TAP eNews 2012

2012 TAP eNewsletters

April 3, 2012

3 Questions With: Lorie Logan-Bennett, Director,The Career Center

Can you discuss the outcome of the Career Center’s recent Dress for Success suit donation drive?

The Career Center initiated its first ever Dress for Success Closet Business Suit Drive this spring in an effort to assist Towson University students in making the best possible first impression with employers.  Thanks to the generous donations of TU alumni, faculty and staff, community members, and corporate sponsors, more than 250 students received business suits free of charge!  Participating students expressed their sincere thanks to those who made their polished and professional images possible and  voiced a newfound confidence to market themselves to employers at job fairs, interviews, and networking events.

What is the mission of the Career Center?
The mission of the Career Center at Towson University is three-fold:  (1) to educate and empower students to clarify, develop and implement career goals, (2) to connect students to the workforce with experiential education and employment opportunities, and (3) to develop partnerships with employers, alumni, faculty and administrators that expand and enhance career opportunities for TU students.  We support students throughout their time at TU and work to provide them with the knowledge, know-how and connections to ensure their professional success.

What services does the Career Center offer to current TU students and TU alumni?

We’re happy to be able to support all TU alumni in their career development and progression and encourage graduates to stay connected via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/careercentertu) and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=3204729).  Alumni have lifelong access to Hire@TU (https://www.myinterfase.com/towson/student/) to post their resumes, search for jobs, and view upcoming career-related events like the career fairs and employer information sessions held each semester.  Alumni within two years of graduation can meet with the Center’s career advisors for individual assistance and all are welcome to utilize the resources on our website (stay tuned for our redesigned sight launching later this spring).  Additional services available to current students include enrollment in the two-credit Life and Career Planning Course and assistance with securing internships, making decisions regarding major and career direction, mock interviews, applying to graduate school, and more.  If it’s related to careers and/or professionalism, we can help with that!

March 27, 2012

3 Questions With: Dirron Allen, Director, Student Activities

What services are available through the Office of Student Activities (OSA)?
Our office is comprised of five program areas: leadership development, off-campus student services, community service, student organizations, and campus programming. Each of these areas is committed to providing the most comprehensive, specialized support to students ranging from programs that aid in the transition from living on-campus to off-campus neighborhoods, to help developing and executing an event, and guidance in creating a new student organization on campus. OSA staff members also help students develop organizational, personal, and professional life skills by serving as advisers and mentors. For more information on our programs, services, and resources, go to www.towson.edu/studentactivities.

What are the goals of the Office of Student Activities and how do they contribute to a TU student’s undergraduate experience?
The goal and mission of the Office of Student Activities is to create co-curricular programming that fosters student learning and development, connects students with diverse communities, and creates lasting and fun-filled memories while modeling positive behaviors for our students. Our hope is to prepare students to be actively engaged, culturally competent citizens.  
Our efforts are designed to provide students with a well-rounded college experience. We want to support the educational goals of our students while providing opportunities for them to gain transferrable skills that will enhance their learning. Ultimately, we want students to graduate, feel prepared, and always have special place for TU in their hearts.

Why is it important for alumni, students, faculty and staff of Towson University to be committed to civic engagement and leadership development?
As a state institution of Maryland, Towson University is uniquely committed to our surrounding community.  As an institution that is committed to developing civically engaged citizens, we have a responsibility to exemplify how to be a partner with the Baltimore community and beyond. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff must be intentional about our actions. We must develop and create future leaders so that they understand and appreciate this relationship and responsibility.  This education is essential to the creation of a better tomorrow.


March 20, 2012

3 Questions With: John Desmone, Director, Northeastern Maryland, Towson Learning Network

What should the TU community know about the Towson Learning Network?
The Towson Learning Network (TLN) is housed in the Division of Academic Affairs and serves as its logistical arm for all off campus courses and programs.  Its mission is to identify and support opportunities for off-campus courses and programs through collaboration with internal and external partners and provide administrative assistance from the beginning of the process to its successful completion.
TLN began in the early ‘90’s as an outreach of the College of Education to local school systems that had teachers faced with new state mandated certification requirements.  The goal was to provide credit bearing classes that met those requirements and do it in a convenient, cost effective manner.  Over the past 15 plus years, it has created and maintains long-term, sustainable programs that address certification and professional development needs identified by local school systems.  It also has established outreach efforts to create off-campus programs to address workforce development needs of local business, industry, and government and most TU colleges now offer off-campus programs that meet the educational demands of the marketplace.
Programs are offered at the regional higher education centers, in school systems, at government agencies, and at community colleges.  TLN programs provide the same high quality, rigorous courses and programs that are available on campus but in convenient locations, and at an affordable price.

Why is it important to offer classes outside of TU’s main campus?  
Probably the easiest way to answer this question is to tell you that “TLN” courses have over 3,600 enrollments this spring.  There is a clear demand for Towson’s outstanding programs at various off campus locations across the state.
Let me give you an example.  Let’s say a teacher in St. Mary’s County is considering career options as a building administrator, has heard of Towson's outstanding Educational Leadership program but can’t travel to a campus more than two hours away.  Fortunately, the program is offered at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California, Maryland and we’ve had dozens of teachers in Southern Maryland take advantage of this and other programs at that location.  
We like to say our programs are offered with 3 “c’s” – content, cost and convenience.  It is the same program - taught by full time and other highly qualified instructors, at a TU price, and at a convenient location.  TLN works hard to promote Towson University’s position as the leader in workforce development in Maryland.

We understand that there are plans for a Towson building in Harford County.  Why the big push into Northeastern Maryland?
Actually, TU has been in Northeastern Maryland for a number of years (mid-90’s), both in partnerships with Harford and Cecil County schools as well as with programs at the Higher Education and Conference Center (HECC) at HEAT.  However, a set of confluent events (listed below), figuratively led by the Base Realignment (BRAC)to APG in Aberdeen, have occurred in the last few years that encouraged the then presidents of both Towson and Harford Community College (HCC) to consider expanding our presence.
•    In 2007 the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, commissioned a report that found that 97% of the new civilian jobs resulting from BRAC will require some education beyond a high school diploma with 40% of the jobs requiring a graduate degree.
•    There is no 4 year institution of higher learning located in that region of the state.
•    Harford County is home to 9,200 TU alumni and, in the fall 2009, the TU campus was home to 1,710 undergraduate students from Harford County.
•    HCC was the second largest feeder school for new transfer students to TU in fall 2009, accounting for 10% of TU’s total new transfer student population.
•    Seventy percent of the HCC graduates who go on to pursue their bachelor’s degree choose to attend Towson University
•    Recently, Towson University became the in-state school of choice for students transferring from Cecil (Community) College.
We currently have 5 undergraduate programs approved for operation at the HEAT Center and expect the sixth to be approved shortly by MHEC.  Students will be able to transfer to Towson but remain in Harford County for their junior and senior year taking courses at HECC @ HEAT.  Should the new 2+2 building be approved (fingers and toes crossed), we expect to expand those offerings based on the workforce needs of the region and the field of study interests of the students transferring with an associate’s degree from both HCC and Cecil College to Towson University in Northeastern Maryland.  


March 12, 2012

3 Questions With: Patrick Young, Coordinator of Veterans Services

What is the significance of the upcoming veteran plaque dedication?
For over a decade the young men and women serving in America’s military have taken the lion’s share of the sacrifice required to fight a multi faceted war in theaters across the globe.  From being called away from home due to multiple deployments, to transitioning from a military environment to the college classroom they have endured with little expectation of recognition.   These students deserve to be recognized for their service and dedication to our country and Towson plans to do just that.  This event will acknowledge the efforts of Towson’s current and future veteran students and thank them for their military service and their commitment to continuing their education. This event will be open to all members of the Towson University community, as well as those who have served in the past, present and future. The event will be held in the new grass quad area in front of Burdick Hall on April 23, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.  We hope to see you there.

How does the Veterans Center help veterans transition into the TU Community?
Towson’s Veterans Center offers a unique environment where student vets can meet their peers and gain information regarding university activities in one central location. Coming into the university from a military environment can be quite the culture shock. The Veterans Center strives to ease the transition by providing vet’s with a place to study, network and decompress. We also try to connect veteran students with the Student veterans Group of Towson University who holds an array of activities that give Veterans the chance to interact with the student body.      

What are the main services and/or resources offered through the Veterans Center?
The Veterans Center provides educational, social and personal enrichment opportunities for the veteran community of Towson University.  The Center seeks to create an enhanced learning environment by providing veteran students with support and resources in a veteran-friendly atmosphere, and by addressing the unique issues and challenges that veteran students face when entering into the university environment. Staff at the Center will assist veterans with information regarding the G.I. Bill, VA services, financial aid, and guidance through the university application and enrollment processes. The Center is staffed by the Coordinator of Veterans Services and veteran student assistants.   The Veterans Center is the one-stop-shop for securing information necessary to successfully make the transition to college life.
Key services the Veteran’s Center offers:
•    Admissions Counseling for prospective veteran students  
•    Assistance with Montgomery G.I. Bill and associated financial aid issues
•    Coping with the transition from military to collegiate life
•    Foster friendships through extracurricular activities, sports and camaraderie  
•    Assistance with problems and issues encountered on campus


February 28, 2012

3 Questions With: Anthony Rosas, Chair, Towson University Staff Council

What services does TUSC provide to the TU community?
TUSC works with staff in a number of different fronts in the TU community.  First and foremost, we are the advocate for staff members regarding broad policy issues that affect both the entire campus community and staff specifically.  The TU 2016 plan states, “Emphasize the shared governance structure throughout the university to ensure responsible organizational leadership”  TUSC is the primary outlet for staff to participate in shared governance.  Secondly, we provide training and development for staff (and at times faculty and students).  Staff members are primarily reached through the annual Staff Development Conference, and  the greater community is reached through monthly ‘brown bag’ lunch sessions, that provide information to everyone on a range of topics including: the greening of campus, and prostate and breast cancer awareness.  Finally, we try to recognize the contributions of TU staff to the university.  Our own “Top Tiger” award is a monthly recognition given to two staff members who go above and beyond their normal job description.  Similarly, the Board of Regents annual staff awards recognizes staff members throughout the entire USM system, our role is to aid in the nomination and selection process for those awards and to put forth the best nominees from TU for consideration.

Why is important for TU staff to become involved in TUSC?
In order for us to function as an advocate, we need to have representation from all areas of the staff.  We are an elected body that is intended to be representative of the diversity and cross demographics that comprise all staff members.  Without an active staff community the interests of everyone will not be well represented.

How does TUSC contribute to the overall advancement of Towson University?
As stated above we participate in shared governance; this means that we have a responsibility to provide input and feedback when policies are made or changed.  Many of these policies have long term and far reaching effects on not just staff members, but the campus community as a whole.  We are also involved in community service initiatives; this year we partnered with Operation Warm to bring new winter coats to those in need.  It is my opinion that we need to work together as the staff council with both faculty and students to make TU a collaborative “family” that we all take pride in, for a better future for staff, faculty and students alike.


February 21, 2012

3 Questions With: Dr. Gary Rubin, Vice President, University Advancement

Why is philanthropy so important to the advancement of higher education?
As state dollars become less plentiful and the cost of higher education continues to rise,  the need for private support is vitally important in  ensuring a quality education for our students so that  upon graduation from  Towson University they will be prepared for life and work. In addition, through philanthropy, scholarships provide support for students who otherwise would never receive a college education and thus not be able to contribute to a strong workforce for our state and the nation.

Towson University exceeded its seven-year $50 million Capital Campaign, “Growing a University,” goal, what is the significance of this accomplishment?
Exceeding the Capital Campaign is an historic achievement. This is the largest amount of money ever raised by the university and is testimony to the tremendous support from alumni and friends toward this remarkable institution.

How has the Division of University Advancement contributed to the visibility of TU in the local community, the state and the nation?
The University Advancement Division increases engagement and support through its marketing efforts, alumni activities and networking events, publications, and initiatives, including the TAP program, WTMD, and our alumni magazine Towson.


February 14, 2012

3 Questions With: Matthew Sikorski, President, Towson University Student Government Association

What are the biggest issues that the SGA has faced this year and how do you plan on overcoming them?
It is both a blessing and a curse to have so many great ideas, with such a short amount of time to accomplish them. We have around ten months to really get done what we want to get done, and having 43 total SGA members with two to three ideas each can sometimes strain our resources. We overcame this by simply planning out the exact steps each initiative takes, and following that plan to the T, so that even after we leave, the initiative can still be worked on.

What impact do you hope to have on campus with your presidency?
I hope to leave a lasting impact, where I can come back in five years and still see the results of what my administration accomplished. Whether that’s the continuation of the discount card program, the academic banners around campus, or the new diversity programs that we created this year.

Why is it important to you to be involved with campus leadership?
Campus leadership is what shaped my college experience. I fell in love with Towson University because of my involvement with various groups. It is important to be engaged with your campus and surrounding community because it is your home for four years of your life. I have learned just as much from my leadership experience as my classroom experience, and I believe every college student should feel the same.


February 7, 2012

3 Questions With: William Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland

Can you discuss the progress of the “Powering Maryland Forward” 2020 strategic plan?
In December, 2010, the Board of Regents approved the USM’s new strategic plan: Powering Maryland Forward - USM's 2020 Plan for More Degrees, a Stronger Innovation Economy, and a Higher Quality of Life.  The plan has—at its heart—two key goals:  First is advancing Maryland toward the state’s established goal of having 55 percent of our young adult population holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.  Second is enhancing Maryland’s competitiveness both by promoting R&D, technology transfer, and technology commercialization, and by ensuring the right degree mix, with an emphasis on the STEM disciplines.  The full strategic plan can be viewed here: http://www.usmd.edu/10yrplan/USM2020.pdf

While the execution of the plan is still in the early stages, we have already seen significant progress:
•    The USM has added more than 1,200 bachelor’s degrees since the plan was approved in FY 10, well over 10 percent of the  way toward our goal of 10,000 more degrees.
•    We have awarded more than 200 additional undergraduate STEM degrees, 17 percent toward the goal of 1,280 additional STEM degrees.
•    We have increased total STEM enrollment by almost 10 percent.
•    Undergraduate STEM teacher education graduates have increased by a remarkable 45 percent.
•    And we have helped create more than 30 new start-up companies to date, 10 percent of our 2020 goal.

 What is the Way2Go Maryland College Preparation Campaign?

Way2Go Maryland is the USM’s information campaign that aims to put more Maryland students—specifically middle school and early high school students—on the path to college.  We are reaching out early in the academic careers of these young people to familiarize them with the course sequence they need to take; the financial aid, student loans, and scholarships that are available; offerings at USM institutions; the college application process; and other elements that will improve their chances of both attending—and graduating from—our higher education institutions.  Through a series of regional events, visits to schools and other sites, a website (way2gomaryland.org), and posters, Way2Go has reached thousands of students, parents, and guardians across the state.  

How can members of the TU community get involved to contribute to the completion of the strategic plan?
Towson University has already shown itself to be incredibly committed to our plan.  As your readers know, the goals Towson University set forth in its own strategic plan—TU 2016: Building Within-Reaching Out—correlate closely with the goals USM seeks to accomplish.  In addition, the fact that Towson has been identified as one of only 11 institutions nationwide to have eliminated the gap in graduation rates between black and Hispanic students and white students makes TU a leader in completion.  TU has also significantly increased its enrollment and the number of students it graduates each year.  In addition, TU is critical in enhancing Maryland’s competitiveness.  I am confident that Dr. Maravene Loeschke will continue this commitment as the 13th president of this wonderful institution.

While progress is clearly being made, the fact remains that without significant additional resources going forward, our ability to reach our goals will be compromised.  As we move toward the 2012 legislative session, additional support and advocacy on behalf of the USM and the elements of the plan—which are in full alignment with state priorities—are needed.  


January 31, 2012

3 Questions With: Connie Kihm, Chairperson, Towson Advocacy Program

You have been involved with TAP for many years, why do you think it is important for TU alumni to stay involved and advocate on behalf of their alma mater? 

By staying involved and encouraging others to donate their time, talents, and energies, alumni can ensure the bright future of Towson University.  TAP is an excellent way to enlist the support of Maryland’s General Assembly in furthering TU’s continued success.  TAP is active primarily when the General Assembly is in session for 90 days beginning January 11, 2012.

How do you recommend alumni contribute to TAP?
Alumni can become familiar with the Maryland legislative process, identify their legislators, and be ready to contact them on behalf of TU by phone, email, fax, and/or personal visits.  The Alumni Office is preparing a small “TU Facts” handout card that will aid in promoting TU to our legislators.  Finally, alumni can stay up to date on the 2012 legislative session by reading the weekly TAP eNewsletter and visiting the TAP webpage on the TU Alumni Relations website.  Current bills that could affect TU are listed in the eNewsletter.  

What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s legislative session?

I will be participating with current TU students in Tiger Pride Day.  I am really inspired by all of the engaged students who travel to Annapolis to raise awareness for their school and to meet Maryland legislators.  Also, this year will be a particularly exciting year because of our new President Maravene Loeschke; I am excited to see how she advocates for TU in Annapolis. A new change in the schedule of USM budget testimony now includes two university groupings that will alternate annual testimony before the Legislative Budget Committees. Both the Legislature and USM agreed that an every other year review of specific USM institutions provided the greatest efficiency and individualized focus during the compressed 90-day Session. President Loeschke will testify in front of the House Appropriations and Senate Budget & Taxation Committees during the 2013 Session with the Presidents included in the second-year pairing of institutions.