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USM official meets with business people

May 16, 2001

USM official meets with business people



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Charles MiddletonThe vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University System of Maryland exchanged curriculum ideas Tuesday morning with local business people for the planned Hagerstown campus at downtown's Baldwin House complex.

What's most important is to raise people's expectations so they want to pursue a college education and to remove barriers to obtaining that goal, Vice Chancellor Charles Middleton said.

"Jobs will go where there are people with the education and skills to work those jobs," Middleton said.

That makes the education component critical, he said.

To that end, Middleton exchanged ideas with about 30 local business and government leaders at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel for programs that would address the local economy's needs.

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One possibility is a 2+2+2 program for teacher education, such as the one available in Montgomery County, Md., Middleton said.

Educators identify 10th-graders interested in teaching careers, making sure they take the appropriate courses their junior and senior years to graduate, Middleton said.

The students would attend Hagerstown Community College for two years to earn associate's degrees before transferring to the four-year program at the Hagerstown campus for the final two years, Middleton said.

"Those people would of course do their practice teaching in your schools," Middleton said.

To afford such a program at least 15 to 25 students would need to enroll, he said.

The program is a model flexible enough to be used for other degrees as well, Middleton said.

The 2+2+2 program could help address a shortage of quality teachers in the state and country, but there also is a shortage of leaders, such as school principals, Middleton said.

The Hagerstown campus could collaborate with Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center to offer a doctoral leadership degree.

Some local business people also suggested offering classes in accounting, information technology, biotechnology and systems management.

At the local campus, programs would be offered from a collection of the university system's other colleges, including the University of Maryland College Park and Salisbury State University, Middleton said.

The programs would have the same requirements and credits as the programs offered at the college's home campus with the diploma being issued by the home campus, he said.

Classes will have to be scheduled creatively to accommodate working students, he said. That could include nights, weekends and mini-semesters.

Middleton said the Hagerstown campus is expected to open in late August 2003 with a goal of 750 full-time students. The earliest that workers are expected to begin renovating the Baldwin House complex is this winter.

The focus group was hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the University System of Maryland.

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