By MAJ (MDDF) Stephen Rice
Maryland Defense Force Public Affairs
18 December 2016
The University of Maryland and the Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) teamed up for the third straight year this Fall semester to teach a course called Infrastructure and Society at the College Park campus. This three credit service learning course is designed to emphasize the importance of identifying the root causes of the “Infrastructure Crisis.” The course also focuses on the need to maintain infrastructure’s viability for a functioning society. The chief instructor for the course is Dr. David Tomblin. The MDDF course instructors are led by Lt. Col. (MDDF) Ed Hubner and Maj. (MDDF) Isadore Beattie and are sourced from the MDDF 121st Engineer Regiment.
The course has several learning outcomes which include ensuring that the students understand the importance of infrastructure systems and explore the social and political barriers to the proper maintenance of infrastructure. The course also enables students to gain hands on technical knowledge of building science and infrastructure assessment while working with professional engineers. As a service learning course, the curriculum provided the students with the opportunity to give back to their community through the implementation of a service project.
The service project for the class commenced after the students received building science and installation status report training. This empowered the students under supervision of the MDDF 121st Engineer Regiment to participate in the MDDF’s Installation Status Report assessment program. On an annual basis, all Maryland National Guard armories are evaluated by the MDDF 121st Engineer Regiment and a report is submitted to the Maryland Military Department. This report provides information on what kind of maintenance, repair and capital expenditures are needed to ensure that the armories are able to operate as effectively as possible.
Under the direction of the 121st Engineer Regiment, the students participated in armory assessments in different parts of the state and helped to provide information critical to the drafting of the report. Lt. Col. (MDDF) Ed Hubner shared, “This is such an effective class experience because the students get hands on experience with infrastructure evaluation. This augments the theoretical components of the class and drives home the importance of infrastructure to the operations of an effective society.” Samantha Corbel, a student in the class said, “I thoroughly enjoyed our weekly lessons on infrastructure where I learned so much that had never been very apparent to me.” Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Lorenza Cooper, commanding general of the MDDF commented, “The 121st Engineer Regiment’s participation and support of this community service activity aligns with both the Maryland Military Department and the University of Maryland’s strategic objectives.
The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 250 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: www.mddf.maryland.gov.