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Regents' plan just kicks Coppin State's problems further down the road

Colleges and UniversitiesCoppin State UniversityUniversity System of MarylandUniversity of Maryland, College Park

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents has unanimously accepted the report and recommendations of the special review committee on the revitalization of Coppin State University ("UM regents approve plan to revitalize Coppin State," June 22).

Political expediency has prevailed. The report does not adequately address serious issues with the lack of accountability at this public institution, nor does it set forth specific, objective performance standards for which Coppin should be held responsible.

For example, the committee has not proposed specific, measurable goals with respect to improving Coppin's historically low rates of student retention and six-year graduation rate, which is now 15 percent, such as by proposing that Coppin achieve a 30 percent six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time students by 2016.

Instead, the report recommends that Coppin focus more on serving transfer students, given that transfer students at Coppin graduate at higher rates than do first-time freshman students. The report fails to note, however, that four-year graduation rates for transfer students at Coppin are still the lowest of any historically black institution in the state, including Bowie State, Morgan and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

In effect the regents have kicked the can down the road, and in three to five years there will be yet another "special review committee" formed to look into "the revitalization of Coppin State University."

Fred Medinger

The writer served as a member of the faculty at Coppin State University from 1999 until 2011.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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