CUMBERLAND — Allegany College of Maryland will launch the state’s only data analytics program this fall, according to school officials, one of several offerings facilitated by a recently renovated technology building.
Students in the data analytics program, offered entirely online, will have the option of enrolling in a one-year, 30-credit certificate program or a two-year associate of applied science degree program that carries 60 credits.
According to Autumn Becker, director of ACM’s Western Maryland Center of Excellence and Data Analytics Program, the certificate provides an opportunity for career changers or students pursuing an associate degree in a related field who would like additional training in analytics of data to improve their CV.
In the associate degree program, students will learn and practice a wide range of skills in areas including programming, data analysis, graphics, and visualization.
“It’s in high demand,” Becker said of the data analytics skill set. “It’s needed in all areas.”
The college is also expanding into other areas.
Nursing, the largest program at ACM, has approximately 500 students enrolled in in-person and online study and will double its evening hours in January.
The program is “number one” in the country, said Rick Cooper, associate dean of nursing at ACM.
“Our (nursing) program is well known,” he said, adding that it results in 100 percent job placement.
ACM also offers a Brewing Operations Certificate program, introduced last year, that gives students hands-on production experience in a regional brewery, including how to identify and evaluate beer quality, develop mechanical ability to operate brewing equipment and learn environmental sustainability techniques in modern beer production.
The program includes an internship at a local brewery.
After graduation, possible job positions include assistant brewer, brewery equipment operator, and quality assurance technician.
The program combines lecture and hands-on skill development.
Upon completion of the certification program, students will have a minimum of 250 hours of work experience.
Individual courses are also available for students who want to learn more about craft beer production without requiring a certificate.
Courses are offered for the fall semester of 2022. All courses are attended.
The ACM Technology Building, which opened in 1975, underwent a $13.6 million renovation completed last year.
The redevelopment includes infrastructure upgrades to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, an elevator, a chiller-boiler system, an upgraded lecture hall, and additions to a flexible conference center, lounge, and collaboration spaces for student use.
Today, the state-of-the-art 56,000-square-foot facility features computing, forestry, multimedia and other health technologies; criminal justice and legal studies, data analytics, social media marketing, and the free P-Tech program, which allows students to be enrolled in a duel and earn college credit in cybersecurity while graduating from high school.
The building also includes speech, computer, criminal justice and distance learning labs; halls for e-sports and games, playground layout, forestry equipment and work and sound recording; multi-level lecture hall; television and photography studio; and various sunbeds.
A 3D virtual dissection table and simulation mannequins that can be programmed to speak are among the advanced technologies used in clinical laboratories for nurses and respiratory therapists.
“We can literally cut the body layer by layer,” Bill Rox, ACM’s dean of career studies, said of the dissection table.
A “hackathon” room on an independent Internet network teaches students to gain ethical unauthorized computer access to data.
ACM President Cynthia Bambara said the radical overhaul of the building is designed to ignite imaginations and increase student learning opportunities in the classroom, labs and living rooms.
“It’s been an amazing, amazing journey,” she said.
Approximately 91% of ACM students receive financial aid, including grants, scholarships and loans, and more than 80% are first-generation students.
“We’ve had to be innovative on a dime (because) we don’t have deep pockets,” said Kurt Hoffman, senior vice president for instructional and student affairs.
ACM will also offer 18 flexible courses that allow students to choose day by day throughout the semester whether they want to attend class on-site or virtually for the upcoming fall semester.
Approximately 10 full-time faculty are trained and qualified to teach in the flexible learning mode that ACM hopes to increase.
“We’re cutting edge here and we’re damn proud of it,” Hoffman said.
ACM also offers reservations, which are free to non-profit organizations, to use various spaces in the building and on campus for certain special events, conferences and trainings.
To learn more, call 301-784-5143 or email [email protected]
Harley Kuhn, who graduated high school 10 years ago, is in the evening nursing program and expects to graduate in December 2023.
Night hours allow him to spend time with his wife and children, he said.
“It was easy,” he said.
Janie Tillman is a respiratory therapist student at ACM who is due to graduate in May.
She spoke of the school’s “amazing” simulation lab.
“It’s great to learn and get comfortable before going to work,” she said. “We have tons of different equipment.”
Lacey Mullenax is an ACM law student who will graduate in May.
She talks about learning in the ACM mock courtroom.
“It’s fake, but it’s also real,” she said of the simulated setting, which offers a true courtroom experience.
Chloe Watkins is a criminal justice transfer with a concentration in forensics, a junior expected to graduate in December.
“This place is my home,” she said of the ACM Forensic Lab. “I’m very proud of that.”