With enrollment in its part-time graduate programs around the state at an all-time high, the Johns Hopkins University yesterday announced it would offer 10 graduate programs at its Washington, D.C., campus, most to start in September.
The expansion of adult education in Washington comes at a time when Hopkins and many universities are cutting back traditional programs because of growing costs and shrinking revenues, particularly federal research funds. William C. Richardson, Hopkins president, said the expansion would provide an additional source of income to support the university's main mission.
Despite the current recession, he said, the university expects continued strong interest in part-time graduate education by professionals in search of new skills. In addition, the university is counting on the federal government to continue to offer tax breaks to companies that pick up the costs of their employee's tuition.
Part-time students accounted for 42 percent of all Hopkins degrees awarded last June. Nationwide, part-time study is the fastest growing segment of higher education. Part-time enrollment has increased 109 percent, compared to 32 percent for traditional students, in the past 20 years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
For Hopkins, the expansion is the next logical step in a history of offering part-time study that dates to the turn of the century. In the past five years, its part-time degree programs in Baltimore, Columbia, Shady Grove and elsewhere have enjoyed what Dr. Richardson called "terrific success" and have been used as a model by other universities. In Washington, a new master of liberal arts degree offered for the first time in 1989 has proved wildly popular, attracting 1,800 applicants this year.
The new degree and certificate programs, most of which are already offered at Hopkins campuses in Maryland, are designed to appeal to Washington professionals and range from the practical to the aesthetic.
In addition to the master of liberal arts, Hopkins will offer master's degrees beginning in the fall of 1992 in information and telecommunications systems for business, marketing, human resource development, education, health policy, and writing, as well as a certificate in environmental engineering and science. Hopkins said it would introduce degrees in American studies, drama studies and public policy studies in September 1993.
Some of the courses would be taught by the university's full-time faculty, particularly in areas such as public health, but the programs would rely on new part-time faculty, some of them drawn from the Washington professional community.
The new programs will begin modestly with 500 to 1,000 students, Hopkins officials estimated.
The success of the liberal arts degree as well as of new programs offered at the university's campus in Shady Grove, where enrollment is now two years ahead of projections, prompted the expansion, Dr. Richardson said. With 4,400 course enrollments, Hopkins' Montgomery County building is now operating at capacity and the university is considering building a second one. The program has grown 127 percent since it opened in 1988.
Dr. Richardson said the programs would complement, rather than compete with, those now being offered by a half dozen Washington universities. In most cases, he said, the Hopkins programs are unique.
Degree candidates in the new programs would share classroom space with students in Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies buildings on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington. Start-up costs to ensure the quality of the Hopkins programs are estimated at $200,000, an amount that would be recouped within five years, officials predict. Dr. Richardson said the programs would eventually return money to the university's full-time graduate and undergraduate programs.
He said the university has done a good job in the past few years in cutting costs. But now, "some of the traditional revenue streams are beginning to level off in terms of the rate of increase, and we want to be sure we have all of our potential revenue streams in place."