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 its strengths.

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

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 website,

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
Phone: 301/445-2732

Walter Barwick
Phone: 410/383-5962