Changes planned at Aberdeen's University Center

Management of the University Center, a multi-disciplinary educational, training and technology development campus in Aberdeen, is expected to change in the coming months, according to the Harford County government, which owns the facility.

A spokesperson for the county government declined to release details on the expected change, saying not all of the details have been finalized.

“We are looking forward to an exciting announcement about a technology transfer opportunity in partnership with Aberdeen Proving Ground, defense contractors and partners in academia,” Cindy Mumby, county director of governmental and community relations, said.

She declined to elaborate, other than to say Harford County Executive Barry Glassman “has been working on this for a long time.”

Harford Community College, which has managed the center since it opened as the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center, or HEAT, in 1995, also acknowledged it will relinquish its management role.

“As the managing partner of the University Center, Harford Community College is pleased to support Harford County government's efforts to transform the University Center into an exciting economic development opportunity for the county,” HCC President Dianna Phillips said in a statement provided to The Aegis earlier.

“In the next few months we will be working with our current partners to move out of the University Center by June 30, 2018 and relocate the services and programming we provide to a different location,” Phillips continued. “We are proud of the work we’ve accomplished in the current building, whether it was partnering to offer advanced course work, training programs or simply providing a meeting place along the I-95 corridor.”

“We will be working with our UC partners and the Maryland Higher Education Commission as we move out of the building in the coming months to make way for a new economic development client,” Phillips said. “The college, with the assistance of Harford County government officials, is already exploring opportunities to offer academic programming and other services in another location.”

“Our ultimate goal of providing higher education options to our students and Harford County residents remains steadfast,” she said.

The center is housed in a building on a larger campus setting that is also home to the defense contractor Battelle’s Eastern Science and Technology Center. The campus is just northwest of the Interstate 95 and Route 22 interchange off Technology Drive.

Although the center has offered a myriad of college level, graduate and post-graduate courses from regional universities and the campus attracted the Battelle regional operations, it has never really fulfilled many of the ambitious goals county officials had of making it a technology and innovation hub to drive local economic development, in particular through a relationship with Aberdeen Proving Ground.

In 2013, the center was rebranded and given its current name, as HCC and the county worked in partnership with the Northeastern Maryland Higher Education Advisory Board, created by a 2012 state law, to foster affordable, higher education opportunities.

The emergence of 3D technology earlier this decade was also seen by many county officials and business leaders as a natural development fit for the Aberdeen facility, although it has been a slow process, according to several people familiar with the center’s activities.

The center’s major permanent tenant is the Susquehanna Workforce Network, a nonprofit job skills training and placement organization serving Harford and Cecil counties, which works closely with local employers and the community college in each county.

HCC uses the building for meetings, training and offices, according to a list of users provided to The Aegis by the college. The Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board holds its monthly meetings at the center, which is also one of the county’s early voting centers.

Academic course offerings at the center include master’s degree in education by LaSalle University (Pa.); master of arts in leadership in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University, which also offers a bachelor of science in nursing; master’s degree in human resource development (educational leadership track) from Towson University; master’s degree in engineering and fundamentals of cyber security graduate level certificate from the University of Delaware; and professional master of education degree from the University of Maryland College Park.

A number of local companies and organizations also use the center for meetings and training, as do commands at APG.

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