Here’s a recap of what’s in the news in and around the UMBC campus, originally brought to you by UMBC News.

This news recap is brought to you by UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies, offering a broad array of professionally-focused master’s degrees and certificate programs that address industry needs while anticipating future opportunities.

UMBC Engineering and Computing students help build online classes for the spring semester

The College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) wanted to make sure that its students were able to have an online education tailored to them after a challenging Spring 2020 semester. They did this by participating in the Planning Instructional Variety for Online Teaching (PIVOT) program, a series of webinars that helped these students and staff design truly engaging online courses. COEIT then hired a range of students to test the new and improved courses, and continued to receive positive feedback throughout the fall semester. Jamie Gurganus,  the associate director of COEIT, recognizes the work that the students have had in this change in course work, saying, “When it comes to delivering a class, it’s a collaboration effort between the instructors, teaching fellows, and teaching assistants. They go beyond the scope of grading papers and holding office hours. These students provide a unique perspective that gives our classes a richer and more meaningful experience.”

UMBC’s Online Master’s in Information Systems program recognized as one of the nation’s best

The US News ranking was released and recognized UMBC’s Master’s in Information Systems program as one of the best of it’s kind for veterans. This is not the first time this honor has been given to the program, and this year joins other top schools in the field such as Virginia Tech and Drexel. Graduate program director Anita Komlodi said “We are very excited to again be ranked among the best. Our program is well established, with about twenty years of experience educating online technology students.” The program was built to be completed completely online in order to accommodate students juggling various life tasks such as work, family, or military service. The program also has recently broadened the paths students can take while learning by opening tracks for health information technology, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and more.

UMBC receives the Engaged Campus Award for 2020

Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic (CCMA) recognized UMBC with the Engaged Campus award, which acknowledges the work that students, faculty and staff have done to help surrounding communities. UMBC was selected out of 38 schools in the greater Mid-Atlantic region to receive this award. CCMA recognizes UMBC’s continued dedication in categories such as philosophy and mission of community engagement, student support for and involvement in community engagement, faculty support for involvement in community engagement, community participation and partnerships, and institutional support for community engagement. This award also reflects the UMBC community’s passion and dedication to increase racial inclusion, equity, and social justice as a whole. 

Global Ambassadors program allows UMBC’s international students to connect virtually

Coming to a new country to start college is most certainly stressful and difficult for international students. The Global Ambassadors program was tailored to help these students transition to life on campus. Due to COVID-19, this program is now completely virtual in order to still give these international students the help they need, even though they physically are not on campus. Ambassador Kirthana Kolekar said that she felt like she had so much support from the UMBC community when she had to fly home to India after her mother passed away due to COVID-19. Kolekar notes that her fellow Ambassadors “… kept asking: ‘How are you doing? Do you need any help?’” And that mentality—proactively being present for a person half-way around the world—is what the Global Ambassador Peer Mentor Program is all about. The other efforts put together by the Global Ambassadors program include online webinars about how to keep engaged with the UMBC campus while not physically being there and other UMBC resources to get any help one may need and to stay connected to others.

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