New DoD Contract Positions UMUC to Be One of the First U.S. Universities On the Ground Serving Troops in Iraq

Education contract calls for UMUC to provide undergraduate liberal arts instruction and some graduate programs on the ground to troops stationed in the U.S. Central Command


By Kerry O'Neill (koneill@mghus.com) |   October 16, 2008

ADELPHI, Md. (May 5, 2008) - UMUC announced today the award of an education contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to deliver undergraduate liberal arts coursework and several graduate-level programs to U.S. troops stationed in countries in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). The contract positions UMUC to be one of the first American universities on the ground serving troops in Iraq, with the first classes to be offered, at the discretion of DoD, as early as August 1, 2008.

"The opportunity to serve American troops stationed in CENTCOM countries is a great honor for University of Maryland University College,” said UMUC President Susan C. Aldridge. “UMUC has a 60-year history of responding to the education needs of our men and women in uniform no matter where they serve, and our graduates have risen to the highest ranks of leadership in the military, as well as in the public and private sectors. We are pleased and proud to be able to continue our tradition of delivering a quality education to servicemembers stationed in this critical portion of the world stage.”

CENTCOM covers the “central” area of the globe located between the European and Pacific Commands. It includes those countries commonly referred to as the Middle East, but stretches from Kenya and the horn of Africa to Kazakhstan. The U.S. military has troops in several CENTCOM countries in addition to Iraq. The contract does not stipulate when UMUC will be asked to provide courses or in which countries.

"We are ready to move at a moment’s notice,” said Dr. Allan J. Berg, director of UMUC Europe. “We have a history of success in delivering education programs to our troops, even in the most challenging environments, and we are eager to prove once again that UMUC is the right choice when it comes to delivering a quality education wherever and whenever our students demand it.”

Berg plans to travel to Iraq this summer to meet with Ms. Stephanie R. Anderson, UMUC’s interim director of downrange programs, to meet with local commands and confirm where the first UMUC classes will be held. The university has a large contingent of faculty and staff with downrange experience who are ready to apply for assignments in Iraq. These assignments come with additional security restrictions, but have a reputation for being among the most professionally rewarding.

Under an amendment to an earlier contract, UMUC is already teaching military students on the ground in several other CENTCOM countries, including Afghanistan and Qatar. The new contract potentially extends for 60 months.