Special Committee to Report Findings, Recommendations for Coppin State - Higher Education
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Special Committee to Report Findings, Recommendations for Coppin State

by Dianne Hayes

Freeman Hrabowski

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski led the 14-member Special Review Committee.

After nearly two years of mounting problems at Coppin State University, including low graduation rates, a vote of no confidence and resignation of President Reginald Avery, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Special Review Committee on Coppin will release its findings and recommendations at a public meeting on Wednesday morning.

Along with a presentation of the final report prepared by the Special Review Committee, other topics to be addressed at the meeting include a vote on a proposed schedule of tuition and mandatory fees for fiscal year (FY) 2014, as well as the ’14 operating budget.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., May 15, in Room 109 of the Physical Education Complex at the school’s campus in Baltimore.

In December 2012, the Board established a committee to conduct a comprehensive review of Coppin State and develop strategies to increase student retention and graduation rates, improve administrative operations and financial stability and build a culture focused on success. The review process has included three public hearings on campus. The committee’s report addresses the questions concerning the institution’s long-term future.

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, and included elected officials, USM regents, representatives from the business, state elementary/secondary and national higher education communities and Coppin State’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, Board of Visitors and foundation board members.

 

The Committee met five times and assessed demographic and societal trends impacting Coppin. Committee members also reviewed external and internal audits, relevant data and best practices.

 

Outgoing President Avery gave his support to the review prior to stepping down in January.

 

Some of the issues that the committee will address include Coppin having the lowest six-year graduation rate of freshmen among USM comprehensive universities, declining student enrollment and concerns about the university having the highest expenditure per student for comprehensive USM institutions.

 

The Committee will also address administrative decisions during a period in which there was not enrollment growth, where Coppin added 20 new academic programs, experienced a 49 percent increase in faculty, had a 92 percent and 14 percent increase in professional and staff positions, respectively, and was struggling with an operating budget deficit.

The results of the report are expected to be used to carve out a stronger strategic plan for the university prior to beginning the search for a new president. Dr. Mortimer H. Neufville began serving as interim president in January during the university’s period of transition. He is a former executive vice president with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and current APLU consultant.

While under scrutiny for administrative decisions and management, Coppin is forging ahead with a formal groundbreaking for the University’s new Science and Technology Center today at 10 a.m.

The $80 million-dollar, 150,332-square-foot construction, will house science-related disciplines, including natural sciences, biology, physics, chemistry, general science and environmental sciences. In addition, space in the center will support programs for dentistry, pharmacy, medicine and provide a technology-based learning environment.

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