UMUC Professor Receives National Recognition for Role in Developing Fire Service Curriculum

Dr. Betty Jo Mayeske receives 2008 Lasting Achievement Award from the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education.

By Kerry O'Neill ( |   June 4, 2008

ADELPHI, Md. (June 4, 2008) – UMUC announced today that Dr. Betty Jo Mayeske, collegiate professor at UMUC, received the "2008 Lasting Achievement Award" from the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) program. Dr. Mayeske received the award this past Saturday at the FESHE Conference for her academic contributions to the development of the Open Learning Fire Service Program (OPLFSP). At the same event, UMUC received an institutional "2008 Lasting Achievement Award" for delivering OPLFSP to thousands of fire service personnel for almost 30 years. UMUC was one of seven institutions to receive the award.

Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters, OPLFSP, now known as the Degrees at a Distance Program, was established to enable thousands of fire fighters and officers to earn degrees through independent study, in conjunction with seven regional institutions. Dr. Mayeske, who has taught at UMUC for more than 35 years, helped with the development of an upper-level set of courses in fire administration and prevention that led to the foundation of the FESHE bachelor’s curriculum. FESHE is a national program created to establish an organization of post-secondary institutions that would expand recognition of the fire and emergency services to reduce loss of life and property.

"Betty Jo Mayeske has made significant contributions to UMUC and the Fire Science Program for more than 35 years,” said Dr. Susan C. Aldridge, president of UMUC. “This award is truly deserved and a testament to Dr. Mayeske’s commitment and dedication to expanding the accessibility of higher education for students in the fire science field.”

Dr. Mayeske currently teaches in the humanities program at UMUC. She was previously awarded an honorary degree from the British Open University for establishing the instructional set of courses for students in the field of fire science. Along with her successes with the Fire Service Program, she also chaired the humanities program for seven years and was elected to the Faculty Advisory Council in 2006.  She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Washington Society of the American Institute of Archaeology and the Board of the Santa Fe Institute of Native Hispanic Cultures.

UMUC’s fire science programs provide highly relevant, broad-based training for tomorrow’s fire science leaders. The fire science program curriculum encompasses all areas of fire and emergency services administration, fire prevention, emergency response and operations, disaster response and operations and hazardous materials management.