Montgomery College’s fall semester kicked off August 29 with new curricula, new class formats, new programs, and a new president ready to lead his first full year of academic pursuits.
Dr. Jermaine F. Williams took the helm of Montgomery College in February 2022. While he officiated his first commencement in spring semester, he is eager to lead his first full year of classes and activities for students.
Dr. Williams looks forward to greeting students on the first day of classes—and wants to hear how the College can meet their needs. In his six-month tenure with the College, he has met with local government officials, higher education professionals, Montgomery County Public Schools leadership, and leaders in business and industry to fortify working relationships that ultimately benefit Montgomery College students.
The College works closely with these same business and industry leaders to create new educational programs that prepare students to fill critical workforce shortages. Among the more than 100 curricula being offered this fall is a new data science degree. This program will prepare data and mathematical scientists, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the top 15 fastest-growing occupations. According to GlassDoor, data scientist salaries in Washington, D.C., on average pay $109,257 per year.
In addition to adding a host of new curricula, the College expanded its online degree and certificate offerings to accommodate busy schedules and lives. Now students can receive an associate’s degree in one of seven fully online programs, including business, computer science, criminal justice, cybersecurity, digital media and web technology, early childhood education, and general studies. Certificates offered online include computer science, hospitality supervision and leadership, professional and technical writing, and women’s and gender studies. Although students can earn a degree without coming to campus, they can avail themselves of the College’s e-resources to support their studies. They can also visit any of the campuses to use the physical academic support centers, libraries, advising services, and more.
The College expanded its robust dual enrollment programs to provide a Virtual Middle College component for high school students. Virtual Middle College is a joint MC and MCPS academic initiative allowing qualified MCPS high school students to take college credit courses to earn their high school diploma, while also earning a college degree through an online/virtual college experience. Students from all MCPS high schools can participate in the program while still enrolled at their home high school. In addition, the Early College program welcomes students who enrolled in two newly created cohorts in nursing and cloud computing and network technology.
This year, more than 1,300 MCPS students are participating in Early College, Middle College, Pathways in Network and Information Technology (P-TECH), and JumpStart programs. In spring 2022, 269 MCPS students earned an associate’s degree and a high school degree through dual enrollment programs—the largest class ever.
MC’s Director of Academic Initiatives Akima Rogers says, “Dual enrollment programs are a great opportunity for high school students to earn college credit and gain college experience in a low-cost, supportive environment.”
Other enhancements to Montgomery College’s learning environment this fall include offering classes in flexible seven-, 13-, and 15-week semester formats. Recent graduate Shereika Chin, a 30-year-old single mother of a four-year-old daughter with autism, took advantage of seven-week classes. She juggled full-time jobs at Amazon and then Home Depot, always working around her daughter’s inconsistent sleep schedule. “Although it’s double the work, I liked the challenge,” she says.