December 4, 2023

Continue Your Education

Photo by Anssi Koskinen

Posted by the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center
Leading Edge

In collaboration with leaders in government, business, and several of the leading universities in the Maryland-Washington, DC area, the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center has recruited and presented a comprehensive array of graduate academic programs designed to support and enhance a highly-educated workforce in Southern Maryland. Innovative graduate education programs at SMHEC at the master’s and doctoral level respond to the area’s workforce needs in such critical fields as engineering, technology and mathematics education.

The Advisory Committee on Graduate Education and American Competitiveness, comprised of university presidents, corporate leaders and graduate school deans, has released a report titled Graduate Education: The Backbone of American Competitiveness and Innovation that calls for a renewed commitment to American graduate education, recognizing its critical role in enhancing the nation’s economic competitiveness and innovation. The report calls for increased collaboration between government, higher education, and the business community to strengthen U.S. competitiveness and national security through increased support for graduate education in STEM related areas of study.

Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology, and Visiting Professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Advisory Committee, said that committee members were extremely concerned about maintaining a highly-skilled workforce. “We must ensure that America’s graduate schools continue to produce the next generation of scientists, researchers, and experts in fields critical to promoting economic competitiveness and innovation,” he said.

Expanding education opportunities for the region’s knowledge workers who have maintained leadership in the technology and science necessary to create and advance the world’s superior naval aviation warfare system and elements has been the principal objective of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center.  The need for advancing that workforce meant pursuing and presenting the best graduate education in STEM related fields by the region’s best and nationally recognized engineering schools.  To this end, some 40 engineering, technology and mathematics education academic programs have been recruited for graduate students in the region’s knowledge workforce, providing life-long educational habits in the latest developments at the frontier of advanced STEM knowledge.

To this end, 7,773 class enrollments in STEM subjects have been recorded over the 16 year history of the Center.  And 6,794 of the class enrollments in STEM subjects have been at the master’s and doctoral level.  The completion rate of enrolled students in STEM programs at SMHEC has been considerable, with 338 master’s degrees in engineering and technology awarded by university partners at the Center over the last 16 years.

The significance of this large population of graduate students is not simply the enhancement of skills and knowledge important to the mission of a technology economy, but also that graduate education is the initiation of life-long learning that reflects the many changes and advancements that occur in this field requiring habits of continuing learning inculcated in graduate education programs.

Of the 7,773 class enrollments in STEM programs, 6,774 have been for master’s degrees in engineering fields from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland College Park.

George Washington University, offering doctorates in systems engineering and in engineering management has had 91 students enrolled in its classes, and 10 graduates have received their Ph.D. degrees. An additional 20 students are approaching graduation, and the entering class in the fall of 2011 included 31 new Ph.D. degree candidates.  Capitol College also offers a new Ph.D. degree and also a master’s degree in Information Assurance at SMHEC.

STEM related Master’s degree programs at SMHEC include mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, nuclear engineering sustainable energy engineering, systems engineering civil engineering, project management, engineering management, technical management, mathematics education for middle school teachers, and for high school teachers.   The Master’s degree programs in mathematics education, now two years old, have generated 143 class enrollments to date and initial degrees will be awarded within a year.

Undergraduate completion STEM related programs have also been developed to prepare individuals for careers in engineering and technology fields that add value to the technology workforce of the Patuxent River Naval Base and its supporting technology defense contractor community.  A new B.S. degree in mechanical engineering has been recruited, taught by the University of Maryland College Park in a Cooperative Education Program with NAWCAD, producing 148 class enrollments and graduating five in the first graduation. Capitol College has also offered baccalaureate degrees at the Center, in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering technology.  A total of 832 class enrollments have been recorded and 22 B.S. degrees in electrical engineering have been awarded.

Following is a listing of STEM Enrollments and Graduates by university partners at SMHEC:


Johns Hopkins University                   5,750 M.S. Enrollments                 289 M.S. Degrees

George Washington University               91 Ph.D. Enrollments                     10 Ph.D. Degrees

Capitol College                                      831 B.S. Enrollments                           22 B.S. Degrees

University of MD College Park            810 M.S. Enrollments                         49 M.S. Degrees

University of MD College Park            148 B.S. Enrollments                             5 B.S.  Degrees

Towson University                                 143 M.S.  Enrollments                              New Degree

TOTAL                                                       7,773  Enrollments                             375 Degrees

The number of STEM-related courses and degree programs at SMHEC are growing each academic year.  By example, FY 2011 alone recorded 835 STEM enrollments, including 471 in master’s degree programs, 70 in doctoral programs, and 294 in baccalaureate programs.  In FY 2012, SMHEC looks forward to an additional 150 graduates in engineering fields, including 20 additional doctorates awarded, and 20 additional baccalaureates in engineering and technology, and the new beginnings of master’s degrees in the mathematics education master’s programs for middle schools and high schools.

President Obama focused on the importance of STEM related education in his State of the Union Address earlier this month, when he said: “We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”

The President went on in his State of the Union speech to elaborate on the importance of STEM related education, for both the current American workforce that needs continuing professional skills and knowledge to maintain the edge that American science and technology have long enjoyed in the world, but also to prepare a continuing stream of public school students who will assure the innovation and creativity that have maintained America as the world’s leader in technology and science.

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