As Towson University’s Presidential Scholar, Dr. Nancy Grasmick has worked tirelessly to improve opportunities for our students, faculty and the greater community.

She has done this by working collaboratively across the university and within the external community to fund, design, pilot, and assess innovative initiatives in education and leadership.

Some of these initiatives are possible because of well-funded national grants.  Others rely on seed funding from external donors.  Unlike prescriptive grants that require several years of continuing a preset plan, seed funding allows Dr. Grasmick to cost effectively design small pilot programs, then implement and evaluate them.   Successful pilots then become models for future learning communities and scaling.

Teacher Preparation programs

Innovation and Leadership in Special Education

A collaboration with Kennedy Krieger Institute has resulted in a sophisticated, interdisciplinary internship opportunity that graduates highly qualified leaders in special education and the neurosciences. These carefully selected fellows receive an intensive experience at Kennedy Krieger, which along with Towson University courses, results in an ADMIN I certificate. They also team teach the Introduction to Special Education course for the College of Education atTowson and UMBC. Learn more about this program.

Professional Development in the Neurosciences

Fellows completing the Innovation and Leadership in Special Education Program are uniquely qualified to effectively translate neuroscience research into classroom application for student success.  As of July, 2018, 16 fellows have completed the program and are in a variety of education settings from Maryland to Hawaii providing support to teachers and schools systems. Dr. Grasmick has partnered with Towson, Kennedy Krieger and Baltimore County Public Schools to develop an online curriculum in the neurosciences for teachers. Phase one is a course funded by MSDE and has been completed.


The UTeach program at Towson University was inspired, in part, by Dr. Grasmick’s role as a board member of the National Math and Science Initiative. Through this initiative she learned of the need for highly qualified STEM teachers and how TU students could benefit by participating in such a program. Towson University is the first site in Maryland to receive a UTeach grant of over $2 million. This project enables TU to prepare highly qualified teachers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.  Dr. Grasmick has raised a significant amount of funding to support the UTeach program and remains highly involved in the UTeach program.

education community partnerships

Presidential Scholar Advisory Council

An Advisory Council led by Board of Regents Chair, James T. Brady, composed of nine highly respected Marylanders representing a variety of business, state, and governmental organizations works with the Presidential Scholar to establish priorities, network across the state, and advise on important education topics. The group has chosen career technology education opportunities and women’s leadership as its current urgent areas of need. The Council has been very active in the development and implementation of the LYNX program at Frederick High School. Some members attended the school’s opening celebration and others have visited the school since it opened in September of 2017.

Universal Design for Learning

Dr. Grasmick is a staunch supporter of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This is a set of principals for curriculum development that gives all individuals equal opportunities to learn and demonstrate their learning. Dr. Grasmick sponsored the National UDL Conference at Towson University in 2016 and has funded other projects at areas schools. In July, 2018, she was a presenter at the National Conference at Harvard.

LYNX at Frederick High School

Dr. Grasmick has partnered with the Frederick County Pubic School System and FredrickHigh School, to develop and implement a new model for high school students to provide individualized, self-directed learning experiences in accordance with a personal plan for success.

Outreach Initiatives

Presidential Scholar Signature Forum

“Preparing for Public Education in the 21st Century” is an ongoing speaker series that provides opportunities for community and educator stakeholders to access cutting-edge research. The speaker series also offers perspective on key topics presented by national experts like Dr. Ben Carson, Frederick Bealefeld, Daniel Pink, Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, and Dr. Rebecca Landa, Elizabeth Green, Wes Moore, Jason Botel and Bethany Brand.

Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women

Dr. Grasmick serves as ambassador for TU’s Professional Leadership Program for Women, a program under Dr. Schatzel’s priority TU Matters to Maryland. The sixth cohort will begin in January 2020 and will bring the total participants to over 100 professional women. Learn more about this program.

Women’s Leadership Collective

The Women’s Leadership Collective at Towson University provides leadership skills and experience to women throughout their academic and professional lives—while creating a collective of women supporting women.  The Collective creates distinct cohorts of TU undergraduate and graduate students and high school girls. The Collective’s goal is to share stories, skills, experiences, and best practices that enable participants to sharpen communication, assessment, and critical thinking skills as they build self-confidence. Learn more about the Collective.