Regents Committee Recommends Three New Academic Programs; Reviews Status of Student Financial Aid

ADELPHI, Md. (January 25, 2006) --- The Education Policy Committee of the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents met this morning and recommended the full board approve three new academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The committee's support for the proposed academic programs reflects USM's commitment to provide quality education aligned with the needs of Maryland's workforce. With that goal in mind, the committee recommended board approval for a bachelor's degree in the management of aging services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, (UMBC); a master's in forensic science at Towson University (TU); and a doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

UMBC has existing strengths in the study of aging, public policy and human services. The “graying” of the U.S. population will increase the demand for trained professionals in fields such as the management of long-term care facilities, community-based services for older adults, and marketing to an aging population. The proposed bachelor's degree in the management of aging services would offer a unique course of study by combining three core components: an understanding of gerontology, knowledge of public policy issues regarding the aging, and business and management skills needed to work in the public or private organizations.

In the field of forensic science, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 10,000 new forensic scientists in the next decade. In Maryland, the need will increase by about 30% according to the bureau. The master's program in forensic science proposed at TU would be the first advanced degree in forensic science offered by a public college or university in Maryland, and the only program to concentrate on DNA analysis.

Regarding the advanced study of nursing practice, there is a severe shortage of nursing instructors to staff available programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. One strategy to deal with the faculty shortage is the doctorate program in nursing practice proposed at UMB. The advanced degree is designed to increase the number of qualified faculty needed to teach nursing students. It also offers an alternative to the traditional research-oriented Ph.D.

The committee's recommendations now advance to the Board of Regents, which will vote on the proposed degrees as part of the approval process. The board is scheduled to meet February 10 at Towson University.

The Education Policy Committee also discussed:

  • board policy on the creation and establishment of new schools and colleges;
  • a report from the University of Baltimore (UB) on the status of academic advising, a key factor in the timely completion of degree;
  • a report summarizing financial aid provided to USM undergraduates and graduate students between FY 2000 and FY 2004.

Contact: Liz O'Neill
Phone: 301.445.2719