Students living in the Anne Arundel County area of Maryland will now be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Frostburg State University without having to leave home, thanks to a new partnership between FSU and Anne Arundel Community College.
FSU will offer its bachelor’s degree in engineering, with a concentration in electrical engineering, in collaboration with AACC through its University Consortium at the AACC Regional Higher Education Center at Arundel Mills, one of six such centers in the state of Maryland. FSU’s program will build on AACC’s engineering preparation program, and offer engineering and upper-division courses through a combination of methods – on site at Arundel Mills, by interactive video and online.
The agreement was signed Thursday, May 6, by FSU President Jonathan Gibralter and AACC President Martha Smith after the additional program location received approval from the University System of Maryland and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The result is a pathway from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree in engineering through the AACC University Consortium, a partnership between AACC and four-year colleges that allows students to transition seamlessly from AACC into a partner’s bachelor’s degree programs and on to master’s programs without leaving the region.
“The partnership with Anne Arundel Community College reflects an important opportunity for students to be able to complete their bachelor’s degrees in engineering from Frostburg State University while having access to the incredibly strong industry base of high tech and engineering companies in that part of the state of Maryland,” Gibralter said. “It is a partnership that is good for both institutions, good for the students and good for the state of Maryland as we increase the number of science, technology, engineering and math graduates through this program.”
“We are proud that AACC and FSU are partnering together to meet the critical need for engineers,” Smith said.
The collaborative program will serve both the state of Maryland’s economic development and Anne Arundel County-area students. The Arundel Mills center’s proximity to Fort Meade, as well as the influx of positions through the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, is leading to expanded opportunities in disciplines related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, called STEM disciplines. Many of the positions that are moving to Maryland as the result of BRAC require high levels of skill in these disciplines.
Recognizing the need in their own area, officials from AACC sought a partner institution to offer a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2008 through the Maryland Higher Education Commission. All Maryland institutions were eligible.
An engineering program has been offered to FSU students for about 30 years, beginning with the dual degree engineering program with University of Maryland College Park. FSU now also offers a stand-alone program in engineering, with concentrations in electrical engineering, materials engineering, engineering management and industrial chemistry, as well as a collaborative program with UMCP in mechanical engineering.
“This proposal is a fine example of responding to the goals of the University System of Maryland to increase the number of graduates in the STEM areas and to increase access and affordability,” said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan in his letter to Gibralter approving the partnership.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.