Press Release - Revitalizing Coppin State College
April 18, 2001
Hearing Produces Ideas for Revitalizing Coppin State College
The Coppin State College Study Team heard from nearly 40 witnesses at the
campus last week, who testified about the College's value to the community and
suggested ways of revitalizing it by providing more funding and capitalizing on
Those who noted the College's significance to the City of Baltimore
included representatives from the Mayor's Office, City schools, and the state
and federal governments. Alumni, religious leaders, and representatives of
community organizations also testified, including the Association for Rosemont-Coppin
Heights Organizations, a coalition of more than 40 groups.
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requested the
study team as part of a partnership agreement adopted in December 2000 between
the OCR and the State of Maryland. In the agreement, Maryland has committed to
enhancing historically black colleges and universities (HBCU's) partly by
providing additional funding for operations and capital projects. Under the
agreement, the state also commits to "a process for Coppin's
revitalization," beginning with an independent study of the campus. The
complete agreement may be viewed on the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)
website at http://www.mhec.state.md.us/OCRPlan/ocr.htm.
CSC President Calvin Burnett opened the hearings, held April 11-12, by noting
that the campus is distinctive because of its early emphasis on integrating
"the instructional function with the public-service function," thereby
serving as a model to other colleges and universities. USM Chancellor Donald N.
Langenberg applauded the College's special role in educating teachers,
particularly for Baltimore City schools.
However, John J. Oliver, Jr., Chairman of MHEC, said in greetings to the
panel that Coppin has been "for too long a stepchild of the System"
while West Baltimore residents view it "as a jewel."
Charles Graves, Director of Planning for the City of Baltimore, noted that
his department considers the College to be an anchor for urban development in
northwest Baltimore. "The success of this part of Baltimore City really is
going to lie in this College," he said.
President Burnett said the College, despite a history of being under-funded,
has been successful in preparing students for a variety of fields. Several
professors and administrators agreed with his characterization.
"Clearly, this is not a campus which needs to be vitalized or
revitalized but a campus which needs to be properly funded," said Professor
Sidney Krome, who has taught at Coppin State for more than 30 years. He added
that the College needs money "for the single most important asset of this
or any other institution of higher education: human beings." Specifically,
he mentioned the need for faculty in English and computer science.
Other ideas for revitalizing the College included support for an endowed
chair for community-service learning; additional student scholarships; expansion
of facilities, including the library, athletic facilities, and parking;
expansion of the College's criminal justice program and academic resource
center; and creation of new academic programs, including airway science, visual
and performing arts, and urban health.
The study team will return to Coppin later this month for interviews with
several campus officials. The team must complete a report on the College by
Sept. 1, 2001. Its findings and recommendations will be considered by the USM
Board of Regents and MHEC as capital and operating budgets are prepared for the
College, and MHEC will support the development and approval of additional
academic programs, consistent with the College's revised mission.
Additional information about the study team is available at the College's
Washington College President John S. Toll, who served as the first chancellor
of the University System, is chair of the study team. Other members are: Howard
W. Bell, Jr., President and Co-owner of Bell & Trice Enterprises, Inc., a
management consulting concern; Elnora D. Daniel, Chief Executive Officer,
Chicago State University; Mark DeBandi, Senior Systems Engineering Manager,
Nortel Networks; and Robert J. Esposito, RJE, AIA, Architect and Planner for
Facilities. Also team members are: Barbara Henley, Vice Chancellor for Student
Affairs and Enrollment Management, University of Illinois at Chicago; N. Joyce
Payne, Director of the Office for the Advancement of Public Black Colleges of
the National Association of State Universities & Land-Grant Colleges; and
Charles G. Tildon, Jr., retired President of the Community College of Baltimore.
USM Regent Louise Michaux Gonzales is the Board of Regents' liaison to the
panel. (Biographies of the team members are available upon request.)
The team's staff members are Pamela G. Arrington, Director of Planning and
Accreditation, Coppin State College; Janice Doyle, Assistant Secretary, MHEC;
Ruth Carlson Robertson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs,
University System of Maryland; and John Sabatini, Assistant Secretary, MHEC.
Joye Mercer Barksdale