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August 12, 2004

New UMBC e-Government Program to Debut This Fall

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) departments of Public Policy and Information Systems will debut a new graduate certificate program in electronic government (e-gov) this fall. The program is the first in the Baltimore/Washington area focused on skills needed to increase and improve online transactions and services offered by federal, state and local government to individuals and businesses.

Professors in the program include three of the nation's top e-gov experts:

Pattee Fletcher, a professor in UMBC's Public Policy department, has extensive federal information technology (IT) experience, having worked for the General Accounting Office and consulted for the U.S. Treasury and Freddie Mac.

Stephen Holden brought 16 years of federal government IT experience to UMBC's Information Systems department after helping to develop the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) e-file system. The increasingly popular program, which enables taxpayers to securely file and pay their taxes electronically, has made the IRS a pioneer in e-government at the federal level.

Donald F. Norris, director of the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research and a professor of Public Policy at UMBC, is a nationally known analyst, author and consultant on state and local government IT management. Norris and Fletcher are co-editors in chief of The International Journal of Electronic Government Research.

According to Holden, the push towards e-government comes straight from the White House, a process started under Clinton/Gore and continuing in the Bush administration. "In his February 2002 budget, President Bush outlined a management agenda for making government more focused on citizens and results, which includes expanding electronic government," Holden says.

The federal government has recognized the need for additional training in the area of e-government. A recent study by the CIO Council found that less than 5 percent of more than 19,000 federal IT workers have extensive knowledge in e-government. Private sector contractors supporting public agencies can also benefit from UMBC's graduate certificate and help to fill this knowledge gap.

Holden notes that customer satisfaction ratings in the public sector lag far behind private industry when governments continue to use paper transactions. "The payoff for e-government is significant, because customer satisfaction ratings for e-gov rival, and in some cases, beat private sector standards," says Holden.

The new certificate will bring management, policy and IT perspectives to a slate of courses aimed at mid-career professionals with technical or management backgrounds. The 15-credit program starts its first classes this fall semester.

For more information on e-gov at UMBC, please call 410-455-2336, email egov@umbc.edu or visit http://www.umbc.edu/egov/.

Posted by dwinds1 at August 12, 2004 12:00 AM