USM representatives meet with O’Malley
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley met with student representatives from the University System of Maryland Schools Thursday to discuss recent trends in higher education.
Student Government Association President Brandy Hall was contacted to attend the meeting but was sick and chose SGA senator Zac McGee to represent Towson.
A broad spectrum of topics was discussed at the meeting, including differential tuition and getting students in and out of school in four years, McGee said.
O’Malley said he was proud of students that work to pay for college, and wants to get them in and out of school in four years. He also talked about keeping college affordable.
“He talked about how his administration made the tough choices to cut other services for the state to not raise tuition in the past,” McGee said. “He said he was going to continue to work his hardest to keep any raises as small as possible.”
The governor expressed opposition to differential tuition, which is when science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors have higher fees for classes than other majors to help cover the costs for labs and things like that, McGee said.
O’Malley’s meeting was televised via Google hangout, a video webchat service. Towson was unable to join the meeting due to technical difficulties, but all other schools within the USM were invited.
At one point Towson was able to observe some of the meeting and see McGee sitting in at the conference table with the governor, but were still unable to participate.
Students from the actual meeting and the hangouts were invited to ask questions that O’ Malley answered for them.
“It was pretty focused and I was happy with it,” he said.
O’Malley also discussed his pleasure with the course redesign taking place across Maryland that emphasizes a more hands on approach rather than lectures, McGee said.
“The professor is not so much ‘sage on the stage’ but more a ‘guide on the side,’” he said.
Through the discussion McGee said O’ Malley was charismatic and lively.
“Governor O’Malley definitely has a passion for the state and for higher education,” he said. “It was very refreshing to hear him speak.”
And although the Google hangout didn’t workout with Towson, McGee said it was an innovative idea and a way to connect in the best way possible.
“That was really an effort of his to show that even if you’re not a school’s representative that he still wanted to talk to you,” he said.