University System of Maryland approves new graduate and undergrad majors at UMES

PRINCESS ANNE, Md- The Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland has approved 4 new academic programs at UMES, including the Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Design, Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics Engineering,Master of Science in Electrical and Mechatronics Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Computing and Engineering.

The University System of Maryland called the programs a major step for supporting HBCUs with programming built to help students with expertise that includes physiology, biology, and health informatics, which will allow graduates to help improve patient treatment and lower the cost of health care and will help UMES serve as a leader in growing research on agriculture, pharmaceutical science, and the natural sciences respectively.

“These new programs in the engineering field are game changers in terms of workforce development and attracting high-tech industries to the eastern shore,” said UMES Businesses and Engineering School Dean Dr. Derrek Dunn. 

Dunn says the programming shows that the USM has faith in the mission of UMES, in providing these resources for students on the shore, and in its role as an HBCU in giving students unique opportunities for growth.

“It was the final payment on the down payment of the new engineering building fulfilling the promise to have programs to match the facilities we have on campus,” Dr. Dunn said. 

But the programs aren’t just limited to stem as the brand new Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Design aims to boost black entrepreneurship.

Human Ecology Department Chair Dr. Grace Namwamba says – fashion was already a popular concentration in the department, but with a full-blown major comes more financial support and clearer graduation and job paths for students.

“We have not had that and this gives the opportunity to have a stand alone degree that gives students who want to go to the businesses side of fashion to merchandising side and those who want to be creative to go into design it is very exciting,” Dr. Namwamba said. 

She says students already take advantage of advanced tech in the form of 3-D scanning tools for fitting clothing and 3d printing for fabrics, she says with this career path the program can help more students achieve top tier businesses and creative positions.

“They can go to the national scale, to the international scale and to increase the diversitiy in these sectors is exciting and to have that support is amazing,” she said.

For Dr. Dunn, the increased scope of the program now means that those in the STEM fields do not have to leave the shore to finish their graduate academic careers.

“Now we can actually educate our own individuals born and raised on the shore all the way from ungergrad to that doctoral level,” he said. 

Accordng to USM Spokesman Mike Lurie,” although formal approval is required by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the approval process for a new academic program is designed for reviews to occur in a parallel way to reflect a thorough vetting of a new program.”

Dr. Dunn tells 47ABC that programming could begin as early as spring of 2023 but believes a more conservative estimate for enrollment is fall 2024 for all programming.




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