UMGC Teams Up with Embry-Riddle to Increase Opportunities to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees

Two household names in military education have teamed up to provide overseas students with even more options to reach their educational goals. The new “2+2 Program” announced by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and University of Maryland Global Campus allows students to earn an Associate of Arts degree at UMGC and seamlessly transfer 60 credits to Embry-Riddle for the completion of a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics degree: https://erau.edu/degrees/bachelor/aeronautics.

Embry-Riddle’s Nancy Tran-Horne (Left) and UMGC’s Patricia Coopersmith.

The schools signed the agreement in August 2021, and enrollment in classes is open at military education centers across Europe and Asia. The partnership allows students to choose from a variety of modalities and face-to-face options.

“We’re committed to providing military members in Europe and the Pacific an opportunity to succeed in their educational goals by enrolling in UMGC’s local general education courses,” said Embry-Riddle’s Executive Director of Campus Operations Nancy Tran-Horne. “This program will set them up for retention and success with our aviation curriculum in order to support their professional career advancement.”

Both schools have waived application fees for program participants. Prospective students are encouraged to stop by their local on-base education center to speak with UMGC program coordinators or Embry-Riddle representatives for more information.

“UMGC is honored to work with Embry-Riddle on this partnership to provide an even broader array of educational options and services to the military community overseas,” said UMGC Europe’s Associate Vice President and Deputy Director, Patricia Coopersmith.

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Campus Locations in Europe and the Pacific

U.S. service members and their families can find the educational resources they need to become a successful student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide’s European and Pacific campus locations. Embry-Riddle’s flexible learning options, talented instructors, and knowledgeable staff can help you develop the skills you need to get ahead in your military career and beyond. If you are not affiliated with the United States military but are interested in Embry-Riddle Worldwide in Europe, please go to our ERAU Europe Campus website.

Reporters worldwide contact Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for content experts in all aspects of aviation, aviation business, aerospace, engineering and STEM-related fields. Our faculty experts specialize in unmanned and autonomous systems, security and intelligence, air traffic and airport management, astronomy, human factors psychology, meteorology, spaceflight operations, urban air mobility and much more. Visit the Embry-Riddle Newsroom for story ideas.

Embry-Riddle educates 33,500+ students at its residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, at approximately 125 Worldwide Campus locations and through online degree programs. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report named Embry-Riddle Worldwide the nation’s No. 1 provider of online bachelor’s degree programs.

About University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)

UMGC is the state of Maryland’s open-admissions university. With an enrollment of some 90,000 students, the university offers high-quality, affordable, accessible undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs as well as non-degree certificate programs in online and hybrid formats. In 1949, UMGC became the first institution to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel at installations in Europe.

The university expanded overseas operations to Asia in 1956 and to the Middle East in 2005. UMGC now offers classes and education support services to military personnel and their families at 175-plus locations in more than 20 countries. Over half of the university’s current students are active-duty military personnel and their families, reservists, members of the National Guard and veterans.

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.

A Reflection on the 20th Anniversary of September 11: President Gregory Fowler On a Dark Day in Our Nation’s History that also Reminds Us of Who We Are at Our Very Best 

As national leaders, family members, friends and fellow citizens gather in New York City, at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania—and around the world—commemorate those who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, UMGC President Gregory Fowler’s message to the university community resonates with reflections of courage and sacrifice, and hope for a more peaceful future. 

To the UMGC Community:  

Today—on the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001—we honor the memories of those who lost their lives in the attacks, mourn with all who lost loved ones and friends, and reflect on the courage and sacrifice of countless first responders, servicemembers, and civilians who were injured or died in rescue and recovery operations or in the international conflict that followed. 

While September 11 represents a dark day in our nation’s history, it also stands as a reminder of who we are at our very best, when we reach out with open hearts to those who are suffering and in need. 

Today and always, let us seek to be that source of comfort and support and, together, make our world a better, more peaceful place for all. 

Sincerely, 
Gregory Fowler, PhD 
President 
University of Maryland Global Campus 

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.”

2021 GenCyber Campers Gain the Toolkit to Prepare the Next Generation

High school teachers gathered virtually for an intensive week-long workshop designed to help incorporate cybersecurity into school curriculum. The program, offered with the support of University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), provided educators with an array of skills, games, labs, and supporting tools and technologies to take back to their classrooms.

“What stood out to me was the way that we were able to build a community of teachers by the end of the week,” said Brandie Shatto, program chair for the GenCyber camp and professor of instructional technology at UMGC. “We were able to incorporate activities throughout the camp that required collaboration and allowed the teachers to get to know each other and the instructional staff.”

Last offered in 2019 as an in-person event, this year’s July 26-30 camp was delivered via Zoom, but that did not stop participants from thriving in a collaborative environment.

Kyra Walker

The teachers came from high schools in five Maryland counties, as well as the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. They represented a broad range of subject areas, including homeland security, computer science, data structures, engineering, networking, and library sciences. The program exposed them to the many facets of cybersecurity.

“I hope to give my students an insight to an undiscovered portal,” said Kyra Walker,a resource teacher for the gifted at the Arlington Career Center in Arlington, Virginia. “I’m looking forward to incorporating the skills of ethical hacking into our problem-based learning projects.”

Leading the instruction at the event were Shannon Beck, assistant professor of computer and cyber sciences at the United States Air Force Academy, and Kim Mentzell, cybersecurity program manager at the Maryland Department of Commerce.

“The diversity, deep experience, and interest of the teacher participants was particularly notable this year,” said Beck. “One of the notable interactions was a debate about privacy centered around views for cell phone access.”

In addition to cybersecurity training relevant to grades 9–12, camp participants receive cybersecurity curriculum development support, resources to take back to the classroom, a $1,300 stipend for full program participation, and a certificate of completion.

Developing a Sense of Community Key to Successful Online Classes

A recent virtual panel discussion—entitled “Successful Online Academic Programs” and organized by the Chronicle of Higher Ed—focused on what institutions will do with their online capabilities as they explore the potential of the digital-first classroom post-pandemic. It also delved into the lessons these same schools have learned about operating successfully from more established online players.

Joining moderator Ian Wilhelm, an assistant managing editor at the Chronicle, was University of Maryland Global Campus Chief Student Affairs Officer Martina Hansen, along with Evangeline Cummings, assistant provost and director of the University of Florida’s online program; Peter Shea, a University of Albany education professor, who had been the associate provost for online learning; and Jarris Taylor, director of Hampton University’s online program.

The panelists agreed that the question will be whether students will want to continue studying online, and if not, how quickly they will jettison “Zoom U” in favor of the traditional on-campus experience.  What happens in the next couple of years may transform higher education.

If traditional, brick-and-mortar universities choose to continue providing online instruction post-pandemic, they will have to enhance the online experience to ensure that students feel part of an academic community.

As a pioneer in online education, UMGC can offer practical advice on what makes these courses and programs work.

“Have you ever shown up for a party [where you] didn’t know anyone, and you felt really lonely and probably left early?” Hansen asked. “When our students are showing up in an online classroom, how do [we] help them feel a sense of belonging?”

One of the first assignments in each class is to post something about yourself to the discussion board, she said, including your goals, background, and what brought you to UMGC. Many students are veterans or active service personnel, and they quickly find they have other things in common.

“It seems so simple, but that helps people feel like they are not alone,” she said.

Hansen added that students also want to feel a part of their program, so it helps to find ways to connect them to other students with the same major and program-related activities. Students need to know that the program is right for them, see their path forward, and understand where it will lead.

Equally important, they need to be able to find support online just as students would on campus, whether around financial aid, clubs and organizations, or registration and transcripts.

The online experience must be about flexibility, Hansen said, so students studying online must be able to do everything just as easily as their counterparts on campus. And they also need the mental and emotional support to help them navigate the personal and academic challenges online students often encounter—especially when they are adult learners juggling full-time jobs, families, or military responsibilities.

While Hansen said UMGC conducts regular student surveys, hearing directly from students is one vital component that generates more nuanced feedback. The university’s Student Advisory Council provides regular feedback on how the institution can improve, she said, and that has informed decision-making around the availability of academic support resources and how to get help from tutors, librarians and success coaches.

“Outreach to students is really critical,” Hansen added, “just keeping a pulse on how students are doing and helping them individually to overcome challenges.”

Maryland Parks Association Recognizes Student Projects Focused on Environmental Management

The Maryland Recreation and Parks Association recently recognized two solution-driven projects undertaken by University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) students with public service awards.

Both of the initiatives, which were capstone projects for students in the Environmental Management Master’s Degree Program, made recommendations for nature areas in Calvert County.

“The partnership was really important to me because we were being able to use the skills of the people in the classes to look at some issues that we have and then be able to come up with the recommendations,” said Karyn Molines, chief of the Natural Resources Division for the Calvert County Department of Parks and Recreation. “They helped us eliminate a step in these projects, which saved us a lot of money. That money can be used for other work.” 

One project assessed storm water management at the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary in Prince Frederick. The county is moving forward on the recommendations generated by the five-student team, noting that they could save the county more than $30,000.

Flag Ponds Nature Park

The second project offered an analysis on building a sustainable beach shelter for education programs and visitors at Flag Ponds Nature Park in Lusby. The students were praised for the creative ideas they presented, but the county found that state and federal regulations made the project infeasible.

Molines said she is working on new projects she hopes UMGC students will help to produce.

Like many UMGC masters programs, the environmental management program emphasizes practical projects to augment theoretical learning. In place of a master’s thesis, teams of students work together on capstone projects that require an analysis or examine a problem. They must complete the work within a 12-week course.

Many of the students already are working in environmental management, and they come with a wealth of experience, said Dan Grosse, who teaches the capstone classes. Students with expertise in the field are often paired with less experienced students.

“The amount these working adult students can teach one another is truly phenomenal,” Grosse said.

Nadean Carson, for example, had five years’ experience in civil engineering with the Air Force. She worked on environmental and construction projects after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She was assigned to the same UMGC team as Peter Holland, a Towson University graduate in sociology. Holland had decided to move into the environmental field and realized he needed a graduate degree to advance to the next level. Like many UMGC students, he is progressing slowly through the program as he dovetails the academic work with a schedule that also includes his paying job and family responsibilities.

Most of the students’ work was done virtually during the COVID-19 epidemic, although one member of Battle Creek Sanctuary team lived in the same town as the sanctuary and was able to visit the site. The use of topographical maps underpinned the project, the students said, but having Andrea Gibbons at the park during a rainstorm was a big plus.

“She was taking videos. She took pictures,” Holland said. “Seeing the water running down, Andrea was able to see firsthand the problem areas we were discussing and the heavy erosion.”

The project broke the work into phases so the county could advance on it as it got the money, Carson said. The project fit right into the type of work she does professionally.

“This was fantastic for me,” she said. “I did a little happy dance when we got the assignment.”

Natalie Oryshkewych was the team leader on the Flag Ponds Nature Park project. With 25 years of experience at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, she brought a wealth of knowledge to the team. Her team was located in two time zones and had to learn quickly to work together in order to meet the capstone deadline.

Even though the shelter will not be built, the team had the satisfaction of knowing that its work saved Calvert County from investing time and money into its own analysis.

Oryshkewych said the capstone project also gave her a new appreciation for her job with the Ohio EPA.

“It helped me see the agency that I work for in a more holistic manner, so it wasn’t just what I do from a day-to-day perspective,” she said. “It gave me a better understanding of what my agency does as a whole and how it contends with all of the regulatory programs.”

University of Maryland Global Campus Names Martina Hansen to Lead New Division as Senior Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Adelphi, Md. (July 14, 2021)–University of Maryland Global Campus has announced that Martina Hansen has been promoted to senior vice president and chief student affairs officer. 

In this role, Hansen will lead the university’s new Student Affairs division—recently created to consolidate key academic and administrative student support functions across the university—focusing on increasing persistence, retention, and the institution’s various measures of student success. She will oversee enrollment management, regional center operations, academic support and new student experience functions, tutoring, the Effective Writing Center, library services, student resolution, student communications, retention and engagement initiatives, career services, and virtual lab support for students. 

Martina Hansen

“Martina Hansen has a track record of building and leading student-centric teams that create positive experiences for our learners, as well as a passion and enthusiasm for serving our students,” said UMGC President Gregory Fowler. “I look forward to her vision and leadership in this new role. I am also confident that our new structure will position us to be more focused and effective in supporting our students and to more deliberately reflect our value of ‘Students First.’” 

Hansen joined UMGC in August 2018, initially serving as vice president of student retention and later as vice president of student affairs. She has led the design, implementation, and improvement of programs to continuously enhance academic student services and student success. 

“UMGC has made great strides over the past year in enhancing services and support available to our students,” said Hansen. “I look forward to building on that to ensure the best experiences and outcomes for our diverse learners by maintaining focus on what our learners need to succeed and ensuring that they have the right support throughout their journey, along with the confidence to achieve.” 

Hansen came to UMGC with more than 18 years of experience in enrollment management and operations. Previously, she served as vice president of operations at Delta Career Education Corporation. In that role, she was responsible for centralized operations, information technology, PMO, application development, training and development, and procurement. Simultaneously, she served as a regional vice president of campus operations, with profit and loss responsibility for 17 of Delta’s campuses. At Delta, Hansen carried out several strategic operational transformations, migrated the organization to a new academic model, and led enterprise technology integrations. 

Before that, Hansen served as vice president of continuous improvement at Career Education Corporation, where she implemented strategies to improve student success and persistence, served as a liaison between departments, and worked to ensure the effectiveness of new growth and student experience initiatives. 

Hansen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and communications from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in technology management from Georgetown University. 

Top Higher Ed Publication Ranks UMGC No. 1 in Conferring Master’s Degrees in IT to Minority Students

Adelphi, Md. (July 12, 2021)—Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (Diverse), the preeminent source of news, information and commentary on issues concerning diversity in American higher education, has ranked University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) No. 1 in conferring master’s degrees to minority students in the area of Information Technology, according to its latest survey results.

The results, featured in Diverse’s most recent “Top 100 Degree Producers” rankings of institutions that confer the most degrees to minority students, are based on analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Set. They represent degrees conferred during 2018-19. According to the survey, UMGC ranked number one in the category of IT master’s degrees with 758 total minority graduates in 2018-19 (474 men and 284 women).

“UMGC is particularly proud that minority students constitute 53% of our total enrollment and represent 52% of all UMGC credentials, including degrees in the fastest growing and most in-demand fields,” said Douglas Harrison, vice president and dean, School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology. “This is important because meeting the workforce demands of the future in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) will only be possible by widening the funnel of opportunity for students from historically marginalized populations.”

Information Technology remains one of the hottest industries in the U.S. UMGC’s IT programs are designed with input from today’s top employers to provide technical, operational, and problem-solving skills for career advancement.

“UMGC offers a growing number of graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates in Information and Computer Science structured for current professionals, career changers, and first time job seekers,” said Dan Mintz, chair, department of Information Technology at UMGC. “Furthermore, we are continually expanding our programs. In addition to our existing master’s degree program in Data Analytics, which was included in the Diverse rankings, we are adding an undergraduate degree in Data Science and a certificate in Business Analytics, thus offering students even more career-relevant options in fields such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

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.