Study on Revitalizing Coppin State College to Begin with Public Hearings

April 5, 2001

Study on Revitalizing Coppin State College to Begin with Public Hearings

A study team that will develop a strategic plan for the revitalization of Coppin State College will convene public hearings at the College on April 11 and 12. The team, appointed by University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg in consultation with Coppin President Calvin W. Burnett and officials at the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), will consider a variety of ideas including enhancing current academic programs, developing new offerings, renovating campus facilities, and creating an endowment to provide merit scholarships for talented undergraduates.

The public hearings will be held in the James Weldon Johnson Auditorium on the campus, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, reconvening from 1:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. On the afternoon of the 11th, study team members will tour the campus.

The independent study is being conducted pursuant to the State of Maryland's December 2000 agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, in which Maryland has committed to taking several steps to ensure equal access to higher education for all citizens. Those steps include enhancing historically black colleges and universities (HBCU's) partly by providing additional funding for operations and capital projects. Other steps include collaborations by colleges and school districts to better prepare students for college, an expansion of efforts by all colleges to recruit and graduate African American students, and improving programs through which students transfer from two-year to four-year colleges.

The complete agreement may be viewed on the MHEC Web site at The agreement expires on December 31, 2005, after which OCR will decide whether Maryland is in compliance with federal desegregation law.

Under the agreement, the state also commits to "a process for Coppin's revitalization, as it enters its second century." That process requires the USM Board of Regents, in collaboration with MHEC, to complete an independent study by September 1, 2001 leading to a strategic plan for Coppin State.

The findings and recommendations of the study will be considered by the USM Board of Regents 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.

The public hearings will provide members of the campus community, residents of Baltimore, elected representatives, and others with the opportunity to share their vision for and views of the College. Participants may present their comments in writing, appear before the team, or do both.

Washington College President John S. Toll, who served as the first chancellor of the University System, will chair 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. Other 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. (Biographies of the team members are available upon request.)

The committee'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.

Coppin State College, located at 2500 West North Avenue in Baltimore, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2000. The four-year, liberal-arts College provides programs in the liberal arts and sciences and human services, offering nearly 30 undergraduate and graduate-degree programs. The number of degrees awarded annually doubled from 244 in 1990 to over 500 in 2000. Coppin is the first and only higher-education institution in Maryland to manage a public school - Rosemont Elementary School.


Joye Mercer Barksdale
Phone: 301/445-2732