We are the first

system-level Center to conceptualize, promote, study, and disseminate groundbreaking innovations aimed broadly at transforming higher education.


Organizational Background
Established in 2013 by the USM Board of Regents, the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation grew out of a need to keep pace with a rapidly changing technological landscape, student body, and higher education ecosystem. Capitalizing on the USM’s success in building system-wide capacity for academic transformation, the creation of the Kirwan Center signaled a new role for the System office as a focal point for advancing academic innovation both within Maryland and across higher education nationally.

The mission of the Kirwan Center is to explore the interplay between recent findings from the learning sciences and the capabilities of emerging technologies to support the System’s diverse public universities in launching, evaluating, scaling, and sustaining academic innovation. The Kirwan Center helps USM institutions increase educational access, affordability, and achievement as critical factors in student success.

The Kirwan Center aims to be a model of excellence for system-level leadership in academic innovation. Guided by a commitment to data-informed decision making, strengthening collaboration across academic and student affairs, and leveraging the value that System institutions bring to student success, the Kirwan Center seeks to serve as a trusted and respected leader in developing, facilitating, and sustaining best practices.



We are capitalizing on recent findings from the learning sciences, as well as the capabilities of emerging technologies, to increase the accessibility, affordability, and quality of higher education simultaneously.



We are bringing together faculty and administrative leaders from across the System to identify ways we might improve the success of students, evaluate the feasibility of these approaches, and scale up the most promising models.