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.