ABOUT THE OFFICE
The Office of University Engagement and Lifelong Learning (OUELL) was established in October 2012, under the leadership of Dr. Juliette B. Bell, as part of the Title III: University Engagement and Lifelong Learning Initiative. On September 14, 2013, OUELL joined the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.
UMES has a unique mission to provide access and education to low-income, first-generation, and under-represented students. In addition, as a historically black land-grant institution, UMES has a calling not only to produce graduates in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math (STEAM) where they are under-represented, but also in disciplines that impact the well-being of society, socially and economically.
Through the process of developing the University’s 2011-2016 Strategic Plan, it became more evident that many institutions including UMES in particular have a unique challenge in balancing its mission to provide access and ensure success while at the same time setting high standards and displaying “academic content, rigor, and coherence appropriate to its higher education mission.” It was reiterated through many planning forums, workshops, and meetings held that there are a growing number of students who lack college preparedness skills, whether academically, financially, and/or socially. Universities must share in building the “pipeline” by working with parents, local schools, and the community to address this issue. The University Engagement and Lifelong Learning Initiative was established to address this challenge through collaboratively enhancing existing and developing new outreach programs.
We also believe that to have a sustainable impact on encouraging youth to pursue higher education, we must address more than just academics. We must be engaged with the entire community -parents, teachers, civic and local government organizations – to build a culture of support. It is critical that the University works with external organizations to improve the quality of life, which in theory provides youth with healthy homes and systems of support for them to even believe they can reach their goals. Engaging adults within the community through a range of lifelong learning opportunities will allow the University to build value in education, build skills among parents and local community leaders and members, and ultimately enhance the culture of learning both on and off-campus.
Our mission is to work collaboratively with local communities to enrich the quality of living on the Shore through outreach programs; to engage faculty and students in scholarly activities that positively impact Maryland citizens; and to provide lifelong learning opportunities to a global community. This Office will promote college readiness and retention while working with local schools to build a pipeline to postsecondary education and identify curriculum-based service learning and civic engagement opportunities for college students.
To become a Center of Excellence for community engagement, university partnerships, and lifelong learning.