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News & Events: Frederick Campus

The recent news coverage of family violence involving NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson captured the attention of many Americans.  A number of questions  have been raised about the causes and the consequences of these cases, particularly: Why do people assault their loved ones, and what is the appropriate societal response? As a sociologist, director of the undergraduate degree completion program in Human Services, a former Child Protective Services worker in both the U.S. military and the civilian world, husband of 30+ years, and father of four, I have some insights I would like to share.

There is a substantial body of social scientific research on the causes and correlates of domestic violence. Findings reveal that domestic violence takes a variety of forms, such as:

  • Physical violence: Pushing, punching, choking, slapping.  The level of violence often increases in frequency and intensity over time. 
  • Sexual violence: Unwanted and forced sexual contact ranging from touching to forcible rape.
  • Threats of violence: Intimidation and terrorizing whether the threats are carried out or not. 
  • Emotional/psychological abuse: Humiliation, controlling the victim, isolating the victim from friends and family. 

Whatever the particular form or combination of forms the violence takes, we know from the voluminous research literature that the most important causes include:

  • A history of family violence: Today’s victim is at an increased risk of becoming tomorrow’s perpetrator.  Family violence gets handed down like an heirloom.
  • Substance abuse: Drug and alcohol abuse affect judgment and often lead to aggression.  The abuse of intoxicants should not be viewed as an excuse for violence.
  • Social isolation: Controlling and isolating family members allows abuse to go undetected. 
  • A set of attitudes and beliefs that rationalizes or justifies the abuse: For example, “I wouldn’t hit her if she just did what I told her to do.”  Our behavior typically matches our attitudes.  If you believe violence is acceptable, you are much more likely to engage in it.

At the cultural level, it is not too difficult to connect the dots between widely held American norms and attitudes that objectify women, that communicate to young males that “real men” are aggressive, that problems should be solved by physical force with the private and hidden reality of domestic violence that affects millions of American families across all social class, race/ethnicity, religion, and regional lines.

The most effective way to address domestic violence is to identify the relevant risk factors and then address each of them. While most of the work here must occur at the individual and family level, we should not forget that social and cultural problems require social and cultural solutions.  This means, among other things, that we must address and dismantle the widely held beliefs and attitudes that provide the context for domestic violence. Specific examples include educational programs that teach youngsters that violence is not an acceptable means of resolving family disputes. Also, we need far more in the way of prevention and intervention programs, such as shelters for domestic violence victims and advanced training for police and court personnel.

I recognize that I’ve barely scratched the surface on this important topic. My hope is that readers take away two key messages from this short piece:

  1. There are multiple causes of family violence. These causal influences  range from the personal characteristics of the abusers to broader social forces.
  2. Family violence, in all its forms, can be reduced. Researchers and clinicians know well what works to reduce the social problem of family violence.   

While we will never reduce family violence to zero, we can reduce it significantly. What we need now, more than anything else, are honest discussions about the nature and extent of family violence, plus the political will to invest in programs and policies that are effective at preventing and, when that fails, responding to family violence.

Timothy Wolfe, Ph.D., is an associate professor of sociology and the director of the Human Services degree completion program at the Mount’s Frederick campus.  He worked in the social and human services field investigating and treating family violence before he joined the Mount faculty in 1997.

Completing your degree or earning an advanced degree is a long-term commitment to balancing work, life, and now, school by maintaining your momentum in each area. Marriage, money issues, new babies, divorce, job layoff, death, travel, relationship struggles, and aging parents are all real obstacles – good and bad – that can impede the adult learner. Stay on the fast track to success by embracing five tips for balance:

1. Family First – Enjoy important quality time with your kids or spouse. True, you won’t have as much time, but you can make the most of your time by scheduling separate periods for family and coursework.

2. “All Aboard!” – Similar to the first rule, communicate the importance of the goal to complete your degree to your family. Remind them that you need and appreciate their support.

3. Boss Talk – Keep the lines of communication open with your superiors. If they’re in the loop about how your degree will benefit the company, they will be more likely to support you. Don’t forget to ask about tuition reimbursement!

4. Prioritize – Before returning to school, scale back on volunteer work and other nonessential commitments to make time for your coursework in and out of the classroom.

5. Rest and Relax – Prevent burnout by maintaining a regular sleep schedule and a healthy diet. This will prepare you to tackle the new and unique challenges of each day.

How do you maintain work-life balance? Post a comment!

About the Author
Janene Horne has been a student services coordinator at Mount St. Mary’s University since 2005. She guides adult undergraduate students through the degree process, from application to graduation. To set up a meeting with Janene, email or call 301-682-4815.

Debbie Bennett Video

The Mount's July and August marketing campaign featured local business leader Deborah Bennett, 55. Bennett graduated from the Mount's accelerated adult undergraduate program in 2013, earning her Bachelor of Science in Business. Bennett is the first of several alumni to be featured about her success after earning an adult undergraduate degree, graduate degree or certificate at the Mount.

Married for 32 years with two children and a 25-year history in banking, Bennett already had many accomplishments to be proud of. Completing her business degree was an integral part in her promotion to vice president at Sandy Spring Bank.

Click here to read the full student profile.
Click here for a video interview.

Change is never easy and it can be overwhelming when it relates to your career. While day-to-day job duties make for a comfortable routine, "comfortable" can also leave you feeling unfulfilled.

Here are five signs you're ready to make a career change – whether you're seeking a promotion or beginning a new venture.

  1. Your eye is on your inbox. Every time HR sends internal job announcements or LinkedIn distributes an email about jobs you may be interested in, you find yourself intrigued.
  2. Others look to you for advice. If you’ve become a point person, it may mean you’re a candidate for more responsibility at your current organization or that you've been at your organization too long.
  3. You’re taking on more work. This could mean you're ready for a promotion because you're working at a higher level, you have enough free time to adopt new job responsibilities or that your organization is taking advantage of your talents.
  4. You can’t afford not to. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, kicking your career into high gear is an investment of time and/or money that will pay off in the long run.
  5. You begin sentences with “If I’m here next year…” This is a sure indicator that you've mentally checked out of your current responsibilities.

If any of these reasons resonate with you, you're likely ready to make a change! Begin by exploring professional and continuing studies that will give you the knowledge, tools and strategies to take your career to the next level. If you're worried about how you'll manage balancing work, life and school, keep an eye out for the next post on Thursday, September 11.

ELMBA Retreat

Students in the Emerging Leaders MBA program explored Civil War leadership at Antietam National Battlefield on Saturday, August 2. The trip marks the winding down of the intensive one-year graduate program, which prepares students for greater managerial responsibility.

The day was designed around the topic of Leadership Under Pressure. Students spent time with Civil War reenactors, and also explored landmarks like Bloody Lane, where 5,500 soldiers were killed or wounded during four hours of conflict between Union and Confederate troops in 1862. Michael Powell, constitutional historian and professor, guided the class throughout the day.

Click here to view more photos from the leadership retreat.

Alpha Sigma Lambda inductees

(left to right: Joyce Ann Scott, Melissa C. Flohr, Matthew Keenan, Shelby Ann Sites, Amanda Jo Nelson, Cassie R. Shriver, Tina Quiambao, Susan Champagne Ferretti, Sale E. Tunoascanlan)

The Mount congratulates the 15 newest members of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. The students were inducted into the adult student honor society on April 13 during a ceremony at the Frederick campus. They were recognized for achieving academic excellence while balancing competing challenges of work and family life.

This year's inductees include: Bryan Burgee, Susan Champagne Ferretti, Melissa Flohr, Bruce Jackson, II, Mandy Jedlowski, Matthew Keenan, Adam Kisielewski, Joseph Labonte, Amanda Jo Nelson, Lisa Renee Oxendine, Cassie Shriver, Joyce Ann Scott, Shelby Anne Sites, Sale Tunoascanlan, and Bryan Winfrey.

So perhaps you started college, have some credits under your belt, but something happened along the way and you never quite finished that degree. If I could give you two very good reasons why it is time, as our friends at Nike might say, "Just finish it!" would you be interested?

Rising Earnings Chart

Don't Leave Money on the Table!

You wouldn't dream of walking away from potential income, right? However, that is exactly what can happen when you don't finish your degree. Recently released data from the Pew Research Center shows the median annual earnings for college graduates outpaces students with some college or a two-year degree by $15,000. For those with only a high school diploma the gap grows to $17,500.

Let's just look at what a $17,500 salary gap could mean over your work life. An employee with only a high school education who is 25 years old today could potentially be losing out on $700,000 in income by the time they reach retirement at age 65

Greater Satisfaction!

Unlike the Rolling Stones who sing, "I can't get no satisfaction" it seems that young adults with a college degree report significantly higher satisfaction in their current work. The Pew Research Center data shows that 56% of young adults with a college degree are very satisfied with their current job vs. 44% of high school graduates. Given we spend a significant portion of our week, 33%, at work, doesn't it logically follow work time should be more enjoyable? Of additional note, to even get these higher satisfaction jobs, 68% of young adults stated the position required a college degree. Both of these points, satisfaction and access to jobs underscore why finishing your degree offers intrinsic value.

Chart comparing Education and Work

What Do I Do Next?

The good news is by this point you realize finishing your degree offers the potential to earn more and have greater satisfaction while doing it. So what are your next steps? The Mount offers undergraduate programs specifically designed for working adults including Business, Elementary Education, Criminal Justice and coming soon a degree in Human Services. Classes are conveniently held at the Frederick Campus of Mount St Mary's, which is located near the FSK mall. In contrast to a traditional 15-week semester, most courses are offered in accelerated 5- or 8-week sessions allowing students to expeditiously complete their degree. Classes meet once each week, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Sessions run on a year-round schedule. Students may also obtain college credits through testing (CLEP, DSST) or portfolio development designed to assess prior learning.

So what are you waiting for? Contact our academic advisor Janene Horne: or (301) 682-8315 and find out more about how the Mount's Accelerated Undergraduate Degree Program can help you finish that degree.

16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | | 301-682-8315