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Montgomery College Hosts Secretary of Education James E. Lyons Rockville Campus is a Stop on “Capital for a Day” tour of Rockville


Maryland Higher Education Secretary Dr. James E. Lyons visited with Montgomery College administrators, students, faculty, and staff Thursday, July 30, during the Rockville “Capital for a Day” event. Governor Martin O’Malley’s “Capital for a Day” initiative takes administrators and policy makers out of Annapolis to constituents in counties around the state.

Dr. Judy Ackerman, vice president and provost, Rockville Campus, thanked the Secretary for his commitment to higher education and shared an overview of the College’s goals and challenges in this difficult economy. She provided specific examples of how the College is adapting to the economic crunch such as blended instruction, using National Institute of Health surplus equipment in science courses, and adjusting scheduling practices.

“At Montgomery College, we are excited about the possibilities we have ahead despite the current economic climate,” Dr. Ackerman said. “With the importance of adding new skills and re-training in the workforce, Montgomery College is anticipating a record number of students.”

Dr. Ackerman also highlighted Montgomery College’s developmental math program, the partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools and President Obama’s community college initiative.

“We are all going through difficult economic times, but we are going to come out of this,” Secretary Lyons stated. “It’s important how we position ourselves coming out of the economic downturn. The good news is that we have a governor and a lieutenant governor who are really strong in their support of community colleges, and who see the importance of community colleges.”

The presentations from faculty and staff included Dr. Esther Schwartz-McKinzie, director of the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College. She was joined by student Amber Koplow to discuss infusing museum studies in the curriculum and through internships. Koplow was a student intern at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

“This internship has allowed me to pursue a career in the field of zoo management,” said Koplow, who will major in environmental science at the University of Maryland, College Park this fall. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunity.”

Dr. Sanjay Rai, interim vice president and provost, Germantown Campus, presented “Engineering a top-notch engineering program at a two-year college.”

Professor Rose Sachs, chair of the College’s disability support services, informed Secretary Lyons about Montgomery College’s Combat2College program and how the program is built to welcome returning veterans to the campus environment.

Professor Diane Switlick, chair of the Department of Education at Montgomery College, concluded the discussions with a presentation on building the pipeline of future educators.

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