Maryland Governor Wes Moore has named Indian-American Sanjay Rai as acting secretary for the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)Rai, who is Montgomery College's senior vice president for academic affairs, will start his new role in May.
In his announcement, Moore cited Rai's 30-plus years of career experience dedicated to higher education and his commitment to innovation, access, and leadership.
"This is an historic opportunity to build upon a strong higher education system of community colleges, the University of Maryland System, and private colleges," Rai said in a statement released by Montgomery College.
"We must create an inclusive higher education ecosystem that provides meaningful and affordable access to higher education and workforce training to all residents in the state. We will ensure that home grown talent combined with research advancements, will make Maryland a prime destination for employers around the nation and the world for relocating, starting and expanding their businesses," he added.
With his community college background, Rai provides a unique and valuable perspective on the need for post-secondary education to align with academic and workforce needs, the Montgomery College statement read. He has also helped in the creation of programs that meet the needs of emerging industries like cloud computing, cybersecurity, cell and gene therapy, and data science.
According to the statement, Rai has worked to remove barriers to education access through the redesign of developmental education, revision of alternate placement policies, and embedding of coaches in classrooms to increase student success.
Prior to serving as the College's chief academic officer, Rai led the Germantown Campus as vice president and provost
A PhD in mathematics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Rai continues to actively contribute to the field of mathematics by authoring numerous scholarly articles and other academic publications.
He completed his BS in statistics, physics, and mathematics from the University of Allahabad.