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A partnership of higher education and naval organizations -- the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, the College of Southern Maryland, the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division -- will undertake a program to explore joint education and research efforts and establish four-year aerospace and mechanical engineering bachelor of science degree programs in southern Maryland, in close proximity to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

No such degrees are available in the region at present. The partnership seeks to increase the number of people in southern Maryland prepared to provide advanced engineering skills to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and companies that work with it. Efforts are planned to publicize the educational opportunity to area high school students as well, in what is termed a "STEM project" (promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics as career options for young people).

"Increasing the number of highly qualified engineering graduates is important for national security, and our economic and international competitiveness," said University of Maryland President C. D. Mote, Jr. "The University is excited to be collaborating with our partners in Southern Maryland and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station towards this end. This is the right partnership at the right time."

The new program will entail a multi-year initiative encompassing education and research activities, starting in the fall of 2009.

The educational component of the program will enable qualified College of Southern Maryland students to take University of Maryland engineering classes in three ways: by attending classes televised by the university's Clark School and presented at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center, by attending classes offered by Clark School adjunct faculty at the center and by attending Clark School classes in College Park on the campus of the University of Maryland.

The research component of the program will address the technical needs of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), including avionics, rotorcraft, air vehicles and unmanned systems, propulsion and power, manufacturing, and human systems. The research will advance the state of knowledge in particular areas of direct interest to the Navy.

"NAWCAD has world-class engineering facilities. In partnership with these educational institutions, who offer world-class learning experiences, we'll lay the foundation for the future of Naval aviation," said Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, NAWCAD commander.

Darryll Pines, University of Maryland aerospace engineering professor and incoming dean of the Clark School said: "The Clark School is excited about initiating this unique education and research partnership with the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division and the College of Southern Maryland and the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center."



December 18, 2008


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