News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: September 29, 2004 (04-87) 

Montgomery College, University of Maryland Partner
 To Create New Future in Bioscience Education
MC, UM Presidents Sign Agreement to Bring Upper Level
Life Sciences Courses on Site at MC-Germantown Campus  

Montgomery College President Charlene Nunley and University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. today signed an agreement between the two institutions of higher education that will expand opportunities for students in the bioscience field, including the ability to complete a bachelor’s degree in life sciences on-site at the community college’s Germantown Campus.

Under the agreement, the University of Maryland will provide students with the opportunity to take the upper two years of its life sciences baccalaureate degree program at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus, after completing the first two years of their coursework as an MC student. Although the upper-level courses will be provided at the MC-Germantown Campus, the University System of Maryland's Universities at Shady Grove (USG) will provide services for students in the program.

Montgomery College currently offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in biotechnology; and an Associate of Science degree in science with concentrations in biochemistry and chemistry, environmental science and policy, life science, math, and physics.  Students who complete the requirements for these programs have the skills to go directly into the workforce or to transfer to a four-year university or college to work towards a bachelor’s degree. 

“This agreement will make it possible for students to begin their studies in the biotechnology program here at Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus and then go on to complete a baccalaureate degree from the University of Maryland -- without ever leaving Germantown,” said Dr. Charlene R. Nunley, president of Montgomery College. “The partnership we’ve forged with the University of Maryland is a pivotal part of our overall plan to make Montgomery College and the Germantown Campus a world-class center for bioscience education and business development.”

“This innovative partnership provides a new pathway for the residents of Montgomery County to gain access to degree programs in biological sciences, a field in high demand,” said Dr. C.D. Mote, Jr., president of University of Maryland.  “The programs at the Bioscience Education Center and Technology Park will build on a history of close cooperation between Montgomery College and the University of Maryland.  We work together to provide outstanding educational programs, address the employment needs of the County’s commercial enterprises, and help support leading industries of the State.”

Montgomery College is currently planning for the construction of a new bioscience education center on its Germantown Campus that would house the biotechnology and other science programs, as well as the University of Maryland’s on-site program. Funding for the design and construction of the center has been earmarked in the County’s six-year capital improvements program. Under the current timetable, design work would begin in 2006 and construction would be completed by 2010. The planned bioscience education center would feature 127,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories.

A 40-acre life sciences and technology business park will also be developed on the campus with up to one million square feet of commercial space for wet labs, offices and other uses. Located just off of I-270 at the MD Route 118 interchange, the park will be designed to meet the needs of new and established bioscience and technology businesses.  It will provide further opportunities for collaboration between Montgomery College and the University of Maryland, College Park, as the two institutions identify and develop new curricula for the education and professional development of students and area biotechnology professionals. 

Montgomery College recently selected real estate developer Foulger-Pratt to plan, construct, market and manage the business park’s development.  Along with the College’s bioscience center, the business park will also be anchored by a County-operated technology business incubator.

Also recently, Montgomery College received a prestigious Partnerships for Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development of a biotechnology education and training program that will serve students at all levels, from middle school to the post-doctoral level.  Montgomery College is one of only two community colleges nationwide to receive the NSF grant, which amounts to $600,000 over the next three years.

With the National Science Foundation grant, Montgomery College will work towards the creation of a summer training program for middle school teachers and the expansion of its bioscience career camps for ninth and tenth grade high school students.  In collaboration with Montgomery County Public Schools, the grant will also be used to create an Upcounty Biotech Academy on the College’s Germantown Campus for high-achieving students who wish to prepare for a career in the biosciences.  Students would take half of their courses at their home high school and accelerated math and science courses at the College.

  Additionally, grant funds will be used to provide business training to scientists, biotechnology and life sciences professionals by Montgomery College’s Macklin Center for Entrepreneurship; create a distinguished speaker series; and develop professional development opportunities for the bioscience industry.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.