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About TerrapinSTRONG

Why President Pines Started TerrapinSTRONG

TerrapinSTRONG is one of 12 initiatives identified by President Pines on his first day in office as president. This effort is part of our educational mission. TerrapinSTRONG onboarding will contribute to efforts to welcome new members into our community, enhance inclusion and sense of belonging, and act upon University of Maryland diversity, equity and inclusion goals. It will help bring us together as a community, show what we value and share our history and traditions.

Read more from Dr. Darryll Pines and Dr. KerryAnn O’Meara in their opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed: Seizing First Impressions

History of TerrapinSTRONG

President Pines was the dean of the School of Engineering in 2018, when he noted concerns from women and students of color who were having negative experiences in the program and feeling excluded. He wanted to improve the climate and recalled an onboarding program at Northrop Grumman that impressed him 10 years earlier. He shared this idea with his team and supported work by Ramsey Jabaji (Global Engineering Leadership), Dr. Carlton Green (Office of Diversity & Inclusion) and others to build Clark LEAD, a precursor to TerrapinSTRONG. Clark LEAD continues as a piece of the School of Engineering TerrapinSTRONG onboarding initiative.

A campus climate survey was also conducted in 2018, indicating that many were not feeling welcomed or a sense of belonging. In 2019, Dr. Darryll Pines became president of the University of Maryland and announced TerrapinSTRONG as an initiative to build a sense of belonging and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on the campus at large. This was an opportunity to influence and improve the climate and foster an environment where people feel connected and like they belong. The president appointed Dr. KerryAnn O’Meara as the Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives and Ann Tonggarwee as the liaison to TerrapinSTRONG from the Office of the President. Under Dr. O’Meara’s leadership, the president and his cabinet, with input from others, developed the basic structure. They developed the four main parts of the onboarding program: Welcome, History, Commitment to DEI, and Traditions.

Dr. O’Meara worked with many constituents to flesh out the content for TerrapinSTRONG and create the initial modules. Many groups gave input for the onboarding program before it was rolled out in June 2021, including the Office of Strategic Communications, the Legal Office, the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC), Graduate Student Council, Student Affairs Student Leadership Council, the Deans of the Colleges and Divisions, University Human Resources and others, in addition to a number of student focus groups.

Since July 1, 2021, all new faculty, staff and students participate in the TerrapinSTRONG onboarding course. All colleges and schools implemented TerrapinSTRONG onboarding initiatives for their undergraduate students in 2021, with the goal of implementing TerrapinSTRONG onboarding initiatives for faculty and staff by July 1, 2022.

On August 30, 2021, the first program manager for TerrapinSTRONG, Dr. Leslie Krafft, began work . In January 2022 the TerrapinSTRONG onboarding course was also rolled out to all current faculty and staff members. The hope is that this rollout will instill that common vision and values across the entire campus community.

TerrapinSTRONG Program Manager

The TerrapinSTRONG program manager is Dr. Leslie Krafft. Dr. Krafft reports directly to the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and is responsible for both the administrative and curricular management of TerrapinSTRONG. To contact the program manager, email

TerrapinSTRONG Overview

TerrapinSTRONG Onboarding Logistics

Onboarding Goals, Course Content and Information

Learn More About Onboarding

TerrapinSTRONG Across Campus

Representatives and Current Initiatives

Learn More About Across Campus Initiatives