LA PLATA, Md. (Dec. 22, 2008)—A partnership of higher education and naval organizations will undertake a program to explore joint education and research efforts and establish four-year aerospace and mechanical engineering bachelor of science degree programs in southern Maryland.
The partnership includes the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC), and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).
The partnership seeks to increase the number of people in southern Maryland prepared to provide advanced engineering skills to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and defense contractors that work with it.
"Increasing the number of highly qualified engineering graduates is important for national security, and our economic and international competitiveness," said University of Maryland President C. D. Mote Jr. "The University is excited to be collaborating with our partners in southern Maryland and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station towards this end. This is the right partnership at the right time."
The new program will entail a multi-year initiative encompassing education and research activities, starting in the fall of 2009.
The educational component of the program will enable qualified College of Southern Maryland students to take University of Maryland engineering classes in three ways: by attending classes televised by the university's Clark School and presented at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center; by attending classes offered by Clark School adjunct faculty at the center; and by attending Clark School classes in College Park on the campus of the University of Maryland.
The research component of the program will address the technical needs of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), including avionics, rotorcraft, air vehicles and unmanned systems, propulsion and power, manufacturing, and human systems. The research will advance the state of knowledge in particular areas of direct interest to the Navy, according to a press release issued by the partnership.
"NAWCAD has world-class engineering facilities. In partnership with these educational institutions, who offer world-class learning experiences, we'll lay the foundation for the future of Naval aviation," said Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, NAWCAD commander.