A few weeks ago while channel surfing I stumbled across a 60 Minutes interview with Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of University of Maryland Baltimore County. A few months ago, this might not have caught my attention, but that was before – before I met Freeman Hrabrowski, before I visited UMBC and before Blackboard began the Solutions in Action series with NBC Learn.
Last spring, I traveled to UMBC to assist with an interview between Freeman Hrabowski and NBC News Chief Education Correspondent, Rehema Ellis. When I learned Hrabowski would kick-off the Solutions in Action series, I quickly did my research. Named one of Time Magazine’s Top Ten College Presidents and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, respected author, and huge advocate of the sciences (to put it lightly) – it was clear this man was passionate, but what’s made him successful in education where so many others have failed? If you ask Hrabowski he’ll say technology, but if you listen to Hrabowski you’ll say innovation. Two sides of the same coin, but without innovation there is no technology.
UMBC uses technology to get students working collaboratively to solve problems. Hrabowski doesn’t believe in the traditional lecture hall model of teaching and it’s served his school well, helping to retain students year after year. Using Blackboard Learn™ and other educational technologies, UMBC is reshaping teaching and learning by creating a culture that expects more from its students and that in turn empowers students to take control of their education. During the interview at UMBC, Hrabowski said, “education should always be about opening the minds of people.” It seems simple enough and yet it’s where so many people get stuck. Thankfully, there are visionaries like Freeman Hrabrowski paving the way for our future scientists, mathematicians and engineers, here to remind us that “the only limit is our attitude.”