UMGC Advances Diversity in the Field of Certified Financial Planners

In the last decade, financial businesses and organizations have put an emphasis on hiring more women and people from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is helping in this effort by opening doors to new generations of certified financial planners (CFPs). 

In 2020, UMGC joined the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) School Voucher Program, an initiative of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to encourage careers in the securities industry. It is coordinated for educational institutions with enrollments that reflect high levels of diversity. The vouchers pay the entire cost for students to participate in SIE exams. Minority students make up more than half of UMGC’s total enrollment, and 52 percent of all UMGC degrees and certificates awarded in 2020 went to minority students.

Last year, UMGC gave away nearly 30 SIE vouchers and this year FINRA presented the School of Business with 50 more opportunities for students to take the SIE test. By passing the SIE exam, students distinguish themselves from their peers’ when seeking internships or jobs.

“What the FINRA voucher and SIE test does is the first step towards a jump start. If someone shows up and says I passed the SIE exam, then their resume goes to the top of the heap because the employer does not have to pay for training,” said Department of Finance and Economics Director Kathleen Sindell, who also leads UMGC’s CFP Program.  

The SIE test, FINRA’s general industry exam, assesses basic knowledge of financial products, risks, the structure and function of the securities industry and its regulatory agencies, and regulated and prohibited practices. The majority of FINRA voucher participants are finance majors or graduate students in the MBA program.

“FINRA plays a critical role in ensuring the integrity of America’s financial system—all at no cost to taxpayers,” according to the website of the government-authorized nonprofit. Working under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA writes and enforces rules governing the ethical activities of all registered broker-dealer firms and registered brokers in the United States. It also examines firms for compliance with those rules and fosters market transparency. Investor education is a component of its work.  

According to studies by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, fewer than 3.5 percent of the 80,000 certified financial planners in the United States in 2017 were Black or Latino. Another CFP board study, citing reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found only 23 percent were women. The same reports noted that fewer than a third of all U.S. financial advisors are women.   

“I know in the long run for our students, if they take the SIE exam and pass, they will get more attention from the employer, frequently receive a hiring bonus, and we’re going to see a more ethnically diverse financial services industry,” Sindell said.

Gender Diversity in Cybersecurity Starts with Early Education and Overcoming Biases

Historically, women’s path to STEM-related careers has been challenging, whether through unconscious bias, lack of early education and mentoring, or work-life balance hurdles. According to the latest research by the non-profit cybersecurity certification group (ISC)2, men continue to dramatically outnumber women in the field—only 24 percent of cybersecurity professionals are female—and pay disparity persists.  Still, there was a bright spot: The report found that women in the field are earning leadership positions in higher numbers. 

What is the most effective way to close the gender gap in cybersecurity? Loyce Pailen, Valorie King, and Tamie Santiago, members of the UMGC School of Cybersecurity & Information Technology faculty, share their thoughts and experiences.  

 Loyce Pailen, D.M., senior director of the Center for Security Studies, believes that embedding cybersecurity into media and popular culture will lead to early education and increased diversity. 

I firmly believe that early cybersecurity education, which incorporates the interdisciplinary nature of cyber-related topics and careers, will help increase gender diversity in cybersecurity through expanded exposure in all media, with special emphasis on social media. Political agendas, daily news about cyber breaches and personal injury from cyberattacks will force more people to engage and focus on the cyber concerns of the future. 

These forces will energize our society to put more emphasis on cyber in elementary and secondary schools on both the technical and non-technical sides. To support this effort, we need to see cyber make it to the forefront of our minds through media and popular culture that includes diverse players in multidisciplinary careers. TV shows and social media are featuring more cybersecurity themes today, which will engrain some of the concepts.

 Professional mentors helped Valorie King, Ph.D., director of UMGC’s Cybersecurity Management and Policy Program, overcome education bias early on and work-life challenges later. 

Throughout my career, I was guided and mentored by a succession of managers, executives and senior executives—all women—in the U.S. Department of Defense. Following in their footsteps, I mentor women who are just starting out in the field. 

Early preparation in advanced math prepared me for college [and a B.S. in computer science]. However, 15 years into my career, motherhood-related work-life balance challenges derailed my career advancement. As a full-time mother, I made sure that my daughter had access to math, science and computer classes and resources that neither public nor private schools provided because STEM wasn’t yet a priority for girls. 

Re-entering the workforce was not easy and it took almost a year to find a well-paying job as a management consultant. Along the way, mentors helped me identify ways to update my technical and soft skills. My mentors also encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree. During my degree program, peers supported me and provided a professional network that led me to my next career fields, information assurance and later cybersecurity. I now lead an academic program where my duties allow me to continue mentoring and coaching cybersecurity professionals who are building and improving their skillsets through advanced studies and teaching in the discipline.

Tamie Santiago, M.S., D.B.A., collegiate professor in the School of Cybersecurity & Information Technology, maintains that we must overcome unconscious biases if we’re going to close the gender gap.

Unconscious biases often lead to conclusions that frame inquisitiveness as nosiness, curiosity as potentially self-destructive, and the gift of organizing and leadership as being “bossy.” A girl or woman who is investigative is often considered “nosy or a busybody.” One who has great attention to detail and organization is thought of as “controlling.” Someone who demonstrates the gift of problem-solving may be considered a trouble-maker, while another who has a fascination with the mechanics and methods of things may be looked at as being weird. 

However, these are the very skills and traits needed in the cybersecurity field. The making of great digital forensic experts, data analytic scientists, cyber technologists, and management and policy professionals all draw from the strength of these talents. 

How do we overcome these gendered biases? Mentors who can observe and correctly discern the importance of raw talent and the gifts in others will recognize the hidden biases in language and labels and will know how to avoid or dismiss them. Young women and girls who are fortunate enough to be mentored will see a future far greater than otherwise imagined. 

Mentees value mentors with whom they identify or have shared values. They also feel a sense of connection to mentors who positively challenge them academically and in discovery. I should know—I’m one of them! Correctly harnessing, properly directing and creatively exposing young women and girls often and early to the field of cybersecurity are key success factors.

With demand from both the public and private sectors, cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing career sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. With a median pay of $103,590 (as of March, 2020), combined with growth in the frequency of cyberattacks, demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high. Initiatives to eradicate bias, promote early education and encourage mentorship are vital to supporting women in this field, now and in the future. 

Gregory W. Fowler, PhD, Inaugurated as Seventh President of University of Maryland Global Campus  

Dr. Fowler pledges to meet students where they are, offer learning experiences that align with student and workforce needs, and transform lives, one student at a time

WATCH VIDEO OF INAUGURATION

Gregory W. Fowler, PhD, was inaugurated Thursday as the seventh president of University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and the first African American to hold the title. During the investiture held at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and live streamed to a global audience, University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay Perman called upon Fowler to “reframe who we serve, and how we serve them, and to reimagine what education and access look like in the 21st century.” 

In accepting the charge, Dr. Fowler said that “at the core of every surging river, every breaking wave, is a single drop of water. We will work to create those rivers of change and those waves of progress by transforming lives, one learner at a time.” 

Dr. Fowler went on to say that he will build on the university’s 75-year heritage to provide new ways to interact with students and offer them the education and training they need in these turbulent times. As the seventh president of UMGC, which has served adult students in the workforce and in the military since its founding, Dr. Fowler is working within an educational environment still adjusting to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 “We must have the courage to stop reinventing the wheel and, instead, build a launchpad for spaceships,” Dr. Fowler said. “We dare not rest on our laurels. Just as the higher education industry and landscape changes, just as the American military continues to evolve, so too must the ways we serve our various populations.”

READ DR. FOWLER’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS

“In the post-pandemic world, where many are rethinking their priorities, we will evaluate our assumptions and adjust our strategies,” Dr. Fowler said. “Those who are part of the Great Resignation will need new skills, and they will not be willing to drop everything to attend classes full time and face-to-face.” 

Dr. Fowler began his tenure as president on Jan. 4, 2021. The inauguration formalizes his leadership. 

The ceremony began with presidents of other USM universities—in full academic regalia—entering the ceremony in the order of their institutions’ founding, followed by Chair of the USM Board of Regents Linda Gooden, who is a double graduate of UMGC, and Chancellor Perman. UMGC Chief Academic Officer Blakely Pomietto carried the university mace. 

“Greg Fowler is uniquely suited to build upon UMGC’s impressive 75-year legacy and lift this institution to even greater heights,” Gooden said. “He is a nationally recognized scholar. He is an acknowledged leader in developing innovative learning models.” 

Dr. Lawrence Leak, who served as interim president during the presidential search, praised Dr. Fowler as a “visionary leader.” 

“When I met Greg for the first time, almost 15 months ago, I was immediately impressed by his insight, his engagement and his eagerness to tackle the challenges at hand energetically,” Leak said. “He is a skilled administrator and distinguished scholar, and he possesses a keen sense of purpose and a passion for our mission.” 

As the first African American president of UMGC, Leak said, Dr. Fowler is leading a university “that boldly embraces diversity in all forms and touches the lives of so many individuals of color, both here and abroad.” 

A host of Maryland elected officials, led by Gov. Larry Hogan and members of the Maryland congressional delegation, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen, U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, as well as Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, offered video tributes to the new president. 

Video greetings from UMGC alumni were also aired during the ceremony. They included Florent Groberg, who received the Medal of Honor from President Obama in 2015 for his act of valor while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Groberg tackled a suicide bomber and saved the lives of several people he was escorting. As he recovered from his injuries, he earned a UMGC Master of Science in Management with a specialization in intelligence management. 

“I remember my time as a student here, and the people I met—my classmates, my peers, the teachers who spent so much time in my studies, in my learning but, most importantly, in the network I built,” Groberg said. “Today, I am proud to say that I am a member of this family. I am excited for the future of this university, its future students and its network.” 

Dr. Blair Hayes, UMGC’s ombudsman, vice president and chief diversity officer, who served as co-emcee along with Nikki Sandoval, associate vice president for Institutional Advancement at UMGC, read a letter from President Joe Biden congratulating the university on its 75th anniversary.  

“Education is the one field that makes all others possible,” Biden wrote. “We have all been shaped by educators who have sparked our curiosity, helped us find confidence, encouraged our creativity and inspired us to build a better world. Institutions like yours not only educate our students—they shape the future.” 

William R. Roberts, chair of the UMUC Ventures Board of Directors and honorary chair of the UMGC Presidential Inaugural Committee, highlighted the significance of Fowler’s arrival in a challenging time for the workforce: “Today, UMGC’s mission is more relevant than ever. The demand for skilled workers and principled leaders has never been greater, nor has the need for a visionary leader to guide the university in a time of dramatic change in higher education. We are fortunate to have that leader in Greg Fowler, whose experience and vision will enable this fine university to broaden its reach and change our world in positive ways for generations to come.” 

Dr. Fowler joined UMGC after serving as president of Southern New Hampshire University Global Campus. In his nearly nine years there, he led efforts to develop competency-based online and hybrid programs to meet the demands of workforce and global communities. His programs had reached disadvantaged students in Los Angeles, refugees in Africa and the Middle East, and learners in Mexico and Colombia. Earlier, Dr. Fowler held senior-level academic and administrative positions at Western Governors University.   

Dr. Fowler graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta; for two years, he was a Charles A. Dana Scholar at Duke University. Working as a teen at the Six Flags Over Georgia theme park, he said he “learned the power of a coordinated team, of considering user experience and of treating customers as guests in your home.” 

After graduation, he worked for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as an outreach specialist, where he strove to “bring new voices into our conversations and to empower underserved populations.”   

While at NEH in Washington, D.C., he earned a master’s degree in English from George Mason University and then taught literature and American studies at Penn State University, Erie while pursuing a doctorate in English/American Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, he also holds an MBA from Western Governors University and completed programs in higher education administration, executive leadership and negotiation at Harvard University.  

Dr. Fowler thanked donors who have helped raise more than $175,000 for an inauguration scholarship fund in his honor, saying he was “touched and deeply grateful.” The fund will support students facing hardship due to extenuating circumstances.  

“We must help those whose voices have been heard the least, who the status quo has too often left isolated or homebound, unseen or unheard,” Dr. Fowler said. “It may well be the single mother or father struggling to provide, or the soldier in a war zone who dreams of making a new life for her or his loved ones at home. These are the lives we can change.” 

He said that students often fail because “life happens,” not because they cannot comprehend or master the course content. Today, technology allows us to identify students who are struggling, and we can and must wrap them in a cocoon of support.   

Dr. Fowler also spoke of how his father and mother revered education and public service, encouraging him and his seven brothers and sisters as they advanced into higher education for the family’s first time and embraced successful careers that helped others. The new president’s parents and six of his seven siblings and their family members attended the inauguration. 

“My life is a testimony that in transforming lives, we transform families,” Dr. Fowler said. “And if we can transform families, we can transform communities. If we can transform communities, we can transform nations. And if we can transform nations, we can transform the world.” 

Seamless Pathway for Transfer Students Earns UMGC Top Spot on U.S. News Short List Ranking

By Mary A. Dempsey

When Nina Bridgers decided to pursue her longstanding dream of a job in the tech field, she pinpointed University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)—the institution that U.S. News Short List ranks as No. 1 in the nation for transfer students—as the lynchpin of her plan.

Nina Bridgers

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridgers enrolled at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland to complete an associate degree that she sidelined to care for her sick mother years earlier. She then carried credit from that community college degree to UMGC, where she is working toward a Bachelor of Science in computer networks and cybersecurity. 

Bridgers liked UMGC because of its partnership with the community college and the cascade of support offered students, including academic coaches, easy transfer of past credits, flexible online classes, and access to financial aid. Bridgers said UMGC understands the special challenges faced by students who move from one educational institution to another.

The U.S. News Short List, which teases out individual data points in hopes, the magazine says, of “providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel…,”, reached the same conclusion.

Kristophyre McCall

“The U.S. News rankings reiterate what is part of our DNA, that we are the destination school for transfer students,” said Kristophyre McCall, chief transformation officer at UMGC. “We are a great and flexible place for transfer students to bring their experiences. We are open to maximizing the acceptance of their credits, whether from prior learning or on-the-job experience.

“Unlike a lot of universities, we don’t require students to re-learn knowledge they already have,” he added.

Not all U.S. universities accept transfer students. One of the biggest distinguishers for UMGC is its willingness to accept transfer credits—up to 90 credits. UMGC enrolled more than 9,500 new transfers in fall 2020. Even more, it has a 100 percent acceptance rate, compared with 65 percent for higher education as a whole. The No. 2 transfer school in the U.S. News Short List analysis is California State University, Northridge, with 6,727 new transfer students in fall 2020 and a 67 percent acceptance rate. 

A 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office found that students who moved between public schools — the majority of transfer students — lost an average of 37 percent of their credits. Transfers from private for-profit schools were even more challenging. Those students lost an estimated 94 percent of their credits, stretching out their investment in time and money to get a degree.

“At UMGC we have the ability to assess and accept credits where other universities don’t,” McCall said. Beyond credits from other academic institutions, the university also accepts credits for prior learning obtained through certain workplace or military training. 

McCall said UMGC’s strength is that it promotes its transfer-friendly reputation and strategically builds systems and processes that enable students to know how many of their credits will transfer, the degree programs that best match their career aspirations, and the courses they need each semester. The university also helps students navigate the complexities of financial aid and other payments options.

The UMGC website carries an online tool that assesses credits acquired in previous college studies. Students also can contact the admissions office to learn how many of their credits will transfer. They usually can have their transcript evaluated within 48 hours of submitting it. 

“Our goal is to make the process as seamless as possible,” McCall said.

UMGC’s transfer-friendly reputation owes much to its expanding roster of partnerships with community colleges. The university currently has more than 100 such alliances, including one with the California Community Colleges System, which represents 116 schools. Students transferring to UMGC from partner schools are guaranteed admission and put on mapped out pathways toward their degrees. 

Transfer students have become important for the future of higher education, largely because the numbers of traditional students—those who start college right out of high school—are falling in tandem with a decline in U.S. population growth.

“The population of traditional students, starting in 2024 and 2025, will decrease about 15 percent,” McCall explained. “As the market for traditional-aged college students gets tighter, universities and educational organizations are going to be focusing on adult learners, transfer students and different types of credentials that might be the focus of those students.”

There is another element that distinguishes transfer students and makes UMGC a great destination. Transfer students know how to achieve in higher education.

“As a group, transfer students … have proven to be especially successful, in large part because they already have had experience in an academic environment before they reach UMGC,” said Chris Motz, vice president for academic outreach and corporate alliances. “They understand the landscape and have experience navigating a college-level course.”

Chris Motz

That doesn’t mean the pursuit of a degree is easy. Transfer students often juggle jobs and family responsibilities while studying.

“A lot of transfer students haven’t been to school for quite some time, so it is about building a support mechanism around them to get them comfortable being back in the classroom. It’s about getting students on track or keeping them on track for graduation,” Motz said. “We have a student-success coach model that wraps all our services and helps our students be successful.”

Bridgers said she enrolled at UMGC because it works hard “to ensure students don’t feel lost coming into a new environment.” The university accepted almost all her community college credits as well as 10 credits from other studies. That gave her a strong jumpstart on her bachelor’s degree.

“What I like about UMGC is that they invest … in their students’ lives,” Bridgers said. “For instance, when I was first admitted to the university, I was set up immediately with a career coach and adviser. They checked in with me weekly, sometimes daily. 

“They wanted to discuss my options. They wanted to make sure I felt confident about the degree program. They were always on point to say, ‘You’re a good fit for this. You look like you’re heading on a good path,’” she continued. “They anticipated my questions and needs, and they thought out a calculated approach to apply to me as a transfer student.”

She said they also provided information that secured a scholarship for her and they connected her with UMGC resources that would help her academic journey. The university’s use of open resource educational materials for courses, rather than expensive textbooks, saved her money.

“I’m a working professional with little time to explore every strategic angle. UMGC takes the hard work, the guesswork, out of it. They put me on a direct path, and my studies are going great,” Bridgers said.

Bridgers has worked for the D.C. government in an administrative job since 2008. With a tech degree under her belt, she will look for a position as a government systems administrator or systems engineer.

Career changers and students returning to higher education after an interruption make up a significant part of UMGC’s enrollment. But there are many other reasons why students transfer schools. They may be unhappy with their college experience and seek a better fit. They may be changing majors and want a school with a more prominent degree program. Rising tuitions or fees may push them toward more affordable educational institutions. 

Many UMGC transfer students also come from the U.S. military, the original population that the university was created to serve 75 years ago.

Vice President for Academic Quality Christopher Davis said it was satisfying to be spotlighted by U.S. News & World Report, but the university is not resting on its laurels.  

Christopher Davis

“The recognition shows we’re doing a good job, but there’s so much more that we can do to create an even better experience for the students,” he said. “One thing we’re working at is increasing the number of agreements we have, whether with other universities or academic institutions.”

Davis said more credit for on-the-job training, including for military students, also fits into UMGC’s strategy for helping students complete their degrees in the shortest time possible. He noted that the Bachelor of General Studies program has proven a useful path for students who have lots of elective credits they want to transfer.

“It’s all about asking how we can maximize using students’ credits toward a degree,” he said.

Davis, who also teaches, underscored UMGC’s agility in helping nontraditional students meet their career goals.

“I had a student at UMGC who was 60. She worked in digital forensics for a government contractor, and she wanted to get hired by the government—but she needed a bachelor’s degree,” Davis said. “She already had expertise but she needed that degree. There was a real economic incentive and a career advantage.”

Unlike more traditional universities, Davis noted, UMGC is focused on workforce opportunities. “It’s core to our mission to be career-oriented,” he explained.

He also noted that UMGC works hard to ensure students are the right fit. 

“We talk to students about their purpose and goals, their motivation and their values, and we connect all those things,” Davis said. “If a student doesn’t know those, it’s too expensive in time and money for them to be here. The consequences if they don’t finish their degree are more significant.”   

Bridgers is looking forward to completing her bachelor’s program at the end of 2023—some 25 years after she left high school. At that time, both Bridgers, who was at a community college, and her sister, who was enrolled at UMGC, had to leave their studies to care for their mother. By the time their mother recovered, Bridgers was entrenched in a full-time job.

Bridgers powered through her studies during COVID-19 lockdowns while continuing to work 40 hours a week. She even squeezed out time to keep up her freelance business, iHeart Jesus Creative Designs, focusing on illustrations, logos, publications, and graphic design.

As she works on her bachelor’s degree, she’s added a new goal: to obtain a master’s degree. “I would like to pursue that so I can one day become an adjunct professor,” she said. 

University of Maryland Global Campus and Amazon Announce New Phase of Education Partnership

Amazon’s Career Choice Program Now Provides Full Tuition to Learn New Skills for Career Success at Amazon or Elsewhere

Adelphi, MD (March 3, 2022)—University of Maryland Global Campus has embarked on a new phase of its education partnership with Amazon and the company’s industry-leading Career Choice employee benefit program, which will include increasing the education benefit and expanding opportunities available to the company’s hourly employees.

Eligible employees will now have access to all UMGC undergraduate degree programs, including workforce-relevant areas such as business, cybersecurity and data science.  UMGC will waive all application fees and Amazon will pay 100 percent of tuition. UMGC offers additional cost savings through its use of digital resources, which have replaced costly publisher textbooks in most courses.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Amazon as we increase our commitment to the company’s thousands of hourly employees who live and work in Maryland and across the country,” said Greg Fowler, president of UMGC. “The intentional focus that both organizations have to work together to build a highly skilled workforce has been evident from the beginning of our relationship in 2019.”

In this new phase of the partnership, Amazon employees who take classes at UMGC will have the benefit of the university’s new “success coach” model, which was launched in 2021. Under this new model, students are paired with an advisor who works with them continuously as they progress toward a degree, helping to increase retention and program completion.

Amazon’s Career Choice program is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. The program meets individual learners where they are on their education journey through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including full college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs and the development of foundational skills, including English language proficiency and high school diploma and GED completion.

In the U.S., the company is investing $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs.

Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements and in general offering learning experiences that lead to career success.

“We’re looking forward to UMGC continuing as an education partner for Career Choice, and now adding to the hundreds of best-in-class offerings available to our employees,” said Tammy Thiemann, Global Program Lead of Amazon’s Career Choice program. “We’re committed to empowering our employees by providing them access to the education and training they need to grow their careers, whether that’s with us or elsewhere. We have intentionally cultivated a partner network of third-party educators and employers committed to providing excellent education, job placement resources and continuous improvements to the experience. Today, more than 50,000 Amazon employees around the world have already participated in Career Choice, and we have seen firsthand how it can transform their lives.”

For more information on Amazon’s Career Choice, visit:

https://www.amazoncareerchoice.com/home

For more information on UMGC, visit:

https://umgc.edu/amazoncc  

About University of Maryland Global Campus

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) was established in 1947 to serve adult students outside the traditional campus, including military servicemembers and veterans. Today, UMGC enrolls some 90,000 students annually, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificates in more than 90 fully online programs and specializations.

UMGC was the first university to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel at installations in Europe, beginning in 1949, expanding to Asia in 1956 and to the Middle East in 2005. UMGC faculty have taught in the war zones of Vietnam, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

UMGC now offers classes to military service personnel and their families at more than 175 locations in more than 20 countries. More than half of the university’s student body are active-duty military personnel and their families, members of the National Guard and veterans.

UMGC Doctor of Business Administration Program Recognized by CEO Magazine

Adelphi, Md. (March 1, 2022)—CEO Magazine recently recognized University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) School of Business as home to one of the world’s best Doctor of Business Administration programs. UMGC was ranked among more than 100 of the top DBA programs for the third year in a row.

“Our DBA program’s continued recognition is driven in part by our desire to shape executive-level working professionals by engaging them in research and analysis of real-world management issues,” said Ravi Mittal, PhD, chair of the Department of Business Administration at UMGC.

CEO Magazine’s rankings assess a college or university’s quality of faculty, geography and international standing. 

“It is also a testament to our outstanding faculty who are deeply committed to the academic success and lifelong learning of our students,” added Mittal.

UMGC’s DBA program, formerly the Doctor of Management program, attracts scholar-practitioners who excel at leadership roles in the for-profit, nonprofit, government and nongovernmental organizations, including higher education.  UMGC’s cohort-based DBA takes a minimum of three years to complete, which includes in-person residencies and a dissertation.

For more information about the Doctorate in Business Administration program and its course requirements, visit umgc.edu

About University of Maryland Global Campus 

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) was established in 1947 to serve adult students outside the traditional campus, including military service members and veterans. Today, UMGC enrolls some 90,000 students annually, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificates in more than 90 fully online programs and specializations.

UMGC was the first university to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel at installations in Europe, beginning in 1949, expanding to Asia in 1956 and to the Middle East in 2005. UMGC faculty have taught in the war zones of Vietnam, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.   

UMGC now offers classes to military service personnel and their families at more than 180 locations in more than 20 countries. More than half of the university’s student body are active-duty military personnel and their families, members of the National Guard and veterans.  

Inauguration of University of Maryland Global Campus President Gregory W. Fowler to be Held Thursday, March 10, 2022

MEDIA ADVISORY

Adelphi, Md. (Feb. 28, 2022)—University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) will celebrate the inauguration of Gregory W. Fowler, PhD., as its seventh president on March 10, 2022. The investiture will serve as a hallmark event of the university’s 75th anniversary, opening a new chapter in the UMGC story while honoring its proud history, and will include representatives from the global UMGC community and the University System of Maryland, as well as other state and national leaders. 

What: Inauguration of UMGC President Gregory W. Fowler, PhD 

When: 10 a.m., Thursday, March 10, 2022 

The ceremony, which will be broadcast online beginning at 10 a.m., includes:  

  • Inaugural Procession 
     
  • Greetings and Video Presentations: Inaugural Committee Honorary Chair William R. Roberts, DPS, chair, UMUC Ventures Board of Directors; academic officials from other institutions; elected officials from local and state government, including Governor Larry Hogan, U.S. Sen. Christopher Van Hollen and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks; members of the global UMGC community. 
     
  • History of the University: Lawrence E. Leak, PhD, Administrator Emeritus, UMGC. 
     
  • Reflections from Colleagues: a video presentation  
  • Investiture and Charge to the President: Linda R. Gooden, DPS ’06 & ’09, chair, University System of Maryland Board of Regents and Jay A. Perman, MD, chancellor, University System of Maryland. 
     
  • Inaugural Address: Gregory W. Fowler, PhD, president, University of Maryland Global Campus 

Where: College Park Marriott Hotel and Conf. Ctr., 3501 University Blvd. East, Hyattsville, Md. 

To register for the online broadcast, click HERE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bob Ludwig, 301-887-7614
robert.ludwig@umgc.edu

Background: 

Dr. Fowler was selected to serve as president by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and began his tenure on January 4, 2021. 

Raised in a family of modest means, President Fowler knows first-hand the power of education to transform lives, and his leadership is shaping UMGC’s next chapter marked by an evolutionary shift in higher education that places the needs of students first. As he has often said, his goal—and the university’s goal—is to fulfill the university’s mission “by bringing the right learning experience to the right students at the right time and in the right way.” 

Read Dr. Fowler’s full biography 

UMGC’s 75th anniversary represents an opportunity to celebrate its rich history of service to students in the workforce and the military, and its expanding mission providing students around the globe access to a quality, workforce-relevant education. Dr. Fowler’s inauguration serves as a welcome and celebration of an innovative higher education leader with a dynamic vision for UMGC. 
 

About University of Maryland Global Campus 

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) was established in 1947 to serve adults in the workforce, including military servicemembers and veterans in Maryland and around the world. Today, UMGC enrolls some 90,000 students annually, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificates in more than 90 fully online and hybrid programs and specializations.  

UMGC has a long history of innovation in reaching students where they are, including as a pioneer of internet instruction, piloting its first online classes in 1994. The university has received numerous awards for its groundbreaking work in developing fully online degree programs, including in high-demand fields such as cybersecurity, business, data analytics, health care and education.  

UMGC was the first university to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel stationed in Europe, beginning in 1949 and expanding to Asia in 1956 and the Middle East in 2005. University faculty have taught in the war zones of Vietnam, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.  

In addition to education centers in Maryland and across the metropolitan Washington, DC, area, UMGC offers in-person classes or services to military personnel and their families at 175-plus locations in more than 20 countries. More than half of the university’s student body are active-duty military personnel, reservists, members of the National Guard, veterans, and dependents.  

US Naval Community College Selects University of Maryland Global Campus for Academics-Based Cybersecurity Program

QUANTICO, Va. — The U.S. Naval Community College selected University of Maryland Global Campus as one of the Pilot II cybersecurity associate degree programs Feb. 11, 2022.

This continues the relationship developed during the USNCC’s first pilot program and provides active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen the ability to earn cybersecurity certificates or associate degrees that will directly contribute to the naval services and set them on a path of lifelong learning.

“It is important that we have a high-quality cybersecurity degree program that our Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen know will help them do their jobs better today and into the future,” said Randi R. Cosentino, Ed.D., president of the USNCC. “This is why we chose an institution that has demonstrated a history of excellence in working with military students and the cybersecurity community.”

“We are proud to continue to be part of this important process in launching the USNCC,” said Douglas Harrison, Ph.D., dean of UMGC’s School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology. “UMGC offers cutting edge learning tools and cybersecurity faculty who are working every day in the field to provide students with skills to succeed right away in this extremely fast evolving and in-demand industry.”  

This agreement provides active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen an opportunity to earn naval-relevant certificates and an associate degree in cybersecurity that will directly contribute to the readiness of the naval services and set them on a path of life-long learning.

Naval professionals who pursue the Associate of Arts in General Studies with Concentration in Computer Studies degree through the USNCC will have an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of technical development and operational implementation of cybersecurity skills to design, administer, secure, and troubleshoot computer networks, as well as the data protection skills needed to safeguard critical cybersecurity infrastructure and assets. The degree will also have an established transfer path to four-year degree programs in cybersecurity.

The degree pathway also includes a certificate in Naval Studies taught by the USNCC’s faculty and a professional cybersecurity certificate through UMGC. 

UMGC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense school by the National Security Agency and a center of Academic Excellence in Digital Forensics school by the Defense Cyber Crime Center. While the USNCC is pursuing accreditation, UMGC will be the primary degree grantor for this associate degree program, ensuring the service members who graduate from this program receive a transferable degree from an accredited institution.

Active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen can fill out an application on the USNCC website, www.usncc.edu. The first courses will start in the fall of 2022.  

The United States Naval Community College is the community college for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. To get more information about the USNCC, go to www.usncc.edu. Click on the student interest form link to learn how to be a part of the USNCC Pilot II program.

Carter G. Woodson and the Significance of Celebrating African-American History

Editor’s Note: This commentary by Damon Freeman, PhD, professor and director of the history program at University of Maryland Global Campus, was written as part of the university’s commemoration of African-American Heritage Month.

African American Heritage Month is central to American history. Started in February 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, the month underscores the contributions of African Americans as well as the challenges facing American democracy.

Understanding Woodson, who is sometimes referred to as the “Father of Black History,” is essential to fully understanding the significance of African American Heritage Month. Born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia, he was the son of two formerly enslaved parents who were illiterate but valued education. New Canton represents in many ways the heart of Virginia history. Within a one-hour drive lies Charlottesville, the home of slaveowner Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia; Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States of America; Appomattox Court House, where the Confederacy surrendered; and Robert R. Moton High School in Farmville, which became one of the five cases at the center of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision.

Woodson was largely self-taught and worked in the coal mines as a teenager to help support his family. He finally received his high school diploma at the age of 22. He taught school for several years before earning a bachelor’s degree in literature from Berea College in Kentucky in 1903. In 1908, he earned A.B. and A.M. degrees from the University of Chicago. In 1912, he became the second African American to earn a doctorate (after W. E. B. Du Bois) when he completed his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Since no white university was willing to hire him, he began his career teaching high school in Washington, D.C., before joining Howard University as a professor.

Woodson became convinced that the historical profession and academe generally had no interest in African American history or engaged in deliberate misrepresentations. For instance, most white historians at the time supported the view that the end of slavery and Reconstruction in the South had been a failure that did not benefit African Americans. Woodson devoted his entire life toward creating institutions dedicated to nurturing Black scholarship and pushing back on racist interpretations of American history. He helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History). In 1916, he started the Journal of Negro History (now the Journal of African American History) and a smaller publication called the Negro History Bulletin. Beginning in 1922, he managed all three operations from his home in Washington, D.C.

In addition to building institutions, Woodson was also a prodigious scholar. He wrote or edited several books including A Century of Negro Migration, The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, and The History of the Negro Church. Several of his publications were more specialized such as The Negro Professional Man and the Community, With Special Emphasis on the Physician and the Lawyer. But by far his most famous work was the 1933 publication of The Mis-Education of the Negro, an analysis of how African Americans were taught by the American educational system to be culturally inferior and dependent.

In 1926, Woodson introduced Negro History Week as an annual celebration. He promoted it at schools and conferences, in the pages of newspapers and in the two journals he edited. Negro History Week caught on and grew into events celebrating African American contributions including parades, lectures, poetry readings and exhibits. By the time of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the week had been expanded into Black History Month. 

Woodson died suddenly from a heart attack in 1950 before he had the chance to see the fruits of his lifelong efforts. While his life was impressive, it is important to remember that Woodson fits within a long tradition of African American intellectuals and educational activists dating from the late 18th century to the 21st century. African American communities demanded educational access or created their own schools in Boston, New York and even Wilmington, Delaware. In the slave states, where schools for the enslaved or free were almost always banned, African Americans resorted to clandestine means under the threat of punishment or death to educate themselves and their families. 

Like Woodson, African American educators and activists have always sought to document and take pride in racial achievements and contributions while simultaneously challenging American society to live up to its democratic ideals. This tradition is needed now more than ever. In several states including Kansas, Ohio, Texas, and Utah, politicians have proposed or demanded the removal of books offering challenging descriptions of race and racism. In Virginia, the new governor has created a hotline for parents to report “divisive practices” in K-12 schools. In Oklahoma, a state legislator has proposed a law that would ban teaching about “unique” oppressors or victims in the history of slavery. The ban would apply to any state-funded educational institution, not just K-12 schools.

As these ominous trends gain traction, recognizing African American Heritage Month and its humble origins becomes even more important. It arose as a community effort because of the repeated failures of American schools and society to provide a decent education to all of its children. Indeed, this was Woodson’s point in creating Negro History Week. He hoped it would be a necessary step toward creating a world free of bias, hatred and prejudice. 

The fact that Americans are debating whether to ban works from school libraries such as Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved shows us that our society is failing to learn the lessons of African American history. Clearly, much more work remains to be done to fulfill Woodson’s vision.

Edward J. Perkins: “Warrior for Peace”

Editor’s Note: As UMGC commemorates African American Heritage Month, we remember one of our most distinguished graduates. This article, written by Alita Byrd, first appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of Achiever magazine. Edward J. Perkins—a 1967 graduate of University of Maryland University College (now University of Maryland Global Campus) and the first Black ambassador to apartheid South Africa—died on November 7, 2021, at the age of 92.

In 1986, when President Ronald Reagan named Edward Perkins U.S. ambassador to South Africa, people sat up and took notice. At the time, the South African government was still enforcing a strict system of apartheid, holding African National Congress leaders like Nelson Mandela behind bars, and using repressive laws to keep the majority black population from voting and achieving equality with whites. Perkins—a career diplomat, soldier, and 1967 UMUC graduate—would be the first black ambassador to the troubled country.

Perkins was no stranger to intolerance. He grew up in Louisiana in the 1930s, served in the recently desegregated U.S. military beginning in the early 1950s, and aspired to a career in the overwhelmingly white Foreign Service. And while working in Taiwan, he met and fell in love with Lucy, his wife-to-be—a beautiful girl from a very traditional Chinese family.

“I had the temerity to ask Lucy for a date,” said Perkins, “and she took her reputation in hand to go out with an American.” When Perkins proposed, Lucy’s father locked her in the house and told her brothers to make sure she stayed there. So Perkins sent a driver to rescue her at midnight while he organized a wedding for the next morning, Romeo-and-Juliet style.

“When her family found out she was married, they decided there was nothing they could do,” Perkins said. “Now we are good friends.”

Perkins was equally focused when it came to advancing his career. After first serving in the U.S. Army in Korea and Japan, he remained in Japan while studying Japanese. Always on the lookout for adventure, after returning to university studies in the United States, he and a buddy decided to join the French Foreign Legion, but found they didn’t have enough money to get to France. So Perkins joined the U.S. Marine Corps instead. He recognized the opportunity offered by UMUC’s overseas operations and soon earned his undergraduate degree.

“I think the professors were some of the best I’ve seen,” Perkins said. “Their presentations were challenging and the interest they generated among the students was genuine. One instructor I remember was probably one of the best math and statistics professors in the world. He actually made mathematics come alive.”

Around the same time, Perkins recalled two Foreign Service officers who had made a lasting impression on him when they spoke to his high school class.

“The travel attracted me, and learning languages,” he said. So Perkins took the Foreign Service exam. He didn’t get in, but he was undeterred. The next time, he was accepted and went on to build an impressive diplomatic résumé, serving on the ground in Africa and in policy in Washington, D.C.

He would need every bit of that persistence and experience as he tackled the post in South Africa, where the consequences of failure were grave indeed.

“There was a very tenuous relationship between the U.S. and South Africa back then,” said Perkins. “A growing number of Americans were insisting we should help dismantle apartheid. The president was convinced that if the U.S. did not lend a hand in helping to dismantle this racist government, there could be a race war in South Africa. He decided he had to do something quick and dramatic to show everyone that he did not countenance a government based on race and religion and advantage for one group of people over another. The secretary of state [George Shultz] recommended a black ambassador. He said it was time to send a professional diplomat, so they went down a list of about nine people and finally settled on me.”

Some saw Reagan’s decision to send a black ambassador to a segregated country as a political message to the South African government. But others—including the Reverend Jesse Jackson—criticized Reagan, whom they saw as racist, for doing too little too late. And many, both in the United States and South Africa, saw the appointment as little more than a symbolic step meant to quiet critics who were calling for tougher sanctions against the apartheid government.

Jackson went so far as to ask Perkins to refuse the assignment. But Perkins believed it was his duty as a Foreign Service officer to go, and, in November 1986, he took up his post in Pretoria with Lucy by his side.

“The assignment was to turn the embassy into a change agent,” said Perkins. “I wanted to make sure that everything I did, from the moment I arrived, was focused on bringing about political change in South Africa without violence. That’s what Reagan asked for.”

It was a daunting task. From the first, South African president P. W. Botha—never known for his polished manners—made clear his dislike for Perkins. When Perkins presented his credentials after arriving in South Africa, Botha shook his finger in Perkins’s face and warned him sternly, “I don’t want you getting involved in our affairs.”

But Perkins did get involved—first in Pretoria, then elsewhere around the country, working tirelessly for the duration of his posting. During apartheid, Pretoria was a symbol of white Afrikaaner rule and oppression. The city was hated and feared by black South Africans as a citadel of racist policies. But Perkins was determined not to bow to the rules. He instituted an embassy policy that forbade employees from patronizing establishments that did not accept black customers.

“Pretty soon, all the restaurants around the embassy in Pretoria— which were highly segregated—sent word that they would accept anyone,” Perkins said.

Next, the American embassy organized an exhibition at the art museum in Pretoria, showing the work of both black and white artists and sending invitations to both black and white guests.

“The museum managers were astonished that there were black artists in South Africa,” said Perkins. “[Today], these efforts might not seem all that dramatic, but in a place where segregation was so rigidly enforced, it was a [significant] step.”

Many resented those steps, no matter how small, and Perkins—who spent a great deal of time walking the streets of Pretoria—often was exposed to their open hostility.

“I was hissed at by young Afrikaaner mothers pushing their babies in strollers,” he said. “It was not an enjoyable assignment—it was stressful for all of us—but we had a job to do.”

He began to court the black community assiduously, making contacts around the nation. In Soweto, the sprawling black township outside Johannesburg, Perkins met with civic leaders; in Mamelodi, the largest black township outside of Pretoria, he met with religious leaders. He even met with activists in squatter camps outside Cape Town.

And while he tried to avoid the media spotlight, Perkins didn’t hesitate to make his convictions known.

“I sense a growing realization that a valid political system here must be one that correlates with the demographics of the country—not merely black participation or black cooperation, but a government that truly represents the majority of South Africans,” Perkins wrote in an article published in a South African journal in December 1987. While the United States insisted that this had been its policy all along, Time magazine called the statement “pure dynamite” and a “breakthrough.”

Every couple of months, Perkins flew back to the United States to brief Ronald Reagan on the situation in South Africa. And despite warnings to the contrary, Perkins recalled that he always felt fully supported by the administration.

“Once he made the decision [to appoint me], he never backed off,” Perkins said. “The Afrikaaners tried many ways to go around me to get to him. But Reagan’s response was always, ‘The U.S. ambassador speaks for the American people and this administration.’ Without that complete support, we couldn’t have done what we did. But the president gave me permission to make policy from the embassy in Pretoria—something that never happens.”

Perkins left South Africa before he had the satisfaction of seeing the apartheid government formally dismantled, but there was no question he had helped plant the seeds of change. And although violence occasionally flared as the old government was replaced, the country never spiraled into the civil war that so many feared.

Perkins, meanwhile, went on to serve as Director General of the Foreign Service (the first black officer to ascend to the top position), U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and ambassador to Australia. Now retired, he remains as busy as ever, serving at the University of Oklahoma as senior vice provost for international programs and executive director of the International Programs Centre, where he holds the Crowe chair in geopolitics.

In 2006, the University of Oklahoma Press published Perkins’s memoirs—aptly titled, Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace.