CSM ‘Adopt-a-Section’ Campaign Provides Opportunities for Students, Donors

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Math Professor Janice McCue Donates as Thank You to Mentor

A new initiative at the College of Southern Maryland will provide opportunities not only for students in the form of more course section choices, but also for donors who want to impact access for area students. The Adopt-a-Section Matching Program allows donors to make a contribution of $1,000 that will go toward the cost of adding a course section, with the CSM Foundation matching that $1,000 donation.

            “CSM has experienced record growth over the past several years. This past fall, our credit enrollment was almost 9,000 students. Despite this surge in enrollment, state funding continues to fall, jeopardizing our ability to admit all of those citizens wanting to pursue a college education. It hurts to know that we are now turning away students because we cannot offer enough sections to meet demand,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

The first donation to this initiative suggested by the president of the college came in tribute to a former CSM faculty member. “Sometimes you don’t get an opportunity to thank the people who have made a difference in your life,” said CSM Math Professor Janice McCue. “This is my opportunity,” she said of the donation she has made to the CSM Foundation’s Adopt-a-Section campaign in honor of her mentor, friend Nancy McK. Smith.

In the 1970s McCue was discouraged by a high school guidance counselor to follow her interest in teacher education in favor of less traditional opportunities opening to women at the time. “I didn’t want to be an engineer, and I didn’t want to go to college without knowing what I wanted to study,” McCue said, so instead she entered the Air Force which afforded her GI Bill benefits. By 1982, as a young mother, McCue started taking classes at CSM. Taking two classes each semester, she worked toward a degree in general studies. “When I started, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said, “but I took a child psychology course thinking that it would help me to better understand my own children’s development.” It also helped her to better understand herself.

McCue’s child psychology teacher was CSM Adjunct Faculty Dr. Nancy McK. Smith. “She had a way of making every student in her class feel valued,” said McCue. Smith required her students to keep a journal where they briefly summarized each lesson at the end of that class and wrote ideas and observations. The journals were collected and returned at the beginning of the next class with Smith's personal notes on their entries. “It was a lot of work for her, but it was a way for her to keep a conversation going with each student,” said McCue. Smith also spoke with students who lingered after class. “After telling her about my almost forgotten interest in becoming a teacher, she said ‘Janice, you have to teach.’” It was the validation that McCue had needed. “Driving home that night, I could hear Nancy’s voice telling me that I should teach and decided right then I would,” McCue said.

Following her degree in general studies, McCue pursued a degree in teacher education. She transferred to Bowie State University where she graduated with a degree in education in 1992.

Over the years, McCue has modeled Smith as her example of the ideal teacher. “I’m sure Nancy doesn’t know that I think of her every day that I am in the classroom,” said McCue. “She may not have realized that what she did was something special, but it was to me.”

McCue’s gift in honor of her former teacher is special, too.  When McCue heard about the initiative at a faculty meeting she immediately thought of her former teacher.

“Our donors have many reasons for supporting the college,” said CSM Development Director Martina Arnold. “They might be alumni who have a close attachment to the place where they got their start, they might be community members who feel passionate about helping students, or they might be businesses or other organizations that want to see their craft passed to the next generation of workers.  Janice was the first donor in this campaign,” said Arnold. “She was so excited to have found an appropriate way to honor someone who had made a difference in her life.”

For information on the CSM Foundation and the Adopt-a-Section campaign, visit www.csmd.edu/foundation.