Office of Civil Rights Agreement




In late October 1999, the State of Maryland and the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), entered into a Partnership for the purposes of improving the educational opportunities for African Americans in Maryland's public institutions of higher education and ensuring compliance with the State’s obligations under federal law. As part of the Partnership process, the State and OCR agreed to examine and address the status of African Americans regarding access, enrollment, retention, and graduation at the State’s public institutions of higher education. The Partnership process has been a joint, cooperative effort and has not attempted to make legal findings or to conduct any type of legal proceedings.

The result of the Partnership process is the following agreement:

Part I of the agreement is Maryland’s report on its system of public higher education, including a synopsis of Maryland’s previous five-year desegregation plan and a summary of the State's recent efforts to increase African American students' access, retention, and graduation in higher education.

Part II summarizes the development and accomplishments of the Partnership process.

Part III sets forth the commitments that the State and OCR anticipate will result in agreement that Maryland is in full compliance with its obligations under federal law, particularly Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. Section 2000d, et seq.) (Title VI) and the standards set forth in United States v. Fordice, 505 U.S. 717 (1992) (Fordice) regarding Maryland's system of public higher education.​

I. Maryland's Report on its System of Higher Education


A.      Maryland's System of  Higher Education  

The State of Maryland's public system of postsecondary education consists of 16 community colleges, 13 public four-year institutions and two public research centers.  The State is also home to 24 independent four-year institutions, three independent two-year colleges, and 128 private career schools. For the purpose of this agreement, all 13 public four-year universities, and all campuses of the 16 community colleges are included. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Maryland are Bowie State University, Coppin State College, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which are all part of the University System of Maryland (USM), and Morgan State University, one of two four-year public institutions not governed by USM. The Traditionally White Institutions (TWIs) that are part of USM are Frostburg State University, Salisbury State University, Towson University, University of Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park and the University of Maryland University College.  St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a four-year public TWI not governed by USM. The 11 USM institutions are governed by a Board of Regents with a Chancellor as the chief executive officer.

The statewide planning and coordinating body for all postsecondary institutions in Maryland, including the entire public system, is the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC or “the Commission”).  The public system includes the 11 USM institutions, Morgan State University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and 16 community colleges: Allegany College of Maryland, Anne Arundel Community College, Baltimore City Community College, The Community College of Baltimore County, Carroll Community College, Cecil Community College, College of Southern Maryland, Chesapeake College, Frederick Community College, Garrett College, Hagerstown Community College, Harford Community College, Howard Community College, Montgomery College, Prince George's Community College, and Wor-Wic Community College. 

The structure of the higher education system in Maryland reflects its history, culture, statutory mandates, leadership and political structure, and geography and demographics.This system of higher education aspires to provide an accessible, affordable, and diverse system of quality postsecondary education for all Maryland citizens.The institutions are accountable for the fulfillment of institutional missions--teaching, research, and public service—while maintaining efficient and effective operations.In Maryland, a central coordinating board, MHEC, serves as the liaison between state government and the governing boards of individual institutions.The coordinating board serves as the coordinating and planning agency for the State and is responsible for the overall growth and development of higher education in the State, while the governance authority is vested with the various governing boards.Each public institution in Maryland has its own governing board with the exception of the 13 constituent institutions and research centers of USM which is governed by a single board of regents.Within this structure, USM supports, facilitates, and encourages presidents to meet the goals and objectives of the System and State. Academic and fiscal autonomy enables the System and individual presidents to provide leadership and to be held accountable for the accomplishments of their respective campuses. 

B.      Maryland's 1985-1989 Desegregation Plan

In 1969, OCR notified the State of Maryland that it was one of ten states operating a racially segregated system of higher education in violation of Title VI and applicable federal law.   Over the next several years, Maryland worked to develop a plan for dismantling its discriminatory dual system and eliminating the vestiges of segregation.In 1976, after OCR advised Maryland of its concerns with the State’s implementation of its plan, Maryland was granted an injunction prohibiting OCR from instituting enforcement action to terminate Maryland’s Federal financial assistance unless certain conditions were met.In 1982, OCR resumed negotiations with Maryland concerning the development and implementation of a new desegregation plan, and a consent decree ending the litigation was entered.    

In 1985, OCR and Maryland agreed on another statewide desegregation plan, entitled A Plan to Assure Equal Postsecondary Educational Opportunity (Appendix A) designed to foster equal educational opportunity in Maryland’s public institutions of higher education. The Plan was accepted by OCR as one which could meet the requirements of Title VI.Its principal objectives were (1) the continued integration of Maryland’s TWIs through a portfolio of enrollment goals, recruitment measures, retention efforts and affirmative action plans, and (2) the enhancement of Maryland’s HBCUs to ensure that they are comparable and competitive with TWIs with respect to capital facilities, operating budgets and new academic programs.The Plan provided for a wide range of measures and activities to meet these objectives, including enhancement of the HBCUs, desegregating student enrollments through increased recruitment and improved retention programs for African American students, and desegregating faculties, staffs and governing boards, all of which were designed to meet the mandates of Title VI in the state-supported institutions of higher education in Maryland. 

During the five years the Plan was implemented, Maryland submitted yearly progress reports to OCR, with the final report submitted in 1991 (Appendix B) summarizing the State’s accomplishments achieved under the Plan.Upon expiration of the Plan, and in the absence of any further OCR proceedings with respect to Maryland’s compliance with Title VI, the State continued its efforts to implement measures to improve equal educational opportunity and to operate within the command of State and federal law.Maryland has prepared an analysis of the primary goals and objectives of the 1985 Plan and the 1991 report, reflecting current data.The report is set forth in Appendix C. 

In 1992, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Fordice, setting forth the legal standards imposed on former de jure segregated systems of higher education.Subsequently, in 1994, OCR issued its Notice of Application of Supreme Court Decision applying the Fordice standards to all pending Title VI evaluations of statewide higher education systems with OCR-accepted desegregation plans that have expired, including Maryland. 

C.    Summary of Maryland's Recent Efforts to Increase African American Students' Access, Retention, and Graduation in Higher Education (1989- 2000)

  • The breadth and number of efforts devoted to participation and success of African American students in Maryland higher education attest to the State’s unflagging commitment to providing equal educational opportunities to all of its citizens.At all levels, the State and its public higher education institutions have developed and implemented far-ranging initiatives designed to maximize higher education access and success for African Americans.These efforts include the following:
  • accountability processes through which institutions’ minority achievement efforts are gauged;
  • special grants to HBCUs for development and implementation of recruitment and retention initiatives;
  • State, USM, and institutional strategic plans in which goals and objectives associated with African American achievement figure prominently;
  • reports and action plans, developed by statewide coalitions, focusing on African American students in Maryland higher education;and legislation designed ultimately to improve disadvantaged students’ college readiness, to improve teacher preparation, and to increase financial aid available to disadvantaged students.

These efforts indicate the State’s ongoing commitment to implementing best practices in the areas of recruitment and admissions, retention and graduation, campus climate, faculty and staff diversity, enhancement of HBCUs, and partnerships between MHEC, USM, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Morgan State University,  the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) , and other higher education institutions and elementary and secondary school systems. 

The following summary highlights some of these initiatives but is not intended to be all-inclusive. 

1.The Maryland Higher Education Commission

The Maryland Higher Education Commission was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1988 and given the responsibility for planning and coordination of higher education in Maryland and the continuation of the State’s desegregation efforts.

Generally, its responsibilities include development of and oversight for the State Plan for Higher Education, ensuring that campus mission statements are consistent with that Plan, approving the operation of new colleges and universities, approving academic programs, reviewing and recommending capital and operating budgets, and regulating private career schools.MHEC provides statewide planning, leadership, vision, balance, coordination and advocacy for all of Maryland’s postsecondary educational institutions and administers state financial aid.

The Commission is specifically responsible for developing a program of desegregation and equal educational opportunity, including an enhancement plan for HBCUs.In turn, it is responsible for monitoring the progress made under, and assuring compliance with, the goals, measures and commitments contained in the desegregation and equal educational opportunity plan.The Commission, in carrying out its responsibilities to coordinate and monitor the equal opportunity activities of public institutions of higher education in the State, may require institutions to submit plans, reports, and data to evaluate the effectiveness of institutional efforts and methods.Much of this is accomplished through the accountability process set forth in State law, including the use of benchmarks (for each diversity indicator, five-year goals that the institution sets for itself) developed through a “bottom up” approach, to measure campus progress on certain accountability indicators (recruitment, enrollment, retention, graduation and employment).As a part of and related to this process, the Commission and the institutions of higher education prepare Minority Achievement Reports on the status of their progress in attaining their benchmarks and indicating where some institutions are falling short.An annual Performance Accountability Report for Maryland Public Colleges and Universities is prepared by the Commission and submitted the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly.

2. Access and Success

Recognizing that there is a critical need to improve student retention and graduation rates at Maryland’s HBCUs, the State proposed and implemented a plan of action to address these concerns. This plan, called Access and Success: A Plan for Maryland’s Historically Black Institutions (Appendix D), is funded and in operation from 1997-2001.  The primary goal of the plan is to improve retention and graduation rates.  In turn, the plan implements strategies to enhance the relationship between administration, enrollment management, and teaching and learning practices on the one hand and student achievement, improved retention and graduation rates on the other.  The lessons learned through the implementation of the practices are to be shared with other public and independent colleges and universities throughout the State. 

The Access and Success Multi-Year Grant Program was implemented in Fiscal Year

1999 and disbursed $500,000 to each of the State’s four historically black institutions (Bowie State University, Coppin State College, Morgan State University, and the University of   Maryland Eastern Shore).  The Maryland Higher Education Commission requested and   received a Grant Program increase of $1,000,000 for Fiscal Year 2001 and disbursed a total of $3,000,000, $750,000 to each the participating institution. 

Activities initiated in the first and second year were continued into the third year and in many instances enhanced with the year three budget increase of $1,000,000.  The year three activities will continue into year four with all institutions building on the great strides they have made in implementing their campus-based initiatives and augmenting the achievements made toward the goals of the Program at each institution.  

Bowie State University

Bowie State University’s retention initiatives have focused on the enhancement of the academic technology infrastructure and assessment and faculty and staff development.In the first two years, Bowie State University has:implemented an Automatic Academic Advising Program; purchased software and hardware for instructional laboratories; increased faculty access to technology; upgraded existing equipment in the  Electronic Music and PRAXIS Laboratories; established the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Office of Assessment; sponsored faculty training sessions through CETL; added a freshman academic counselor to the University College of Excellence; developed statements of “Bowie State University’s Expected Student Learning Outcomes” to be recommended for adoption by the University; initiating an Alumni Survey to assess student satisfaction, perceptions, and attitudes about the University.

Coppin State College 

Coppin State College’s initiatives have focused on the Division of Academic Affair the Division of Student Life.  In the first two years, Coppin State College has: hired new staff for the Academic Resources Center and the Recruitment-Counseling Programs; made available alternative modes of tutorial assistance; implemented the Natural Sciences Bridge Program, Freshman Summer Success Program (110 students), Pilot Mathematics and Computer Science Program, Developmental Pilot English Program, Freshmen Mentoring Program, Attendance Monitoring Program, and an Academic Advisement Package; expanded support and workshops offered by the Writing (Grammar, Essay Writing, Internet Research and Documentation), Reading, and Math Labs.     

Morgan State University

Morgan State University’s initiatives have focused on expanding tutoring programs, enhancing educational programs in residence halls, strengthening advising programs and enhancing the monitoring of student progress, and the establishment and development of the Access and Success Summer Bridge Program. In the first two years, Morgan State University has:hired 42 tutors; made available tutorial assistance in the resident halls in the evening; added two advisors to serve “undeclared majors” and Freshman Studies majors; purchased software to enable students to make greater used of Computer-Assisted Instruction and to electronically track student progress; establishment of a state-of-the-art Learning Computer Laboratory in Banneker Hall with software focused on mathematics and basic skills; and enrolled 198 Access and Success students in the 1999 Summer Bridge Program and provided students academic advisement through the Advising Center during their first year; tracked student progress through an advising, course analysis, and mentoring program known as ACAMP; began the development of an advising manual for faculty and Access and Success staff;provided career guidance through the purchase of the SIGI Plus Career Guidance Software.    

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s initiatives have focused on refining an infrastructure for monitoring and assisting at-risk students, which included developing and improving teaching and learning practice, enrollment management, student support services, and the tutoring center. In the first two years, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore has: participated in faculty and staff conferences related to retention and advisement; reviewed course syllabi to improve courses; developed a campus-wide advising manual; hired additional student support staff, graduate student tutors for intermediate algebra, and a writing skills specialist; identified at-risk students, expanded tutoring service, provided advisement to “undeclared majors,” and constructed a Tutoring Center to house all of the University’s tutoring activities; provided funding for retention advisors for 14 of 15 undergraduate programs; instituted a systematic attendance-monitoring system. 

3. Administration of Federal and State Strategies to Increase Diversity

Using federal and State funds, Maryland is directly addressing campus diversity issues through grant programs administered by MHEC.  The federally funded initiatives include, or have included, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Grant Program, the Maryland National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership Program, and GEAR-UP.  The State funded initiatives include the Diversity Grant Program among the graduate student population, the Henry C. Welcome Fellowship Grant Program among faculty, and the Incentive Grant Program projects (the Maryland Early Mathematics Placement Test Program and the Southern Regional Education Board’s Doctoral Scholarship Program) addressing student achievement and faculty diversity. 

The College Preparation and Intervention Program, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education, the public and independent colleges and universities, the Council of Maryland’s K-16 Partnership and the local school systems is in its second year of operation.  The State appropriation for this program was used as the match for the proposal to obtain a five-year federal GEAR UP funding (“Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs”).  Ten sites serve approximately 2500 students with the goal of providing low-income, middle to high school students with challenging academic programs, counseling, tutoring, mentoring, campus visits and financial aid information needed to pursue and succeed in postsecondary education. With an emphasis on these services, a second major focus of the program is to contribute to the reform and improvement of schools.  A web site is being developed to share information and best practices between the ten GEAR UP sites and middle and high schools throughout the State. 

4. Maryland’s 1998 Plan – Educating for the 21st Century

In January 1998, MHEC approved and published a statewide plan for postsecondary education, entitled Educating for the 21st Century which was to serve as a blueprint for the Governor, the General Assembly, and the citizens of the State in developing and improving postsecondary educational opportunities in Maryland.  Its goals, strategies and tactics addressed (1) the ethnic diversity of Ph.Ds in faculty and administrative positions at all institutions, (2) the promotion of campus climates accepting of diverse groups and the establishment of multicultural approaches to educational experiences at all levels of Maryland education, (3) multicultural diversity on Maryland’s campuses, (4) recruitment and retention of minority students, faculty members and professional staff, and (5) gender and salary equity of the faculty and administrative staff of public colleges and universities.

5. Task Force to Study the Governance, Coordination, and Funding of the University System of Maryland

In August 1998, a task force was formed to study the governance, coordination, and funding of USM.In response to the task force’s findings and report, the General Assembly enacted legislation that made a number of changes to Maryland’s system of higher education.Among other things, the legislation called for the adoption of a new state plan to address present and future needs, capabilities, priorities and objectives for postsecondary education and research in the State.The plan was to include the long-range and short-range objectives and priorities for postsecondary education and methods and guidelines for achieving and maintaining them.It was suggested that strategic incentive funds be provided by the Commission to institutions to encourage attainment of statewide goals and priorities. The legislation also provided for the Commission to develop operating and capital budget funding guidelines.The legislation provided for a president of a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland to propose programs if the action was consistent with the institution’s mission and could be implemented within the existing program resources of the institution.The Commission would object if the program proposed was inconsistent with the institution’s mission, or if unreasonable program duplication would cause demonstrable harm to another institution, or if the proposed program violated the State’s equal educational opportunity obligations under State and federal laws. Further, the legislation specifically provided that the Commission shall ensure that the state plan complies with the State’s equal educational opportunity obligations under State and federal law, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.  

6.   The Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education 2000     

The Maryland State Plan for Postsecondary Education 2000 (the Plan) (Appendix E) is based upon the recognition that a highly educated citizenry is essential for the welfare and the economic well being of the State. The new century, more than its predecessors, requires enhanced and continuous access for all citizens to a coordinated, cost-effective system of affordable, high-quality institutions. Maryland enjoys the benefits of a wide array of public and private postsecondary institutions, which make significant contributions to the communities in which they are located and to the State as a whole.  The Plan envisions these institutions being renowned for the quality of the learning, scholarship and outreach activities they provide in preparing Marylanders with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully to society and to thrive in the economy.  It also envisions a time when the possession of an associate’s degree or higher will be as common in Maryland as the possession of a high school diploma is today. 

Maryland’s present and future needs for postsecondary education and the capabilities of Maryland’s postsecondary institutions are addressed, and eight major statewide goals and a number of related objectives are set forth in this new Plan.  The statewide goals address quality, access, economic development, research, teacher education, diversity, information technology, and accountability. These goals may be summarized as follows:   

  • achieve and sustain a preeminent statewide array of postsecondary educational institutions that are recognized for their distinctiveness and excellence nationally and internationally;
  • provide affordable and equitable access for every qualified Maryland citizen;
  • contribute to the further development of Maryland’s economic health and vitality;
  • support and encourage basic and applied research;
  • strengthen teacher preparation and improve the readiness of students for postsecondary education;
  • provide high quality academic programs for a population of increasingly diverse students;
  • establish Maryland as one of the most advanced states in the use of information technology to improve learning and access; and
  • achieve a cost effective and accountable system of delivering high quality postsecondary education. 

The Plan includes a number of objectives and strategies for implementing each of these goals.While the objectives presented in conjunction with these goals are in most cases statewide, they will be relevant to different institutions to different degrees.Each institution will determine, based on its unique capabilities, how it will incorporate these goals and objectives into its mission and planning process.Each institution will revise its mission statement, as required by law, to ensure consistency with the new Plan. 

With specific regard for equal educational opportunity, the objectives and strategies include:

enhancing cross-cultural understanding to prepare students to live and work in a culturally diverse environment; including racial and cultural diversity, and its impact on teaching and learning, in the curriculum of each teacher preparation program; improving the enrollment, retention, graduation and transfer rates of African American and other minority students whose achievements trail the State average; increasing the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of faculty and executive/managerial staff at Maryland colleges and universities; enhancing the missions of HBCUs and their enrollment of non-African American students; strengthening the undergraduate and graduate programs at HBCUs; developing high-demand academic programs at HBCUs;avoiding unnecessary program duplication at geographically proximate HBCUs and TWIs; maintaining and expanding the Commission’s Access and Success program; and, ensuring that, as appropriate, curricula reflect the perspective of diverse cultures and the contributions of members of these cultures.  

The community colleges serve as the pipeline for many African Americans because they are local, open access, quality institutions that offer the least costly alternative for higher education.As an open access entry point to higher education, the community college affords learning experiences to students with a diverse range of interest, aspirations, and abilities.The community college mission is to accept individuals, at whatever level they may enter, and provide them with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills to achieve their educational goals.  

Additionally, the Plan recognizes that sustaining a desegregated system will require additional State investments in HBCUs as well as a commitment to programs that improve the educational opportunities for African American students.The State noted that it is working with OCR to develop this partnership agreement in order to further equal opportunity in Maryland’s postsecondary education system.

7. The USM in 2010: Responding to the Challenges that Lie Ahead (2000) 

The USM in 2010, the University System of Maryland’s strategic plan, presents what, in its view, the System can and ought to be in ten years, identifies challenges in realizing the plan, and articulates specific measurable strategies that institutions must undertake to succeed.The plan identifies the following broad objectives for the USM:

  • Development of an enrollment growth strategy to increase dramatically the overall number of Marylanders holding baccalaureate degrees, particularly in critical, high- demand occupations;
  • Increased participation and achievement of minority students, who will be the key to expanding the State’s labor force;
  • Limiting tuition increases to assure that USM programs remain affordable;
  • Improvements in all key facets of the higher-education enterprise: faculty quality, richer experiences for students, use of technology, and increased opportunities for lifelong learning;
  • Greater efforts and investment in research to position the State as an international leader in science and new technologies and the USM as both a valued partner with business and an intellectual asset to the State; and
  • Effective management of the USM’s resources to achieve national eminence, sustain the trust Marylanders have placed in the System, and increase the pride Marylanders have in the quality of the System and its contributions to the State. 

The plan articulates the need for the breadth of Maryland’s citizens to be educated at the highest levels if the State is to ensure continuing economic viability and the highest quality of life for its citizens.During the next decade, USM institutions must recruit and retain increasing numbers of minority students, who have been historically underrepresented in Maryland higher education.African Americans have been (and continue to be) the single largest minority group in the State.The USM commits to addressing minority achievement in a variety of ways: by increasing articulated programs that link USM institutions with community colleges with high minority enrollments; by increasing academic programs, academic- and student-support services; and by enhancing facilities at the USM’s HBCUs; by developing institutionally appropriate diversity-education programs; and by including participation in minority-achievement initiatives in faculty and staff rewards programs.USM institutions are accomplishing the broad objectives of the plan both individually and collaboratively, reflecting the "institution-centric” approach under which the campuses operate.The USM monitors the implementation of the plan on an ongoing basis.  

8. Miles to Go - Maryland  

In response to the Southern Education Foundation reports entitled Redeeming the American Promise:Report of the Panel on Educational Opportunity and Postsecondary Education (1995) and Miles to Go:A Report on Black Students and Postsecondary Education in the South (1998), the State formed the Southern Education Foundation Maryland Leadership Group and issued “a call to action.”Acknowledging that Maryland’s efforts to improve access and success for its African American students are at the forefront among the 19 southern states that once operated dual systems of public higher education, the group asserted that the State has a long way to go before it achieves the promise of equal educational opportunity for all students.In its 1999 report entitled Miles to Go - Maryland (Appendix F), the State agreed to address three distinct facets of equal educational opportunity -- college readiness, teacher preparation and financial aid.For each of these facets, the report detailed specific policy recommendations to energize changes at the State level that will facilitate and bolster them and promote the realization of State and institutional goals.These policy recommendations continue to guide equal educational opportunity initiatives at all levels of education in Maryland, including this partnership agreement. 

9. The Road Taken:  An Action Agenda for Achieving the Recommendations in M iles to Go - Maryland  

The Road Taken contains strategies for implementing the college readiness, teacher preparation, and financial aid recommendations that appear in Miles to Go - Maryland.The road to educational equity and quality in Maryland includes legislative, policy, and funding actions in these three areas.Action in these areas is key to educational access and success and to Maryland’s ability to produce and nurture a highly skilled workforce and a responsible, responsive citizenry.These strategies are consistent with approaches that have been advocated and articulated by a host of stakeholders in Maryland. These views are presented in reports that include, among others, Making a Difference: Report of the Task Force on Dropout Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery (Maryland State Department of Education, Spring 1998) andMinority Achievement: Increasing Graduation Rates (University System of Maryland, July 1998). The overwhelming majority of the strategies recommended in The Road Taken are grounded in “best practices,” supported by outcomes data, that have been implemented in Maryland as well as in other states. 

10. House Bill 1091 (2000)

House Bill 1091, which creates a “Task Force to Study College Readiness for Disadvantaged and Capable Students,” is based on The Road Taken.The bill defines “disadvantaged and capable students” as those who, because of environmental and economic conditions or the lingering effects of historical patterns of discrimination, are not achieving at a level that is scholastically up to their potential abilities.Included among these students are those who have the potential to complete public high school successfully and who require special efforts in the areas of college readiness, and financial aid to succeed in postsecondary education.With membership from all K-16 segments in Maryland, the task force will review the college readiness, teacher preparation, and financial aid findings and recommendations in Miles to Go - Maryland and The Road Taken and make recommendations to enhance existing programs and/or implement new programs to support the comprehensive strategy it develops.The group will provide an interim report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor on or before January 1, 2001, and a final report on or before December 1, 2001.

11. Best Practices Implemented by Maryland’s Public Colleges and Universities

As a result of and in addition to the above-referenced efforts, Maryland institutions have initiated a myriad of equal educational opportunity programs and initiatives evidencing the State’s efforts to improve opportunities for African American students to achieve a high quality higher education in Maryland.These “best practices” are summarized in Appendix G, and include an Inventory of University System of Maryland Best Practices (Revised September 2000) as well as initiatives of Morgan State University, the community colleges, the K-16 Leadership Council, and the independent colleges and universities. 

Maryland’s public four-year colleges and universities have engaged in ongoing efforts and initiatives designed to promote the enrollment, retention, and graduation of African American students at all levels.To ensure student access and success, the institutions have implemented a host of best practices that have increased African American participation in higher education. 

Maryland’s public four-year institutions have implemented a vast array of initiatives and activities through which African American students are recruited.The colleges and universities participate in liaisons with feeder high schools; engage in partnerships with K-12 to improve students’ college readiness; offer bridge programs, disseminate publications featuring a range of students; regularly visit high schools with large numbers of African American students; and participate in academic program articulation efforts that span the entire higher education pipeline—from community college through graduate and professional school.The institutions provide summer institutes and summer bridge programs for pre-college students and participate in partnerships with selected K-12 schools that large numbers of African American students attend.Other efforts include campus visitation programs, college fair participation, and need based and merit based financial support.Additionally, faculty and staff serve on community committees and boards, and the institutions participate in partnerships designed to achieve systemic educational reform; as a result, the institutions increase their networks and enhance their ability to recruit African American students.Finally, throughout the State, student movement from the community college to the public four-year institution is facilitated through partnerships that enable prospective but non admissible baccalaureate students to complete courses at community colleges prior to matriculation at the four-year institutions and through ARTSYS, a nationally emulated on-line course articulation system that facilitates student transfer. 

Because of the effectiveness of their efforts designed to improve retention and graduation rates, Maryland’s four-year public colleges and universities are among the nation’s top producers of African American baccalaureate degree recipients.To ensure that students achieve at the postsecondary level, the community colleges and the baccalaureate degree granting institutions have offered numerous activities.They provide orientation programs for new students; provide developmental or refresher programs in mathematics, English, and reading; implement academic monitoring and academic advising systems; provide tutorial support, offer mentoring and peer counseling programs for minority students; provide incentives to faculty and staff to develop curricular and co-curricular activities appealing to minority students; assess campus climate through surveys administered regularly; sponsor lectures, exhibits, and performances featuring African Americans; offer financial aid awareness sessions and conduct exit interviews with students who “drop out” to ascertain the reasons for their departure and to obtain information to improve their retention efforts.Additionally, Maryland’s HBCUs sponsor an annual collaborative summit during which institutional representatives share student retention strategies and develop new retention approaches.

All Maryland public four-year institutions have implemented a variety of campus diversity activities.Multicultural centers, diversity education and training for faculty and staff, conferences on multiculturalism, organizations for diverse constituencies, publications reflecting a commitment to diversity, collaborations that link HBCUs and TWIs, institutional policies that value diversity, and curricula that include the contributions of diverse groups are among the best practices that the institutions implement. 

Maryland public four-year colleges and universities have sought to employ diverse faculty and staff.Non-discrimination and equal opportunity policies, diversity/equity/equal employment officers, mentoring programs and organizations for minority faculty and staff, and campus diversity networks/structures/systems contribute to the achievement of this end.Additionally, Maryland continues to provide institutions with Henry Welcome Fellowships. 

The community colleges are also engaged in effective “best practices” which are increasing the educational opportunities of African American students.For example, Chesapeake College is partnering with local community boards to provide high school juniors and seniors with access to its Dual Enrollment Program.The initiative, known as the Culturally Diverse Dual Enrollment Program, links Chesapeake with the Queen Anne’s County Community Partnerships for Children, Caroline County Human Services Council, and Dorchester County Local Management Board.The program has opened doors that otherwise would not have been opened to students and the students have used that door to walk right into a college education.There have been 23 participants from Queen Anne’s County in the three-year history of the program.Fourteen have gone on to attend college after graduating from high school, including nine who have attended Chesapeake College, and three remain in the Dual Enrollment Program.

Montgomery College and the Public Schools in Montgomery County are committed to a partnership aimed at addressing the problems associated with insufficient readiness for college level studies.The partnership has already undertaken a pilot effort to test tenth grade students using the high school version of Montgomery College’s assessment test.This effort was intended to serve as a “wake-up call” to students and parents by alerting those who are falling behind in college preparation.The plan also calls for a series of intervention strategies, including support for student success (intervention, tutoring, mentoring), professional development (team teaching, research collaborations, workshops, mentoring, monitoring, training), parent/community involvement (designing supports that promote home-school communications, ESL initiatives, community input on careers and skills) and program coordination, evaluation and planning.  

Maryland has been actively engaged in K-16 work for the past four years through a voluntary K-16 Partnership for Teaching and Learning co-chaired by the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, the State Superintendent of Schools, and the Secretary of Higher Education.This collaborative initiative among all segments of the education community is one of the most successful efforts of this type in the nation.The goal of the Partnership is to give all students in the state the best public education by setting high standards for teaching and learning.The K-16 Partnership has defined goals and is on the way to meeting them.In an important first step, the State Board of Education approved high stakes graduation examinations that will ensure that every student who graduates will be prepared to take college level courses if he or she chooses.  

In a parallel move, the teacher training institutions in the state have collaborated on a redesign of teacher education that will ensure that new teachers will be held to high performance standards as well.The K-16 Partnership creates a cooperative environment in which all segments of the education community can engage each other and engage theissues of education together.Because of the history of K-16 collaboration, task forces, committees, and commissions initiated or sponsored by one agency or segment almost always involve participation from a broad spectrum of K-16 stakeholders. The following reports suggest the range of these collaborative efforts. All of the following reports address the achievement of African American students as part of the analysis:

  • SOAR report, issued annually from MHEC,disaggregated by race; 

  •  The K-16 Remediation Task Force Report (1998); 
  •  MSDE Minority Achievement "State of the State" report (1999);
  •  MSDE Intervention Task Force Project, "Every Child Achieving" (October 27, 1999) (; 
  •  MSDE Middle Years Task Force Report "Middle Grades Matter: Meeting the Challenge for Systemic Reform" (July 1999);  
  • Maryland State Task Force Report on Reading (Oct 27, 1998); and

  • Making A Difference: Report of the Task Force on Drop-Out Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery (Spring, 1988).

In the range and effectiveness of its efforts to improve African American access and success, Maryland is a model.The State enjoys this position because of the effectiveness of the best practices that public higher-education institutions have implemented over the years. 

12. Degrees Awarded to Minority Students

Black Issues in Higher Education (BIHE) publishes rankings of American colleges and universities based on the number of degrees they award to members of minority groups.

The following data are taken from the BIHE year 2000 rankings for academic year 1997-98. The rankings of Maryland institutions are based upon the number of degrees conferred to African Americans:

Among all American colleges and universities Morgan State University (MSU) ranked tenth in awarding baccalaureates in all disciplines combined and ranked ninth among HBCUs.Among TWIs only, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) ranked sixth and University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) ranked seventh.   Maryland institutions appeared within the top five when looking at specific disciplines: UMCP ranked first in Social Sciences & History, fourth in English/Lit/Letters, and fifth in Biological Sciences/Life Science.University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) ranked fifth in Computer & Information Systems.

Bowie State University (Bowie) ranked eighth in awarding master’s in all disciplines combined among all American colleges and universities and ranked third among HBCUs.In the discipline specific categories Bowie ranked first in awarding Master’s degrees in Computer & Information Sciences, second in Psychology, and fourth in Communications. Additionally, University of Baltimore ranked first in Law & Legal Studies, Johns Hopkins University ranked second in Physical Sciences, and UMUC ranked third in Business Management & Administrative Services.

University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) ranked first in First Professional degrees in all disciplines for TWIs only and ranked fifth among all institutions combined.   Among the top five rankings for discipline specific categories, UMB ranked fourth in Health Professions and Related Sciences.​​​​

II. Development of the Partnership


II. Development of the Partnership


A. United States v. Fordice 

On June 26, 1992, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Fordice, 505 U.S. 717 (1992).In Fordice, which involved the State of Mississippi's former de jure segregated system of higher education, the Court set forth the legal standards and requirements for desegregation of a previously segregated state higher education system. 

The Court found that, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title VI, race neutral admissions policies alone are not sufficient to determine that a state has effectively discharged its affirmative obligation to dismantle a former dual system of higher education.Id.    According to the standards announced by the Court, "[i]f policies traceable to the de jure system are still in force and have discriminatory effects, those policies too must be reformed to the extent practicable and consistent with sound educational practices."505 U.S. at 729-30. 

The Court urged an examination of "a wide range of factors to determine whether [a] state has perpetuated its formerly de jure segregation in any facet of its institutional system."505 U.S. at 728.As identified by the Court, a few examples of this wide range of possible factors include, but are not limited to, the following:admissions standards; program duplication; institutional mission assignments; and continued operation of an inappropriately large number of previously segregated institutions. 

The Court went on to note:  

If the State perpetuates policies and practices traceable to its prior system that continue to have segregative effects -- whether by influencing student enrollment decisions or by fostering segregation in other facets of the university system -- and such polices are without sound educational justification and can be practicably eliminated, the State has not satisfied its burden of proving that it has dismantled its prior system. 505 U.S. at 731.

B. OCR's Federal Register Notice

Responding to inquiries concerning the effect of Fordice, on January 31, 1994, OCR published a Notice in the Federal Register, 59 Fed. Reg. 4271 (1994), outlining the procedures and analysis that the agency planned to follow in future reviews of states with a history of de jure segregated systems of higher education. 

The Notice stated that OCR planned to apply the Fordice standard to all pending Title VI evaluations of statewide higher education systems with OCR‑accepted desegregation plans that had expired, including Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.Specifically, the Notice explained that OCR planned to examine a wide range of factors to ensure that the vestiges of these States' systems have been eliminated. The comprehensive array of factors that OCR planned to consider included those addressed in Fordice and those reflected in the criteria for acceptable desegregation plans specified in the Department's "Revised Criteria Specifying the Ingredients of Acceptable Plans to Desegregate State Systems of Public Higher Education," published in the Federal Register on February 12, 1978 (43 Fed. Reg. 6658).59 Fed. Reg. 4272.  

Additionally, OCR reaffirmed in the Notice its position that states may not place an unfair burden upon African American students and faculty in the desegregation process and that state systems of higher education may be required to strengthen and enhance HBCUs.Further, OCR announced that it planned to "strictly scrutinize state proposals to close or merge traditionally or historically black institutions, and any other actions that might impose undue burdens on black students, faculty, or administrators or diminish the unique roles of those institutions."59 Fed. Reg. 4272.

C. Summary of the Partnership Process  

From the conclusion of Maryland's five-year Plan in 1989 until the current initiative, which officially began on October 4, 1999, OCR did not comment upon the status of the State's compliance with Title VI.However, in January 1994, Norma V. Cantú, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights for the Department, informed the State of OCR's intent to reexamine the status of Maryland's desegregation efforts in its state‑supported system of higher education.In her October 4, 1999 letter to Governor Parris N. Glendening (Appendix H), Assistant Secretary Cantú acknowledged that since the conclusion of the five-year desegregation plan, Maryland has made significant progress in enhancing educational opportunities for African American students and providing equal educational opportunities for all Maryland residents.She also indicated OCR’s desire to work collaboratively with the State to evaluate the State’s desegregation efforts. 

In response to Assistant Secretary Cantú’s letter, Governor Glendening indicated the State’s interest in working with OCR on this endeavor (Appendix I), and on October 25, 1999, an introductory meeting was held in Annapolis between representatives of the Governor, MHEC and OCR.MHEC invited OCR to accompany it on a series of previously scheduled on-site visits to each of Maryland’s HBCUs pursuant to the State’s Access and Success program.Consequently, between November 1999 and January 2000, OCR visited all four Maryland HBCUs: University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Bowie State University; Coppin State College; and Morgan State University.During March 2000, OCR also made separate visits to several TWIs: University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Baltimore; Towson University; Salisbury State University; and Frostburg State University.OCR made follow-up visits to each of the HBCUs during May 2000. 

The information from OCR’s visits, as well as the data, documents and other materials gathered as part of this activity helped identify several issues of access and equity for African American students in Maryland.For example, Maryland officials and OCR recognize that the enhancement of the HBCUs will remain an important concern even though information provided by Maryland demonstrates that numerous enhancement initiatives were implemented as a result of the 1985-1989 desegregation plan and have continued since that time.

At the October 25, 1999 meeting, it was agreed that the State of Maryland would engage in this review through a partnership approach with OCR.During the meeting, OCR informed Maryland that, based upon its analysis, it would focus the review on the following issues: 

1.Enhancing Maryland’s four HBCUs in order to improve educational opportunities for African American students who attend them and to increase their attractiveness to students of all races, especially white students, including addressing the problem of unnecessary academic program duplication among the HBCUs and geographically proximate TWIs; 

2.Enhancing initiatives at the TWIs and community colleges in the following areas:          

a) Campus Climate, including the employment of African Americans at all levels, which will assist in improving campus climates for African American students;

b) Student Recruitment; and

c) Student Retention and graduation; and 

3.Access for African Americans to Maryland’s institutions of higher education, including need-based and other financial assistance programs, and access for African American students to, and retention in, graduate and professional schools in Maryland.  

The Secretary of Higher Education, in her June 9, 2000 letter (Appendix J), invited key stakeholders to participate in a workgroup with OCR to formally commence the process which would conclude in an executed Partnership Agreement. ​

III. Partnership Commitments


The State of Maryland is committed to ensuring equal access to high quality education for all of the State's citizens regardless of race, color, or national origin.Thus, the State has been, and will continue to be, engaged in on‑going efforts to provide African Americans with the full opportunity to participate in the benefits of public higher education in Maryland and to assist in providing equal access, retention, participation and graduation for African American students in the State.Central to this commitment is the continuing contributions of the State’s four HBCUs and the necessity of ensuring that these institutions are comparable and competitive with the State’s TWIs in all facets of their operations and programs.The State is committed to remedying and removing vestiges of past discrimination, if any, as required under federal law, and expanding educational opportunities for African American students without placing unfair burdens on them in the desegregation process, particularly as related to the unique role of HBCUs and their students, faculty and staff. 

Commitments to enhance the HBCUs, consistent with this Agreement, will be provided through the normal budget process based on operating budget funding guidelines and, as may be necessary, appropriate and available, special enhancement funding, for a limited period of time, but not to extend beyond the terms of this agreement.      

In October 1999, the State, represented by the Office of the Governor and MHEC, and OCR embarked on a joint venture designed to assess and address the challenges in providing higher education opportunities for African American students in Maryland.This Partnership was formed in recognition that both Maryland and the government of the United States, as well as other interested parties and stakeholders, share a common goal of continuing and enhancing equal access to educational opportunity.The Partnership process, as it was developed here, has been a joint, cooperative effort and has not attempted to make legal findings or to conduct any type of legal proceedings.  

Throughout the course of the Partnership activities, it has been the expectation that any specific concerns that arose in light of the State’s equal educational opportunity obligations under federal law would be addressed within the context of the Partnership process.The commitments are an expression of the continued effort on the part of the State to enhance the opportunities for African Americans, and indeed all Marylanders, to participate in the benefits of higher education and to increase the opportunity for access, retention, graduation and advancement into graduate and professional education programs in the State. 

OCR has played an integral role in the Partnership process.OCR proposed the Partnership process as a cooperative approach to fulfilling its responsibilities pursuant to Title VI and the Supreme Court decision in Fordice.More specifically, OCR proposed that the Partnership process would include the examination of a wide range of factors to ensure that no vestiges of the prior de jure dual system of higher education in Maryland continue to exist. 

OCR acknowledges the substantial efforts and accomplishments Maryland has made under its desegregation plans in support of meeting its obligations under federal law.These steps demonstrate Maryland's strong commitment to eliminating the vestiges, if any, of the prior segregated system as well as ensuring equal access to higher education.OCR anticipates that successful implementation of the actions outlined in the commitments will effectively address and resolve any remaining Title VI andFordice issues within the Maryland public system of higher education.

The duration of this agreement will extend from the date it is signed through December 31, 2005, although it may be extended as necessary for the completion of certain of the provisions contained in this agreement. Except as stated below, during the period of implementation of these commitments, OCR will not initiate enforcement action against Maryland based on a claim of statewide segregation of or discrimination against African Americans in the State's public system of higher education, unless good faith efforts to resolve such issues have been attempted and exhausted. Maryland and OCR acknowledge that many of the implementation details of Maryland’s commitments, including the commitment to enhance the HBCUs, will not be finalized until early 2005.Therefore, OCR does not waive its right to initiate enforcement until Maryland has submitted its monitoring reports due through May 1, 2005 and OCR has found those reports, and any agreed upon amendments thereto, acceptable.At the conclusion of the implementation period, the parties will determine whether these commitments have been fully implemented and whether the Title VI and Fordice issues have thereby been resolved.If so, OCR will formally acknowledge, in writing, that Maryland has eliminated all vestiges of segregation in the public system of higher education, in accordance with Fordice, Title VI, and other applicable federal regulations.It is understood, however, that should the parties not be able, in good faith, to resolve matters by means of this process, OCR reserves the right to determine, by other means, whether the requirements of the law have been satisfied regarding the outstanding issues set forth herein, taking into account Maryland's accomplishments under this Partnership.It is further understood, however, that should the parties not be able, in good faith, to resolve matters by means of this process, Maryland reserves the right to seek a judicial determination of whether the requirements of the law have been satisfied.

This agreement may be amended as necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the various initiatives contained herein, or as required by changes in applicable law or policy, upon the agreement of the State and OCR.In the event that either party proposes an amendment, all parties shall be notified and given the opportunity to respond to the proposed amendment.All proposed amendments submitted to OCR shall be responded to within 15 working days. 

Although the primary parties to the Partnership are the State of Maryland (including MHEC, its sole statewide planning and coordinating body for higher education), and OCR, USM and each of the public institutions of higher education are also parties in the sense that each institution is agreeing to make its best efforts to fulfill, within the limits of its authority, those commitments within its purview.It is understood that the commitments agreed to herein apply to all applicable branch campuses and any new branch campus(es) that may be established during the life of the Partnership.In addition, it is agreed and understood by all parties that, to the extent that any document referenced herein is inconsistent with the Partnership Commitments, the Commitments will be controlling. It is also understood by the parties that when the public agencies or institutions of higher education in Maryland implement any of the partnership commitments or operate any other programs, including those related to admissions or financial aid, they must operate in conformity with the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Title VI and its implementing regulation, and applicable federal case law, including Fordice and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) and Podberesky v. Kirwan, 38 F.3d 147 (4th Cir. 1994),so long as they are controlling law. 

The parties agree and commit to work cooperatively with each other in implementing and annually evaluating (1) the existing programs, initiatives and best practices already in place and/or otherwise described in section I.C. and the appendices of this Partnership Agreement, and (2) the commitments hereafter set forth in this Partnership Agreement, as follows:

Maryland Commitments       

1.Strengthening Academic and Teacher Preparation Programs

Solving the problem of the teacher shortage and improving the quality of teachers are among the highest priorities of the State.In addition to the need for 11,000 more teachers, there continues to be a substantial under-representation of qualified minority candidates for teaching positions. While much progress has been made in implementing the recommendations in the Redesign of Teacher Education, much work remains to be done. 

Maryland postsecondary institutions will implement or continue initiatives to ensure that all graduates of Maryland’s public teacher preparation programs are prepared to help all students succeed in Maryland’s increasingly diverse educational system, using strategies consistent with the State Plan identified under Goal 5, Objective 5.5 andThe Road Taken, and the recommendations of the Task Force created by HB 1091.  

Specifically, each public four-year institution offering a teacher education program leading to certification will identify several of these strategies which, in its judgment, will continue to enhance diversity in higher education through the strengthening of academic and teacher preparation programs and implement them beginning in the 2001-2002 academic year.  

2.Strengthening the Partnership with Elementary and Secondary SchoolStakeholders

If students are to be successful in college, they must begin to consider college and adequately prepare for it as early as possible.On the average, there are substantial differences between African American and white students in their academic preparation for college as measured by relevant high school courses and scores on the SAT and ACT.Therefore, Maryland’s public campuses will give priority to developing relationships with public schools, particularly those with high concentrations of low-income and under-prepared students, in an effort to improve student preparation for college.   

a) Consistent with the recommendations contained in The Road Taken, MHEC, in collaboration with all public colleges and universities, will continue to develop the K-16 Partnership with the K-16 Leadership Council, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and local school districts to address the educational needs of African American students, including their preparation for higher education. 

b) MHEC, in collaboration with USM, the community colleges, the K-16 Leadership Council and MSDE, and consistent with the recommendations of the task force created by HB1091, will continue to support the districts, at the elementary, middle and high school levels, in preparing students for entrance into four-year colleges. Strategies to accomplish this include: a mechanism to inform stakeholders about college readiness and effective strategies for reducing racial disparities in college; a focus on schools identified with low rates of African American student enrollment in college in comparison to all students; and, institutional collaborations between schools and institutions of higher education. 

Collaborations between the schools and institutions of higher education also include activities such as: parent involvement activities; student counseling (such as in the Gear Up Program); tutoring; financial planning; including in-school application for financial aid during the senior year; and other strategies as may be identified in support of the goal.Specifically, each public four-year institution will identify a school district or group of schools where, in its judgment, collaborations will continue to enhance the institution’s diversity and initiate collaborations with them by the 2001-2002 academic year. 

3.Strengthening Recruitment and Admissions  

In Maryland, African Americans are less likely than others to enter higher education. This is reflected in persistent differences in the rates at which African American and white public high school graduates enter college in Maryland.Of the 1997 high school graduates, 35% of African Americans enrolled in postsecondary education in Maryland, while 44% of white students enrolled.   This coupled with differences in college retention rates results in a sizable difference in the rates at which young African American and white students obtain college degrees.Moreover, African Americans receive approximately 24% of the baccalaureates, 14% of the Master’s degrees, 4% of the doctorates, and 12 % of the first-professional degrees awarded by Maryland colleges and universities.A major priority of this Agreement is to raise the African American entry rates to college and narrow the gap between the rates at which African American and white high school graduates enter college, graduate, and pursue graduate and first professional studies.   

a) All public colleges and universities commit to continuing and expanding their recruitment and admissions activities, including ongoing self-evaluation of their effectiveness, to assure that African Americans have equal access to public higher education in Maryland at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels in desegregated institutions, including desegregated TWIs and HBCUs.In addition, each institution commits to the improvement and expansion of outreach through community networks and social or religious organizations and to targeting recruitment efforts at venues that have significant numbers of other race students.Each public four-year institution will identify several of these recruitment and admission activities which, in its judgment, can enhance its institutional diversity and implement them for the 2001-2002 academic year.  

b) MHEC will regularly monitor recruitment and admissions programs.Such programs include: partnerships with elementary and secondary schools as identified in 2, above; summer bridge programs; institutional grants and scholarships; partnerships with community groups; linkages with community colleges; and linkages between undergraduate and graduate/professional programs.MHEC will submit a report to OCR by August 15, 2001detailing the recruitment activities already undertaken at each public four-year institution.  

c) MHEC will provide assistance to the institutions, as may be needed or appropriate, in the design, implementation and analysis of self-evaluation measures.MHEC will also ensure that formal opportunities exist at least annually for representatives of each institution to learn about promising practices in this area from each other and a variety of other experts in the field. This could be accomplished through a sharing of information regarding successful strategies implemented to increase minority achievement in the areas of undergraduate recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. 

d) MHEC will review its current statewide process of administering financial aid to students seeking higher education with the goal of addressing needs to heighten the awareness among African American students of the availability of financial aid, including the types of aid available, the need to complete applications correctly and in a timely fashion and other familiarization techniques. MHEC will report the status of this review to OCR by August 15,2001, submit the final report within 30 days of completion and begin implementing any changes based on the review by that date.MHEC, in collaboration with MSDE, will facilitate the implementation of program activities such as: establishing a clearinghouse for financial aid, educating students and their parents about financial aid and the application process, seeking increased funding for need-based student financial aid, and implementing flexible deadlines for filing for certain types of financial aid. 

e) The State will expand the current $ 44 million pool of funds available for need-based financial assistance for part-time, full-time and transfer students including those attending community colleges. The State will also alleviate difficulties that students may encounter with application processes and deadlines by exploring measures that eliminate any obstacles that a student may encounter in applying for financial aid.The State will explore the feasibility of decentralizing the current need-based grant program to allow all institutions of higher education to determine eligibility at the point of a student’s registration.A review of “best practices” at other states such as California will assist with this feasibility study. This study will be completed by December 1, 2001 and a copy of the study sent to OCR by that date.  

f) The State will explore establishing a first-professional and graduate scholarship program for high-achieving students at HBCUs to encourage them to enroll in first-professional and graduate programs at Maryland’s public and independent institutions of higher education beginning with the 2002-2003 academic year and for each year thereafter.HBCUs will work with first professional and graduate programs to identify prospective students who have the academic ability to pursue these programs at Maryland’s public and independent colleges and universities. Strategies for success, matriculation, and graduation from these programs include a partnership program with all HBCUs and Maryland institutions of higher education to help ensure a larger pool of prospective candidates with adequate counseling, advising, financial assistance, and academic preparation.

g) If any public college, university, or first professional school experiences a significant decline in the proportion of“other race” enrollments at the undergraduate, graduate, or first professional level as determined by MHEC, immediate corrective action must be taken by the institution.After one year of such a decline, the institution must identify strategies to reverse this situation.If the decline persists over a two-year period, an action plan must be submitted by the campus to the MHEC for its approval.At a minimum, this action plan must identify specific strategies that the campus will take to immediately remedy the decline in enrollments.    

4. Strengthening Retention and Graduation

Statewide, the 4th year graduation rate for African American first-time full-time freshman who matriculated in 1995 was 17%, while the rate for white students in the cohort was 38%.The 6th year graduation rate for African American freshmen for white students was 40% and 65%, respectively.   While graduation rates for both races are higher than twenty years ago, the difference in the rates has not changed.Hence, a major goal of this Partnership Agreement is to significantly narrow or eliminate the difference in the rates at which African American and white freshmen are successful in obtaining college degrees. 

a) All public colleges and universities commit to continuing and expanding retention programs and activities to ensure that Maryland’s African American students have equal opportunity for success in higher education. Specifically,each public institution will identify several of these programs and activities which, in its judgment, will continue to enhance its institutional diversity through the strengthening ofstudent retention and graduation and implement them beginning in the 2001-2002 academic year.By August 15, 2001, MHEC will report to OCR on retention programs at each public four-year institution that are to be implemented in the Fall of 2001.  

b) MHEC, in collaboration with the public colleges and universities, will develop assessment standards to include “risk-factors” to analyze the effectiveness of retention programs in retaining and graduating African American students and, based on these assessment standards, recommend adjustments. 

c) MHEC, in collaboration with the public colleges and universities, will also ensure that formal opportunities exist at least annually for representatives of each institution to learn about promising practices in this area from each other and a variety of other experts in the field. 

d) At the completion of each academic year, MHEC will report retention and graduation data to OCR and will provide OCR with copies of each publicinstitution’s retention program plans for the upcoming academic year.

5.Improving Campus Climate and Environment

A welcoming campus environment is essential to retention and academic success for all students.It is imperative that campuses provide ongoing programs that foster a student-friendly campus environment, accommodating an increase of students of all races.

a) All public colleges and universities commit to continuing and expanding their programs and activities designed to ensure that all students encounter a campus atmosphere which is welcoming and free of hostility and that the campus atmosphere at each institution is attractive and welcoming to students of all races.This includes appropriate recruitment, marketing and advertising activities attracting African American students to TWIs and white students to HBCUs. 

b) All public colleges and universities commit to ensuring that appropriate steps are taken to enhance relations between the institutional campuses and neighboring communities. These commitments include activities designed to foster positive relations between students and campus police and between campus authorities and local, civilian police. 

c) By August 15, 2001, MHEC will report to OCR each public four-year institution’s programs that have been implemented.  

6.Improving Diversity of Faculty/Staff and Governing/Advisory Boards 

 All Maryland institutions of higher education commit to continuing their efforts to attract, recruit and retain racially diverse faculty and staff.The State particularly acknowledges the significance of the presence of African American faculty and staff at the TWIs with respect to the ability of those institutions to attract and retain African American students.Consistent with other commitments set forth in this agreement, the State is committed to promoting the positive perception of all of its public institutions of higher education, in order to make them attractive to faculty and staff of all races and to the development and enforcement of measures necessary to support this commitment.

a) Each public four-year institution of higher education will ensure that its hiring and employment practices are fully implemented and are in compliance with the State’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program as set forth in Title 5 of the State Personnel and Pensions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 17.04.08 (Appendix K).   This includes the appointment and roles of a Fair Practices Officer and any Equal Employment Opportunity Officers as required. 

b) Public four-year colleges and universities will continue the regular evaluation of their recruitment procedures and enhance or develop efforts to increase the diversity of their faculty and staff. 

c) Each institution will enhance its efforts to advertise vacancies for faculty and upper administrator positions as widely as possible. 

d) Each institution will strengthen and expand orientation programs, mentoring programs and activities for newly hired professional employees, particularly other race faculty and administrators, designed to help them succeed in their responsibilities, meet tenure requirements, and to provide information concerning the various diverse cultural organizations, areas and activities available on campus and in the surrounding communities.    

e) Each public four-year institution will identify several practices regarded as “best practices” which, in its judgment, will continue to enhance its institutional diversity by enhancing faculty and staff diversity and implement them beginning in the 2001-2002 academic year.By August 15, 2001, MHEC will report to OCR on each public four-year institution’s “best practices” plan for implementation in the 2001-2002 academic year. 

f) Each USM institution will strive to achieve or maintain diversity among the members of its Board of Visitors. 

7.Improving and Expanding 2 + 2 Partnerships and Articulation

In fall 1999, almost 3,000 (21.4%) of the new full-time freshmen at public two-year institutions in Maryland were African Americans who are state residents compared to almost 2,700 (22.5%) of new full-time freshmen who entered public four-year institutions. Unfortunately, many African American students who are community college beginners do not earn associate’s degrees or transfer to four-year institutions.The ineffectiveness of efforts to increase transfer rates among these students is suggested in the four-year success rate--the percentage of students earning a degree or a certificate or transferring to a four-year institution--of full-time African America community college students in Maryland, which has remained flat at approximately 20% in recent years.For the most recent cohort (1994) of community college beginners, the success rate for African Americans was 19%, while the rate for white students was 37%. 

As the data indicate, for African Americans in Maryland, two-year institutions, more affordable than four-year colleges and universities and focused on meeting an array of academic needs, are vital to the attainment of baccalaureate degrees. 

Over 71% of the African American freshmen at community colleges in the fall of 1999 were part-time students.Many of these students would be more likely to transfer and seek a baccalaureate degree if they could continue their studies, both at the community college and the four-year institutions, as part-time students.They too need financial assistance.

a) MHEC will support expanded opportunities for two-year institutions serving large numbers of African American students and four-year institutions to develop collaboratively 2+2 programs.Institutions will design and implement, for the academic year 2001-2002 and for each year thereafter, programs characterized by articulated curricula, faculty and student services staff collaboration, and dual admission when feasible. 

b) MHEC and all public colleges and universities will continue to identify and implement articulation agreements and other actions needed to facilitate transition from two-year to four-year institutions. 

c) MHEC will continue to provide information to each two-year and four-year institution on transition and successful degree-completion rates of African American community college beginners. 

d) Each public four-year institution will identify articulated curricula, faculty and student services staff collaborations, dual admission programs or other actions designed to facilitate transition from two-year to four-year institutions which, in its judgment, will continue to enhance its institutional diversity by improving and expanding 2+2 partnerships and articulations.  

e) By August 15, 2001, MHEC will report to OCR on each public four-year institution’s programs for the 2001-2002 academic year.

8. Avoiding Unnecessary Program Duplication and Expansion of Mission and Program Uniqueness and Institutional Identity at the HBCUs

As set forth in the State Plan for Postsecondary Education 2000, the State commits to developing high-demand academic programs at HBCUs and ensuring that they are not unnecessarily duplicated at nearby institutions.For these purposes, “unnecessary program duplication” refers to those instances in which broadly similar academic programs (i.e., with respect to overarching purposes, overall curriculum content, and expectations of program graduates) are offered in areas other than the core undergraduate liberal arts and sciences at a TWI and an HBCU that are operated in locations that are geographically proximate to one another. Maryland will avoid unnecessary program duplication unless there is sound educational justification for the dual operation of broadly similar programs. The commitments in this section of the Partnership Agreement do not affect academic programs currently offered at Maryland’s public colleges and universities.

a) Consistent with State law, by October 30, 2000, each public institution revised its institutional mission statement to ensure compliance with the State Plan for Higher Education 2000.The revised missions will support future establishment of high demand programs at the HBCUs that will enhance their respective institutional identities.The missions will ensure that they do not promote racial identifiability at any of the State’s public institutions of higher education or otherwise foster segregation and discrimination by race. MHEC will provide OCR with a copy of the mission statement submitted by the governing board for each public four-year institution. 

b) Consistent with its authority under State law, MHEC will review, object to, and not approve programs which are unnecessarily duplicative unless there is sound educational justification.   Beginning December 31, 2000, and each year thereafter, MHEC will provide OCR with a report listing the new programs, collaborations, and cooperative degree programs it has approved during the preceding year and its statement that the approved programs will not result in unnecessary program duplication, as defined herein, absent a sound educational justification. 

c) Academic program collaboration among institutions for the benefit of all students is encouraged. Where collaborations or cooperative degree programs are proposed between TWIs and HBCUs, the effect of the proposed collaboration on the participating HBCUs must be ascertained.Collaborations or cooperative degree programs between TWIs and HBCUs that are likely to adversely affect the levels of racial diversity at a participating institution should not be approved.For programs that are approved, the actual impact of the collaboration or cooperative degree programs on racial diversity will be addressed as part of the ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the collaboration or cooperative degree program. 

d) The State will take appropriate steps to ensure that new unique, high demand and other programs that are approved for HBCUs by operation of law or by MHEC, for the purpose of promoting their institutional competitiveness and ensuring that these institutions attract students regardless of race, are successfully implemented, consistent with available resources, and with the mission, student profiles, academic program mix and degree levels of the institution.

e) MHEC, USM, and the public four-year institutions agree that the delivery of all, or a substantial part, of an approved program at a classroom site other than the institution’s main campus, will not unnecessarily duplicate program offerings available at the campus of any HBCU located near the off-campus site, unless there is sound educational justification. 

9.  EnhancingMaryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities;

Half of all African American students receiving a bachelor’s degree from a public institution in Maryland in 1999 received their degree from an HBCU.This represents an increase from 43% just ten years ago.Hence, these campuses continue to play a critical role in ensuring access and equal educational opportunity for African Americans. 

While recognizing the significant enhancement measures initiated by the State on behalf of its HBCUs since 1985, the State commits to design measures which ensure that the HBCUs are comparable and competitive with the TWIs in all facets of their operations and programs, as soon as possible and before the expiration of this Agreement. These measures will be designed to ensure that these institutions provide equal opportunity for a quality education to all students who choose to attend them and to enable them to compete for and be attractive to students regardless of race.Consistent with previous sections of this agreement and as set forth in this section, this includes, as may be necessary and consistent with institutional missions, enhancing: 

  • the distinctiveness of the HBCUs’ programmatic missions;
  • the uniqueness and mix of quality academic programs that are notunnecessarily duplicated at proximate TWIs;
  • operational funding consistent with the mix and degree level of academic programs, support for the development of research infrastructure, and support consistent with the academic profile of students;
  • lower student-faculty ratios appropriate to support their missions;
  •  the expanse, functionality and architectural quality of physical facilities;
  •  the appearance, attractiveness and ambiance of the campus and surrounding public infrastructure, including roads, lighting and public transportation; and
  • funding to support students’ quality of campus life

The State commits, as set forth below, to the expeditious completion of capital projects already begun at each of the HBCUs.Included in this commitment are the enhancement of campus environments at HBCUs to ensure parity with TWIs with respect to the physical characteristics of landscape, ambiance and appearance as well as the availability, quality and adequacy of facilities necessary to support the missions and programs of the institutions.Facilities which serve similar functions at HBCUs and TWIs should be comparable in scope and quality.Moreover, the State is committed to supporting infrastructure improvements at HBCUs that improve access by public transportation and which improve appearance and security, such as landscaping, paths, walkways and lighting.  

The State agrees to assess and incorporate into its established budget and program review procedures the operating (including academic programs) and capital enhancement funding proposals for each HBCU.The governing boards of the public four-year institutions will review enhancement proposals of the HBCUs and determine by March 1, 2001, which will be recommended for funding, and the timetable for such funding, subject to necessary approvals.  

To be properly considered, the enhancement proposals will be submitted annually through the operating and capital budget cycles as required by the Maryland Constitution, the Annotated Code of Maryland, and the regulations and procedures of MHEC, USM, Morgan State University and DBM.The academic program proposals will be considered only upon submission as set forth in MHEC’s established procedures for program approval, consistent with State law. 

By March 1, 2001, enhancement proposals will be submitted to MHEC by the institutions’ respective governing boards.MHEC will review the proposals in the normal budget process for recommendations to the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly.DBM will analyze the proposals for inclusion in the Operating and Capital Budgets.   The Executive Budgets will be submitted to the Maryland General Assembly.The Maryland General Assembly will review the enhancement funds included in the Executive Budgets within the context of the normal budget review process during the annual legislative session.The budget committees of General Assembly will make recommendations to the house floors for adoption in the annual operating and capital budget bills.The Governor, as chief executive officer of Maryland, will inform members of the General Assembly about the commitments and related goals set forth in this Agreement and will advocate for adoption by the General Assembly of the enhancement funds included in the budget.  

In the normal course of these procedures, particular focus will be given at all levels to the commitments and related goals stated in this Agreement to ensure that these institutions are comparable to and competitive with other four-year public colleges and universities in the State consistent with this Agreement.If this cannot be done under established procedures, the State will make special efforts to ensure that the proposals are submitted. Commitments to enhance the HBCUs, consistent with this Agreement, will be provided through the normal budget process based on operating budget funding guidelines and, as may be necessary, appropriate and available, special enhancement funding, for a limited period of time, but not to extend beyond the terms of this Agreement.  

In addition to those measures and commitments previously set forth in this agreement, the State commits to the following:

a) Enhancing Certain Critical Activities at HBCUs 

For the 2001-2002 academic year, Maryland’s enhancement funding in the areas of admissions management, student financial aid administration, and institutional development programs will be directed toward the identification of ”best practices” and the development of strategic plans in each of these areas for each HBCU. Moreover, Maryland will address retention and fundraising by enhancingits Access and Success program and the Private Donation Incentive Program.Beginning with the 2002-2003 academic year, enhancement funding will be provided to enable each HBCU to implement its strategic plan in these areas.

Enhancement, at each of its HBCUs, of the admissions management program and the development and implementation of an admissions strategy that is competitive with other publicly funded institutions in recruiting and admitting a racially diverse group of qualified students. 

2) Enhancement, at each of its HBCUs, of the student financial aid administration designed and implemented to provide student financial aid counseling as well as timely and appropriate processing and payment of student financial assistance. 

3) Enhancement, at each of its HBCUs, of the institutional development program -- including public relations, governmental relations, community relations, alumni affairs, and development -- designed and implemented so as to increase the institution’s visibility within its community and across Maryland.  

4) Beginning with FY 2002, increase from its current $3,000,000 funding level, with the goal of doubling by FY 2003, Access and Success, a program to assist students enrolled in each of its HBCUs.MHEC will provide OCR with a status report on August 15 of each year. 

5) Amend the State’s Private Donation Incentive Program for each of its HBCUs matching two dollars of State funds for every one dollar raised by each institution from the private sector.This enhancement, which represents an increase from Maryland’s current 1:1 match, will be in addition to any other funding for which the institution may be eligible and will remain in effect for the duration of the agreement beginning with the academic year 2001-2002.MHEC will report annually on the total amount of funds provided under this program.  

On January 31, 2001, April 30, 2001 and August 15, 2001, MHEC will provide reports to OCR on the status and progress of the State’s enhancement measures consistent with the provisions above.These reports will include an assessment of the amount and level of funding proposed and approved and a description of programs and projects proposed, approved or funded.Thereafter, through the implementation of this Agreement, MHEC will provide OCR with updates of this report on January 31, April 30, and August 15 of each year.   

b) Capital Enhancements of HBCUs 

1) Maryland commits to the expeditious completion of the following capital improvement projects which have been approved to begin at Bowie, UMES and Morgan: 

Institution Project Projected Date 
of Completion
Bowie Campus Site Development FY2002
New Science Building FY2002
UMES Food Science & Technology Center FY2002
Construct Social Science, Education & Health Sciences Building FY2003
Construct New Physical Plant Building FY2003
Renovate Waters/Somerset Halls FY2003
Morgan Construct New Community Center FY2004
Construct Science Research Facility
with Greenhouse
Montebello Site Improvements FY2001

By March 1, 2001, the USM Board of Regents will submit to MHEC capitalimprovement projects for expeditious completion at Coppin State College.

On January 31, 2001 and every year thereafter, MHEC willprovide OCR with a report which includes a listing of these capital projects, and the appropriations requested.On April 30, 2001 and August 15, 2001 and every year thereafter, MHEC will provide OCR with a report on the status of each project, including the appropriations approved, the estimated date of completion, and when applicable, the actual cost and the final date of completion.MHEC will provide OCR with notice of any change in the construction schedule within 45 days of the change. 

1) In addition, beginning in January, 2001 and every January thereafter, for the duration of the this Agreement, the Governor will request additional state funding for those capital projects needed in order to ensure that the facilities at Maryland’s HBCUs are made comparable to those at the TWIs.Such requests are subject to review and approval of the Maryland General Assembly. 

On January 31, 2001 and every year thereafter, MHEC will provide OCR with a report which includes a listing of these capital projects and the appropriations requested. On April 30, 2001 and August 15, 2001 and every year thereafter, MHEC will provide OCR with a report on the status of each project, including the appropriations approved, the estimated date of completion, and when applicable, the actual cost and the final date of completion.MHEC will provide OCR with notice of any change in the construction schedule within 45 days of the change. 

c) Revitalization of Coppin State College 

Notwithstanding the commitments above pertaining to the known enhancement needs of Coppin State College, Maryland commits to a process for Coppin’s revitalization, as it enters its second century. 

By September 1, 2001, the USM Board of Regents, in collaboration with MHEC, will complete an independent study leading to a comprehensive strategic plan for the revitalization of Coppin. The strategic plan will provide a vision for the future of Coppin, including an enhanced mission, academic programs, administrative and faculty staffing, institutional advancement, fiscal affairs, and physical plant.The strategic plan will identify the new construction and renovation of existing facilities needed to provide campus facilities which are equivalent to those at other publicly funded institutions.In this study, consideration will be given to classrooms, laboratories and other instructional facilities as well as academic, counseling, and administrative offices, walkways and other common areas.Consideration will also be given to those facilities as are found in nearby, publicly funded institutions that provide for parking, childcare, athletic opportunities, recreation, and other supplementary services.For this purpose, facilities will be regarded as “equivalent” if they support the institution’s mission and provide an atmosphere of safety and security, comfort, and convenience at a level comparable to TWIs.MHEC will support the development and approval of additional academic programs at Coppin, consistent with its revised mission, and provide any assistance necessary in the development of these new programs, as well as the strengthening of existing academic program offerings.In addition, the plan will identify the steps to be taken in order the ensure a broader mix of students, such as through the enhancement of an endowment at Coppin to provide full tuition, four-year, merit scholarships to undergraduate students. The USM Board of Regents and Coppin State College will consider the findings and recommendations of the study as the capital and operating budgets are prepared for the institution.    

Upon completion of the study, MHEC will provide OCR with a copy of the final report and recommendations to enhance Coppin State College.  

d) Enhancing Boards of Visitors 

The presidents of USM’s HBCUs will ensure that the Boards of Visitors at the HBCUs in USM are of the highest caliber.For example, for any and all vacancies occurring during the period of this agreement, individuals possessing a diversity of experiences and background will be recruited to serve on the Boards of Visitors of HBCUs.Desired credentials for Board members include, but are not limited to, a demonstrated commitment to education and to the relevant HBCU, successful experience operating medium-size or large for-profit or non-profit organizations, demonstrated leadership in the individual’s community or their field of work, demonstrated knowledge or successful experience in managing personnel and fiscal/financial affairs, demonstrated success in fundraising, and other qualifications or experience that would be of use in ensuring the vitality and future of the HBCUs.

Commitments of OCR

1.OCR commits to completing an expeditious review of Maryland’s reports, and providing Maryland, within 30 days of its submission, with an assessment of whether the strategies, programs, actions, approved new academic programs, funding appropriations, and other steps identified in these reports represent adequate progress toward the commitments contained in this Agreement.

2. OCR commits to providing technical assistance to MHEC, USM, Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College, and the community colleges, as requested, in developing programs and activities to enhance the climate for minority students, faculty, and staffs in the campuses of Maryland’s public institutions of higher education. 

3. OCR commits to providing technical assistance to MHEC, USM, Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College, and community colleges, as requested, in developing programs and activities that assure diversity in enrollment and hiring for faculty and staff. 

4. OCR will work cooperatively with Maryland to implement the commitments set forth in this Partnership agreement and will provide regular feedback and constructive assistance to Maryland in meeting these commitments. 

5. During the implementation period, OCR will report to and meet with the State of Maryland/OCR Workgroup semi-annually on its efforts to fulfill the commitments adopted herein. 

6. OCR will work collaboratively with MHEC, USM and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to host a conference in Spring 2001 on Teacher Preparation, focusing on preparing teachers to work effectively with children of diverse backgrounds and learning styles. 

7. OCR will work collaboratively with MHEC and USM to host a conference in the Spring/Fall 2001 on campus diversity for all institutions of postsecondary education in the State. 

C. Monitoring 

The State of Maryland, MHEC, USM, each institution of higher education, and OCR commit to closely monitoring the implementation of these commitments through the review of annual reports prepared by each institution. OCR will conduct annual site visits to selected institutions to assess and report on the institutions’ success and to provide technical assistance where necessary.OCR will provide a report within 60 days of each site visit.A final report will be prepared by OCR, with discussion and input by MHEC, USM, and the institutions of higher education, in March 2006.By May 2006, the State and OCR will determine whether the commitments have been implemented, thus concluding the review.As set forth herein, if by May 2006 the parties determine that the actions articulated in the agreement have been implemented and the Title VI and Fordice issues have thereby been resolved, OCR will acknowledge formally in writing that Maryland has eliminated all vestiges of segregation in its public system of higher education.It is also understood, however, that should the parties not be able to resolve matters by means of this process, OCR reserves the right to determine by other means whether the requirements of the law have been satisfied.It is further understood, however, that should the parties not be able, in good faith, to resolve matters by means of this process, Maryland reserves the right to seek a judicial determination of whether the requirements of the law have been satisfied. 

To effectively monitor implementation of the Agreement Commitments, MHEC, USM, and the institutions of higher education will consider the information provided annually to OCR during the life of this agreement.

Unless otherwise stated, beginning August 15, 2001, and each year thereafter, MHEC, USM, and all public four-year institutions, will provide OCR with a report with a report detailing the strategies, activities, and programs selected pursuant to the commitments in Part III. A above, including the methods of implementation, the standards for determining the success of each strategy, plans for adjusting or replacing those strategies which have proven insufficiently effective and relevant data for the commitments and goals listed below: 

1.Strengthening Academic and Teacher Preparation Programs

2.Strengthening Partnerships with Elementary and Secondary School Stakeholders

3.Strengthening Recruitment and Admissions

4.Strengthening Retention and Graduation

5.Improving Campus Climate and Environment

6.Improving Diversity of Faculty/Staff and Governing/Advisory Boards

7.Improving and Expanding 2+2 Partnerships

8.Avoiding Unnecessary Program Duplication and Expansion of Mission and Program Uniqueness and Institutional Identity at the HBCUs

9.Enhancing Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities 

Where applicable, these reports shall incorporate an assessment of the effectiveness of the activities carried out pursuant to this agreement and relevant data.​

OCR Forms & Reports