UMGC Highlights Fire Prevention Month and Educational Opportunities Available to First Responders

October is Fire Prevention Month, and last week (Oct. 3-9) was recognized as Fire Prevention Week, which aims to raise awareness on fire safety to protect people and their homes. Faculty experts from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) recently discussed fire safety tips and how UMGC educates first responders, law enforcement and other professionals.

“The latest fire safety campaign recommends sleeping with your bedroom door closed, so it puts that barrier between you and the fire and controls the spread, and also to create an evacuation plan for your house,” said Ralph Hutton, collegiate associate professor for homeland, intelligence and emergency management. “Make sure your smoke detectors are working and your batteries are replaced every six months.”

Hutton is currently updating content for Fire Prevention, Organization and Management course, which is part of the Fire Administration minor at UMGC for undergraduate students. Other courses in the minor include Fire and Emergency Services Administration, Personnel Management for Fire and Emergency Services, Community Risk Reduction for the Fire and Emergency Services and Emergency Services Training and Education. All the classes are modeled after the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education curriculum.

The Fire Administration minor can accompany one of the following bachelor programs: public safety administration, homeland security, investigative forensics or legal studies. Graduate students can also advance their knowledge by obtaining a master’s degree in one of three specialties: emergency management, homeland security management or intelligence management. Certificates are available as an undergraduate in Public Safety Executive Leadership or graduate Homeland Security Management specialization.

“We have instructors with extensive experience and students who are working in the field themselves, so the scholar-practitioner is a benefit to our students,” said Christopher Swain, program director for the public safety administration program at UMGC and a retired Major from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland. “Our instructors have a range of professional backgrounds from fire chiefs to emergency managers.”

Brian Powers, program director of homeland, intelligence and emergency management and

collegiate associate professor, pointed out that emerging technologies play a crucial role in educating professionals to respond to fire emergencies, natural and human-made disasters, urgent situations and much more. 

Recent innovations include fire behavior computer modeling, which can help assess risks before wildfires start and project their path and growth. 

“The use of drones is increasingly important for firefighters because they can be equipped with sensors, which can produce infrared photos and artificial intelligence of the fire area,” Powers said. “This helps gather information for the positioning of firefighters and managing resources.”

The impact of climate change is a growing factor attributed to the frequency of wildfires in the United States. Last year, an estimated four percent of California’s total land burned in numerous and more intense wildfires. 

Sabrina Fu, program director and collegiate professor of UMGC’s environmental science and management program, says, “The experts often say climate change is a threat multiplier for fires because of droughts and extreme weather.”

Powers highlighted the intertwined responsibilities of law enforcement, public safety and emergency management when dealing with various crisis situations, including wildfires. “If someone set a fire, all three sectors could be involved in the investigation” Powers said. 

For more information on UMGC’s various program offerings available to first responders or law enforcement, visit umgc.edu.

UMGC Names Sharon Fross as Vice President and Dean of School of Arts and Sciences

Adelphi, Md. (Sept. 30, 2021)—Sharon L. Fross, PhD, has been appointed the new vice president and dean of the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) School of Arts and Sciences. Fross has served for nearly 3o years in leadership roles across higher education, dedicating her career to making colleges and universities accessible to adult and first-generation learners.

“UMGC is one of the few national institutions that has been committed to adult and military learners since its founding. I am thrilled to join such a preeminent institution−especially, at this critical time as the pandemic continues to change the needs of adult learners,” Fross said. 

The School of Arts and Sciences at UMGC offers degree programs that can be easily customized with a variety of minors. Students and alumni stay connected through lifetime career services and a strong global community that can greatly aid professional networking. 

“The nature of work is changing right before our eyes, along with the expectations of employees and employers,” said Fross. “Adult learners and employers know they can rely on UMGC to put learners first and to respond quickly and thoughtfully to these changing needs. I am excited to join the UMGC community of faculty and staff who do everything possible to foster the continued success of our learners.”

Fross holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Public Administration from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She earned her doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina.  

“Sharon brings extensive experience developing online, credit and competency-based curricula, stackable credentials, and student pathways to meet workforce needs,” said UMGC Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Blakely Pomietto, when announcing Fross’ appointment. “She is adept in creating collaborative teams to revise and develop new programs.”

About University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus is a world leader in innovative educational models with award-winning online programs in biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, information technology, and other high-demand disciplines in today’s increasingly technical, global workplace. With an enrollment of some 90,000 students, UMGC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission—to meet the learning needs of students whose responsibilities may include jobs, family, and military service. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs, including doctoral programs. A pioneer in distance education since 1947, UMGC is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver accessible high quality, low-cost higher education.

UMGC Partners with FPA NCA to Offer Free Financial Advice 

Last month, staff and students from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) Certified Planning Program (CFP) collaborated with the Financial Planning Association National Capital Area (FPA NCA) to host a virtual Financial Wellness Day. The event offered the public an opportunity to take part in pivotal educational workshops and receive one-on-one advice from a certified financial planner.  

“The UMGC Virtual Financial Wellness Day was the first time many attendees met with a financial planner,” said Kathleen Sindell, CFP, program director and professor of finance and economics. “Before the day, many of our UMGC personal financial planning students had never spoke with an expert planner about their day-to-day duties and experiences.”

Sindell and Peter Munger, JD, department chair of finance and economics, coordinated the event with the help of FPA NCA, industry speakers, and UMGC Certified Financial Planning program students and staff volunteers. Thanks to the day’s success, nearly 80 individuals received free, private consultations on financial issues ranging from household budgeting, debt, income taxes, mortgages, college expenses, estate planning and insurance. 

The day was structured so participants could attend up to three presentations in a virtual auditorium, in addition to one-on-one financial counseling. The presentations addressed key personal finance topics, such as basic investing and retirement and estate planning. Three lucky participants walked away with one door prize, which included the AverMedia Live Streamer Webcam, Apple AirPods and Fitbit Versa 3 Motivational Smartwatch. Participants also received 30-day access to the Financial Wellness website.

“I enjoy being able to give each client a personalized experience. In fact, my five-year goal is to become a financial adviser at a small to medium-sized financial advising firm,” said Rachel Woodward, a finance major at UMGC and student volunteer at the Financial Wellness Day. “I am currently working as a financial advising intern at Global Advisor Group in Reston, Virginia. My ultimate goal is to earn my CFP certification.”

The 2021 Financial Wellness Day provides valuable financial advice to those who needed it, and UMGC aspires to continue this important service. A survey will go out to attendees in October, and plans are in the works to use the feedback to plan a financial wellness event in 2022.

UMGC Student Joins Board of The Maryland Association of Health Care Executives

Adelphi, Md. (Sept. 3, 2021)— A graduate student in health care administration (HCAD) at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has been named the first student board member of the Maryland Association of Health Care Executives (MAHCE).

The student, who asked only to be identified as Kaitlyn, was elected to a one-year term on the MACHE Board of Directors.

“The election of Kaitlyn to the MAHCE Board as the first student member is a wonderful testament to the value and recognition the Maryland Health Care Executive community assigns the UMGC Global Health Management and Administration (GHM&A) programs and alumni,” said Liliya Roberts, MD, program director and professor of GHM&A. “Kaitlyn, an HCAD student sitting on the board of this prestigious and well-recognized professional organization adds additional pride to the UMGC GHM&A programs and the students.”   

Kaitlyn, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Towson University, began her graduate studies at UMGC in 2020. She anticipates graduating in 2022 and is a student member of the MAHCE.

“After working in a clinical setting for about five years, I realized that health care was where I wanted to build my career. But instead of doing clinical work, I wanted to make a difference not only in the lives of our patients, but in the lives of the staff taking care of those patients,” Kaitlyn said. “When I stumbled upon the Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree Program at UMGC, learned the details of it and what it could mean for my career, and then applied it to my existing skills, I realized that the administrative side of health care was for me.

“One of my HCAD professors posted an opportunity for students to get involved in the MAHCE as the student board member and, after taking a chance, I was nominated,” she added.

MAHCE, founded in 1973, fosters professional development and collaboration among health care professionals. The organization is a local member of the Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society.

“This nomination has already given me the opportunity to connect with health care executives that provide real-life insight to the existing trends in the health care system. Working alongside my fellow board members, I can delve into the world of health care administration and apply my learning not only to my schoolwork but to my future career endeavors,” Kaitlyn noted.

“Being connected to health care through my schoolwork, my job, and as a student board member with the MAHCE, I am able to build the skills I will need to help lead our health care system.”

Three Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration Faculty Members Receive Accolades

Adelphi, Md. (Aug. 19, 2021)— University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is pleased to announce that three Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration (DMCCPA) faculty members received distinguished honors in their industry. Trudy Bers, Ph.D., Gena Glickman, Ph.D., and Charlene Nunley Ph.D., all adjunct professors of DMCCPA, were recently recognized.

Trudy Bers

“The awards and honors given to UMGC faculty members in the community college doctoral program represent the highest levels of achievement,” said Reynaldo Garcia, Ph.D., professor and program director of the DMCCPA program. “That our doctoral program students have the privilege of working with individuals who are at top of our field is a testament to the high quality of our program and our university. I know of no other community college doctoral program that can match the level of achievement in the long list of awards our faculty received this year. I am humbled and honored to work with these outstanding scholars and teachers.”

Trudy Bers was honored with the 2021 Sidney Suslow Scholar Award from the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). As a 2021 awardee, Bers, who was acknowledged through her scholarly work as stated by AIR, “has made significant contributions to the field of institutional research and advanced understanding of the profession in a meaningful way.”

In addition to teaching at UMGC, she is president of The Bers Group, an education consulting organization. Bers is also the former executive director of research, curriculum and planning at Oakton Community College, and a data coach for more than 20 Achieving the Dream Colleges. See Bers bio

Gena Glickman

Gena Glickman was elected to serve as chair of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is the national advocate and institutional voice for academic quality through accreditation.

Since 2018, Glickman has led Massasoit Community College as president and prior to this, she spent 10 years as president of Manchester Community College. Focused on student success, academic excellence and community engagement, Glickman has managed initiatives, wrote articles on higher education issues, and presented at national conferences. View Glickman’s bio

Charlene Nunley

Furthermore, the founding director of the UMGC’s DMCCPA program, Charlene Nunley was awarded the 2021 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Leadership Award earlier this summer. AACC’s award honors individuals who demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and professional contributions to the community college field.

Nunley was the president of Montgomery College for eight years before coming to UMGC. She spearheaded Montgomery College into the top five national community colleges in private fundraising for three consecutive years. In the past, Nunley co-chaired a statewide task force that examined capacity challenges facing Maryland’s public colleges and universities. Read Nunley’s bio

About University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus is a world leader in innovative educational models with award-winning online programs in disciplines including biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics and information technology that are in high demand in today’s increasingly technical, global workplace. With an enrollment of some 90,000 students, UMGC offers open access with a global footprint and a specific mission—to meet the learning needs of students whose responsibilities may include jobs, family and military service. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, including doctoral programs. A pioneer in distance education since 1947, UMGC today is harnessing the power of learning science and technology to deliver high quality, low cost, accessible higher education.