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So. MD Higher Ed Center to expand, offer more benefits

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on November 12, 2001:

Senator Dyson One of the most underrated crown jewels in education that we have in our own backyard is the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center. Not enough people know about this 24-acre campus located in California, MD and thatís why Iím pleased to take this time to tell you more about it.

I had the privilege November 1 of joining Governor Glendening and the Center ís Executive Director, Mel Powell, in breaking ground on the SMHECís Second Classroom Building. This 36,410 square foot building will feature 23 new classrooms, expanding the center to 58,410 square feet and 39 total classrooms.

This is just another significant achievement for the SMHEC which was established by the state legislature in 1994. Since opening in 1995, the SMHEC has provided graduate degree programs offered by universities and colleges such as Johns Hopkins, Towson State, Bowie State, the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland University College, the College of Notre Dame of Baltimore, the University of Baltimore, George Washington University and even Central Michigan University.

Since the SMHEC opened, students wishing to advance their careers by earning a graduate degrees had to travel to those colleges and universities at night for 15 or more weeks per semester. This no doubt prevented many who wanted to further their education from doing so because of the time it took to take the class and the long trip back and forth from Southern Maryland. Imagine leaving work, driving an hour or more to College Park, the District or Baltimore, taking a three hour class and driving back. Thatís a five to six hour time commitment, not to mention the loss of quality time away from oneí s family.

Among the Centerís many attributes is the fact that residents of Calvert, St. Maryís and Charles counties can drive a short distance to the SMHEC and get their Masters Degrees in a variety of different fields -- engineering, management and education.

Students can earn engineering degrees such as a Masters in electrical engineering and a bachelor of arts degree in engineering science from Johns Hopkins University. Those interested in getting a Masters degree in management can pursue a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Baltimore for example or a Master of Arts in Management at the College of Notre Dame among many others.

Iím especially pleased that the SMHEC offers so many programs for teachers who want to enhance their education. As we all know, there is a serious teaching shortage so anything that we can do to encourage quality people to enter the education field is welcome. Among the programs offered for teachers at the SMHEC are Masters of Education in Reading and Masters of Arts in teaching from Towson, special education and guidance counseling at Bowie State as well as several others from the different schools that offer programs at the Center.

Class sizes generally average 15 to 20 students which gives instructors plenty of time to give individualized instruction to each pupil.

The Center has drawn more and more students since it opened in 1995. This semester, 647 are enrolled. Classes are three hours a night for 15 weeks.

Employees at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station have especially benefited from the Centerís offerings. Since Pax River is a high tech military facility, it is imperative for its personnel to pursue continuing education in order to keep up with the rapidly developing technological improvements being established at the base.

You do not pay anything additional to take classes at the SMHEC. You only pay the tuition required by the university from which you choose to pursue your degree. The university is not allowed to tack on a SMHEC ďuser-feeĒ to the student. The universities pay the Center to use the facility.

All classes are taught by professors from the participating universities and colleges. So while students are not attending classes at the actual campuses, they do receive their actual diplomas from those schools.

So, if youíve been wanting to pursue your degree of higher learning, but dread putting in a whole dayís work only to turn around and drive a long distance at night for class, the SMHEC offers you a sensible, practical alternative within in an extremely reasonable commute.

For more information, call the Center at (301) 737-2500 or access them on the web at www.smhec.org.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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