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Graduate School Celebrates 40 Years

Hood College Graduate School



Four widely respected faculty members were instrumental in the opening of the Hood College Graduate School in 1971 and served on the first graduate school committee. They were Virginia E. Lewis, Ph.D., professor of political science and chair of the history and political science department; Francis G. Hugo, Ph.D., professor of psychology and chair of the department; Charles E. Tressler, Ed.D., Giles Professor of Early Childhood Education and chair of the department; and Herbert E. Newman, Ph.D., professor of economics and chair of the economics and sociology department. Newman served as the fi rst director of the graduate school.

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In September 1970, during President Randall Elliott’s tenure, the proposal to begin offering a graduate degree program was given final approval by the Trustees Committee on Instruction and Faculty Personnel, and was approved in November by the faculty with a ballot vote of 39 yes, 11 no.

In the spring of 1971, announcements were sent to students indicating that the Hood College Graduate School would be open to any student who had completed a baccalaureate degree at any accredited college.

In the summer of 1971, 49 students had enrolled in the only degree program, the master of arts in human sciences. By the fall of 1971, 61 students were enrolled. Students were required to select three of fi ve required courses. These, along with another 21 credits from a possible 18 additional courses, completed the master’s degree requirements. Graduate tuition was $50 per credit.

Over the years the graduate school has experimented with academic formats. During the late 1970s and 1980s, Hood began offering courses in Montgomery and Washington counties, originally in public school buildings. For a time, Hood rented space near the Germantown campus of Montgomery College, about 20 miles south of Frederick; that center later moved to Gaithersburg, Md. Eventually that gave way to a cooperative and successful partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools in which the educational leadership program is offered in MCPS facilities. For the last three years, the graduate school has offered courses in a hybrid format, blending face-to-face and online instruction.

Over the years the offerings have grown incrementally from one master’s degree to 14, and existing programs have been refined, often as a response to the needs of the Frederick and surrounding communities. Initially, the graduate population was only 10 percent of the total school enrollment; today it is a solid 45 percent.

The graduate school has come a long way since it fi rst opened its doors in 1971. While the College and all of its programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, some of the programs, such as the education programs and the MBA program, have additional specifi c accreditation by the nation’s most prestigious accrediting organizations.

As the graduate school moves forward in the 21st century, it continues to explore potential new offerings and delivery methods. Its single mission of the past 40 years has been to provide the highest level of academic instruction, and the one consistent element has been the exceptional level of academic instruction by outstanding faculty.

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Master of Arts Human Sciences Master of Science Curriculum Instruction
Master of Arts Humanities Master of Science Educational Leadership
Master of Arts Thanatology Master of Science Environmental Biology
Master of Business Administration Master of Science Informational Technology
Master of Fine Arts Ceramic Arts Master of Science Mathematics Education
Master of Sciences Biomedical Science Master of Science Management Information Technology
Master of Science Computer Science Master of Science Reading Specialization


Master Arts Human Sciences



When the Hood College Graduate School opened in the summer of 1971, the master of arts in human sciences was the only degree offered. More than 30 years later the program remains a popular curriculum choice, enrolling and graduating more than 20 students each year.

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The program offers an interdisciplinary approach to education in the human sciences, particularly as they relate to the problems of contemporary society and its people. In addition to courses scheduled during the traditional fall and spring semesters, the program offers accelerated formats on weekends and during the summer terms, enabling students to complete the degree, even as part-time students, in less than two years.

“Hood’s master’s degree program in human sciences gave me a deeper understanding of the human mind,” said Joseph Crouse, M.A. ’12, who is in a doctoral program and serves as a teaching assistant at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The nature of Hood’s program inspired some of my research interests and motivated me to continue my education through the doctoral level.”

The quality of the program, the expertise and experience of the faculty and the outstanding content of the courses attracts students from various academic and professional backgrounds. Most of the graduate students in the program, then as well as now, are teachers or professionals who want to expand their knowledge and credentials to advance within their chosen professions. The academic and professional diversity of the students in the program allows them to draw from each others’ strengths, knowledge and experiences, which helps prepare them for a wider array of opportunities and challenges in their personal and professional arenas.

“I chose Hood’s graduate program in human sciences because it fit perfectly with my current position with the Frederick County Department of Aging,” said Carolyn True ’83, M.A. ’12, who serves as the director of that organization. “I was able to put what I learned in the classroom to work for me professionally and, as it turned out, my professional experiences and contacts also helped me in the classroom.”

While students enrolled in the human sciences program traditionally have had the option of pursuing a concentration in psychology, the department faculty recently restructured the program to reflect the growing needs of the community and the expressed desires of the graduate students. Beginning in fall 2012, a streamlined curriculum with designated core courses and a wide variety of elective course options will better serve the multiple interests and goals of students pursuing the degree.

As part of the revamping of the program, and in response to a noticeable increase in interest in gerontology courses in the past several years, a newly designed graduate certifi cate program in gerontology is awaiting approval by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland’s higher education coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and private colleges and universities and for-profit career schools. Offered as a stand-alone program or earned while pursuing a master of arts degree in human sciences or thanatology, the certifi cate will give graduate students the opportunity to develop expertise in the rapidly growing fi eld of aging and will better prepare them for any career path in which they may interact with and serve older adults.

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Master Arts Humanities



Now in its seventh year, Hood’s master of arts in humanities program focuses on meeting the needs and interests of students wishing to further their explorations in the fields of art, history, literature, music, philosophy and religion. It offers a highly individualized course of study, encouraging participants to create an interdisciplinary concentration of study uniquely suited to their interests and abilities, and the opportunity to work closely with a highly qualified academic mentor who is committed to the rigors and the benefits of a liberal arts education.

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Because of its flexibility and emphasis on each student’s particular interests, the program has attracted a wide range of students, from recent graduates who wish to explore the postgraduate fi eld before pursuing a more specialized master’s degree to retirees interested in gaining more knowledge and understanding of the humanities. Many students are secondary education teachers within the local Maryland county school systems who seek career advancement and professional development.

“The master of arts in humanities program was the perfect mix of interdisciplinary learning that exposed me to students from different subject areas, and offered specialized courses to fi t my specifi c concentration,” said Chelsea Bock, M.A. ’12, who teaches at Frederick Community College. “During my last two semesters, I was able to use material from every class to inspire a creative writing capstone project. I loved every minute of this program and feel more than adequately prepared for a career as an English professor.”

Full-time faculty members teach nearly every graduate class. What this means in practical terms is that students benefit from working closely with professors who specialize in a wide range of fields—medieval history and literature, 20th-century Spanish fiction, European and American music, creative writing, archeology, American religious studies, Renaissance art, Middle Eastern studies, classical Chinese religious and philosophical thought and American women’s and labor history, to name only a few. As active researchers, writers, scholars and artists, graduate faculty share with students their professional enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise.

“It really helped to be linked with professors who were interested in my topic of choice,” said Amber Staicoff, M.A. ’07. “I always appreciated the easy access via email or offi ce hours when I needed something read or an opinion about something on which I was working.”

Such a broad expanse of areas is reflected in the degree’s culminating experience, the capstone, an extended project written under the direction of a faculty adviser and with additional guidance from two other faculty readers. Recent topics include a family history of Dutch and Belgian immigrants to Montana; Rosie the Riveter as a changing cultural icon; philanthropy and feminism; the 15th-century painter Piero della Francesca’s Polyptych of the Misericordia; an original novella based on literary modernist techniques; Shakespeare’s Iago as represented in film; a translation of contemporary Spanish short fiction; and sacred space among the Maya.

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Master Arts Thanatology



In Western culture, the subject of death is still largely taboo and seldom discussed at either the social or academic level. With its nationally and internationally recognized certifi cate and master’s degree programs in thanatology, Hood College stands as one of the premier institutions for this discipline and is the only school in the nation offering a master of arts degree in this field.

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Thanatology, the academic and scientific study of death, dying and bereavement, earns its name from its root, Thanatos.” This Greek term, representing the personification of death, is the basis for a discipline in which students and researchers are encouraged to examine the interplay among the physical, psychological, interpersonal and spiritual needs of the living and the dying, as death across the lifespan is studied. Although the program at Hood is managed under the psychology department domain, thanatology is considered an interdisciplinary field.

The thanatology degree was first offered in 1972 when the late Dana G. Cable, Ph.D., professor of psychology, joined the Hood community. A leader in the fi eld of gerontology and a pioneer in thanatology, he taught one of the first undergraduate courses in the United States about death. He was joined in 1989 by Terry Martin, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and together they developed a certificate in thanatology program. The team also established the Summer Institute in Thanatology, where highly motivated students could complete the certification requirements in one summer.

As interest grew, new courses were added and several one-credit seminars were offered by former graduates of the program. The Maryland Higher Education Commission approved the current master of arts in thanatology in 2001, which is composed of of 36-39 credit hours and a comprehensive exam.

Both the master’s and certificate programs have attracted local, national and international students—from as far away as Taiwan. The program appeals to professionals—nurses, clergy, social workers, counselors and hospice physicians—who interact with patients and clients facing death-related issues. Others coping with personal experiences are drawn to the program, among them widows of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, bereaved parents, hospice volunteers and a certifi cate recipient who first began taking classes at 90 years old.

“Our students are self-motivated and come to class eager to learn and eager to contribute to the discussions,” said Wanda Ruffin, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology. “Often, students remain connected to us and the program long after they graduate.”

“My life was forever changed by the program, the professors and the grace of my classmates,” said Marlene Lee, M.A., ’05, who before enrolling in the program worked in the information technology industry. “As a result of the encouragement, foresight and countless teachable moments I received from Professor Martin and the late Professor Cable, I have published two books in the field of thanatology, have been invited to lecture at the university level and am the co-founder of Our Heroes’ Tree, a national initiative that promotes awareness of the service and sacrifi ce of U.S. service members and their families.”

Graduates have gone on to pursue careers in hospice programs, nursing homes, bioethics research centers, hospitals, the funeral industry and organ procurement programs. Three have published highly successful books in the field. Others hold leadership positions in the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the National Fire Academy and the FBI’s victim assistance program, while still others are teaching thanatology courses at other colleges and universities.

As the world population ages, the demand for individuals prepared to work with the terminally ill and bereaved is on the rise, and educators in the field of death, dying and bereavement are in demand. Hood’s unique programs have educated hundreds to meet this growing need, providing students with a combination of theory, practical skills and compassion for use in a variety of counseling, organizational and educational settings.

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Master Business Administration



The goal of the master of business administration curriculum is to provide students with a broad professional education that prepares them for responsible leadership and management positions in business and public service.

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The MBA program recently achieved a major milestone when it was accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, a leading association that accredits business programs. The recognition is a reflection of Hood’s commitment to offering an academically sound and innovative educational experience that focuses on students and the continuous improvement of educational process management.

Evolved from the master of arts in administration and management program that began in 1977, the MBA program was established to ensure that the local men and women who were interested in furthering their business education had an opportunity to attend a program that stressed not only the functions and processes of business and management, but also the role of organizations in society. In 1989, the first MBA degrees were awarded to a group of 31 students; today nearly 200 area professionals are enrolled in the program. Concentrations—accounting, fi nance, information systems, marketing, public management and human resource management—and a focus area in regulatory compliance provide students who are interested in particular business disciplines an opportunity to gain valuable skills directly relevant to careers in these areas.

“My Hood MBA was a turning point in both my career and personal life,” said Manny Casiano, M.D., MBA’03, vice president for medical affairs at the Frederick Memorial Hospital. “Being back in an academic setting after 25 years in a professional career was a fantastic experience. My MBA gave me the knowledge, skills and professional credibility to enter a whole new management-oriented phase in my career. I use what Hood taught me every day.” The department’s nine full-time faculty members, supplemented by a group of highly qualified adjunct professionals, are active in their respective fields. They have published scholarly articles in many journals, presented papers in leading national and international conferences and serve on community organization boards as well as on the editorial review boards of several business journals.

“I love teaching MBA students, as I enjoy learning from them and watching them learn from each other,” said Jerrold Van Winter, Ph.D., assistant professor of management. “Students quickly relate the concepts covered in class to their professional lives and share their experiences with their classmates. The knowledge students gain from each other and the professional and personal contacts they develop may be two of the greatest benefi ts of the MBA program.” The MBA program alumni work for many private, public and third sector organizations in the Baltimore-Washington metro region and beyond. They work as managers and administrators at organizations such as IBM, Hughes Network Systems, General Dynamics, Marriott International, Lockheed Martin, MedImmune, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Energy, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Science and Technology and the National Institutes of Health.

“Completing the program helped unify and strengthen my professional skills,” said Edward C. Prensky, MBA’12, chief financial officer at Plamondon Hospitality Partners. “I am a stronger manager and contribute more to my company’s successes because of the tools provided in the MBA program. The program offered tremendous fl exibility and allowed me to choose a course of study to meet my professional and personal interests. The faculty challenged me to think creatively and develop practical solutions to assigned projects. As a manager, I continue to hire Hood student interns and graduates to work in our accounting department. They have been very high performers.”

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Master Fine Arts Ceramic Arts



Since Hood first introduced ceramic arts into its curriculum in 1994, the graduate offerings have expanded to include two programs of study and a wide array of courses. Students can enroll in an 18-credit certifi cate program, which, when launched in 2000, was the first of its kind in the United States and within fi ve years far exceeded projected enrollments; and a 60-credit master of fine arts degree, the terminal degree for an artist, approved by Maryland Higher Education Council in 2006. There are 30 active graduate certifi cate candidates and 17 MFA candidates, seven of whom are involved in thesis research.

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With courses for the novice as well as the professional potter seeking to refi ne and enhance skills, the program offers academic training in the aesthetics, practical sciences, technology and management of a fi ne arts career. “The most unique and attractive aspect of Hood’s MFA program was the opportunity to work intimately with an exceptional list of renowned ceramic artists and professors,” said Cameron Petke, MFA ’10. “When I look back at the transcript of my graduate coursework, the list of instructors reads like a Who’s Who of ceramic experts for the special topics offered. I feel incredibly lucky to have had that opportunity.”

The curriculum encompasses a full range of courses in ceramic arts, including throwing on the potter’s wheel, the historic East Asian wedged coil technique, clay sculpture, clay and glaze formulation and firing technology, history of art and ceramic art and an exposure to the issues and ideas that underpin contemporary art.

“I enrolled in the program to establish a solid foundation of the art and science of ceramic art,” said Kevin Komadina, C’08. “The concept for three large sculptures, The Trees, which are on permanent display in the Edina, Minn., sculpture garden, was developed during my graduate program at Hood.” Through hands-on skill development, lectures and critiques, students gain expertise and knowledge that feed their personal creative expression and self-confi dence as a person, a thinker and creator. The program appeals to teachers, professional ceramic artists and ceramics program facilitators, as well as recreational potters who are looking to hone or develop new skills.

The outstanding work shown in our graduate capstone exhibitions and the international reputation of the Hood’s ceramic arts graduate program are the result of acquired knowledge and skill development provided by a robust curriculum and student-centered courses.

Janice Chassier teaches elementary art in New Jersey and travels to Hood on weekends to complete her certificate requirements. “In this program, you learn from masters who are teaching at the college level, and artists who are brought in to share their knowledge. Not only am I able to expand my skills and knowledge of ceramics, but also I am always able to bring something back to my students.” Since retiring from her position as a high school art teacher, MFA candidate Karen Grossman works part time as an adjunct instructor in ceramic arts at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md. She enrolled in the ceramic arts program to expand her knowledge and skills. “Hood’s ceramic arts program is rigorous and the quality of instruction is exceptional,” said Grossman. “It continues to attract instructors from various paths of interest and expertise, including nationally and internationally known artists.”

Based on high level of interest among current and former graduate certificate candidates who wish to continue their studies, a proposal for a 36-credit master of arts degree in ceramic arts is being considered and may be implemented in the future.

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Master Science Reading Specialization



The master of science in reading specialization program is designed for classroom teachers who want to concurrently pursue a master of science degree and certification as a reading specialist.

Much of the program’s success over the years is due to the dedicated faculty, many of whom are reading specialists in local school systems. They, and adjunct instructors who are professional educators, have extensive educational experience in their disciplines and bring current best practices to the program.

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“With a unique balance of college faculty and practicing reading specialists leading students through their coursework and experiences, students greatly benefi t from the well-rounded program,” said Casey Day-Kells, a part-time instructor at Hood and reading specialist at Carroll Manor Elementary School in Frederick. “The faculty, who has worked together for years, has created a very cohesive, thorough program. We communicate regularly with our graduates to offer advice or support, even long after graduation, and we frequently hear from former students regarding their successes. It truly is an exciting opportunity to watch teachers grow, develop and then lead the way in the field of literacy instruction.”

Hood is the only college in Maryland that provides graduate students with an intensive six-week clinical intern experience with elementary school and secondary school children, the hallmark of the program. One three-week instructional session—Hood’s reading clinic for elementary age students—is designed to improve the comprehension, fl uency, writing and spelling skills of remedial readers. The other, Frederick Community College’s reading camp for middle and high schoolers, is intended to enhance study skills. This dual clinic experience, where graduate students use knowledge learned throughout their classes, ensures that candidates are capable of assessing and prescribing for the full range of students in grades K-12.

“It is through the Hood College reading specialist program that I was able to share my love of literacy with colleagues, teachers, parents and, most importantly, students,” said Katie Zimmerman, M.S. ’12, reading specialist at Ballenger Creek Middle School in Frederick. “The program thoroughly prepared me for not only a job in the reading field, but also for a career as a specialist. The two clinical experiences were extremely rigorous; I was presented with multiple opportunities to work with students at every age and academic level and to apply the skills I had been perfecting throughout the program.”

Lead teachers and the clinic directors ensure that candidates work closely with the schools and families to provide strategies and recommendations that allow student learning to continue to accelerate at home and school. Local school personnel often comment about the remarkable progress students enrolled in these two programs make, and continue, year after year, to direct students who need concentrated help in reading, comprehension and study skills toward this program.

“The Hood reading clinic is structured in such a way that it would be diffi cult not to see accelerated literacy growth,” said Ruth Allwardt, M.S. ’08 and reading specialist at Twin Ridge Elementary School in Mount Airy, Md. “Many students, after five-and-a-half weeks of intense, individualized instruction, make gains of months and even a year or more in reading and writing. The formula for success is focused instruction directly linked to thorough assessment, clearly communicated with home and school.”

The program’s success has made it necessary to establish a wait list, as local schools recommend many more students than can be accommodated.

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Master Science Management Information Technology



The master’s degree program in the management of information technology was introduced a decade ago to help address the regional need for informed professionals who have an understanding of technology and business.

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The interdisciplinary MIT program, administered through the computer science department, prepares women and men for the responsibility of managing information technology projects and teams in organizations.

The broad range of studies provides students with knowledge and skills related to the business issues associated with the management of complex, large technology projects and the people who work within those projects; and to the discipline of information technology and the issues that must be confronted when considering, designing, developing, managing, implementing and deploying successful information technology solutions within organizations.

Faculty who teach in the program represent a broad range of specializations, from information systems and security to artificial intelligence and digital imaging. The core of full-time faculty is complemented by adjunct instructors who bring experience to the classroom from a number of corporations and government agencies such as CACI International Inc., the U.S. Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hewlett-Packard Company and Rand Corporation.

“My graduate experience at Hood College has been phenomenal and changed my professional demeanor in doing business,” said Sandra Johnson, a current student in the program. “The caliber of students and professors with whom I have encountered and shared ideas has changed my way of thinking and even influenced my personality.”

Leaders from local business and government constitute an advisory board, which meets regularly with the MIT faculty and director to ensure the program continues to respond to regional needs and stays on the cutting edge of technology. Board members include engineering, IT and business managers and CEOs; and research scientists from organizations such as ComSource, Inc., Lockheed Martin, Hewlett-Packard Company, Morber Marketing Group, the Mental Health Association of Frederick County; and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

The MIT program is somewhat unusual among Hood’s graduate programs in that is has a large number of full-time students, primarily international students from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. “I don’t think that I could have made a better choice when choosing a school to pursue my master’s degree,” said Abdulaziz Mohammed Aljabre, M.S. ’12. “I really feel prepared for my future.”


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Master Science Biomedical Science



The biomedical science program was launched in 1975 to support the expertise of scientists working in laboratories of the National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center; the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases; and other nearby biomedical and biotechnology companies.

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Initially, research scientists taught the first courses in the evening on Hood’s campus. Students in those classes requested that the course offerings become a degree program, and the 33-credit program offering a combination of lecture and laboratory instruction and culminating in a research thesis was born.

As the program grew, Hood’s biology faculty and Fort Detrick research scientists who served as adjunct instructors developed more courses and supported student research. As the biotechnology industry expanded in the region, the biomedical science graduate program evolved to meet broader educational needs.

“A major strength of the BMS program has been our strong ties to the biomedical and biotech community in the wider Frederick region,” said Craig Laufer, Ph.D., professor of biology. “Countless federal and private labs have supported the thesis research of our students.”

“I had the benefi t of small class sizes and excellent full-time faculty, as well as adjunct instructors from government and private sector facilities who are experts in their fields,” said Leah Giambarresi ’03, C’05, M.S. ’10, who is employed by SAIC-Frederick doing regulatory work on clinical trials for the National Institutes of Health. “This produces a comprehensive graduate program with endless networking opportunities for professional growth post-graduation.”

A basic core of courses in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics comprises the academic structure of the biomedical sciences program. Additional elective courses allow students to select a track in molecular biology or microbiology. The thesis research of students in the program has contributed to vaccine development, diagnostic reagents and advancement in understanding mechanisms of cancer biology.

“During the past 20 years, I have been impressed with the quality of the capstone projects completed by students enrolled in the program,” said Ricky Hirschhorn, Ph.D., professor of biology. “It’s been gratifying to see our students move on to additional opportunities, some of them completing additional degrees in research or medically related fields.”

Curriculum development and review reflect the expertise of both the Hood College faculty and recommendations made by research scientists in the region who serve on an advisory council for the program. In 1998, an education partnership agreement between Hood, the National Cancer Institute at Fort Detrick, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Fort Detrick was signed providing mutual cooperation and collaboration between the agencies for the purpose of strengthening the training and development of research scientists in the greater Frederick region.

In 1995, the program added the non-thesis option as an alternative for students in the program and in 1999 the program added the regulatory compliance track. This concentration represents the responsiveness of the faculty and research community to a growing need for training in regulatory oversight of research discoveries as these new therapeutic products move from laboratory to patient care. Graduates of this concentration have been successful in passing the certifi cation exams conducted annually by the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and are employed in a variety of federal and state regulatory affairs departments.

As the biotech industry in Frederick continues to expand, Hood’s biology faculty remain committed to providing a strong graduate program in biomedical science that is integral to the support of life science research in Frederick and the region in the 21st century.

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Master Science Computer Science



Hood was one of the first institutions in the mid-Atlantic region to offer a graduate program in computer science, not long after the fi eld itself was established as an independent discipline. Initially known as the master of science in computer and information sciences with a concentration in computer science, the program with the mouthful of a name was originally designed as a part-time advanced degree program for working professionals in the area.

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Thirty years and hundreds of alumni later, the finely tuned program is appropriate for part- and full-time students. The faculty takes pride in offering the most relevant and up-to-date curriculum to meet the demands of the rapidly changing world of computing.

Among fundamental computer science courses, the program provides several themes based on faculty resources and local industry demand—artificial intelligence and networking and distributed computing. Other areas of interest include systems engineering, wireless communications, digital signal processing, web services and bioinformatics.

Hood is fortunate to be located in the midst of government research and application agencies, which are always strong regardless of economic ups and downs. High tech companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations have provided many opportunities for internships—many of which turned into employment offers—and special programs.

In recent years, there has been a surge in graduate students enrolling in Hood’s graduate program directly after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science. The department meets this challenge by refreshing its core computer science curricula offerings based on the recommendations of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society.

The faculty enjoy conducting meaningful research with graduate and undergraduate students. Outstanding graduate students are encouraged to work on either a thesis or a software engineering project, many of which lead to the publication of faculty-student collaborative papers. The master’s thesis research of Carol Jim, M.S. ’10, for example, generated three papers that were presented at major international conferences and led to her enrollment in the doctoral program at The George Washington University. Some of Hood’s graduates continue their intellectual endeavors in doctoral programs at universities across the nation.

“The faculty was extremely committed to instruction and they were always willing to support and collaborate with me,” said Michael Moorman, M.S. ’12. “As a graduate student, I had the distinct privilege of working with computer science professors on several projects and papers. This was an invaluable experience.” According to a recent Hood survey, 95 percent of graduates fi nd jobs or earn promotions in the two years after their graduation. Graduates are working at places such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Google, National Security Agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases and U.S. Coast Guard.

“Because of the education I received from Hood College, I am now working for the world’s leading company on frequent flyer programs in the airline industry,” said Mehmet Bulut, M.S. ’07. “I really value the education Hood provided me.”

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Master Science Mathematics Education



The master’s program in mathematics education, just three years old, has been extraordinarily successful, due in no small part to its deep connections to the local community. Teachers in the area, who now have a way to seek professional advancement close to home, have enrolled in overwhelming numbers.

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The interdisciplinary MIT program, administered through the computer science department, prepares women and men for the responsibility of managing information technology projects and teams in organizations.

The program features tracks for both middle and high school teachers and courses are offered when teachers can take them: after school and in the summers.

“The way in which the program balances mathematics content and pedagogy is a signifi cant strength of the program,” said Christy Graybeal, Ph.D., assistant professor of education. “It is exactly what many teachers want and need. With Maryland’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, national education standards for grades K-12 that establish goals and expectations for student learning, I think our program will be even more important than ever.”

In the program’s infancy, an advisory council of community stakeholders was created. The current council includes mathematics curriculum specialists from Frederick, Montgomery and Washington counties; teachers and teacher specialists from area school systems; faculty and administrators from local community colleges; the coordinator for mathematics and Science Technology Engineering Mathematics initiatives from the Maryland State Department of Education; a retired mathematics educator from the University of Maryland; and the past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Faculty continue to rely on the council for advice on course offerings, program assessment and oversight.

Students in the program have taken what they learned and successfully applied it to their teaching. Pepper Bowins, M.S. ’12, is now employed as a math intervention specialist in an elementary school. Current student Brenda Bishop was hired as a middle school math teacher. Ashley Huffman, M.S. ’12, changed from teaching special education to teaching eighth-grade pre-algebra and math intervention. And Ashley Baker Lancaster, M.S. ’10, was named the STEM teacher in her middle school. “I am still teaching the same classes that I taught before, but I feel much more confi dent in teaching some of the material,” said Lancaster. “Plus, I have so many more resources to use in my classes. I use numerous websites that we discussed in class, course handouts and ideas from other classmates.”

One of the many success stories includes Kevin Giffhorn, M.S. ’10, a member of the advisory council who was recently named the Maryland High School Mathematics Teacher of the Year. “The experiences in the master’s program, especially with technology, made me rethink my math teaching,” he said. “I have created an educational software company with a focus on mobile platforms.”

The mathematics education program, which was designed to help good math teachers become even better, infuses cutting-edge technology into its curriculum to achieve that objective. To stay on top of current best practices in the fi eld, faculty and others who are invested in the program’s success regularly attend seminars and workshops designed around such topics. Recently, Jill Dunham, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, and Graybeal participated in the 2011 Maryland Summit on the Common Core State Standards.

They are now part of a team using Livescribe pens—a ballpoint pen with an embedded computer and digital audio recorder that also captures handwritten notes and drawings—to develop electronic resources to help teachers adapt to the new state standards.

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Master Science Curriculum Instruction



The main goal of the curriculum and instruction program, designed primarily for certificated classroom teachers who want to enrich their professional knowledge and skills, is to increase the breadth and depth of a teacher’s expertise.

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The curriculum includes a core of professional education courses, with concentrations in elementary education, elementary school science and mathematics, secondary education and special education. Courses are taught by education department faculty or adjunct instructors who are professional educators or field practitioners and work in the same fi elds in which they teach. Students enrolled in the program appreciate the small class sizes, individual assistance, relevant activities and faculty who are able to credibly blend theory with practice.

“I know that my students really like the rich discussions, the sharing of strategies, the guest speakers and the field trips,” said Shari Ostrow-Scher, adjunct instructor and two-time recipient of the student-selected Teaching Excellence Award.

The program has an annual enrollment of nearly 140 candidates. Advancement through the program occurs in three phases and culminates in a yearlong capstone research project.

“The curriculum and instruction program at Hood offers comprehensive instruction in current education trends,” said Amy Llewellyn, who is enrolled in the program. “Each class has been full of discussion and collaboration among colleagues, whether in class or through an electronic discussion board. I have learned many instructional techniques and ways to assess students, and feel I have become an even better educator.”

In response to recent studies that indicate American students are behind and less interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics than their international peers, and initiatives by federal agencies, state governments, corporations and foundations to promote education in these areas, Hood will initiate a STEM certifi cation program as a curriculum and instruction concentration area in spring 2013.

Future program plans include redesigning the special education courses to include emphasis on integration of the Common Core State Standards—a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that provides a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn and designed to prepare students for successful futures—as well as inquiry-based learning, co-teaching, inclusion and autism.

“I decided to pursue this degree at Hood at the recommendation of many colleagues and friends,” said Tara Woolley, a student in the program. “Those whom I know outside the education field speak volumes about the quality of instruction and the accomplishments of the faculty. Those inside the education world echo those praises.”

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Master Science Information Technology



Students come from far and wide to join Hood’s master of science in information technology program. Indeed, about one fifth of the students in the program hail from foreign countries, including Armenia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Gabon, India, Moldova, Nepal, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and more. Everyone benefi ts from the regional knowledge and connections— essential to a successful career in information technology—international students bring with them.

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The goal of the program is to develop already highly qualified technical experts to meet the demands for information and cyber security in the workplace and prepare students to face challenges in day-to-day operations as an IT specialist or a manager in system integration. Whether they have worked in the IT industry for a long time and are looking forward to an advanced managerial position, or are among those who have a varied background and now plan to step into the computer technology field for the fi rst time, students benefit from a curriculum that comprises courses in managerial, budgetary and regulatory topics along with technical foundations.

“Hood’s curriculum has provided me with the professional insights necessary to be an excellent IT specialist or manager,” said Bongyong Uh, a current student. “It has given me a deep look at IT from both a theoretical as well as a practical perspective. At Hood, I have found great challenges and opportunities.”

Most of the courses are offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals’ daily schedules. Many students take one to two courses a semester, and complete the degree program in three years. Full-time students also have the option of taking some of the IT program courses in a hybrid format, where up to 40 percent of the lectures are online. Working professionals appreciate the advantages this format offers their work and travel schedules and, while many who participate in this option are able to graduate in as few as 18 months, the emphasis is on student success and the on-campus experience, not the accelerated schedule.

“I chose Hood’s program because it included courses in computer science and information systems,” said Gary Corsar, M.S. ’11. “The computer science curriculum introduced new technologies and helped me gain a deeper understanding of technologies I worked with daily. The information technology curriculum helped me better understand the management aspects related to IT engineering. Combined, they gave me the background I was looking for to stay on top of my career. Hood College is convenient to the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area; another plus, given my schedule.”

In addition to the master’s degree program, students have the option of pursuing the recently approved certificate of information security, the first step in developing a cadre of skilled information security specialists and astute information security managers.

Hood’s newly formed Center for Security and Information Assurance was accepted as a member of the CyberWatch Consortium, a group of 95 community colleges and universities dedicated to improving information assurance education at all levels. The center, which coordinates educational programs and practices in information assurance, and interacts with local area businesses, laboratories and government agencies, is projected to promote research, education and sound internal practices in computer security and information assurance.

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Master Science Environmental Biology



The master’s degree in environmental biology has a history of providing a high-caliber education to its students. Attracting people changing careers and current environmental professionals, students are exposed to a variety of cutting-edge research opportunities ranging from invasion ecology to habitat restoration, and enjoy diverse research opportunities through partnerships with a number of local and national agencies.

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The mission has always been to provide students with the contemporary tools to succeed in an environmentally related career. In addition to traditional training in the various fi elds of ecology, they learn about the factors associated with biological invasions, global climate change and its effects. Ideally located with access to local research such as the rusty crayfi sh invasion, students also can secure internships with a more national focus, such as the invasionmapping program at NASA-Goddard. As a result of ties with NASA-Goddard, there are also plans to launch an 18-credit certificate program in geographic information systems— geographically referenced data that can be displayed to reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts —and environmental biology during the next academic year.

While many students are attracted to the program for the research opportunities, it also appeals to teachers in the region who are seeking to expand their environmental teaching tools. To this end, several lab and five-week field courses that provide detailed methodological information in the fields of population ecology, GIS and insect, plant and aquatic ecology are offered. “I have so many new ideas that I can take back to my middle schoolers after surviving Bug Boot Camp,” said Suzie Folk, an environmental biology degree candidate who completed the summer field course in insect ecology.

Students such as Emma Bowers, who will graduate in September, use an environmental biology degree as a steppingstone into a doctoral program. “My research adviser was so thorough in helping me get accepted to multiple doctoral programs,” she said. “She emailed and called several of the scientists with whom I interviewed to give me an additional edge.” Other graduates, who pursue the degree as a means to secure a new job, are well positioned to begin rewarding environmental careers. “I was able to secure a position at NASA-Goddard,” said Blake Young, M.S. ’09. “My work and connections in the environmental biology program have paid off tenfold.”

Whether it involves teaching the next generation to protect our natural resources or projecting invasions using remote-sensing satellite data, the master’s degree program in environmental biology offers relevant training to a myriad of students.

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