Down in the Grove
How do students who live in the Washington, D.C., area make it to their UB classes in 20 minutes or less? By attending those classes at the Universities at Shady Grove. Undergraduates and graduate students in selected UB majors can choose to pursue their degrees on the Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Md.
UB students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the location, which is a cooperative venture. The campus is home to nine universities in the University System of Maryland and offers 80 degree programs to 4,000-plus students. Each of the partner institutions has its own offices on campus, its own dedicated faculty teaching classes, and each awards its own degrees. It's an innovative model for higher education: Sharing classroom spaces, services and facilities is an economical way for universities to provide additional educational opportunities without investing in stand-alone campuses.
Silver Spring resident Joel Landy completed his associate’s degree at Montgomery College before transferring to UB to major in Simulation and Game Design. "It was an easy decision for me; I wanted a game simulation program and UB's is great,” he recalls. “And having the option to take my classes at Shady Grove made it convenient as well."
"I wanted a game simulation program and UB's is great. And having the option to take my classes at Shady Grove made it convenient as well."
Now a senior, Landy works in USG's Office of Student Services. He also serves as an orientation leader for new students, and is UB's representative to the student government organization and a regular contributor to the campus blog, Around the Grove. "I like the mix of students here and there’s always some event going on," he says.
USG's environmentally green campus offers not only activities, but comprehensive facilities and services. Built around a central courtyard with banners from the nine universities flying overhead, it features state of the art smart classrooms and computer labs as well as a library, café, fitness center and bookstore. On-campus services include internships, academic advising, job placement, career coaching and financial aid (well over $1 million in scholarship money was awarded in 2016, from more than 50 different scholarship programs).
Haoua Welsh, B.S. '17, grew up in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and recalls her father’s advice that "education should be your first priority." But returning to school after many years of traveling and working internationally seemed daunting. "Originally I was not confident—I had been out of school for 40 years," Welsh says. After achieving her associate’s degree from Montgomery College while working there full-time and maintaining grades that kept her on the Dean's List, she entered UB’s Health Systems Management program at USG to complete her undergraduate degree.
Welsh graduated magna cum laude in spring 2017. "Now I'm strongly considering a Master's program," Welsh says. "Shady Grove has worked out so well for me. It’s 15 minutes from my home and has all of the resources I need."
Welsh was recently honored at USG's 2017 Student Achievement and Leadership Breakfast, where 27 graduating seniors from the various universities were recognized for their academic achievement, commitment to serve the community and drive to excel. "At age 67, it was especially enjoyable and satisfying to be on the stage with much younger students, some of whom I worked with at Montgomery College," she says.