The January Term Institute, a collaboration between Western Maryland College and Catonsville Community College designed to expose community college students to a residential liberal arts campus, has received recognition from the Maryland Association for Higher Education in the form of a merit award for the institute's founders.
Barbara Disharoon, assistant dean of academic affairs at Western Maryland, and Dr. Mary Hines, associate dean of instruction at Catonsville, shared in a 1992 merit award for a distinguished program from MAHE for their work in founding the January Term Institute.
The institute, which encourages CCC students to explore their transfer and education options at Western Maryland during a three-week, live-in program within the latter's annual January term, completed its fourth successful year in January.
Ms. Disharoon and Dr. Hines were recognized at MAHE's annual fall conference last October at Baltimore's World Trade Center.
The January Term Institute is considered a pioneering effort because it pairs Western Maryland's independent four-year undergraduate program with Catonsville Community's two-year plan, which is funded by the public.
Students at Catonsville -- especially nontraditional and minority students -- are given the chance to see what it would be like to continue their education beyond two years in a residential setting that emphasizes academic achievement.
Other institutions such as Vassar College have offered similar programs, but the January Term Institute is unique because the participants are fully integrated into college life, are not identified to the faculty, and come to Western Maryland during its three-week January term for independent study, intensive classes and special internships.
According to Ms. Disharoon and Dr. Hines, all the CCC students who have participated so far have passed their courses, with 90 percent receiving grades of B or better.
In addition to exploring a four-year college, participants attend special events where they can meet as a group, as well as special sessions on financial aid counseling.