Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user XDPoet
Students can receive a bachelor’s degree from any of four, four-year universities while taking classes at an AACC campus.
Anyone may enroll, but partnering schools only offer junior- and senior-level classes at the Arundel Mills and Arnold campuses, so students must have an associate degree to qualify.
The universities making up the consortium are: Frostburg State University, Stevenson University, Notre Dame of Maryland University and University of Maryland University College.
According to Kathleen Beauman, executive director for the Office of Instructional Partnerships, the arrangement between AACC and the universities began when the college was building the Arundel Mills campus.
Beauman said Arundel Mills was the largest growing area in the county at the time, and Martha Smith, then AACC’s president, thought it would be a good idea to offer higher-level degrees there.
Administrators decided which degrees to offer based on the industries of growth in the western part of Anne Arundel County: education, business and engineering, according to Beauman.
“Arundel Mills has done a lot of work over the past 16 years to create pathways that move students from high school into plans of study here at the college, so we thought, ‘Why not expand that model and develop one that moves students from AACC degrees into bachelor’s degrees?’” Beauman said.
On the Arnold campus, Stevenson University offers an option for registered nurses who want to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, with a concentration in electrical engineering, from Frostburg by taking classes at the Arundel Mills campus.
Notre Dame of Maryland offers classes on the Arundel Mills and Arnold campuses. Students can obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts studies or in elementary education with a dual certification in early childhood or special education.
Students on the Arnold campus can earn a Master of Arts degree in teaching or leadership teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland. The school also offers library media specialist and reading specialist certifications, and certifications in administration and supervision and special education.
At Arundel Mills, the University of Maryland University College offers Bachelor of Science degrees in business administration, cyber security, information systems management, management studies and public safety administration.
“Some students don’t want to commute, [and] some don’t have the financial resources to live at an institution,” said Beauman. “We have a number of adult students who have lives, and families and children.”
“It’s definitely a more convenient option, because you don’t need to travel so far to get the same degree,” Elis Contee, a third-year English student, said.
Between fall 2004 and fall 2018, 10,399 students—7,838 at Arundel Mills and 2,561 at Arnold—enrolled in the university consortium.
“You don’t have to worry so much about changing your lifestyle … since you’re used to the campus environment,” said first-year undecided student Simon Hertz.