UMUC is a visionary institution, on the forefront of education for the 21st-century workforce. It is an entrepreneurial and creative institution, committed to the exploration of knowledge, the construction of partnerships, and innovative academic delivery. It is a large and diverse institution, with nearly 150 sites worldwide. It is a substantive institution, committed to lifelong learning and education of adults in the workforce.
UMUC has fulfilled its principal mission of providing higher education opportunities to nontraditional students for over 60 years. Founded in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies, UMUC has grown to become one of the largest institutions in the University System of Maryland—both in terms of enrollments and its global scope—while earning accolades for the quality of its programs and its innovative use of technology.
UMUC is one of the eleven degree-granting institutions that make up the University System of Maryland. It is the component of the University System dedicated to providing lifelong learning opportunities for adult students—throughout the state of Maryland, in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, in military communities around the world, and increasingly via Distance Education. In recent years, UMUC has provided courses to students in more than twenty countries on all seven continents. When the University of Maryland began its programs in Asia in 1956, General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Pacific Commander, remarked that "the sun never sets on the University of Maryland." His comment is still true today.
UMUC worldwide offers degree programs from the Associate of Arts through the Doctor of Management, undergraduate and graduate certificates, a graduate program that provides an accelerated route to teacher certification in the state of Maryland, and noncredit leadership development programs that respond to the needs of the lifelong learner.
Throughout all the University′s many programs, certain features stand out: UMUC's commitment to serving nontraditional students, its academic quality, its active presence throughout the state of Maryland, its international scope as a global university, and its long partnership with the U.S. military.
The University of Maryland began its overseas program in 1949 with classes held at six education centers in Europe. The program proved very successful, rapidly expanding to include locations in 12 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This dramatic success led the Armed Forces to invite Maryland to bring its program to Asia and the Pacific. In 1956, courses began in Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Guam, and Taiwan, with just over 1,700 students. By the second year, enrollments had doubled; it was clear that this experiment in off-duty education would be successful in Asia as well. In fact, to date close to half a million students have taken UMUC courses in Asia, and thousands have earned certificates or degrees.
Continuing university programs in Asia and the Pacific has not been easy for students, faculty, or administrators. During the years of America′s military involvement in Southeast Asia, students studied during blackouts, faculty members (who were sometimes driven to class in armored vehicles) shouted over mortar fire, and textbooks were occasionally air–dropped.
UMUC Asia enters its sixth decade ready and able to provide lifelong learning opportunities to members of the military community serving their country abroad.
A Unique Institution
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is unique among institutions of higher education. From its founding in 1947, UMUC was designed to meet the educational needs of adult students—students who must balance study with the demands of work and family life. Today UMUC has grown to be the largest public university in the nation, serving students throughout the state, the country, and the world. Yet its focus on providing open access to high-quality educational programs and services—eliminating the barriers that can keep students from achieving their educational goals—remains unchanged.
Carrying Out the Mission
At UMUC, student success is of paramount importance. The University seeks not only to help students fulfill their current education goals but also to create an educational partnership that will last throughout their lives.
To that end, the University looks first for ways to ensure that students can easily access programs and services. Admission policies are designed to simplify the process (standardized tests are not required), making it possible for students to apply and register at the same time.
As a global university, UMUC makes it possible for students to take classes any time, any place, by offering the largest selection of online programs available—in addition to classes at sites throughout Maryland and the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and at military sites all over the world. Student services can also be accessed online and by phone, as well as on-site.
Convenience and flexibility are not the only concern, however. UMUC seeks to create a learning environment that students will find respectful of their diverse backgrounds, inclusive, responsive, and relevant.
Recognizing that financial concerns are often the biggest obstacle to higher education, UMUC also strives to keep tuition costs low and provides numerous financial aid opportunities, including scholarships for military or community college students.
An accredited university, UMUC is dedicated to providing the highest quality programs and services to its students and ensuring excellence in its online and on-site courses. In providing these programs, UMUC relies on a renowned faculty of scholar–practitioners–teachers who bring real–world experience to courses—and the use of the latest technologies. UMUC also is able to provide a wealth of resources to its students because of its place within the University System of Maryland.
The success of UMUC's efforts is evident. Year after year, UMUC continues to garner awards from such notable organizations as the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, the Sloan Consortium, and the Maryland Distance Learning Association.
UMUC has always looked for new and better ways to serve students. Long before the online revolution, UMUC was delivering courses to students at distant locations, using any and all available technologies—from interactive television to voice mail. Today, students access both courses and services online, using MyUMUC, the University′s online gateway to services and information. UMUC′s faculty also strive to find new ways to best use these technologies to assist their students′ learning.
UMUC′s commitment to academic quality is evident in the University′s assessment of student learning, faculty, and scholarly activities, as well as in its programs. The University works closely with its faculty and with business and other organizations to develop and maintain the relevance of its curricula. It also ensures that its academic programs have the same structure, requirements, and outcomes whether they are offered in Maryland classrooms, at overseas locations, or through online courses.
UMUC is one of 11 degree-granting institutions within the University System of Maryland and is accredited by the Commission on Higher education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; tel. 215-662-5606).