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Dr. Sanjay Rai

Dr. Sanjay Rai

"Education is the key to economic and social mobility throughout the world. Community colleges, in particular, are in the best position to meet the educational needs of the members of our communities including transfer, career, and lifelong learning."  -Dr. Sanjay Rai

Meet Dr. Sanjay Rai

Dr. Sanjay Rai, senior vice president for academic affairs at Montgomery College, is an outspoken champion and ardent supporter of innovations that advance student success in academic, career, technical, and workforce development programs. Since his appointment to this position in 2014, he has transformed the Academic Affairs Division, leading efforts to pursue grants and resulting in the College’s first Department of Labor grants ($25M), as well as partnerships with business and industry (Amazon, Lockheed, Amarex, InfoSys, BIOTrain) that led to the development of innovative workforce development programs in Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Data Science, and Cloud Computing.  

He also developed a collegewide academic structure which encouraged collaboration, innovation, and intensified focus on student success and degree completion. He supported and encouraged development and use of open education resources (OER), and other student success initiatives including the development of online degrees and expanded online offerings; the redesign of General Education, General Studies, and developmental education programs reducing barriers to student success and increasing transferability; the development of alternate placement processes allowing more students to begin their academic journey in college-level courses; and the implementation of academic program advising, among others. These innovations combined with a change in culture made the transition to remote teaching and learning during the COVID pandemic smoother and successful.

His priorities revolve around reducing barriers to student success and encouraging opportunities for innovation supporting student success. The Achieving the Promise Academy provides resources for one-to-one engagement with academic coaches and focuses on gateway and challenging courses for underprepared students.  Grant funds increased participation in the Academy, and NSF, NIH, and FIPSIE grants increased participation and success of underrepresented students in STEM fields.

He has deepened partnerships with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) through the development of the Middle College Program, and again with the Early College Program which was implemented in Fall 2018. Our first cohort of Early College students graduated in 2020, and by 2023, it is anticipated that nearly 700 of these dually enrolled students will have graduated with an associate’s degree in one of 14 programs, as well as earned a high school diploma. In addition, working with Montgomery County, MCPS and Apple, piloted Montgomery Can Code boot camps serving over 1,000 middle school students across the county at no cost to the students.

Prior to serving as the College’s chief academic officer, Dr. Rai led the Germantown Campus as vice president and provost where he assisted with the creation of the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology which includes Holy Cross Hospital (first hospital built on a community college campus) and supports the Life Sciences Park providing an integrated academic, business, and research environment. This endeavor has been sustained over time, and in 2016, the College received the AACC Partnership Award for this project. In addition, the Paul Peck Academic and Innovation Building was completed during his Germantown tenure to address the burgeoning life science industry with 25 start-up companies working on projects and providing learning opportunities for our faculty and students. Dr. Rai supported the development of the Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia and Southern Management Leadership Program, as well as the building of the Bioscience Education facility.

He currently serves on the Montgomery County Economic Development Council, Maryland Technology Council, Montgomery College and Holy Cross Health Steering Committee, as well as the governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board. He was awarded the SANS Difference Maker Award (2020), the Chief Academic Officer of the Year Award from the National Council for Instructional Administrators (2019) and  Leadership Montgomery’s Outstanding Leader (2017). He has received several awards for teaching and scholarship and has authored numerous scholarly articles and other academic publications. His newest book is Basic Insights in Vector Calculus: with a Supplement on Mathematical Understanding, (2020) whose royalties go to the Montgomery College Foundation to support students' scholarships.