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BY GIL KLEIN Three thought leaders discuss the changing face of higher education.

16 The University of the Future

18 UMUC Creates Pathway to Earn Credit Through MOOCs




BY CHIP CASSANO UMUC’s new Center for Innovation in Learning focuses on finding better ways to teach and learn.


BY CHIP CASSANO Harnessing the power of big data inside and outside the classroom.

23 The Case for Smart Analytics in Education BY JAY LIEBOWITZ


BY BOB LUDWIG Learned and learning online in the digital age.

26 2B or Ø2B

BY MARK PARKER Will the ongoing revolution in communication technology eventually overshadow the invention of the printing press?

28 I Came, I Saw . . . I Tweeted? BY EDWIN G. SAPP Exploring the ways that the digital revolution has changed

how we communicate.



BY MENACHEM WECKER For UMUC students, finding time to sleep can be the biggest challenge.

32 Supporting the Troops


33 Learning Under Fire BY U.S. ARMY SPECIALIST JOSE VALLEJO One story out of thousands from classrooms in combat zones.




NEWS AND UPDATES 2 UMUC Celebrates Graduates Worldwide 2 Great-Granddaughter of First UMUC Europe Graduate Marches in Heidelberg 3 It’s Time to Redefine Success 4 UMUC Wins DOD Contract to Teach in Europe 4 Three Volunteer Caregivers Receive Scholarships 4 UMUC: Amazing but Overlooked? 4 Miyares: ”Evolution Has Become Revolution” 6 “Here We Are”—UMUC in Washington Post Magazine 6 UMUC Welcomes “Academic Foreign Legion” 7 UMUC Celebrates Winners of BMRE 7 UMUC Moves to Reduce the Cost of a College Degree 7 Kalb Report Revisits August 28, 1963 BACK OF THE BOOK 34 Faculty Kudos

Dear Friend: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE exciting time to be in higher education. Thanks to an alignment of technological breakthroughs and financial pressures, universities are taking seriously a range of educational research that tells us a great deal about how we learn. That is the theme of this issue of Achiever, and it marks the beginning of a bold and exciting chapter at UMUC— a pioneering university built to embrace innovation and harness technology that expands the reach of higher education. UMUC realized much earlier than most universities that learning can—and does—occur anywhere and at anytime. Learning is both complex and simple. It requires a motivated learner and the appropriate instructional materials. It also requires a learning facilitator. An effective instructor creates a learning environment that combines the right conditions, the right materials, and the right support for students to learn. When these conditions are met, we can learn anytime and anywhere. And we do. Look at children. They are prewired sponges of new knowledge. I recently spent time at a beach in North Carolina with my three great-nephews, who are 17, 12, and 9 years of age. They learned from the moment they woke up in the morning until the moment they went to sleep. They explored the water for shells, fish, and sea glass. Later we discussed what they found and researched their discoveries using the Internet. One night during a walk on the beach, we discovered nesting sea turtles, so we went to the local recreation center to learn more about them. We visited the nearest egg nest, where volunteers were standing by to help ensure that the little turtles made it safely to the water after they hatched. This sort of learning comes easily, especially for young minds. It is fun, exciting, and without pain or fear of failure. But something happens as we grow older, and learning can become stale, boring, something we “have to do.” Instead of being driven by curiosity, we can find ourselves driven by simply wanting to pass the course. Our prewired urge to learn gets stifled. For too many, that describes higher education—and higher education has not changed in a very long time. UMUC, on the other hand, never stood still and has continued to develop new models to bring education to the student, wherever he or she may be located. Today, UMUC is moving beyond delivery models and is focused squarely on designing the optimum learning environment for adult students. Led by Dr. Karen Vignare in our new Center for Innovation in Learning, UMUC will rapidly research new technologies, curriculum designs, and modes of instruction; prototype, pilot, and evaluate them; and work to implement those with the greatest capacity to help adult students learn better, more efficiently, and more cost effectively. In this issue of Achiever, you will see just how dramatically the landscape of higher education is changing and the leadership role that UMUC plays in creating the university of the future. Sincerely,


Marie A. Cini, PhD Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs University of Maryland University College WWW.UMUC.EDU | 1 | ACHIEVER


UMUC Celebrates More Than 10,000 Graduates Worldwide

More than 3,200 of the 10,000 members of the 2013 University of Maryland University College (UMUC) graduating class crossed the stage in two consecutive ceremonies at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland, on May 11, 2013. Mark Gerencser, then executive vice president CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE:

The last UMUC commencement ceremony to be held in Heidelberg, Germany; stateside commencement speakers Mark Gerencser, chair of the UMUC Board of Visitors, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Call 301-985-7200 with comments and suggestions, or e-mail University of Maryland University College subscribes to a policy of equal education and ­employment opportunities.

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of Booz Allen Hamilton and chair of the UMUC Board of Visitors, gave the commencement address at the morning ceremony. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake addressed graduates and guests at the afternoon ceremony. Participants in the stateside ceremony came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 17 countries. Douglas C. Kruse—at 77 years of age—ranked as the senior member of the group, earning a BS in environmental management. The consecutive ceremonies were the largest of the eight the university held worldwide in 2013—in Tokyo, Japan, on April 13; Okinawa, Japan, on April 20; Seoul, Korea, on April 27; Heidelberg, Germany, on May 4; Guam, on May 18; Sigonella, Italy, on June 12; and Naples, Italy, on June 14.


Great-Granddaughter of First UMUC Europe Graduate Marches in Heidelberg When Lauren Bentley crossed the stage at UMUC Europe’s commencement ceremony in Heidelberg, Germany, on

May 4, she carried the weight of history with her. Her great-grandfather—the late Col. William C. Bentley Jr.—was a member of the elite group of U.S. Army Air Corps officers forming the origins of the U.S. Air Force. He was also the first student to earn a UMUC degree overseas in 1951 and in fact was instrumental in establishing the partnership between the University of Maryland and the U.S. military 65 years ago. At the May 4 ceremony, Lauren Bentley’s father and grandfather—Marine Lt. Col. William Bentley III and Lt. Col. Woodruff Bentley Sr. (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), respectively—both offered keynote addresses commemorating the historic moment. Together, they accepted an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree conferred posthumously on Col. William C. Bentley Jr. It was a special moment on several levels. With the U.S. military closing its bases in Heidelberg, the 2013 commencement ceremony marked the last the university would hold in that historic location. “The whole thing is coming full circle, with my great-

UMUC graduate Lauren Bentley gets a hug from her grandfather, Lt. Col. Woodruff Bentley Sr. (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), as her father, Marine Lt. Col. William Bentley III, looks on.

It’s Time to Redefine Success by Laura Freeman, student speaker at UMUC’s 2013 afternoon commencement ceremony Greetings President Miyares, Provost Cini, the honorable Mayor Rawlings-Blake, distinguished guests, family, and friends. And of course a special greeting to the University of Maryland University College graduating Class of 2013. Give yourselves a hand! It has been quite a journey to get here, and along the way my view of life has changed. I spent several years of my adult life in deep poverty. I lived with my three children in a shack in the woods. I cut firewood and pulp wood and just did anything I could to survive and take care of my family. According to the messages of our popular culture, I was a very unsuccessful person. My car was junky, my clothes secondhand. However, I managed to raise three children to become empathetic, decent human beings. So I began to question that definition of success. Over time, opportunities arose and eventually I was working in an office originating loans for a mortgage broker. Many would say I was becoming successful. However, making money alone didn’t seem like a great accomplishment. So I began my educational journey at 35. Much of my life, I’d been told that I was stupid and incapable— and I believed it. When I finally took an IQ test, the psychologist said that he couldn’t get a complete score, because in several sections he ran out of material before we reached a level that I couldn’t handle. It is always a shock to learn that our basic assumptions about ourselves are untrue. I began to think that, if I was smart, I had an obligation to do more with my life. So I decided to become a teacher and help children like my autistic son, Steven, who had been written off by the public school system. I taught him to read, and I felt like there were other children out there whose potential was being overlooked. Over the years, I earned my associate’s, my bachelor’s, and master’s, and I began teaching chemistry. When I was assigned to teach environmental science, honestly, I was annoyed. It was the subject no one really wanted to teach, and I really hadn’t thought that much about the environment. But during the course of my first year, I realized that, of all the science subjects my students could learn, this was the one that would most affect their lives. So I used the summer break to redesign the course. Now, teachers don’t make much money, but as my students’

performance improved, I began to feel successful. And not long after that, I gave up my tenured position and moved so that my husband, James, could go back to school, too. I found UMUC and I enrolled in the MS in environmental management program because I had decided the environment is important. Unfortunately, for the three years that we have lived in Radford, Virginia, there have been no teaching jobs, so I have just worked on my master’s. And now I stand here looking at my student debts, and I have to ask, “What is the point?” If it’s true that the one who dies with the most toys wins, then I have already lost. But I read an interesting quote the other day: “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” My first reaction was, “Good point!” But then I thought, “No! No! We don’t need to give up the drive for success. We need to redefine success.” So here is what I propose: If, when you die, the world is a better place because you lived . . . your life is a success.

If you raise human beings that have empathy and values . . . you are a success.

If you protect the environment . . . you are a success.

If as a business person you pay a living wage . . . you are a success

If you greet people with a smile and you work to disseminate happiness . . . then you are a success.

I think back to where I was 20 years ago and I wonder how many other single parents could—with just a little help—make so much more of their lives. In the universe, only helium and hydrogen occur naturally. All the other atoms form in the heart of a star, which then explodes. Ninety percent of the matter that forms your body is star dust. The atoms that you are borrowing have been here a thousand years, and they will remain long after you are gone. That’s the most profound thing that I have learned in science. I challenge you all to reject the popular view of success and join me in affirming the value of all of our fellow travelers and working to help everyone to reach their potential while rejecting the bottom line mentality. We are 99.5 percent genetically the same, and this makes us family. And we must look after one another. Thank you! G



grandfather starting the program here and UMUC closing this chapter in Heidelberg with me graduating,” said Lauren Bentley. “It’s such an honor to walk in his footsteps.”

Danielle Kelly gives her boyfriend, wounded warrior Taylor Morris, a lift.


UMUC Wins DOD Contract to Teach U.S. Troops in Europe

University of Maryland University College will continue its 65-year tradition of educating U.S. troops on the ground overseas after being awarded a new contract by the U.S. Department of Defense. The contract is renewed annually, extends through the 2022–23 academic year, and is valued at more than $250 million. UMUC first sent faculty overseas in 1949 and has continuously served the higher education needs of active-duty military personnel and their families ever since. “Serving the needs of the U.S. military is in our DNA. We are extremely pleased and proud to continue our long history of educating troops overseas,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares. “This award affirms the dedication of our faculty and staff abroad and the commitment that is shared throughout the university to providing a quality education to those who sacrifice so much to protect us.” Under the new contract, UMUC will offer its MBA program for the first time in the European Command, in addition to partnering with two other institutions in the University System of Maryland for first-time overseas programs. Frostburg State University and UMUC will offer an undergraduate teacher education program, while Salisbury University and UMUC will offer undergraduate and graduate programs in social work.


As part of the contract, UMUC also will manage National Test Centers at more than 20 installations in Europe. These test centers administer a variety of exams designed to help servicemembers advance their careers by qualifying them for key certifications and credentials.

Three Volunteer Caregivers Receive Scholarships as “Pillars of Strength”

Three volunteer caregivers of wounded warriors received full scholarships to University of Maryland University College (UMUC), thanks to a new Pillars of Strength Scholarship Fund established by The Blewitt Foundation, the Yellow Ribbon Fund, and UMUC. The three recipients— Emily Ball, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Danielle Kelly, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Beverly Poyer, of Charlotte Hall, Maryland—received the awards at a special ceremony in Adelphi, Maryland, on April 25, 2013. Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the keynote address, calling all volunteer caregivers “true American heroes” and praising the three honorees for their



after they return to their home towns. “For more than 65 years, UMUC has served the education needs of military students, both overseas and stateside,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares. “It is not often, though, that we have an opportunity to reach out and touch lives so directly— so profoundly—as we do through the Pillars of Strength Scholarship Fund.”

UMUC: Amazing but Overlooked?

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) appeared in a February 25, Supporting volunteer 2013, list published by The caregivers of injured service members Daily Beast entitled, “Amazing The Yellow Ribbon Fund but Overlooked: 25 Colleges and The and Blewitt Foundation quiet strength willingness You Haven’t Considered in association with to set aside theirofown lives to University Maryland but Should.” University College support their loved ones. A photo of UMUC military Winnefeld also commended students in an overseas classUMUC, the Yellow Ribbon room was accompanied by a Fund, and The Blewitt blurb that read, in part, “Most Foundation for outstanding college rankings concentrate service to America’s military on the traditional college expeand for working together to rience: four years . . . make these scholaron a residential camSCHOLARSHIP ships available. pus. But what about PROGRAM The Blewitt colleges that cater Supporting volunteer caregivers Foundation—founded to continuing educaof injured service members by UMUC graduate tion and adult stuThe Yellow Ribbon Fund and The Blewitt Foundation and emeritus Board dents? University of in association with of Visitors member Maryland [University University of Maryland University College Rich Blewitt—proCollege] has long vides special combeen a leader in this fort, enjoyment, and sector with . . . one enrichment opportunities to of the largest distance-learning U.S. military families, espeprograms in the U.S.” cially those experiencing loss, serious injury, or related anxiMiyares: “Evolution Has ety and fear. Become Revolution in The Yellow Ribbon Fund— based in Bethesda, Maryland, Higher Education” home of Walter Reed Higher education should National Military Medical embrace disruptive techCenter—provides practical nologies, taking advantage support for injured service of breakthroughs to seize members and their families opportunities and “see the while they recover in the world anew,” University of Washington, D.C., area and Maryland University College


President Javier Miyares offered the keynote address at the World Trade Center Institute’s Embassy Night on October 2.

(UMUC) President Javier Miyares told a gathering of more than 300 diplomats and government and business leaders in Washington, D.C. on October 2.

“Thanks in large part to disruptive technologies, the Holy Grail of higher education— access, affordability, and quality—is finally and fully within our reach,” Miyares said.

Miyares served as keynote speaker for the World Trade Center Institute’s Embassy Night, which drew representatives from 31 embassies to the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, D.C. “American higher education—often described as the envy of the world—is now facing its own moment of disruption,” he said. “The digital revolution, big data, and learning science have

combined to turn evolution into revolution in higher education.” Citing his own life story, he said the Cuban Revolution was a disruptive force that led him to flee Cuba as a 14-year-old boy with no money and no connections. All he had, he said, “was a desire to learn and a willingness to change.” As he stood before them on Embassy Night as president

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UMUC President Javier Miyares (standing, center) welcomed more than 60 former overseas faculty, staff, administrators, and guests, including Dr. T. Benjamin Massey (seated, center) who served as president of UMUC from 1978 to 1998.

of the nation’s largest public university, he could say with confidence, “For me, disruption turned out to be good.” Similarly, UMUC’s willingness to embrace change has propelled it into the national spotlight. “The classroom is now untethered by time and space,” he said. “Wireless technology puts a world of resources at our fingertips.” And while some higher education institutions measure online education against brick-and-mortar classrooms, he said, “At UMUC we measure learning—and recognize that online education allows us to use technology as the gateway to a learning experience that could not happen in a brickand-mortar classroom.”

returning from World War II) both in Maryland and overseas, where instructors taught U.S. military personnel and Defense Department employees. The article delved into the university’s increasingly popular cybersecurity program, and highlighted the championship run of the UMUC Cyber Padawans in the Maryland Cyber Challenge in October. Jeff Tjiputra, coach of the championship Cyber Padawans, and academic director of UMUC’s undergraduate cybersecurity programs, provided the quote that reporter Nick Anderson used to close the piece: “It’s a good end to the story,

“Here We Are”— UMUC on the Cover of the Washington Post Magazine

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) was featured as the Washington Post Magazine cover story in the Sunday, November 3, education issue. The story traced the university’s beginnings as a pioneer in adult education (many of UMUC’s first students were veterans

isn’t it? . . . We have good students. We have good faculty and good alumni. [This latest win] just proved that we are for real in terms of cybersecurity. “Here we are.”

UMUC Welcomes Back Its “Academic Foreign Legion”

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) welcomed more than 60 former overseas faculty, staff, administrators, and guests in a special November 9, 2013, reunion at the university’s Adelphi, Maryland, headquarters. Honored guests included former UMUC President T. Benjamin Massey, who first taught for UMUC in Germany and rose to the presidency, which he held from 1978 until his retirement in 1998. UMUC President Javier Miyares offered a welcome and heartfelt thanks to the returning employees, some of whom joined the university in the 1950s and 1960s. “That UMUC grew from a modest program in the University of Maryland School of Education to a global institution now poised to play a

leadership role in the future of higher education was due to the incredible ingenuity, hard work, and dedication of our overseas leadership, faculty, and staff,” Miyares said. “UMUC was truly born overseas in our military installations,” said Miyares. “Your spirit of adventure and innovation shaped this university and laid the groundwork for the nimble, scalable operation that exists today and allows us to adapt and thrive.” The returning professors agreed that nothing could compare to being a UMUC faculty member who had the opportunity to teach highly motivated students serving in the U.S. military. “At the personal level, I was and still am in love with far away places with strange sounding names,” said Joe Arden, who joined the Far Eastern Division faculty in 1967 and taught for 20 terms in eight countries and only once remained in the same location for more than eight weeks. “In my first year in the five eight-week terms, I taught chronologically, term one in Korea, term two in Vietnam, term three in Thailand, term four in northern Japan, Misawa, and term five in Taiwan.” In 1968, he said, he was the only American traveling the entire length of the TransSiberian Railroad. He would go on to serve as director of both the European and Far Eastern divisions before retiring to Thailand. “It allowed me to satisfy this wanderlust in a very fundamental way,” he said. “I literally thought there must be some mistake. I thought I should have been paying Maryland rather than Maryland paying me.”


UMUC Celebrates Winners of the Second Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) celebrated the winners of its Second Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibition (BMRE) at an opening reception at the university’s Adelphi, Maryland, headquarters November 17, 2013. The opening showcased 47 works chosen from approximately 400 entries, and also served as the official reopening of the university’s renovated galleries. Washington, D.C.-based artist Helen Zughaib took first place and the President’s Best of Show Award with her 2013 gouache-and-ink-on-board piece, “Veiled Secrets.” Second place, and the Juror’s Choice Award, went to Sebastian Martorana, of Baltimore, Maryland, for his marble piece, “New Construction.” Third place, and the Award of Merit, went to Sy Wengrovitz, of Springfield, Virginia, for his basswood carving, “Soundgirl Pants.” “In today’s wired world, it is easy to overlook the value of art as a distillation of our shared experience—and as a universal language,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares in welcome remarks at the reception. “Thank you for reminding us of the creativity that dwells within

Clockwise from top: The first, second, and third-place winning entries from the Second Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit.

us, that fires our imaginations, drives innovation, and enriches our world.”

UMUC Moves to Reduce the Cost of a College Degree

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) announced a comprehensive scholarship program in December 2013 designed to significantly reduce the cost of a bachelor’s degree for graduates of Maryland’s 16 community colleges. The UMUC Completion Scholarship reduces the percredit cost of tuition and fees of any UMUC bachelor’s program to an average of $199 for Maryland community college graduates. This reduces the total cost of a bachelor’s degree—including community college tuition—to about $20,000. “Once again, the State of Maryland is leading the way in offering high quality, affordable higher education options that meet employer

demands for the 21st-century workforce,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “Together with our highly regarded community colleges and UMUC’s innovative leadership, we will continue to expand opportunity and ensure Maryland students are not only able to compete nationally, but globally as well.” Said UMUC President Javier Miyares, “Community college graduates are a solid investment, because they have already invested in the==mselves. The new UMUC Completion Scholarship provides a welldeserved incentive to keep going and earn a four year degree that will pay even greater dividends in the future—whether that is a new job, a promotion, or a whole new career.”

Historic Kalb Report Reprises the Events of August 28, 1963

Three leaders of the 1960s civil rights movement—John Lewis, Andrew Young, and

Julian Bond—gathered at the National Press Club August 27 with host Marvin Kalb for a special program, produced by UMUC and the Press Club, that marked the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and offered a platform to talk about the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Joining them were John Wilson, president of Martin Luther King’s alma mater, Morehouse College; PBS News anchor Gwen Ifill; and Dorothy Gilliam, the first African American woman hired as a reporter by the Washington Post. Lewis, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), is the last surviving speaker of that momentous day. Young was a top King aide during the march. Bond, who became chairman of the NAACP, was SNCC’s communications director that day. Kalb himself reported for CBS News and stood just 20

Continued on page 39

Kalb Report host Marvin Kalb (above, center) was joined by special guests (from left) Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Dorothy Gilliam, John Lewis, Gwen Ifill, and John Wilson. (Left) Julian Bond, former chair of the NAACP and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate.






THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION REVOLVES AROUND the democratization of learning. From theological schools to liberal arts colleges to land grant colleges to the GI Bill to community colleges to distance learning to MOOCs, the trend has been to bring more education to a greater number of people to be prepared for the needs of society. But has the knowledge of how we learn kept pace? As education goes online to reach millions of students outside of the traditional classroom, do we know how best to assist those students so that they learn as much—or more—than they would have in a traditional classroom? Has evolution now become revolution in higher education? And how do we stay ahead of the ever-steeper curve of change? “We’re on the cusp of very significant change in higher education,” said William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, in a recent interview with Achiever magazine. Kirwan’s career in higher education has spanned more than 50 years, and during most of it, change has come at more of a glacial pace, he said. Suddenly, that is changing, as the forces of technology and advances in cognitive science meet the limitations of the high cost of a college education. “The next five or six years, I predict, are going to lead to more change than we have seen in the past four or five decades,” Kirwan said. Since the 1940s, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has been a national leader in distance education. Now, as student demographics change and technology accel-


Left to right: UMUC President Javier Miyares, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marie A. Cini, and University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan.

erates, UMUC must continue to lead, studying how people learn so that it can continue to provide a quality education to 21st-century students. How this will happen was the focus of a discussion among Kirwan, UMUC President Javier Miyares, and UMUC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marie A. Cini, who sat down with writer Gil Klein to talk about the future of higher education. “We have the benefit of being ahead of the game,” Miyares said, citing UMUC’s 20 years of experience in online education. “Our challenge is to continue to always be ahead of the game.” Higher education is no longer an entitlement of the few,

Cini said. In the past, students were on their own. If they succeeded in completing their education, that was great. If not, it was mostly their own concern. The world has changed, Cini said. The nation needs more college-educated people than ever before, but that increase in the number of graduates cannot come at the expense of a watered down college curriculum. “We know a lot more about learning, and it’s more about access and success,” said Cini. “At UMUC, we’re figuring out ways that students can learn better. Instead of saying, ‘You all come and you can sink or swim; we don’t care,’ we’re going to teach them to swim.”


THE HISTORY OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES A timeline of highlights spanning nearly 400 years. 1636 Harvard College, the first in the British North American colonies, is founded to train Puritan ministers.

1756 The Academy and College of Philadelphia develops a “scheme of liberal education” to accommodate all who seek the learned professions and the mechanical arts.

1779 University of Pennsylvania becomes the first institution of higher education in America to be called a university.

1795 University of North Carolina becomes the first state-supported university to admit students and the only public institution to grant degrees in the 18th century.






1807 The School of Medicine is founded in Baltimore, forerunner of University of Maryland, Baltimore.


We have the benefit of being ahead of the game,” Miyares said, citing UMUC’s 20 years of experience in online education. “Our challenge is to continue to always be ahead of the game.”

Using the standard reporter’s questions—who, what, where, when, why, and how—Achiever explored how three leaders in higher education view what is happening and how research in the ways that people learn fits with the mission of higher education—in Maryland and beyond.

Who . . . THE TYPE OF PERSON who attends college is changing dramatically. Given the birthrate decline among the past cohorts of college students—white middle- to upper-middleclass individuals—and the increase in immigration and in the birthrate among Hispanics in particular, the new generation of college-age students will come from lower-income families where parents may have little education of their own. It is key to the future that this generation is educationally prepared to fill the job market and lead the nation. In addition, President Barack Obama and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley have adopted a goal of 55 percent of adults holding a college degree. What will it take to achieve that—and is it possible? “We’ve got to work more closely with the K–12 sector so that students who finish high school are ready to come to col-


1824 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is founded as the first technical school in the United States. 1824

1836 Georgia Female Academy—now Wesleyan College— is the first college chartered to grant degrees to women.

1833 Oberlin College is founded as the first coeducational school in the United States. 1833


lege,” said Kirwan. “Today, too many students graduate from high school and then they have to take remedial work. That’s a real drag, and many get discouraged and leave.” The key to increasing the percentage of college graduates is the community college system, he said, which can help students of limited financial means or who need help in getting started in higher education after high school. Already, Kirwan said, more than half of the students entering four-year universities come from community colleges. These are the students in which UMUC specializes, said Miyares, who is himself a Cuban immigrant. “We see our role as providing the quality, low-cost alternative, and we achieve that by being online,” he said. “We don’t have to invest in facilities, we don’t have to invest in student activities. UMUC’s ideal since 1947 is to strip down the education to what is at its core.” Cini—herself the daughter of an Italian immigrant who never progressed beyond the sixth grade—said she is well aware of the challenges and opportunities of providing an education to recent immigrants and their children. “Many people who come to this country are working very hard and still want a path to education,” she said. “We build those pathways to make sure they can continue to work, raise their fami-

1837 The African Institute—later called the Institute for Colored Youth and now Cheyney University—is founded in Philadelphia as the first nationally recognized historically black college. 1837


1862 The Morrill Land Grant Act is passed, providing federal aid to at least one college in each state that will teach agricultural and mechanical subjects.

1856 The Maryland Agricultural College— forerunner of University of Maryland, College Park—is chartered.




lies, and we can still be their university that they come to online.” To that end, Miyares pointed to the new UMUC Completion Scholarship program, announced in December 2013, under which graduates of Maryland’s 16 community colleges can complete a bachelor’s degree at UMUC for a total cost of around $20,000—including the cost of the associate’s degree. And even as student demographics are shifting, the typical makeup of the university faculty is changing as well. Nationwide, many universities have come to rely on adjunct faculty—part-time, contractual employees—as a way of containing costs. At UMUC, adjuncts have been a central component of the faculty from the beginning. Today, more than 5,000 adjuncts work for the university, far outnumbering the full-time collegiate faculty. Their impact is more than financial, and the faculty members’ role as “scholar-practitioner” is one that students have come to expect. “Adult students really do want to learn from individuals who are practicing their profession,” Cini said, adding that the pool of professionals in the Washington, D.C., area who also want to teach makes it simple for the university to find individuals with both professional expertise and academic credentials.

We know a lot more about learning, and it’s more about access and success,” said Cini. “At UMUC, we’re figuring out ways that students can learn better. Instead of saying, ‘You all come and you can sink or swim; we don’t care,’ we’re going to teach them to swim.”

What . . . WHAT IS BEING TAUGHT in the 21st-century classroom is changing rapidly, as well. Some critics contend that more and more university education is geared toward preparing students for specific careers, rather than creating liberally educated individuals with a broad range of knowledge. Cini disagrees. “That’s kind of a false dichotomy,” said Cini, “and some of that is because in the 1960s some of the liberal arts programs became quite popular. But I think it is a disservice to think, if students are majoring in business, that they are not learning anything else.” In reality, students are required to take a series of other courses so that their education is well rounded, she said, adding that the last thing the university wants is to graduate students who are so narrowly educated that they can’t generalize or see the big picture. Miyares agreed, pointing out that many of the large universities come out of the tradition of the land grant colleges, which were oriented toward workforce needs, Miyares said.


1864 The Maryland legislature votes to accept a federal grant under the Morrill Act and designates Maryland Agricultural College as the beneficiary. 1864

1885 Bryn Mawr is founded as the first women’s college to offer graduate education through PhDs. 1885

1895 The term distance learning is first used by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 1895


1901 Joliet Junior College—the nation’s first junior college—is founded in Chicago.

1916 The State of Maryland takes full control of the Maryland Agricultural College and changes its name to Maryland State College; the first female students are enrolled.

1920 Campuses in College Park and Baltimore are consolidated to create one University of Maryland.




Journalist Gil Klein interviews (left to right) UMUC President Javier Miyares, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marie A. Cini, and University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan.

“Every student should have a body of what we call general education,” he said. “If in the process of preparing somebody to be an engineer, for example, you don’t teach them critical thinking, then you have failed.” At the same time, Kirwan said, the University System of Maryland has to be constantly aware of the changing business marketplace to ensure that it is offering majors that match the skills that today’s employers are seeking. “We survey the workplace; we have business advisory groups across the system who keep us informed,” he said. Right now, the university system is emphasizing cybersecurity education because of the high demand for workers, he said, and UMUC has taken the lead in designing degrees that provide those needed skills. “The students come to us,” Miyares said. “They are oriented to the workforce. The worst thing that we can do for them is to not provide what is needed today and tomorrow.”

When . . . MORE AND MORE COLLEGE students fall outside the traditional

1946 Montgomery Junior College—the first junior college in Maryland— opens. 1922 Pennsylvania State University offers the first courses by radio. 1922

1944 The G.I. Bill is approved to provide tuition benefits to World War II veterans. 1844


1947 University of Maryland creates the College of Special and Continuation Studies—forerunner of University of Maryland University College—which two years later sends its first group of professors and staff overseas to teach U.S. troops in Germany.

1960 California becomes the first state to launch a statewide community college system.




age range of 18 to 22 years. At UMUC, the average student age is 32. Most are juggling the competing responsibilities of families and full-time jobs or military service. They need more ways to complete their coursework and greater scheduling flexibility. These are two of UMUC’s greatest strengths. Since the 1990s, it has become increasingly common for universities to experiment with offering classes at different times to fit their students’ schedules, Cini said. While evening and weekend courses are typical, Cini said, “I’ve also seen experiments with early morning classes, classes over lunch, and even ‘third shift’ classes for students who work the second shift and come to class at midnight.” The movement to online education has been revolutionary in giving students unprecedented flexibility in their learning, she said. “Most online programs are asynchronous in nature,” Cini said. “There is an instructor, a defined beginning and ending date, and weekly learning activities, group discussions, and assignments. But within those givens, students work on their class when they choose to—including late at night or early in the morning.” Clearly, she said, online education has been a boon to adults. “I see a trend that an increasing number of adults choose this model for its great flexibility,” she said. Given the nature of UMUC’s student population, the university has been offering flexible classes for years, she said. Now for more traditional universities, greater scheduling flexibility has become a driving factor in their planning.

Where . . . WHERE WE LEARN AFFECTS how we learn, and in recent years, universities have spent billions of dollars constructing new classroom buildings, mostly aimed at the traditional model of large lecture halls and smaller classrooms where 20 or so students listen to a professor. If the country is to achieve the 55 percent degree attainment rate that the president has called for, it seems unlikely that enough classrooms can be built to accommodate the number of new students who will be coming to higher education. If more and more students turn to online classes, what will happen to the existing classroom space?

Kirwan said that there will always be a need for the traditional university, especially for students who fall in the traditional 18 to 22 year age range. “What are you going to do with 18-year-olds?” he asked. “They’re ready to get out of the house, but maybe they are not quite ready to be out on their own. They need to have this opportunity to live in a community where they’re getting an education and developing their personalities and interests.” As a result, the buildings themselves are changing, Kirwan said. A new teaching center at University of Maryland, College Park, was originally designed to be a series of large lecture halls, he said. When the project was finally ready for construction, though, it had to be completely redesigned. “It is now more adaptable to the kind of hybrid classroom where students will be learning partly online, but they will also be engaged in dialogue and interaction with faculty members,” Kirwan said. Traditional campuses will be building more of these hybrid classrooms, he said, where the students and professors have access to online information, where students will be expected to watch a lecture online before they come to class, and where the classroom itself will be designed to foster active learning, with more interaction among the students and professor. With more people juggling full-time work and school, it has become more important for institutions to establish campuses close to where students live. Because community colleges already provide campuses in many local communities, it makes sense to explore options so that students can go on to earn four-year degrees. UMUC has established alliances with all 16 of Maryland’s community colleges—and dozens more outside of the state— that provide dual admission to students, allowing them to work seamlessly toward a four-year degree. It even allows a student to stay at the community college while completing his or her third and fourth years, Kirwan said. “They can complete a four-year degree right there in their community,” he said. “They never have to go anywhere.”

Why . . . THE COST OF A COLLEGE education—particularly at private institutions—has risen so much that more people are beginning to question whether it is worth the investment. At

1968 Stanford University founds the Stanford Instructional Television Network.

1970 University of Maryland University College becomes a separately accredited institution in the University of Maryland.

1971 Project Gutenberg— now the oldest digital library with more than 42,000 volumes in the public domain—is launched. Founder Michael S. Hart is credited by some as the inventor of the e-book.

1988 The five University of Maryland campuses reorganize to form a University of Maryland System—now the University System of Maryland— comprising 11 colleges and universities.

1993 UMUC launches its “virtual university,” offering students the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree remotely, using a combination of media, including computer.







the same time, more and more of the jobs of the future, especially those that pay a decent wage, will require a college degree. A recent study by Georgetown University found that by 2025 in Maryland, 55 percent of the jobs will require a twoor four-year degree, Kirwan said. Coincidentally, that matches the state’s goal of having 55 percent of its population earn a two- or four-year degree. And a bachelor’s degree is becoming just a bare minimum for many careers. “We created a number of what we call professional master’s degrees, which are designed to meet workforce requirements in particular professions,” Kirwan said. For lower-income individuals who seek a college education, cost must be factored in as they decide whether to pursue a degree. With college tuition soaring in many parts of the country, more prospective students are being priced out of the market. “I’m going to be a little critical of some of my colleagues in higher education,” Kirwan said. “I don’t think higher education leaders have taken seriously enough the responsibility of holding down the growth in cost.” The University System of Maryland has taken cost containment seriously, he said. Combining a commitment from the state government not to slash support for higher education with an understanding from academic leaders that cost increases must be contained, Maryland has established an enviable record of keeping tuition increases to a minimum. “Because of our cost containment efforts,” Kirwan said, “[and] because of the terrific support we get from the governor and the General Assembly, tuition in the University System of Maryland since 2008 has gone up a cumulative 2 percent. The national average is about 30 percent. “We can’t get to our 55 percent goal or we can’t serve low income students who we desperately need to serve unless we can meet our part of the bargain in holding down the growth in cost,” he said. Miyares often talks about UMUC’s “sweet spot” in providing quality education to the largest number of students at a reasonable cost. “At UMUC, that is the mission,” he said. “We have the second-lowest tuition of any public four-year institution [in Maryland]. We believe we can continue to offer that—

In any traditional class, about five students will dominate the discussion while the others hang back, Kirwan said. “But once it’s online and it’s invisible and your peers don’t know you’re asking a question, the exchange is actually richer with the professor than it is in many traditional classrooms.”

2007 Eighty percent of all stateside undergraduate enrollments at UMUC are for online courses and 94 percent of all UMUC students— graduate and undergraduate—take at least one online course each year.

2008 The term MOOC (massive open online course) is coined by David Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island and Bryan Alexander of the National Institute of Technology in Liberal Education.

2011 Stanford University launches three MOOCs; more than 100,000 students enroll in each.

2012 About half of firsttime students in higher education nationwide enroll in community colleges.

2013 UMUC launches the Center for Innovation in Learning to explore ways to improve online and distance learning outcomes using breakthroughs in technology, data analytics, and learning science.







Now, why 12 minutes?” Kirwan asked. “Cognitive scientists tell us 12 minutes is about the maximum amount of time that you can concentrate on a particular topic without losing your train of thought. So there’s one way that cognitive science is influencing the delivery of the lecture.”

continue to maintain the high quality, low cost. It’s important to note that none of this would be possible without the visionary leadership and support of Chancellor Kirwan.”

How . . . PERHAPS THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY development in higher education today involves rethinking how people learn. The concept of a professor standing in front of a class and imparting information through a lecture is obsolete. Students today are not good at passive listening; they need to be interactive. “Even generations ago, passive learning wasn’t good for us,” Cini said. “We just didn’t know we had the alternative, and students today do. The research shows that the best way to learn is if you are engaged and you’re interactive. The worst possible way is to just sit and learn.” With a student body that spans the globe, UMUC has always been a leader in education innovation, Miyares said. It has been offering online courses for so long that they have become commonplace, while other universities are just beginning to catch up. Online education has been criticized for being impersonal, but both Cini and Kirwan said the opposite is true. Before they try teaching online, many professors fear they won’t have the same connection with students as they do in the classroom, Cini said. But in a traditional classroom, the students walk out after a class and the professor may never talk to them, she said. In online classes, students have to have a written connection to the professor and to other students. “You can actually form closer relationships with your students and they with you and with each other,” Cini said. ACHIEVER | 16 | UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

The University of the Future BY JEFFREY J. SELINGO I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS, FOUR AND TWO, and as I watch them grow, I’m constantly amazed at how they learn, particularly how they interact with technology. They pick up electronic devices and know intuitively to swipe instead of type on a keyboard. No one would have thought to do that even 10 years ago. They are the students of the future, but the so-called digital natives are already on the doorstep of college and will drive higher education to reimagine its future. Born around the turn of the century, they have always known a world with the Internet, smartphones, and wireless connections. They feel comfortable in a social world that lives online. They text friends who are sitting only a few feet away. In school, they remain largely uninterested in learning through traditional teaching methods. Two out of three high school students say they are bored in class every day, according to a report by Indiana University. Then they go home and fire up Khan Academy to view online lessons to better understand concepts they didn’t get in school. By the time students reach their early 20s, they have spent some 10,000 hours playing video games, on average, sent and received 200,000 e-mail messages and instant messages, but have allotted just 5,000 hours to reading books. Adults often complain that these trends signify a move away from learning. But what’s more likely is that the digital world allows students to learn with greater speed and more deeply because it offers them greater opportunities to interact with ideas and find new ways to communicate and solve problems.

In any traditional class, about five students will dominate the discussion while the others hang back, Kirwan said. “But once it’s online and it’s invisible and your peers don’t know you’re asking a question, the exchange is actually richer with the professor than it is in many traditional classrooms.” Online education is yesterday’s news, however. Higher education now is on the cusp of a revolution because of two advances in education research, Kirwan said. “One is the power of the Internet and intelligent software,” he said. “You can create software that has incredible power to hold people’s attention, to provide information, and make it available anywhere, anytime, 24/7.” The other advance, he said, is through the development of cognitive sciences—the learning sciences.


John Seely Brown, a computing pioneer who researches learning, believes students read differently now, navigating and discovering materials not laid out by any traditional rules of order. Navigation, he argues, is the literacy of the 21st century. The students who will be showing up on college campuses in the next 10 years will want to absorb and apply knowledge on their terms. They will decide when, where, and how they learn and what it means to have a degree. The students of tomorrow will want learning that moves seamlessly between online, hybrid, and face-to-face. They will want more flexible options to learn on campus, in the workplace, or in the community. They will want the

“We now know what . . . triggers actually imprint information on the brain, [and] how . . . you present information so that it stays with someone,” he said. In the past, universities have spent surprisingly little time examining new teaching methods, Cini said. They hired professors because of their knowledge of content, not because of their teaching ability. “Now what is sweeping across the country is this idea that there really are better ways to teach so that students can learn,” she said. The University System of Maryland established a Center for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, Kirwan said, with the express purpose of supporting innovation in teaching and learning. Already, he said, 40 to 50 courses have been reengineered and redesigned. About 15,000 students have enrolled in these

knowledge they acquire anywhere to be measured rather than earning a degree simply based on time they spent in a seat or online. And just like Netflix and Amazon have personalized the buying experience, students will want the learning experience shaped around what they already know. The question, then, is not whether colleges will embrace alterations to their current 19th-century model, but when it will happen. G ________________________________________________ Jeffrey J. Selingo is author of College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education (New Harvest, 2013), from which this essay is adapted.

classes that use the latest in online education technology and the output of new cognitive sciences to give them a new learning experience. UMUC is also investing in this kind of research by creating its own Center for Innovation in Learning, Miyares said (see p. 20). It will bring together a core group of academics and researchers who will work with course designers and with the faculty to develop, test, and implement new teaching models. This is UMUC’s own research and development center, Cini said, which uses the university’s faculty, program directors, and classes “to push the frontiers [and] to try new things. When we find some way that students are actually learning better, then we’re going to use that model so we can keep pushing. We are finally going to use the science of learning to teach better.” WWW.UMUC.EDU | 17 | ACHIEVER

Lower cost and better access without quality is a losing proposition,” Kirwin said. “It’s because of the power of the technology and the cognitive sciences that we can develop the teaching and learning platforms that can really do all three— provide the access, keep costs down, and make higher education very high quality.”

Compiling “hundreds of data points on every student in every online class,” a UMUC research project developed a predictive model that with more than 80 percent certainty can predict—at the beginning of a class—which students will complete or fail to complete those classes, Miyares said. “So up front we know the people we may have to do something to help,” he said. That makes the education process more efficient. “The next step will be to develop models that will tell us why a student is likely to fail.” That will increase the likelihood of student success. Today, universities are accumulating data on all kinds of students, Miyares said. Taken together, that data will give unprecedented information on the learning process. It also will give UMUC the ability to predict which students can succeed in which programs, he said, which will help the university market to the students who are positioned to succeed. The development in the past couple of years of the MOOC—the massive, open online course—is helping to make online education more effective, Kirwan said. MOOCs are attracting hundreds of thousands of students worldwide, which give the institutions that offer them enormous amounts of data on the online education process. MOOCs are not video lectures that are passively presented, he said. Using research from cognitive scientists, a MOOC class usually offers a lecture for 12 minutes and then requires students to answer questions based on what they have learned. If the student answers the questions correctly, the lecture continues for another 12 minutes. If they don’t, they have to cover the material again. “Now, why 12 minutes?” Kirwan asked. “Cognitive scientists tell us 12 minutes is about the maximum amount of time that


UMUC Creates Pathway to Earn Credit Through MOOCs BY BRIAN WITTE, ASSOCIATED PRESS ANNAPOLIS, Md.—THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND University College announced Wednesday [July 31, 2013] it will be the first in the state’s university system to create a path for students to earn academic credit for learning through “massive open online courses.” The university is one of the nation’s largest public providers of online higher education with an enrollment of about 93,000 students. It has decided to award credit for demonstrated learning from six massive online courses offered by Coursera and Udacity. The classes cover math and science, such as introduction to physics, pre-calculus, calculus and introduction to computer science. Students will have to demonstrate their competency of material through standardized exams taken in a test center. “To us, a MOOC is just one more way that a student might learn something at the college level that we should help them get credit for if they can demonstrate that they have that knowledge,” said Marie A. Cini, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs for UMUC. MOOCs are online courses that are designed to include tens of thousands of students. They started becoming popular more than a year ago to allow more students to sample elite college courses. Public higher education systems around the country have been incorporating them into their systems. But some experts say MOOCs can’t replace traditional classroom learning and face-toface interaction. Cini noted that MOOCs are still largely in their infancy and will become more sophisticated in the future. She also

you can concentrate on a particular topic without losing your train of thought. So there’s one way that cognitive science is influencing the delivery of the lecture.” Plus, he said, by gathering data on which questions students miss most, MOOCs can adjust the lectures to better convey that particular information. At the moment, the universities providing MOOCs are not giving credit for students that complete them. That provides an opening for UMUC.


said it’s unclear how many students will participate. “Right now it looks as though the majority of students who are in MOOCs already have an undergraduate degree, so unless that changes I don’t think there will be a huge number of students taking this, but higher ed changes so quickly the numbers could increase for sure,” Cini said. UMUC has catered largely to adults who come to the school with previous college-level learning, whether from prior college course work or job training received in the military. The online classes offered by UMUC are very different from MOOCs, because they are much smaller. For example, undergraduate courses are generally no larger than 32 students, and graduate

UMUC already provides credit through Prior Learning Assessment for students who can prove they have mastered the material presented in a specific course. If students believe they have gained enough knowledge on a subject—through work experience, military service, or other means—they can take rigorous tests to prove their mastery. If they pass, they earn credit for the course. “MOOCs are just another flavor of that,” Cini said. “If a student comes to us and says, ‘I took this MOOC from Stanford and I can demonstrate what I learned,’ then we would put them through this

courses top off at about 25. That enables an instructor to have considerable interaction with the students, Cini said. Cini also underscored that students seeking credit after taking a MOOC will have to demonstrate their knowledge in an exam. “I wouldn’t want this to be misconstrued as anybody who takes a MOOC will get college credit from us, because if they can’t demonstrate the knowledge we’re not going to just automatically give them credit because they can show us a certificate that they sat through a MOOC,” Cini said. G _______________________________________________ Used with permission of The Associated Press Copyright © 2013.

process so we can give them credit for what they know.” The key component to all these innovations is maintaining quality while lowering costs and providing greater access to higher education, Kirwan said. “Lower cost and better access without quality is a losing proposition,” he said. “It’s because of the power of the technology and the cognitive sciences that we can develop the teaching and learning platforms that can really do all three—provide the access, keep costs down, and make higher education very high quality.” G


Learning—and Relearning— How We Learn The new Center for Innovation in Learning at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is focused on finding ways to make teaching and learning more effective, efficient, and affordable. BY CHIP CASSANO EXPERIENCED TEACHERS, COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGISTS, neuroscientists, and other researchers already know a great deal about how humans learn, according to UMUC Provost Marie A. Cini. But introduce qualifiers, and the subject becomes infinitely—and frustratingly—more complex. How do we learn . . . given our stressful lives and busy schedules? How do we learn . . . if we have tried and failed in the past? How do we learn . . . given the spiraling costs of higher education? With the launch of the university’s new Center for Innovation in Learning, UMUC has set its sights on answering those and other questions—and answering them in ways that are both practical and scalable. “We intend to create an incubator,” Cini said, in outlining the vision for the Center, “integrated with the Undergraduate and Graduate Schools, that is continually and rapidly prototyping new approaches, practices, learning models, and support services to give our students the optimum education to meet program outcomes, in the shortest time possible and at a reasonable cost.”


Dr. Karen Vignare


[The education system] is kind of like our healthcare system,” Vignare said. “It may serve some people; it might even serve most people. But there are some for whom it is ineffective, and for some it may even be detrimental.”

The concept for the Center grew out of conversations between Cini and UMUC President Javier Miyares, who often describes himself as “a data guy.” Both recognized the need and the opportunity for a research unit that would harness the power of big data to solve problems, improve outcomes, and reduce costs. A critical component was put in place in June 2013, when Dr. Karen Vignare—formerly director of project design and implementation for Michigan State University’s MSUglobal—joined UMUC as associate provost and director of the Center. Vignare’s background makes her ideal for the role, said Cini. As a researcher, Vignare has focused on the use of open educational resources and competency-based approaches in international education, training, and development. Her work has won funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and USAID, and she has published and presented on topics ranging from international education and knowledge organization to evaluation and assessment of learning, online learning, and blended learning.


“[The education system] is kind of like our healthcare system,” Vignare said. “It may serve some people; it might even serve most people. But there are some for whom it is ineffective, and for some it may even be detrimental.” Vignare cites her own father as an example. Though he eventually would go on to launch and run a successful business, he struggled academically and never attended high school. The learning environment of the future, Vignare said, can—and must—be different. Modern technology allows us to measure and monitor progress in ways undreamed of just a few decades ago. It is now possible to tailor curriculum, pace of delivery, and even modes of delivery to a student’s unique preferences, needs, and capabilities. The Center’s focus, though, will extend beyond learning outcomes, Vignare explained. “Costs must decrease. That is the baseline,” she said. “For this initiative to work at UMUC, it must work to reduce costs, making education more affordable for students. Ultimately, we’re looking for the sweet spot—an education that is more convenient, more individualized, and more affordable.” Vignare’s enthusiasm for her new role is infectious, and she calls UMUC “ideal” as a base for exploring innovative strategies in higher education. In fact, the university’s commitment to open

access—which dates back to its founding in 1947— is itself innovative, Vignare said, pointing to a longheld belief in higher education that obstacles to entry serve as motivators and as proof of quality. In fact, no hard evidence shows this to be true. Asked to point out the “dark places on the map”—those areas that promise the greatest potential for researchdriven gains—Vignare immediately cites technology. To date, she said, most efforts to modernize higher education have focused on adapting the traditional classroom to the online environment— electrifying the blackboard, if you will. While that approach has yielded modest returns in convenience and scalability, Vignare expects more dramatic results as the power of technology is harnessed to measure, assess, and customize the learning experience. Already, data analytics are being used to identify learning preferences, risk patterns, and other trends that, until recently, were hidden in plain sight, buried under terabytes of unanalyzed data. Another area that is ripe for exploration involves the pace at which information is presented. Content may be excellent, but if a particular course allots too much time to one subset of the subject matter and not enough to another, students suffer. Given modern technology, though, it is now possible to adjust a course’s pace and rhythm, based on hard data and even customized for the needs of individual students. The future is rich with possibility, and Vignare is working quickly to build out her team and launch the Center’s initial research projects. At that point, the Center will take its rightful place as a hub of applied scholarship and innovation at UMUC, with faculty members from both schools serving stints as researchers and research designers. As they identify new technologies or instructional methods that increase learning outcomes, attention will shift to broad and rapid implementation. Said Vignare, “This is an exciting time to be part of UMUC, part of higher education, and part of the revolution that is changing the way we teach and learn.” G WWW.UMUC.EDU | 21 | ACHIEVER

Data Analytics at UMUC UMUC launches a new master’s degree program in data analytics, even as it harnesses the power of big data to increase efficiency and improve learning outcomes for students. BY CHIP CASSANO HISTORY MAY MARK 2012 AS THE YEAR THAT mainstream America discovered data analytics. Moneyball— starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the data-obsessed general manager of the disastrously underfunded Oakland Athletics—was still in release in January, well on its way to earning more than $110 million worldwide. In November, the data-driven model on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog would correctly predict the winner of the presidential election for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review drove the point home, calling the role of data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” The publicity does not change the fact that trained professionals are in short supply, and in June 2013, University of Maryland University College responded, announcing a new Master of Science in Data Analytics designed to prepare earlyand midcareer professionals with the skills needed to take on



roles as business analysts and data scientists. The first classes met in the fall. The timing was critical. In a lengthy report released in June 2011, the McKinsey Global Institute drew on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dun & Bradstreet, and other sources to predict that, “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.” Deloitte—itself the top employer in data analytics in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region—projects that nine out of 10 Fortune 500 companies will have some big data initiatives under way. “The ability for managers to turn data into powerful knowledge and insights is essential to the success of businesses in virtually every sector of the economy,” said Marie A. Cini, UMUC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “UMUC’s online program in data analytics was designed to be flexible and convenient for busy professionals to gain the skills that will set them apart and advance their career.” The program focuses on areas such as data warehousing strategies; managing the quality, security, and privacy of data; managing data analytics projects; and tackling industry- and organization-specific problems and challenges. The curriculum covers sophisticated software tools and functions such as data mining, predictive modeling, and visual analytics using large data sets. The university’s commitment to data analytics

The Case for Smart Analytics in Education BY JAY LIEBOWITZ IMAGINE IMPROVING YOUR HIGH school graduation rate from 25 percent in 2005 to 80 percent in 2012. Through predictive analytics, a school system in Tennessee used big data analytics to identify “at risk” students during their early schooling and beyond. They found children who were most at risk of dropping out of school (even back in elementary and middle schools), and then provided the right networking and support services intervention to help those students succeed. And it worked, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in graduation rate. That’s the power of big data analytics in education!

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative found that developing and employing learning analytics can help us envision and build new models for improving teaching and learning. As a case in point, Yakima Valley Community College applied data analysis to increase student success. By focusing on course pass rates and sequence completion in English and math, the school was able to help more students succeed in future courses, and smoother course enrollment patterns emerged. According to Darrell West at The Brookings Institution, there is great potential for improving research, evaluation, and accountability through data mining, data analytics, and Web dashboards in education. Schools, however, must understand the value of a data-driven approach to education. This is also clearly stated in the U.S. Department of Education’s report on enhancing teaching and learning through educational data mining and learning analytics. Researchers Donald Norris and Linda Baer further echo these points in their EDUCAUSE report on “Building Organizational Capacity for Analytics.” But progress is slow in higher education. In the McKinsey Global Institute analysis across 20 sectors, in every category except talent, education is least prepared for ease of data capture, has the least capacity for IT intensity, least reflects the data-driven mind-

set, and is the least likely to have overall data availability. So what needs to be done and where should we start? First, we must instill an “analytics IQ culture” within the education sector. As Norris and Baer point out, the culture and behaviors of institutions must change to optimize student success. Second, we must marshal resources (in terms of talent, finances, and commitment) to use analytics to tackle strategic issues that are at the heart of the institution. (At UMUC, for instance, the new Center for Innovation in Learning is exploring ways to improve learning through data analytics.) Finally, we must continue to address outcome measures, rather than simply tracking system and output metrics. Big data is a big deal, and analytics are needed in the education market to help ensure student, faculty, and institutional success. The future looks bright for those institutions willing to take these next steps. G _________________________________ Dr. Jay Liebowitz is the Orkand Endowed Chair of Management and Technology at UMUC and the author of Big Data and Business Analytics (Auerbach Publications, 2013).

university to evaluate the results extends beyond the classroom, of that outreach and determine as well. In spring 2013, what measures are most effective under the guidance of Darren Catalano, vice president of in keeping students on track. analytics, the university In a keynote address at the launched the first of a series World Trade Center Institute’s of pilots that would eventually Embassy Night event, UMUC evaluate more than 15,000 President Javier Miyares pointed enrollments spread across to data analytics as critical to the university’s ability to fulfill its 10 graduate and 15 undergradmission and deliver an education uate courses. that is at once accessible, afford Through a corporate partable, and high quality. nership with Civitas Learning, “We have embraced compeCatalano and his team were able —MCKINSEY GLOBAL INSTITUTE tency-based education and to develop a model that looks at data analytics,” said Miyares, a variety of data points and— “replacing barriers to entry before a class even begins—predicts with pathways to success. This is vital to our nation.” G with 82 percent accuracy whether a student will complete the course __________________________________________________ successfully. As time passes, the accuracy only increases. For more about UMUC’s new master’s degree program in data Initially, this allows UMUC to reach out to at-risk students and analytics, visit offer additional support and resources. Over time, it will allow the

The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.”


The 21st-Century Scholar /Practitioner Learned and learning online in the digital age.


fields like science and technology—they need to stay up-to-date ADJUNCT FACULTY WHO ARE ALSO WORKING with the material. professionals—or scholar/practitioners—aren’t a new phenomenon, Roza Selimyan was a researcher at the National Institute on but those who are teaching online are reshaping the role of the Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) before she was professor in the 21st century. diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing treatment—Selimyan is In the virtual classroom, the instructor is no longer the “sage now a three-time cancer survivor—she experienced firsthand the on the stage.” And the online environment is redefining the frustrating gaps in the healthcare system. student-centered approach, too. The practitioner guide is not just Realizing that she wanted to share not only her professional on the sideline in a supporting role, but is a full participant in expertise but also her personal experiences, she left the NIH to the learning experience. embark on a new career helping to educate people while promot “Instead of a big presence once a week, I am able to have ing health issues around the country. She also began teaching many smaller, substantive presences with my students throughcourses in biology at UMUC. out the week,” said UMUC Adjunct Professor David Adkins, This past summer, Selimyan taught an undergraduate hybrid the chief technology officer for the New York State Bar Association. “I spend a lot more time with the material because course—which includes both online and face-to-face components—in cancer biology. the discussion is going on all week. This helps me to think “It’s a very fast-evolving field, and it was exciting to organize through the challenges I have at work and bring that learning frequent discussions outside the classroom,” she said. “It was right back to the students.” stimulating to be communicating several times a day, sometimes Adkins has been teaching online at UMUC since 2005 and responding hourly.” believes online education is more empow Robin Bush, who teaches HTML and Web ering—for both student and teacher— design at UMUC, is motivated in the classroom than face-to-face instruction. by trying not to “look like an idiot” in front of “Online [study] is very egalitarian,” Gordon summed up the her students, many of whom are at the top of he said. “The technology brings us all their game. together, and we are all responsible for unique advantage for the “There are more than 150 Web scripting laneach other’s learning.” scholar/practitioner who guages, and technology changes so rapidly,” said At UMUC, courses are structured to Bush. “I have to keep learning new things for my allow for the scholar/practitioner to delibteaches online: “It’s job as a Web designer and that enriches my stuerately infuse his or her experience into dents even more. I constantly think about how I the learning process. different than classroom will share my new knowledge with my students.” “It’s not only about the successes, but I teaching. My students are According to Dawn Kemp, who trains new can discuss errors made and how I worked faculty to teach online in UMUC’s Center for through them and have a much richer right there with me in my Teaching and Learning (CTL), the most sucdiscussion about the lessons learned,” said cessful scholar/practitioners are themselves lifeDavid Chadwick, a global risk managejourney at work, and I am long learners. ment consultant for Accenture, who has right there with them in To that end, CTL provides a three-week been teaching at UMUC since 2000. training course for faculty who are teaching Scholar/practitioners need to excel their journey to learn.” online for the first time. It also offer worknot only in their teaching methods, shops throughout the year in areas such as but—particularly in rapidly changing



You have to be passionate about wanting to have that light bulb go off in a student’s head, because it also triggers something in a faculty member to do better, to explain an issue better. The successful scholar/practitioner will be open to that process taking place. —UMUC PROVOST MARIE A. CINI

grading rubrics, how to design good discussion questions, and how to better facilitate student-to-student learning to help faculty succeed. “Teaching is not about just transferring knowledge, as in a traditional lecture,” said UMUC Provost Marie A. Cini. “You have to be passionate about wanting to have that light bulb go off in a student’s head, because it also triggers something in a faculty member to do better, to explain an issue better. The successful scholar/practitioner will be open to that process taking place. “It’s very much a two-way street,” Cini said. “When you teach accounting and students ask about your career, you get excited and that enthusiasm rubs off on your students.”

Peter Tseronis has spent 22 years in the technology field and was named the U.S. Department of Energy’s first chief technology officer in 2008. “My job is to stay up-to-date on disruptive technology and what’s becoming obsolete,” said Tseronis. “I’m involved with technology transfer and commercialization issues, not just with information technology but in areas such as fuel technology and weapons systems.” Tseronis enjoys being able to apply the principles in his job that he teaches in a foundational course in project management for IT. “The opportunity to engage with my students on a frequent basis—some of them located in different parts of the world, and even in ‘undisclosed locations,’ with different perspectives, and immersed in their own culture—is invaluable,” he said. “In addition to what is in the textbook, I see a lot of different examples from my own work and from my students that we can all learn from in a much more dynamic way,” said Tseronis. Bush, the Web designer, believes the key to online teaching is to focus on interactivity. “Contrary to what most people think, I can connect on a much more personal level and take a more active role in the learning process,” she said. “I want my students to get to know me and I want to know them, because if you get to know your students, they feel safe to share.” Legally blind since birth, Bush has found that online teaching can erase stereotypes. “I bring a different perspective to Web design because I don’t do Web design like others,” she said. “I use tricks, including magnification, to do my job, and that helps my students learn to try different things.” For Martin Gordon, a former National Geospatial Intelligence Agency historian, teaching online allows him to discuss his field in real time. An expert in the history of the U.S. federal government, Gordon’s chosen field is developing quickly. “After the Boston Marathon bombings, I was able to open discussions immediately about how the government might respond,” he said. “That made the event come alive for the students in a way that would not be possible if we had to wait until class time.” Gordon summed up the unique advantage for the scholar/practitioner who teaches online: “It’s different than classroom teaching. My students are right there with me in my journey at work, and I am right there with them in their journey to learn.” G WWW.UMUC.EDU | 25 | ACHIEVER

2B or Ø2B Could it be that the ongoing revolution in communication technology will eventually overshadow the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago? BY MARK PARKER in 1450. Suddenly, a single document, such as the Bible, could be copied hundreds of thousands of times—much more quickly than IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE, AS ANTHROPOLOGISTS even the hardest-working monks could produce a single copy. have long known, that spoken communication preceded writ Thanks to Gutenberg, writing became cheaper and more ing. If one of our remote ancestors needed to alert a colleague to widely available; the only limitations on the spread of books the presence of a large, hungry bear, a quick spoken message and and pamphlets were factors such as transportation infrastrucsome gestures would have been much more effective, evolutiontures. It may not be possible to exaggerate the impact of the arily, than even the most elegantly crafted letter. Even surrounded as we are today by easily accessible and highly printing press. It spurred an uneven yet steady rise in literacy reliable writing technologies, spoken communication maintains an and played a role in most of the significant historical events that followed. It also affected economic and political history in immediacy and impact that we value in many circumstances. ways that endure today. But there is no denying the vast impact that the invention of This is not meant to belittle the spoken word, which has, of writing has had on the course of human history. Indeed, writing course, benefited from its own modern inventions, including the is often held to mark the beginning of history, because the permatelephone, radio, and television, to name a few. But so much of nence of written communication facilitates the easy and accurate what we do each day—in our work and our personal lives—grew transmission of knowledge over generations. (In the 19th century, from, and depends upon, the widespread use of written language. the invention of sound recording technologies allowed for the pres It is interesting to note also that the printing press didn’t eliminate ervation of previously ephemeral oral communication.) handwriting; if anything, creating written documents in the old Writing, of course, has come a very long way since it first fashioned manner—by putting pen to paper— appeared in Mesopotamia around 4000 flourished post-Gutenberg. The typewriter further BCE. Then it was highly labor-intensive, diminished the necessity of handwritten business made up of impressions of styluses on and professional documents, but until recently, clay (which would harden); later came On blogs and wikis, the line handwriting remained the most common mode of the invention of papyrus and, ultimately, between writer and reader can personal communication. We still teach penmanpaper—not to mention constant ship in U.S. primary schools, and the ability to improvements in ink technologies. But blur as the text undergoes write cursively is, at least for now, still a hallmark until the breakthrough year of 1450, of literacy. when Johannes Gutenberg invented the a continual process of As we look more closely at the present, printing press, writing remained a largely authorship changes and though, we see that the character and practice of mysterious craft, inaccessible to the overwritten communication are evolving, and once whelming majority of the population, content development. again, technology is driving those changes. which was illiterate. Gutenberg’s press signaled a departure Documents remain permaPRESENT from the ages when the few people who nent in the digital era, WE ARE NOW A GOOD 20 YEARS INTO could read and write were kept busy—by the communication technology revolution the pharaohs and kings—recording ecobut the text of a document whose impact may dwarf even the invention of nomic and governmental records. In the the printing press. Greco-Roman and ancient Chinese periis much more fluid than E-mail and the Internet have already broken ods, and during the Middle Ages, writing it had been in the past. down many of the temporal and spatial conand reading was once the exclusive provstraints on written communication, and mobile ince of a small elite, but that all changed




2B or Ø 2B devices have, for the first time in history, made written communication ubiquitous and instantaneous. It’s no longer necessary to wait for a book or other physical document to travel from one place to another; a message’s creator can transmit it to the recipient almost as quickly in writing as he or she can using spoken language. Further, digital written messages enjoy the same permanence as traditional writing, and promise similar longevity. The printing press launched a tremendous linear increase in the scope and impact of written communication, but digital technology has ushered in a truly exponential increase in scope. Digital technologies have also made their mark on the nature of text itself. When a traditional book or document was printed, it was finished. The writer decided, at some point, to stop writ-

ing, the document was printed, and then it arrived in the reader’s hands. That created a unidirectional relationship between writer and reader. The reader could respond to the writer, and the writer could in turn revise the original document, to be sure, but that was a long and laborious process. And, there was a clear distinction between reader and writer. The relationship between writer and reader today is much more multidirectional. An author of a blog post, online newspaper or magazine article, or e-book can alter the original text instantly and with little difficulty. On blogs and wikis, the line between writer and reader can blur as the text undergoes a continual process of authorship changes and content development. Documents remain permanent in the digital era, but the text of a document is much more fluid than it had been in the past. In that fluid environment, technology is shaping language itself. We are seeing a clear move toward a “substance-over-style” approach to language usage; people are increasingly more interested in intelligibility than elegance. This has led, among other things, to a less stringent observance of the rules of grammar, syntax, and even spelling. Old-school types, who cringe at the use of there as a possessive pronoun or ’s as a pluralizing noun suffix, seem to be declining in number and influence. There is a kind of linguistic “Principle of Least Effort” at work in technology-mediated communication. Even though writing is cheaper and easier than ever before, people are trying to fit the maximum amount of information into the minimum amount of language. Hence the popularity of “textspeak” or “chat-speak,” with its increasingly common shorthand notations such as “brb” (be right back), “lol” (laughing out loud), “what did u have 4 dinner,” and so on. The creators of messages are increasingly relying on the recipients’ shared knowledge to fill in whatever missing information is necessary in order to achieve comprehension. Cursive or script also seems to be declining in usage, perhaps because there is so little need for it now. At a typical meeting, more than half of my colleagues take notes using an iPad or similar device. Many people can go through an entire business day without writing anything by hand. Why is this happening? One factor may be the sheer amount of written communication that digital technologies have enabled. Almost anyone can produce thousands of written words each day, and those words can be stored somewhere in cyberspace and publicly accessed. So it is no surprise that our cognitive landscapes are far more crowded with text than ever before. This may push us to economize wherever possible, especially in our time. Handwriting takes longer for most people than typing, and “brb” conveys the same information in three key strokes that “I’ll be right back” does in 18. Little savings like WWW.UMUC.EDU | 27 | ACHIEVER

One of the likeliest outcomes may well be the convergence of spoken and written words, as future versions of voice-recognition technology make it possible to continuously and accurately capture and translate spoken words into written words.

that add up over the course of the day, and when magnified over the course of months and years, the savings increase.

FUTURE THE SAFEST—IF NOT ALWAYS MOST ACCURATE— way to speculate about future developments is to assume that current trends will continue in one form or another. As a result, future technological developments may make written communication even easier and more ubiquitous than it is today. One of the likeliest outcomes may well be the convergence of spoken and written words, as future versions of voice-recognition technology make it possible to continuously and accurately capture and translate spoken words into written words. This would eliminate the need not only for handwriting, but also for typing and other manual means of creating written text. If this happens, we will likely see profound and rapid changes to our language. We are likelier to edit and reshape the style and mechanics of our written messages, whereas our spoken utterances tend to be stream-of-consciousness and less grammatically correct. A convergence of the two ways of usage may produce a sort of hybrid language that continues the timesaving trend of substance over style. Coming trends in written language usage are as impossible to predict as are the technological trends themselves. It is doubtful, though, that writing teachers need to panic or mourn the loss of the “good ol’ days” when one would never split an infinitive and always ensured that pronouns agreed in number with their antecedents. Language, whether written or spoken, is a human, cultural phenomenon. As such, it will change—indeed it must change— along with the people who use it and the cultures in which it is used. Written language survived the move from clay tablets to paper to the printing press, and it will survive the transition to digital communication technology, as well. Both the language itself and the technology through which we create and deliver it are tools, and we human beings are justifiably proud of our success as tool users. G ___________________________________________________ Mark L. Parker, formerly associate professor and director of communication studies in UMUC's Undergraduate School, is now chair of the continuing studies department in the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Norwich University in Vermont. ACHIEVER | 28 | UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

I came, I saw... I tweeted? The chair of UMUC’s professional writing courses explores the ways that the digital revolution has changed how we communicate.

BY EDWIN G. SAPP JULIUS CAESAR’S REPORT TO THE ROMAN Senate during his military campaign in Britain (55–54 BCE) in a sense heralded the onset of modern texting. Veni vidi vici (I came; I saw; I conquered) at 14 characters was well within the limits of a Twitter micro-blog post. In 1964, some 2,000 years after Caesar’s iconic declaration, I wrote one of my first business reports in the judge advocate general’s office at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. The report began, “This lieutenant respectfully reports that, . . .” and continued with a detailed, third person exposition and, ultimately, a recommendation. It moved slowly through the review chain, and a letter was attached for a major to sign and dispatch. Finally, it was approved and released for delivery by surface mail three days later. A half-century later, I can review 20 15-page research reports in less than five hours, using spell check, Google (to guard against plagiarism), and hypertext (to ensure that all references cited were actually used). Where is the constancy amid this dramatic change? As the salesman put it in the opening scene of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, “Ya gotta know the territory.” Communication is still all about expectation. The speed, complexity, and completeness of information exchange has changed; the need for clarity, conciseness, consistency, and comprehension has not. Effective and efficient decision-making now happens at the lowest level of connectivity, rather than being reserved for the senior manager. That means that companies now manage by exception. “Soviet Armed Forces are now so well equipped with modern weapons and technology that fundamental changes are taking place in the military art. The number and variety of tasks being planned by commanders, consequently, are tremendously increased,” wrote Lt. Gen. C. Zavision—of the Soviet Armored Forces—in 1971. “The time to gather a complexity of data, analyze it, and react to changes is constantly shortened.”

Because of the volume of data and the instantaneous requirement for transmission, written communication today requires—but often does not receive—much more critical analysis of reality and repercussions. As a favorite Outback Steakhouse coaster states, “And then I hit ‘Reply All...’” Three major changes in the workplace—the cost of doing business, the tools for doing business, and the required speed for doing business—have drastically affected communication today.

COST EMPLOYEES ARE THE most expensive component of production, so their number is constantly being reduced and significant effort is focused on increasing their efficiency (think Six Sigma and lean manufacturing, for example).

TOOLS IN THE 1950s, formal communication often required one or more stenographers with Dictaphones and manual typewriters. Today, one individual—without the support of a secretary—can produce as much as three or more workers a half-century ago. And rather than being delivered by steamer or train, the results can be communicated to an international audience in fractions of a second.

SPEED WITH CAPABILITY, however, comes dependence. We now expect instantaneous responses—even when exchanges cross multiple time zones. In higher education, shorter class sessions are the norm, and questions are submitted—and discussions initiated—by instant message, voicemail, and social media. The workplace has similar expectations, and woe be unto the presenter who fails to adapt to shortened attention spans. A few decades ago, inattentive conference participants might have passed notes; today they can text, order supper, and pay their bills on cell phones and tablets. Expectations have changed across the board. At UMUC, students used to drive to class; today they “commute” from all over the globe via laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Once, they waited in long lines to purchase textbooks from the campus bookstore; now they download them wirelessly. Research that once would have required long visits to the library can now be completed in seconds through

the library’s online holdings. And interactive language labs answer grammar questions via chat rooms, while technical support from the Writing Center is available online as part of any given course. Changes in the workplace are equally pervasive. Just 25 years ago, computers were a rarity; today, a working knowledge of electronic text and data movement is a fundamental requirement of almost every employee in the United States. The printed résumé is fast being replaced by the electronic version, and some firms ask for Twitter presentations of 140 characters or fewer. Today’s twin axioms are simple: “No one has time to write; no one has time to read.” Communication patterns have adapted. A half-century ago, one was expected to build the case, then deliver the request— in the third person and often in the subjunctive mood. Today, the “bottom line” precedes the rationale. So, how has this move from paper-based, written communication affected the flow of communication in an organization? In four ways:

1. Typically, the final product is produced at the lowest possible point in an organization, with minimal or no review until after publication (this is commonly known as management by exception). 2. Written communication has been shortened by Six Sigma and lean manufacturing concepts to deliver the complete message with the barest minimum of words and in the shortest span of time. 3. Organizations have now developed standards of assump-

tions and expectations; compliance with these guidelines is intended to assure effective communication (for example, by standardizing abbreviations and acronyms). Deviations cause a “disruption in the force” that can result in confu- sion and frustration.

4. In too many cases, contemplative analysis has been replaced

by pro-forma patterns that may not deliver the same in-depth detail of past communications efforts but feed the illusion that speed generates the most efficient exchange of required information.

Ultimately, communication serves the communicator, and if the trend toward minimalistic messaging proves to starve an organization and stunt its supportable growth, the pendulum will eventually swing the other way. Until then, this author—who still owns an Underwood upright typewriter and an Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary—is content to wait. G


The Adult Learner Dynamic For UMUC students—who often juggle jobs, military careers, and family responsibilities—finding time to sleep can be the biggest challenge of all. BY MENACHEM WECKER


Priorities and balance are two things that UMUC students and alumni—who are often most remarkable in their diversity—are sure to have in common. Mayra Renderos, 27, who transferred to UMUC from Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, doesn’t pretend that it was easy to go to class four nights a week while raising her one-year-old son as a single mom. “When kids get sick, you have to be there 24/7,” says Renderos, a success manager at the real estate company RE/MAX, who earned a bachelor’s degree from UMUC in business administration. “You don’t get the amount of sleep that you need.”


ROBB WILMOT—FATHER OF FOUR—WAS AT A camp out for the Boy Scout troop he leads when he started chatting with several other fathers. Someone mentioned University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and to Wilmot’s surprise, he learned that he and another father had both been part of UMUC’s 2009 commencement ceremony. The coincidences didn’t end there. Both had received the same degree—a Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies—and two other dads held graduate degrees from the university, while a third was just beginning his MBA. “We ended up establishing a study relationship,” said Wilmot, who earned a Master of Distance Education and E-Learning from UMUC in 2011 and added an MBA in 2013. Now he is preparing to pursue a PhD while serving as a student representative on the Maryland Higher Education Commission. When asked if he gets any sleep, Wilmot, 49—the training manager for judicial information systems at Maryland’s Administrative Office of the Courts—couldn’t help but laugh. He runs a business on the side,, and he and his fellow students often get asked whether they find time to rest. “We all burn the candle at both ends when something is important to us,” he said. “It would be great if days were 36 hours [long].” But even given another 12 hours in a day, not many could match Wilmot’s productivity. An “unplanned benefit” of his studies, Wilmot said, is that his children get to see him doing schoolwork and juggling responsibilities as part of everyday life. “When you’re a kid and your parents are telling you that you’re going to go to college, I don’t think the kids always know what that means,” he said. “My kids are seeing me do it. They see me with my books. They see me doing my homework. They see me sometimes say, ‘Okay, I can’t go to the party next door, because I have a paper that’s due.’ So they’re learning major lessons about priorities and how to balance.”


But just because she isn’t completely sure how she managed it doesn’t mean that Renderos wouldn’t advise others to try. “It is better to [go to college] right after high school when you don’t have as many responsibilities, but just because you have a family doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school,” she said. She was seeking flexibility when she applied to UMUC, but Renderos admits she worried about the online classes, which she thought would involve a great deal of self-instruction. “I am more of a visual learner,” she said. Most of the courses she took were face-to-face classes at UMUC’s Shady Grove or College Park locations, but when she tried online classes, she found that there was plenty of instruction. “They were much better than I thought,” she said. Classroom diversity, where students often range in age from 18 to 65 or older, can make for intimidating interactions with older and more experienced classmates. But Renderos wasn’t fazed. “I don’t see it as a big deal,” she said, noting that most of her close friends are people she met at UMUC. “We call ourselves the United Nations, because we are all from different nationalities.” Wilmot, who sat in education management courses with classmates who were professors at other schools, agreed. “It was extremely intimidating to break into small group activities, where you’ve got a couple of people in your group who already have PhDs, and here you are just trying to get your first master’s degree,” he said. That pressure quickly wore off, though, as everyone struggled with acquiring new knowledge. “Sometimes it’s difficult to teach the old dog new tricks,” he said. Monica Causey, 38, an information systems technician senior chief in the U.S. Navy stationed in Norfolk, Virginia—and a single mother of two—also knows quite a bit about academic juggling. She says going back to school is very demanding and rewarding. “I focused on wanting to be a great example for my boys,” said Causey, who earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in August 2013. Causey’s advice to those who are thinking about going back to school is to manage time efficiently and be disciplined. “Every day, I did a little bit of something. Every day, I found a way to incorporate at least an hour toward my schoolwork,” she said. Just because online education offers flexibility doesn’t mean that it is easy, she warned. “The misconception is that if you go to school online that it’s easy. The reality is it’s convenient. And that, I think, is what they’re mistaking,” said Causey. “Of course we have deadlines, but . . . you don’t have to allot those particular times each day.”

Clockwise from top right: Monica Causey, Tammy Borkowski, Mayra Renderos, and Robb Wilmott.

Tammy Borkowski, chief of the Information Systems Division at the National Ocean Service’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services in Silver Spring, Maryland, has juggled many deadlines herself— between her work, the UMUC Doctor of Management program she completed in 2012, and the classes she taught at the university as an adjunct professor for two years. She also holds two graduate degrees— an MBA and an MS in Systems Management—from Florida Institute of Technology, along with a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park. And Borkowski, 50, still doesn’t know how some of her classmates managed. “Luckily, I don’t have children,” she said. “I don’t know how the folks do it who have kids, especially young kids.” Borkowski only realized how much time she’d been devoting to her doctorate—which included a 300-page dissertation—once she had finished. An avid gym-goer, she now goes five times a week, whereas she had only been able to go a couple of times a week while she was a student. At the National Ocean Service, she manages 32 information technology specialists, and her office runs more than 50 Web applications that present operational oceanographic data to the


Supporting the Troops

Diane Denby (left) with student Hannah Ranuin.

DIANA DENBY IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL ON THE U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr military base, which is located about 60 miles northeast of Nuernberg in the German state of Bavaria. Denby, a UMUC field representative serving the active-duty military personnel and spouses living on the base, often gets cornered in the garrison’s grocery store on weekends. Once a week during lunch, she sets up a marketing and information table near the base kiosk, and residents who recognize her stop her all the time to ask questions about upcoming classes or other administrative issues. “Being out there in the community is really important,” said Denby, a Texas native who moved to Germany to work for UMUC two years ago. Denby estimates she is one of about 50 field reps in Germany, and she describes her job as a bit of everything. She and her colleagues help civilian and military students apply to school, map out degree plans, order textbooks, and schedule classes. “It’s kind of a lot of everything,” she said. “Every day is different.” public—largely marine pilots bringing large cargo ships to port. The 11 terabytes of real-time data that the office collects provide information on water levels on the West Coast every minute and support the National Weather Service’s tsunami program. The collaborative skills that Borkowski developed and honed while working with her doctoral cohort have served her well in the workplace, where she has introduced an open collaboration framework policy, where “there is no stupid question” and rather than jumping to a solution right away, everyone’s opinions are voiced and discussed. ACHIEVER | 32 | UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE


She is also responsible for a variety of traditional and newer media marketing efforts, from maintaining a UMUC Bavaria Facebook page to dropping off flyers at local post offices and libraries. Twice a month, she discusses what is going on at the base’s Education Center and shares academic information and tips with DJs in between songs on AFN (American Forces Network) Radio, a local English-language station that reaches more than 10,000 people. “It was definitely nerve-wracking the first couple of times,” says Denby, who had no prior broadcast experience. But military radio is a great avenue for getting the UMUC name out, she said, and she has started getting used to not being able to hear herself on the air, since she doesn’t wear headphones. “It’s a lot of fun actually,” she said. For students in Germany, having a UMUC presence on the ground helps in a variety of ways, providing assistance with financial aid, answering scheduling questions, and offering the opportunity for current and prospective students to meet in person with reps like Denby. When students have a technical question that exceeds field reps’ expertise, they check with colleagues at the UMUC Europe headquarters, then report back to the student. “They really like the fact that they can come in and talk to us,” Denby said. “We’ve had a lot of students who may [have been] . . . doing online classes at a different university, and they ended up switching to UMUC because of that face-toface [interaction], and the offices here.” Three other schools have presences on the bases—Central Texas College, University of Oklahoma, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Denby says, but they each offer different programs and do not compete. And while the other schools offer either undergraduate or graduate programs, UMUC has both. “We definitely are the busiest,” she said. For Denby, who does not come from a military background, getting to help active duty military students represents a “great opportunity.” “It’s really rewarding working with the military community,” she said. “What we offer is so great.” G For Borkowski, Causey, Renderos, and Wilmot—as well as their tens of thousands of colleagues studying at UMUC—the flexibility of the UMUC curriculum has helped them juggle a staggering number of responsibilities and maximize their chances of success at just about anything—except, perhaps, regular sleep. School wasn’t easy for them by any means, but given their drive and focus, neither was it impossible. Wilmot may have summed it up best. “I wanted the credentials to go along with the experience that I had,” he said. G

Learning Under Fire Every year, thousands of UMUC military students study where the combat zone and the classroom meet. This is one man’s story.

BY U.S. ARMY SPECIALIST JOSE VALLEJO MY EXPERIENCE AS A COLLEGE STUDENT HAS BEEN a little different from most others. My name is Specialist Jose Vallejo, and I am 25 years old. I was born in Azogues, Ecuador. My family moved to New York City when I was five. On September 11, 2001, I was a freshman at Aviation High School, on Long Island; I remember looking out the window and seeing the World Trade Center on fire. I did not know what was happening, but that night I learned the details of the event. I knew then that one day I would like to serve my country. After I graduated from high school in 2005, we moved to upstate New York, where I continued my education at Fulton Montgomery Community College. I was interested in becoming a law enforcement officer, but I wasn’t able to finance my studies, and I had to seek out a sponsor. I finally met a real estate broker who was willing to sponsor me and who offered me a job as a real estate agent. By 2008, though, the market was not doing well, and I did not have a way to continue financing my education. I decided to look into joining the military, and I spoke with recruiters from the different branches. I determined that the U.S. Army was my best choice, and in November 2009 I traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia, for my Infantry One Station Unit Training. I graduated the course and volunteered for Airborne School. Upon graduation, I reported to my first duty station in Fort Knox, Kentucky. I arrived at the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division headquarters and learned that my unit was deploying to Afghanistan in December 2010. I assumed that with the preparation and training for the deployment I would have no time to continue my education. In January 2011, I arrived at Forward Operating Base Salerno, also known as “Rocket City” because of the amount of incoming indirect fire the base received on a weekly basis. To my surprise, we were advised that opportunities for further education were actually available on-site through the University of Maryland University College European branch! Once I settled in, I visited the Education Center on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and met the UMUC Europe field representative and the GoArmyEd counselor who immediately asked me how they could help. I shared my goals and they offered a plan of action I could pursue.

One of my goals was to earn a degree in business and management from UMUC Europe. The other was to raise my General Technical (GT) score so I could qualify to attend the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course. The field representatives and counselors did everything in their power to assist with my plan. I was never alone in the process and they always made themselves available. They suggested I take on-site college classes to help improve my GT score and also work toward my degree goal. I attended on-site classes provided by UMUC Europe and clearly remember the days when we were disrupted by indirect enemy fire. During those times, we immediately had to stop class and follow protocol by running to a bunker, where we would continue the subject,

U.S. Army Specialist Jose Vallejo (right) shakes hands with then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

because we still had deadlines for assignments and tests due as part of the courses. Regardless of the dangers to which we were exposed, we continued to pursue our goals. And yes, some of my courses were actually held in bunkers so we could continue to learn while under fire. It was not easy to stay focused on missions, study for exams, or write papers while continuously conducting missions, but it did help keep my mind off of home life and missing my family. I arrived at that education center with a GT score of 95 and 14 college credits; I left with a GT score of 112 and an additional 12 credits. Today, I have 54 credits from UMUC Europe and a grade-point average anyone could be proud of. Thanks to my professors and field representatives—and my own success—I was able to volunteer for U.S. Army Ranger School. I graduated the course in January 2013, and I am now a sergeant promotable in the U.S. Army serving as an Airborne Ranger, currently stationed in Vicenza, Italy, with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Unit. I continue to visit UMUC Europe at my local Education Center and pursue my dream of earning a bachelor’s degree. I am also preparing to attend the SFAS course so that I can earn my Green Beret—and become part of the “best within the best.” G



James Backus, who teaches in the political science program in The Undergraduate School, was selected to lead a new office—Policy, Governance, and Standards—in the Office of Training, Education, and Development at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Abby Bardi, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, presented a paper, entitled “Creative Writing and the Twenty-First Century Workplace,” at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, in Boston, Massachusetts, in May 2013. Joan Bevalaqua, who teaches in the graphic communications and art program in The Undergraduate School, displayed work in the group exhibition “Nature/Nurture,” September 3–17, 2013, at the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. Irena Bojanova, collegiate professor and program director for telecommunications management in The Graduate School, received the prestigious 2013 University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents Faculty Award.

Rosemary Hartigan, associate chair of the Business and Executive Programs in The Graduate School, and a collegiate professor and director in the One-Year MBA Program, received the Outstanding Faculty Service award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) at the UPCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Annual Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, October 10, 2012. Rick Kemp, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, recently published, Red Sun in Morning: A Novel (Constant Reader Press, 2012). Anthony W. Lee, academic program director for English in The Undergraduate School, presented, “‘We Make the Music Which We Imagine Ourselves to Hear’: Milton, Pope, Shakespeare, and the Politics of Intertextuality in Johnson’s Dictionary and Rambler,” at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 2013.

Yan Cooksey, Datta Kaur Khalsa,

Jay Liebowitz, Orkand Chair in Management and Technology in The Graduate School, presented “Some Thoughts on KM Metrics” at the International Conference on Knowledge Management, November 1, 2013, in Montreal, Canada. He gave an invited talk at the Ministry of Education for the Government of Bermuda on November 15, 2013; received a Fulbright Specialist Award at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada; and gave an invited talk at the United Nations in New York on December 6, 2013.

Rana Khan, and Kathryn Klose, of The Graduate School, collaborated in publishing “Assessing Graduate Student Learning in Four Competencies: Use of a Common Assignment and a Combined Rubric,” in the winter 2012 issue of Research and Practice in Assessment.

Christopher Nank, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, published, “Alas, Babylon and Florida’s Deep South Heritage” in the 2013 issue of the Journal of Florida Literature (vol. XXI).

Joseph Cassar, who teaches in the graphic communications and art program in The Undergraduate School, had a solo show, “Joseph Cassar/Works on Paper,” October 20– November 22, 2013, at the Gallery at Scott Center at Carroll Community College.

Maryann DiEdwardo, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, presented, “Writing as a Learning Community to Promote Student Authentic Assessment and Transformation,” at the Annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching, in Bethesda, Maryland, May 30–June 2, 2013.

Charles Newman, of The Graduate School, has been invited to serve on the editorial board of the International Journal of Management and Marketing.

Robert Ouellette, program director for e-commerce and project management in The Graduate School, was invited to participate


in the USM Environmental Summit in February 2014.

Richard Schumaker, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, presented a seminar paper, “Occupying Rome in Jacobean London and the 21st-Century Theater, Film, and Capitalism,” at the Northeast Modern Language Convention, in Boston, Massachusetts, March 2013. At the same convention, he served as co-facilitator (with Lisa Bernstein) of the seminar entitled, “Representations of Shanghai: Film and Fiction.” Additionally, he presented, “Shanghai Between East and West: In Search of a Comparative Method for Our Own Time,” at the International Comparative Literature Association XXth Congress, July 18–24, 2013, at the University of Paris IV– Sorbonne. (The essay on which the presentation was based was placed in the conference proceedings.) Schumaker also wrote and facilitated the inaugural 2013–14 Webinar, entitled “Creative Approaches to Hybrid Teaching,” for the Maryland Distance Learning Association in October 2013, and presented, “Teaching Military Learners in a Global Context: A Case Study in Institutional Innovation,” at the 19th Annual Sloan-C International Conference in Orlando, Florida, on November 21, 2013.

Stefan Sittig, who teaches in the English and humanities program in The Undergraduate School, served as a judge for the Third Annual Monologue Madness DC acting competition. He recently choreographed Flora the Red Menace for 1st Stage, in McLean, Virginia, and A Chorus Line for the Arlington Players, in Arlington, Virginia.

Lauren Small, adjunct associate professor of creative writing in The Undergraduate School, presented at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies in St. Louis, Missouri, as part of the session entitled, “History, Memory, Legacy: The Sand Creek Massacre at 150.” She spoke about her novel, Choke Creek (Bridle Path Press, 2009), which is based on the Sand Creek Massacre and has been taught in English and U.S. history classes in high schools around the nation. G

Dr. Evelyn Bata: Personal and Professional BY ROBERT LUDWIG

Professor Bata is my role model, as she has the ability to stay in touch with current issues and problems that affect us in our world. She went with the Red Cross to counsel the people who had lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. She shared those experiences in class as a learning situation, and you could see how it changed her as well.”


THE MOMENT HURRICANE KATRINA HIT NEW ORLEANS IN 2005, Evelyn Bata knew where she needed to be. A UMUC collegiate professor and trained clinical counselor, Bata was teaching a psychology course at the time and immediately requested a two-week leave of absence. She traveled to the devastated city to serve as a volunteer grief counselor, helping people deal with loss and overwhelming adversity. The experience was an inspiring lesson for Bata herself, as she witnessed firsthand the ability of people to cope with an array of emotions in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Bata encourages this same commitment to real-world experience in the courses she teaches at UMUC. As part of a Psychology of Aging class, her students “adopt” an older person for the semester. It drives them to “get out into the world and experience what they are learning,” Bata said. Her motives for the assignment are twofold—she wants students to learn the subject matter, and she also wants them to learn something about themselves. Bata is passionate about education. She holds two master’s degrees and two doctorates—in counseling, education, psychology, and gerontology—and in 2005 won the Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award, UMUC’s highest faculty honor. One student who nominated Bata for the Drazek award said, “Professor Bata is my role model, as she has the ability to stay in touch with current issues and problems that affect us in our world. She went with the Red Cross to counsel the people who had lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. She shared those experiences in class as a learning situation, and you could see how it changed her as well.” Bata believes that her own sincerity and her background in counseling help her get the most from her students. They can sense that she truly wants them to learn and succeed and also that she cares for them and seeks to understand them on a personal level. Bata’s commitment to teaching and learning doesn’t end in the classroom. She serves on UMUC’s Board of Visitors and has made generous philanthropic gifts to the university, all geared toward helping students succeed. One student who was experiencing trying personal circumstances traveled more than 1,000 miles to thank her personally after Bata intervened to help keep the student on track and ultimately to graduate. In 2009, Bata pledged $250,000 over three years in a partnership with Montgomery College, providing graduates of the community college with generous scholarship and advising support to assist them in transitioning to and completing a four-year degree program at UMUC. Said UMUC President Javier Miyares, “Evelyn Bata is a true scholar, a respected member of the professional community, and a gifted teacher who goes the extra mile to ensure that her students learn and grow, both personally and professionally. We are fortunate to have her as part of the UMUC family and deeply grateful for her contributions.” G



Richard Winkler ’71

James A. Ryan ’77

La Plata, Maryland, was named chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO). He retired as director of fiscal services and CFO for Charles County, Maryland, government after 27 years of service and currently serves as secretary-treasurer on the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center (formerly Civista).

Chandler, Arizona, was named by Quarles & Brady LLP as one of the Best Lawyers in America 2014. His law concentration is bet-thecompany litigation, commercial litigation, and tax law. He practices in Arizona.

Jonathan L. Bernstein ’77 Sierra Madre, California, is a U.S. Army veteran and the president of Bernstein Crisis Management Inc. Early in his career, he spent a year work-

ADJUNCT FACULTY Join a faculty committed to student success at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). You’ll be helping our mature, motivated students become tomorrow’s leaders, while enjoying a teaching career that fits your professional life and offers advantages that include • The extensive information and library resources of the University System of Maryland • The opportunity to develop, implement and guide innovative classroom learning • Comprehensive training and support • Access to many state of Maryland benefits, such as medical, prescription and dental plans

ing for investigative reporter and columnist Jack Anderson, then moved into the public relations field, serving as the first director of the Crisis Communications Group for the prominent international public relations agency Ruder Finn Inc. He is the author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management (McGraw-Hill, 2011).

Jacqueline P. Walker ’94 Bowie, Maryland, wrote and published an inspirational book of poems entitled, Mothers, Sisters,


Part-time positions are available in accounting, cybersecurity, finance, forensics, international business, IT-related disciplines and more. UMUC—An Equal Opportunity Employer.

To learn more and apply, Copyright © 2012 University of Maryland University College


visit facultyrecruit


One of the most colorful chapters in UMUC’s history began in October 1950, when the “Munich Daytime Program of the University of Maryland”—later renamed the Munich Branch and then the Munich Campus—opened in Germany with five faculty members and 44 students. Alumni of the residential campus are famously loyal, and on October 4, 2013, UMUC welcomed more than 50 Munich Campus alumni at a special reunion at the university’s Adelphi, Maryland, headquarters.

Though the university’s residential programs would eventually close in 2005, as troop drawdowns in Europe reduced the number of Americans stationed overseas, the memories and friendships forged there remain as strong as ever. “One of our goals,” said UMUC President Javier Miyares, in welcoming the Munich Campus alumni, “is to develop for our online students the magic that each of you experienced at the Munich Campus: the camaraderie, the sense of belonging, and the thrill of learning that combined to forge lifelong friendships—the friendships that brought you back here today.” G

Friends (CreateSpace, 2012). The book is available for sale from and

sports-talk radio station in the Baltimore– Washington area.

Gary Wheeler ’03

Denver, Colorado, was recently appointed vice president of nursing by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). She has 30 years of perioperative nursing leadership experience in hospital and outpatient settings, most recently as director of perioperative services at Jackson Hospital and Clinics in Montgomery, Alabama, where she managed more than 140 employees and was accountable for a $25 million budget.

Atlanta, Georgia, is the founder and owner of The Virtual HR Director, LLC, an organization that delivers strategic and tactical human resources solutions at affordable rates for small and midsize organizations. In March 2013 he was featured on Atlanta Business Radio to discuss his company. Wheeler is a 24-year veteran of United Parcel Service (UPS), where he held various assignments in operations, industrial engineering, and human resources.

Adam Bradley ’08 Frederick, Maryland, created the Internet radio network, which showcases their flagship program, “The Ball Hogs.” The show is now considered the largest Internet

Deborah Cooksey ‘08

Paula R. Pitcher ’12 Boston, Massachusetts, was recently named vice president of Enrollment Management, Research and Planning at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, Massachusetts. Prior to that appointment, she served as assistant

dean of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, New Jersey.

John P. Evans ’12 Gaithersburg, Maryland, is running for public office, seeking to represent Maryland’s 14th District in the Maryland House of Delegates. A graduate of Montgomery College, Evans earned his bachelor’s degree from UMUC in computer science. He is facing three incumbents but has started a grassroots campaign on Twitter and Facebook to raise public awareness about his bid for office, which emphasizes protecting civil rights, increasing government transparency, and pushing for greater public involvement in decision making. “I am not looking for an easy way,” Evans told a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel. “I could have gone to a different district and moved there and gone somewhere where it could have been easier, but I feel like I



want to support my hometown and support my area. I am going to do whatever I can to get in.”

Douglas C. Kruse ’13 Anaheim, California, who earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental management from UMUC, made headlines when he marched in the stateside commencement ceremony at the age of 77—the university’s oldest graduate of 2013. Kruse first enrolled at University of Maryland, College Park, in 1954, but after he was injured in a car accident, he was forced to withdraw. He went on to a successful career as an entrepreneur,

growing a business that branched into building race cars and aluminum sheet metal parts for racing aircraft. Nonetheless, he wanted to return to school and complete a degree. “If you have the time to do it, it is very worthwhile,” he told a reporter for the Associated Press. “The longer you’ve been out of school, the more you’ll enjoy it. . . . It will get you the results that you’re looking for, and you’ll be a better person for it.”

Gurpreet Singh Sarin ’13 North Potomac, Maryland, who earned his degree in computer and information science from

UMUC, was one of the most-recognized and recognizable participants in the university’s stateside commencement ceremony, thanks to his yellow turban—and his earlier appearance on American Idol, where his “husky tenor” propelled him to a top-40 finish. Sarin—the first Sikh contestant in American Idol’s 12-year history—was promptly dubbed “The Turbanator,” by Idol judge Nicki Minaj. He quickly gained in popularity, thanks to his vocal talent, his engaging personality, and his unofficial status as “an ambassador for Sikhs.” He hopes to build on his Idol fame by releasing an album soon. G


Being deaf and growing up in Nigeria, I always knew I wanted and needed an education. But, education is not cheap. It is an honor to be educated at a prestigious institution like University of Maryland University College, where my education was made affordable and accessible. I want to thank the donors who helped make my American Dream come true.

KUDIRATU USMAN (shown above) UMUC Graduate Student National Taxpayer Advocate, Internal Revenue Service

Copyright © 2013 University of Maryland University College


These words serve as a reminder of the tremendous impact scholarships have on those attending UMUC. Donor support has allowed the university to offer its diverse student population more scholarships than ever. Scholarship funding helps community college students complete four-year degrees, allows sons and daughters to become the first in their families to attain higher education, and encourages military spouses and dependents to finish their education. Support students like Kudiratu and help tomorrow’s leaders achieve their educational goals. Invest in the future today.

Call Cathy Sweet, vice president, Institutional Advancement, at 301-985-7110 or visit

NEWS Historic Kalb Report Reprises the Events of August 28, 1963 continued from page 7 feet from King as he spoke. In a wide-ranging discussion, the panelists explored the impact of what happened that day, the role of the news media in shaping the national debate on the civil rights movement, and the value of education in producing both the leaders of the movement and the new generation of black leaders. Young and Bond said that many in the civil rights movement thought the March on Washington was a distraction from the real work happening in the cities and the sharecropper shacks in the South. “But when the buses started coming in, singing freedom songs from all directions, you couldn’t hold back the tears,” Young said. In a city where legislation moves slowly, so much happened after the March on Washington—the Civil Rights Act passed in 1963 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965— that it must have been a pivotal moment, Gilliam said. Before King could transform the world, he had to be transformed himself, Wilson said, and pointed to the role that education played in that transformation. When King entered Morehouse, he could read only on an eighth-grade level. When he left, he was ready to enter a PhD program. This edition also launched the 20th season of The Kalb Report, which now is produced by UMUC and the National Press Club and is broadcast nationwide on public television stations and by Sirius-XM Satellite Radio. This edition also aired live on C-SPAN and was broadcast by the CBS Radio Network. The executive producer of the series is UMUC Senior Vice President of Communications Michael Freedman, former general manager of CBS Radio Network.

Kalb Report host Marvin Kalb with Dorothy Gilliam, the first female African American reporter hired by the Washington Post.

The Kalb Report is a joint project of the Press Club, University of Maryland University College, the George Washington University, and Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy. It is underwritten by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. G

NEWS UMUC Welcomes Back Its “Academic Foreign Legion” continued from page 6 For Paula Harbecke, the sense of adventure started on the night train from Frankfurt, through communist East Germany to arrive at daybreak in West Berlin for her first teaching assignment in 1980. “I can recall indeed my very first time getting off the train with my suitcases,” she said. “You’re going to be here for at least the next eight weeks and you have to find a place to live.” Harbecke, who went on to lead both the Asian and European divisions in her UMUC career, had the job of filling holes in teaching assignments with traveling UMUC professors. She would whisk professors from Iceland to Okinawa or set up a new program in Singapore after Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines and destroyed American bases there. “I can remember after the eruption . . . ,” she said, “getting a call from a servicemember who was stationed at Clark Air Force Base, asking, ‘Are we going to have classes tonight?’” With the advent of online education in the early 1990s, Harbecke had the opportunity to start something unique—classes in Antarctica.

The UMUC program in Christchurch, New Zealand, created classes for a couple of military students who were supporting the research in Antarctica. “We just claimed the continent,” she said proudly. For Hugo Keesling, the sense of adventure started with his teaching assignment as an antiwar psychology professor at the Phan Rang Air Force Base in the middle of Vietnam. “In my own mind, I was not going to Vietnam,” he said. “I was going somewhere in the California desert where a war movie was being filmed. So all of the helicopters and all of the soldiers were just extras in a film. I was there, and I just happened to be teaching. “That worked for about six weeks,” he said. “Then on one Sunday morning we had a series of rockets come in, one near the trailer where I was staying. I finally realized this was not a game, this was not a movie. This was war. The incoming did not distinguish between military and civilians.” Massey himself started as a psychology professor sent to Germany at a moment’s notice in 1960 to replace another faculty member. His early teaching assignments, each eight weeks long, took him all over Germany, France, and England, even as the Cold War was heating up with the construction of the Berlin Wall. But the high point of his career, he said, was the groundbreaking work UMUC did with online education. “We developed one of the earliest online programs and developed the software program that we used for a number of years . . . ,” he said. “There was no existing master’s program by a reputable university. We began the first one and later on [added] doctoral programs.” That dedication to both the U.S. military and to innovative education developed during the Cold War has positioned UMUC for the challenges higher education faces today, Miyares said. Between 1990 and 2012, overseas enrollments decreased by half while stateside enrollments nearly tripled, he said. With more than 90,000 worldwide taking more than 260,000 classes, UMUC is the largest online public university in the United States today. “Let that sink in,” Miyares said. “The university you helped build has become the largest online public university in the country.” G



Stay Connected by Joining the Alumni Association! Membership is FREE and open to all UMUC graduates. Joining allows you to stay connected with fellow alumni and faculty through volunteer service, social interaction, special events, and philanthropy. As a member, you also have access to a wide range of programs and resources that you’ll find useful in both your professional and personal life.

As a proud UMUC alumna, I believe that all alumni have an obligation to foster a spirit of loyalty to and pride in their alma mater by taking an active role in supporting UMUC’s mission to set an unsurpassed standard of excellence in adult education . . . . I joined the Alumni Association because I want to stay connected with fellow alumni, participate in social and networking events, volunteer, and give back to the institution that helped me achieve the personal and professional goal of obtaining my undergraduate degree.

—Elethia S. Singletary ’13

Join TODAY by visiting




The UMUC Alumni Association is proud to present two of their newest LinkedIn Groups: UMUC Alumni Association MBA Network and the UMUC Alumni Association Military Network. These groups allow you to reconnect with your fellow MBA cohorts or military classmates. These two new networks are in addition to existing networks for information technology, human resource management, and cybersecurity graduates.


To join either or both of these groups and stay connected with other UMUC MBA graduates and military personnel, scan the QR code or visit the main University of Maryland University College Alumni page on LinkedIn.

ALUMNI CAREER CONNECTION The UMUC Offices of Career Services and Alumni Relations are pleased to announce the launch of the Alumni Career Connection, an online mentoring program connecting current students with UMUC alumni. This new program is looking for alumni to serve as career mentors, offering advice and information to students that will help them with their job search. As a mentor, you get to choose who can contact you and how often. You will also be able to participate in Career Services events and job fairs. If you’re interested in participating, simply log in to your CareerQuest Alumni Career Connection mentor account or create your mentor profile at For more information, contact Career Services at careerservices@ or 240-684-2720.

SAVE THE DATE Mark your calendar for the 24th Annual Alumni Association Meeting and Reception, scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2014, at the Inn and Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland. Not from the area? The Alumni Association has secured a block of rooms at the Inn and Conference Center for the low rate of $99 per night plus tax. Call 800-676-6137 by Friday, May 30, 2014, to take advantage of this special rate.

OptimalResume 2.0 OptimalResume 2.0 is a career management platform brought to you by Career Services. It offers a variety of tools to help you create, present, manage, and share your professional credentials. This online service can help you • Create high-impact, interactive career materials based on your career goals • Present materials (such as your résumé and cover letter) online in a number of formats • Manage an unlimited number of career documents from one location •

SOCIAL MEDIA Be a part of our social communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more.

Share your credentials with your network on your own professional Web page and across social networking sites.

To learn more about how you can make your résumé optimal, create an account at STAY CONNECTED! JOIN TODAY!



3501 University Boulevard East Adelphi, MD 20783-8003 USA 800-888-UMUC (8682) ■


UMUC’s Cyber Padawans Sweep the Maryland Cyber Challenge University of Maryland University College (UMUC) swept both divisions of the Maryland Cyber Challenge, which pitted top cybersecurity teams against one another in collegiate and professional divisions. During the six-hour final round of competition—held October 9, 2013, at the Baltimore Convention Center—teams fought to “capture the flag” by hacking into servers and planting digital signatures, or “flags,” or removing the flags of opposing teams and planting their own. Members of the first-place collegiate team each won a $5,000 scholarship prize, and members of the winning professional team each won a $2,000 prize. The Cyber Padawans continued their winning ways later in the year when they were announced as winners of the undergraduate division of the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center Digital Forensics Challenge.

UMUC Achiever Magazine, Spring 2014  
UMUC Achiever Magazine, Spring 2014  

Read the latest news about University of Maryland University College in Achiever magazine's spring 2014 edition.