Bill threatens Towson’s MBA program
A bill that would have forced state colleges to review their duplication of programs already at Historically Black Colleges has gone back to committee.
Senate Bill 169, sponsored by Sen. Joan Carter Conway sent the bill back to her committee, which is generally done in government when the sponsor is concerned that the bill will not pass.
No one from Conway’s office could be reached for comment by The Towerlight regarding exactly why the bill was sent back to committee.
Conway’s bill comes just a few months after a federal judge ruled that the state had to enter mediation with the HBCUs in Maryland – Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Conway’s bill would require the Maryland Higher Education Commission to review any complaints made by HBCUs regarding new academic programs at another state college.
The passage of this bill could potentially call into question Towson’s Masters of Business Administration program, which is a duplication of a program at Morgan State.
P.J. Hogan, the USM’s vice chancellor for government relations, testified at a hearing on the bill, stating that the bill is unnecessary because the USM already does enough to stop any unnecessary duplication.
“The bill requires that in a program duplication dispute an institution’s plan must address the possibility of an expansion of an existing program, presumably at another institution, addressing the demand for the program,” Hogan said in his testimony. “It is not clear to me how one institution can assess the ability of another institution to expand a program at that institution.”
Hogan also said that the bill is too open-ended, and that it would allow the HBCUs to objection to common programs that are often duplicated, such as computer science.
“Senate Bill 169 uses only one factor in the analysis of whether a duplicate program is ‘unnecessary duplication,’ without regard to other factors that may be equally important such as the possibility of collaborative programs, faculty expertise, the ability of a program to provide specialized academic opportunities for students, and the ability to attract extramural research funding,” he said.
Towson’s duplicated MBA has been under fire from Morgan since then-President Robert Caret worked to bring it to Towson.
In the Towerlight article “Morgan U. objects to joint MBA by appeal” from May 2005, then-Morgan State President Earl Richardson argued that the program was unnecessarily duplicated.
In response to Caret’s desire to bring an MBA program to Towson, Richardson wrote a letter on April 11, 2005 that stated, “The proposed MBA does not satisfy any legal, desegregation, educational or economic interest of the state. It appears to satisfy only one interest, to give Towson a program that it wants, regardless of the impact on the state as a whole,” according to the article.
Morgan appealed the approval of the joint MBA to the Maryland Higher Education Commission in 2005, although the program was eventually held up by MHEC.
According to the March 2005 Towerlight article “State approves MBA degree,” Towson had been trying to bring an MBA program to the University for almost 30 years.
Then-University President Robert Caret said in that article, “Morgan is being totally self-serving, and they’re not looking out for the state’s needs. I just don’t think that’s right.”
Conway told The Daily Record that she plans to bring the bill back to the floor of the State Senate by the end of this legislative session.
“It’s not gone,” Conway said to The Daily Record. “Don’t get too happy.”