profit entity, dedicated to the objective use of data analytics and wise counsel to serve higher education systems and individual institutions. The commitment to practical advice which is also innovative and responsive to the demands of change is as important, if not more so, today as it was when NCHEMS was established.