Regents to Consider Policies to

Reduce Students' Time to Degree

ADELPHI, Md. (February 14, 2005) The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents will consider three policies designed to reduce undergraduate students' time to degree. If approved and implemented, the policies will help students and their families save money, and help the university system meet its increasing enrollment demand.

The board will review the policies at its meeting scheduled to begin at 9 am Friday, February 18, in Building 2 of the Universities at Shady Grove. One of USM's two regional higher education centers, the Universities at Shady Grove is located at 9630 Gudeksly Drive in Rockville.

The three policies are part of the USM Effectiveness and Efficiency Program, a major initiative to increase enrollment capacity, reduce costs, and fund quality. Enhanced student advising services will be a critical part of the policies' implementation.

The proposed policy on the admission of first-time freshmen in the spring semester strongly encourages those students to earn at least 12 credits in the fall semester immediately prior to their spring enrollment. If approved, the policy would become effective for students admitted on or after July 1, 2005.

The proposed policy on alternative means of earning academic degree credit would enable undergraduates, on average, to complete at least 12 required credits outside of the traditional classroom experience, effective beginning with first-time freshmen who enter in fall 2005. Options would include online courses, independent study or research, study abroad, service learning, internships, and advanced placement credits.

The board also will consider a policy that sets 120 as the standard number of credits required for a bachelor's degree, with appropriate exceptions. The policy would become effective July 1, 2005.

The USM Academic Affairs Advisory Council and the presidents of the USM institutions have reviewed and approved each policy as drafted.

Also as part of the university system's Effectiveness and Efficiency Program, the board will consider a proposal for USM institutions to leverage their buying power by seeking to procure electricity on a group basis rather than as individual institutions. In conjunction with all USM institutions, the University of Maryland, College Park, seeks board approval to solicit electricity pricing proposals and to award contracts to vendors offering the most favorable pricing to USM institutions.

Other items on the agenda include proposals for the following academic degree programs: B.A. in Human Services Administration at the University of Baltimore; Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition at University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); and a Master of Professional Studies and a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Professional Studies, also at UMCP.

The board also will consider endorsing the statewide K-16 Leadership Council's request for state funding of Professional Development Schools (PDS). These schools provide college and university professional development opportunities to teacher candidates and current teachers. The Leadership Council has requested the endorsement from the USM Board of Regents, Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the Maryland State Board of Education.

Full agendas and background information will be available at Friday's meeting. Sign language interpreters and/or other appropriate accommodations for eligible individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request. Please call 301.445.2756 (voice) or 301.314.7683 (TTY/ITT) to make special arrangements.

Contact: Anne Moultrie