For University of Maryland Global Campus’s 75th anniversary, we spoke with alumna Barbara Archer about some of her favorite UMGC experiences and where she hopes to see the university in years to come. Archer earned her bachelor’s degree in legal studies from UMGC in 2022. She is director of a home healthcare agency in Baltimore and serves as the executive committee chair for UMGC's student advisory council. Archer also served on the board of a Maryland correctional facility as chaplain for five years and is a published author. She believes that her true purpose and goal in life is to help those that have not had the means to be fairly represented and have been overlooked, outcasted, and unrecognized in today's court system.
When you were applying to school, what made UMGC standout? Why did you select UMGC?
When I decided to pursue my degree there were factors that I considered which helped me narrow down my choices. The key factors were:
Cost: I knew I did not want to be burdened with excessive bills and accompanying stress. Before I finalized my school of choice, I wanted to be sure I considered all potential costs.
Academic Programs: What colleges have the majors that I was looking for? Do I want a school that will challenge me? Does my choice of school have a master's program if I decide to further my education through graduate school? What are the graduation requirements? Some schools mandate the subjects students must study to receive a degree while others allow more choice. Finally, does the school have the curriculum that I am looking for?
Extracurricular Activities: Extracurricular activities are an important complement to academics and learning. I was looking for a school that offers activities that interest me and will inspire me to learn and grow.
Diversity: I was searching for a school that has a wide array of different cultures. One should evaluate how important diversity is to a student and take a good look at the composition of a school's student body.
What has been your favorite part about studying at UMGC?
I thoroughly enjoyed all the interactions I had . . . encompassing an incredible variety of different cultures and personalities. It was a wonderful mixing experience, and that’s an important aspect of higher education: the ability to learn from many others who bring their own personal experiences to the table.
Can you name some UMGC faculty or other students who made a significant impact on your time here at UMGC?
Jenna Bossler, my success coach at UMGC, and Shelley Hintz, director of student engagement and adjunct assistant professor
What was your favorite part about working with a success coach and how did it benefit your college experience?
Working with my success coach Jenna Bossler helped me to stay on track with upcoming courses. She made herself available every moment and would go over courses that I need to take to satisfy my requirements for graduation. Jenna also would suggest other courses that she felt would be beneficial to me.
UMGC is celebrating 75 years of excellence in education. What does that history mean to you? Why is it important?
As a student, I have the opportunity to celebrate this achievement in many ways, including engaging in inclusive reflections on our history and honoring the resilience, contributions, and experiences of those who paved the way. This celebration reminds us of whose shoulders we stand upon in achieving our current successes and the foundation we must sustain for the generations that follow.
Is there a quote that you feel best represents your time here at UMGC or a quote you have heard here that meant something to you?
At UMGC, we work hard to bring higher education to everyone.
If you had one word to describe your experience at UMGC, what would it be and why?
Memorable. College life is known as one of the most memorable years of one's life. College life exposes us to new experiences and things that we were not familiar with earlier.
What one piece of advice would you want to share with other UMGC students as they pursue their degrees?
Work should come before pleasure. Manage your time effectively; set up a timeline for getting work completed in each of your courses. Set aside adequate time for homework, study, sleep, relationships, and work. You don’t need to always finish every task all at once.
Where do you hope to see UMGC in the next 75 years?
The future may seem uncertain, but my hopes for UMGC would be for all students to discover the career path that matches their interests and motivates them to become the best version of themselves. I hope each student will learn to be more independent and gain the skills and knowledge they need to prepare for the future. Perhaps my hope for the future at UMGC would be switching the focus from the teacher to the student. Each student would be allowed to take charge of their own education by choosing their own modules and mode of learning, whether it’s on campus or online. By doing this, students are active in their own learning and can foster technical and transferable skills when it comes to taking the responsibility of learning in their own hands.