UMGC Opens Permanent Education Office at Morón Air Base in Spain

Following a tradition that spans more than seven decades of providing education to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, University of Maryland Global Campus has opened a new permanent office at Spain’s Morón Air Force base, which often serves as a jumping-off point for deployment to Africa.

It becomes the university’s 51st permanent location in Europe, and the second in Spain.

“Expanding in Europe demonstrates UMGC’s commitment to providing the best opportunities for American service personnel to access higher education while they are deployed,” said Tony Cho, the university’s vice president and director for Europe. “This is just the latest example as we continually look for additional ways to improve our services on the continent.”

The base is crucial to the American military capability in the Mediterranean and North Africa, he said.

Morón, which is shared with the Spanish Air Force, is located in Andalusia, the country’s southern-most region, near the town of Morón de la Frontera. It is less than an hour away from historic Seville and 75 miles northeast of Naval Station Rota. Its massive flight line, in-ground refueling system, long runway and prime location near the Mediterranean and the Middle East make it an important link in any U.S. operation moving east from the United States.

In 2015, the Spanish government granted the U.S. military a permanent presence on the base, allowing up to 3,000 American troops and civilians of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Taskforce – Crisis Response – Africa and the 496th Air Base Squadron to be stationed there with up to 40 aircraft.

In the past, UMGC’s presence at the base was using university personnel from Rota to occasionally set up a table to answer questions and to sign up students. This agreement allows for a permanent office, Cho said. The university sought the expansion after Girlie Ann Barcinas, who had worked with UMGC in Bahrain, moved to Morón when her husband was appointed principal at the base Middle School.

The UMGC Europe division was established in Germany in 1949, as the first university to send faculty to educate active-duty U.S. military personnel overseas after WWII. The division provides services to approximately 14,000 students annually in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa (europe.umgc.edu).

2021 DoDEA Teacher of the Year

UMGC alumna Lachanda Garrison, who grew up attending DoDEA schools, wins high praise from the organization that inspired her to teach.

Lachanda Garrison ‘03 is a firm believer in the Department of Defense Education Activity’s (DoDEA) mission to “educate, engage and empower military-connected students to succeed in a dynamic world.” She should know. As the daughter of a U.S. Marine, she grew up in Okinawa, Japan, where she attended DoDEA schools and ultimately graduated from Kubasaki High School.

Today, she is the one at the front of the classroom teaching children of military personnel who are stationed abroad, and she has made her mark on the institution that helped mold her own mind. This year, she is being honored for her work with the 2021 DoDEA Teacher of the Year Award.Continue Reading

UMGC Students in Kuwait Practice Social Distancing

At Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, University of Maryland Global Campus Professor Gordon Leitch, PhD, is teaching Math 103 to his students poolside because their regular classroom is not big enough to practice “social distancing.” Unfortunately, the students can’t enjoy a post-class swim because the pool is closed due to the coronavirus.

For coronavirus-related information for UMGC stateside students, faculty, and staff view UMGC news HERE.

For updates on overseas divisions, visit UMGC Asia or UMGC Europe.

UMGC Faculty Members Receive Top Honors for Teaching Excellence

EDITOR’S NOTE:  We officially changed our name from University of Maryland University College (UMUC) to University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) on July 1, 2019. News stories posted on the Global Media Center are now using the new UMGC name. However, because the transition to the university’s new name will take several months to complete, you may still see the UMUC name, logo and look on our website and other materials through early 2020.

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) has conferred the Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award, the university’s highest faculty teaching honor, on eight of its most outstanding faculty members in Asia, Europe and the United States for their noteworthy contributions to the scholarship and art of teaching.Continue Reading

In 32 Years Overseas, Holowenzak Served Students and Community

EDITOR’S NOTE:  We officially changed our name from University of Maryland University College (UMUC) to University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) on July 1, 2019. News stories posted on the Global Media Center are now using the new UMGC name. However, because the transition to the university’s new name will take several months to complete, you may still see the UMUC name, logo and look on our website and other materials through early 2020.

Stephen Holowenzak was on a break from setting up a computer system and workshops for the Cumberland Area Health Education Center in rural Maryland when an ad in the Washington Post caught his eye. The University of Maryland Global Campus was seeking faculty to teach active-duty service members on military bases in Europe and Asia. Holowenzak applied. Continue Reading

Distinguished Administrators Receive University Honors at OMA Reunion

EDITOR’S NOTE:  We officially changed our name from University of Maryland University College (UMUC) to University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) on July 1, 2019. News stories posted on the Global Media Center are now using the new UMGC name. However, because the transition to the university’s new name will take several months to complete, you may still see the UMUC name, logo and look on our website and other materials through early 2020.

When members of the Overseas Marylanders Association (OMA) get together for a reunion, as they did in Adelphi on June 21-22, the stories of adventure are in abundance.Continue Reading

UMUC Field Study Students Take It to the Streets of Europe

As UMUC Europe celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2019, it heralds its state-of-the-art learning models and a unique program that for decades has immersed students in living classrooms to study history, literature and art in the very places where it was made, inspired or imagined.

Continue Reading

From English Major to Environmental Steward: UMUC Alumnus Makes Clean Water His Mission

Berkeley County, West Virginia, is the fastest growing county in the state as new industry is attracted to the I-81 corridor and Northern Virginia’s exploding population spills into the Mountain State’s eastern panhandle.

As a result, an upsurge of houses, roads, parking lots, industrial parks and the like is creating new stormwater pollution problems in a state where water flows downhill quickly.Continue Reading

UMUC Honors Faculty Worldwide for Teaching Excellence

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) conferred its highest faculty teaching honor, the Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award, on eight of its most outstanding faculty members in the U.S., Europe and Asia and recognized more than a dozen others for their noteworthy contributions to the scholarship and art of teaching at UMUC’s Annual Global Faculty Awards celebration Dec. 3 through 7.Continue Reading

On the Road: Portable Professors Reflect on Their Nomadic Path

UMUC’s traveling faculty reflect on the triumphs—and trials—of being a portable professor.

Editor’s note: This article is featured in the Spring 2018 edition of Achiever, the magazine of University of Maryland University College.

For most faculty at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), preparing for class involves booting up a computer. For Gyongyi Plucer-Rosario, who teaches marine biology on Guam, it might include strapping on a face mask and flippers.

“The last field trip is the one everyone looks forward to,” said Plucer-Rosario.Continue Reading