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Higher Education in Maryland

May 2009 Press Release



For immediate release: May 26, 2009                                                        Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen

                                                                                                                            Communications: (410) 260-4511



MHEC approves new Associate of Science in Engineering degree


ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 26, 2009) – The Maryland Higher Education Commission this week approved a unique engineering transfer degree that aims to smooth the pathway between the State’s associate and baccalaureate degrees in engineering.

By describing the critical outcomes for students after the first two years of an engineering program, the Associate of Science in Engineering (ASE) degree prepares students who begin their education in a two-year college to succeed in four-year program and allows students who earn the degree to transfer it as a block into engineering bachelor’s degree programs of public and independent colleges and universities. This is the first fully statewide engineering transfer agreement in the country that is outcomes-based and includes both public and independent institutions.

“This is an important achievement for the State of Maryland’s higher education community,” Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “Governor O’Malley has called upon educators to help make Maryland the nation’s leader in STEM research and training, and the ASE is an example higher education’s commitment to that goal. This collaborative effort has come to fruition through excellent collaboration and consensus-building that remained focused on what would be best for students. The ASE also contributes to our broad efforts to expand access, affordability, and choice in higher education to help more students complete college degrees.”

Existing engineering transfer programs in Maryland are guided by course-by-course evaluation and transfer of credit, with narrowly described articulation agreements between two- and four-year colleges. The result is that students tailor the beginning of their education to one four-year school. The ASE—by providing a clear transfer pathway to multiple schools—will help offer students more choice in transfer.

The first two fields for which ASE outcomes have been developed are electrical engineering and computer engineering, which are both areas of high workforce demand. Outcomes have been developed collaboratively by public and independent two- and four-year faculty in the appropriate disciplines. Maryland has some of the nation’s leading four-year programs in these fields.

ASE students must meet all admission requirements of engineering programs to which they apply to be eligible for admission and the block transfer. Students who successfully transfer with an ASE should be have a reasonable expectation of graduating with a B.S. n the same timeframe as native students entering their junior year in the same program. ASE students who are admitted into four-year programs must meet all four-year graduation requirements.

The ASE initiative began with the Transfer and Access Committee of the Joint Leadership Council of the University System of Maryland (USM) and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) endorsing the concept of a statewide engineering transfer degree and asking the Maryland Higher Education Commission to guide a development process. Using the structure and collaborative process of the AAT as a model, MHEC convened an ASE Oversight Council, requesting nominations from the higher education segments and other stakeholders. The ASE Oversight Council includes representation from MACC, the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA), Morgan State University, the National Academy of Engineering, USM, and the State Departments of Business and Economic Development and of Education. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Discipline Committee that was convened to develop outcomes and requirements likewise includes representatives of public and independent two- and four-year colleges and universities.

More information on the ASE can be found at www.mhec.state.md.us/ASE/index.asp.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.


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