Education - Page 4 - Area colleges offer certification in key growth markets

- Page 4
Area colleges offer certification in key growth markets
Specialization is the key in order to rise through the ranks

By Lisa Baldino, Contributing Writer

Area colleges are presenting new opportunities for career enhancement by offering certifications and advanced degrees. They are making the course work accessible and convenient for ambitious professionals in some of the fastest growing business segments in one of the nation’s most highly educated states.

Maryland ranked seventh in U.S. News & World Report’s “10 Most Educated States,” published in May of 2017. The report cited that nearly half of Maryland residents have earned an associate degree or higher level of education. Bachelor’s degrees are held by 21 percent and advanced or professional degrees by 17.1 percent. As employees strive for corporate advancement, the quest for higher learning continues.

At UMBC-Shady Grove, the majority of students already have full-time jobs. According to Elliot Lasson, Ph.D., professor of the practice and I/O psychology graduate program director, “As our program continues to develop, we felt that there would be an opportunity to create a couple of new and relevant certificate programs made up of required core courses and electives.”

There are plans for UMBC’s newest programs to roll out in fall of 2019 for students who wish to specialize in the high-demand markets of consulting, talent management and leadership development. Projected employment in these markets is forecast to grow 10 percent by 2026, faster than the average for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Lasson says courses at UMBC-Shady Grove will be bundled to give students the extra edge in obtaining a certificate. There will be three pathways to earn the certificates: within the degree program itself, as a certificate only and as a certificate that can advance toward a degree. Intended to enhance the school’s master’s program in industrial psychology, the certificate in I/O psychology is designed around the content of existing courses, resulting in more in-depth technical knowledge plus people skills necessary in the business. Workers in both the public and private sectors may find these courses to be useful additions to their I/O psychology mix: consulting for I/O psychology, change management and a psychology practicum.

The other new certificate that will be available at UMBC-Shady Grove is in training and talent development. The already-offered I/O psychology course would be joined by new courses of principles in training and development, leadership and talent development and instructional systems development. “This certificate is targeted to students interested in learning how to get from point A to point B in their own career development, and they will also study leadership,” Lasson says.

Two of the courses will be available online, and several of the ground classes will have offsite mentor-informed consultations to provide hands-on experiences. Lasson says the college will market these new programs to both existing and new students, as well as alumni. The program was developed through UMBC’s division of professional studies in collaboration with the program’s faculty and the advisory board.

For all those creative people in more technical fields who want to build a design portfolio, MICA is adding a Master of Arts in graphic design degree. “It’s a new program for people from complementary fields who want an immersive, one-year graduate program to build a professional portfolio of design. It will be more professional than theoretical,” says Sandra Maxa, director of the graphic design MA program at MICA. She notes that marketers, promotions professionals and website programmers will benefit from the one-year program, as will anyone who works at a non-profit organization.

Victoria Liu enrolled in the program because she found herself spending all of her free time doing graphic design. The Princeton graduate holds an undergraduate degree in international relations and works for the non-profit, Legacies of War. Because of her love for graphic design, she helped to update all of the organization’s branding materials and is considering pursuing a career in design. “I’m looking forward to this program because I will be with my peers who have transferred from other careers – we ask,‘What will this design accomplish?’”

“The skills in visual communication will be ideal for non-profits, because they’re often asked to do a little bit of everything,” Maxa notes. The 30-credit program consists of eight classes ranging from design process to advanced typography. The curriculum includes the study of language and typography, library research on its history and a thesis project presented as part of the MICA graduation show. “Graphic design is really language visualized,”Maxa says.

The program promises to be competitive in the admissions process, and some graphic design experience is necessary. “We want to make sure they are committed,” Maxa says. The Master of Arts in graphic design degree began this September, but the number of students accepted will be capped at 16.

Another area of significant job growth is higher education. According to the Bureau of

Certification, continued on page 9

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Above: Class time in MICA’s new graphic design Master of Arts program is spent in many ways, including ideation sessions like this one showing students in the graphic design post baccalaureate program pitching thesis topics.

What students are saying ...

Advanced certificates and degrees are all the rage, but what are some concrete ways in which they will be used? Exactly who is taking these classes – online or on site?

Melinda Burdette – A member of the Charter Advisory Committee for SAGE and a Goucher trustee, Burdette plans to enroll in Goucher’s new Senior Institute for Growth and Enrichment (SAGE) that begins this fall. She earned a degree in visual arts at Goucher and enjoyed a successful career as development director at Roland Park Place and at Goucher itself. She says the SAGE program will provide non-credit continuing education classes in an on-campus and online setting. “Part of the purpose is to offer socialization with the senior population and to keep our minds sharp,” Burdette says. “One of the pilot programs will assist in the library with special collections projects. Academic enrichment classes are in development for the spring, along with skills-building courses and travel opportunities.”

Kristina Liu – An administrator with the Dance Conservatory who holds a degree in dance from Butler University, Liu is enrolled in the Master of Arts in graphic design program at MICA.“After college, I danced in Rhode Island, which is a very place. I saw the need for dance to be out in the community, and graphic design was one way to do that,” she says. Liu brought her talent to the Washington/ Baltimore region as she danced with Gin Dance Company in Falls Church,Va., and performed dances ranging from ballet to modern. She now wants to gain more knowledge on how to communicate using design.

Vic Liu – After earning an undergraduate degree in international relations from Princeton, Liu found herself deviating from her intended major to graphic design. She developed some skills when she was on the high school newspaper staff, and she has been doing design work during most of her free time. She has enrolled in the Master of Arts in graphic design program at MICA. “I don’t have the toolbox to be a professional designer, so I hope to learn how to do a lot of things through this creative course,” Liu says. “I see design as intellectual and very visceral, dealing with colors and shapes. The amazing thing is that I will be with my peers who are also transferring from other careers, and I can complete the degree in one year. There will be a mix of culture and diversity in the class, as we ask,‘What will this design accomplish?’” •