USM Board of Regents Approves Report and Implementation Plan to Strengthen Coppin State University

Princess Anne, Md. (June 21, 2013) -- The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents today approved the report of the Special Review Committee on Coppin State University and the Committee's implementation plan to improve Coppin State's near- and long-term success.

The board's approval came during a vote at its meeting at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the final meeting of the board before the 2013 fiscal year ends on June 30.

Throughout its four months of work, the Committee assessed demographic and societal trends impacting Coppin, reviewed external and internal audits, and reviewed relevant data and best practices. The Committee met five times, engaged a wide range of Coppin's internal and external constituencies, and solicited additional input from key stakeholders. Also, the Committee held three public hearings.

The implementation plan makes many major recommendations centered on three major goals: 1) increase student retention and graduation rates; 2) strengthen academic programs and faculty; and 3) improve administrative operations and financial stability.

The plan includes more than 50 activities that address all three goals with proactive, attainable and immediate actions to impact Coppin's efforts to grow enrollment, improve administration and finance operations and restructure the academic enterprise.

The 14-member Committee was chaired by Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and former vice president for academic affairs at CSU. It also included elected officials, USM regents, representatives from the business, state elementary/secondary and national higher education communities, Coppin State Interim President Mortimer Neufville and CSU faculty, staff, students, alumni, Board of Visitors and foundation board members.

"The work and commitment demonstrated by this special review committee has been extraordinary," said USM Chancellor William E. "Brit" Kirwan. "Under the leadership of Freeman Hrabowski, and with the diligent stewardship of Interim President Neufville during this transitional time, the committee has developed a strategy that will reestablish Coppin as a vital provider of higher education focused on student success and to position the university as one of the nation's foremost Historically Black Institutions."

The implementation plan entails a total of 50 activities, each aligned under one of the three goals. Each activity has a time frame for completion, team leaders and specific accountability measures.

"Coppin is a proud institution with an accomplished history, and it is critical to the future of Baltimore," Hrabowski said. "As the university evolves, it will be important to identify existing problems and work systematically to address them.  I am especially appreciative of the care and diligence that each member of the review committee brought to this collaborative process."

A Continuous Plan Status Review will occur with detailed progress reports every six months, beginning in December 2013.

The report and the implementation plan can be accessed at, Item 1h.

"I am pleased the Chancellor and USM's Board of Regents voted to accept Coppin State University's Implementation Plan," Neufville said. "This plan was developed with input from a cross section of Coppin's campus including all four areas of our shared governance leaders to develop the actual implementation plan to aggressively address the recommendations outlined in the Review Committee's report. The next step is to mobilize the same spirit of cooperation and collaboration along with USM's support to execute the actions needed to move Coppin State forward."

Among the committee's many findings in the report approved today were the following:

  • Transfer and older non-traditional students graduate at considerably higher levels than first-time, full-time freshmen.
  • Student support services are not well-integrated or adequately focused on maximizing student success.
  • Among the student body, there is dissatisfaction with the level of services provided by the financial aid, bursar, registrar, and admissions offices, and some faculty members.
  • While the university's enrollment declined 3 percent in the past decade, CSU added 20 new academic degree programs, increased the faculty by 49 percent, and increased the number of administrators by 92 percent.
  • While Coppin has an impressive technology infrastructure, the campus does not take full advantage of this infrastructure, especially in the administrative and academic areas.
  • With 700,000 net square feet of academic space, the university is under-enrolled by approximately 2,000 students.
  • Private fundraising is inadequate.
  • Student-athletes have much higher academic success than the general student body.

The Committee's work included an assessment of demographic and societal trends impacting Coppin. Committee members also reviewed external and internal audits, relevant data and best practices. In addition to the three public hearings, the Committee received written comment, engaged a wide range of Coppin's internal and external constituencies, and solicited additional input from key stakeholders. Committee Chairman Hrabowski provided an overview of the findings and preliminary recommendations to the campus constituency on May 9, 2013 and then presented the final report to the Board of Regents on May 15, 2013.

As part of its acceptance of the report, the board requested that Chancellor Kirwan and CSU Interim President Neufville, in consultation with the Coppin community, develop an implementation plan for the report's recommendations. Accordingly, Kirwan and Neufville appointed a team comprising USM Office and CSU staff to provide oversight, guidance, and feedback on the implementation.

On May 29, 2013, a CSU implementation planning retreat was held to develop the comprehensive implementation plan. The team consisted of (31) key CSU and USM staff representatives. A draft report was prepared and shared with all participants for additional input.

The implementation plan is organized around the report's three major goals, with specific actions and activities for each. These have been assigned completion time frames as follows: Immediate-beginning now through August 31, 2013; Short-Term-June 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013; Mid-Term-June 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014; and Long-Term -over the next five years.

The following are more detailed items surrounding the three broad objectives of the Coppin State University implementation plan.

Goal #1: Improve Student Retention and Graduation and Increase Enrollment. A major component of this goal is to focus on the admission of first-time, full-time traditional students on those who have a reasonable chance of success and significantly increase enrollment of transfer and adult students. The university will seek to ensure that CSU student support services (including admissions; counseling and advising; financial aid; bursar and student accounts; residential life; registration operations; and student life) facilitate student graduation. 

Goal #2: Strengthen Academic Programs and Faculty. A foundation of this goal is to restructure CSU's academic programs to focus on those of highest priority for CSU based on student enrollment, market demand, and career opportunities for graduates and academic ranking. 

Goal #3A: Improve Administrative Operations. A foundation of this goal is torestructure CSU administrative organization, offices, and operations to enhance effectiveness and efficiency, ensure accountability and internal controls, support critical operational functions and improve critical business processes and student support services.

Goal #3B: Improve Shared Governance. The attainment of this goal will be driven by a practice of improving shared governance by using proven best practices employed at other USM institutions and CSU's national peers.

"We will maintain this approach throughout the implementation process, with the Coppin community working in partnership with the USM Office and other USM institutions to take advantage of the system-wide resources and expertise," Kirwan said.



Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719