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Higher Education in Maryland

April 2008 Press Release




MHEC’s April Report to Governor O’Malley



April 1-30, 2008: The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC)’s Office of Student of Financial Aid (OSFA) awarded more than 43,000 new and renewal Howard P. Rawlings Educational Assistance and Guaranteed Access (GA) Grants to students for academic year 2008-2009. This is an increase of almost 700 students from initial awarding time for 2007-2008. OSFA also made 50 new awards in the Distinguished Scholar Community College Transfer Scholarship program for 2008-2009. Additionally, OSFA mailed approximately 50,000 award letters to students to notify them of their financial aid award. This includes need-based programs and award renewals in other programs.

April 1-30: Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen has worked closely with Ashley Valis to send out congratulatory or thank you letters to various advisory councils that volunteer their services to MHEC and congratulatory letters to students who receive scholarships or educational assistance grants. For the first time in MHEC’s history, (OFSA) sent out scholarship award letters with Governor O’Malley’s name included first thing in the mailing. This standard letter has been used for years, but the governor has not been mentioned. Eventually this outreach will extend to 80,000 students.

April 8, 2008: Secretary Lyons, Assistant Secretary George Reid, Assistant Secretary Andrea Mansfield and Dr. Mike Keller met to discuss the feasibility study for the creation of a regional higher education and research and development center to deliver higher education services to the Aberdeen Proving Ground area. After a study is completed on the capacity of Maryland’s Higher Education Institutions and an assessment of the needed courses for transferring students is completed, a consultant will be retained to examine space needs and make recommendations for the allocation of programs across delivery locations.

April 11, 2008: Secretary Lyons attended a BRAC symposium at the Baltimore City Community College. Secretary Lyons served on the panel and worked with BCC’s president to identify the keynote speaker, General Hayes.

April 14, 2008: Secretary Lyons attended Governor O’Malley’s “Capital for a Day” press conference with Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen. Secretary Lyons and Christopher will be working closely with Maryland’s public and independent two-year and four-year colleges and universities and Private Career Schools to incorporate a full and productive “listening tour” including campus presidents, provosts, board of trustees members and others who make significant contributions to higher education.

April 15-25, 2008: MHEC’s Academic Affairs staff was alerted that New York-based “Trump University” was advertising self-help foreclosure seminars at various locations in Maryland. By using the term “University” without having obtained a certificate of approval from the Commission, Trump was violating Maryland law and misleading consumers. This use of “University” connotes a post-secondary educational course or program, which this training was not. With the help of Assistant Attorney General Catherine Shultz, MHEC got Trump to comply with Maryland law and change its advertising in Maryland.

April 15, 2008: Assistant Secretary Andrea Mansfield met with BRAC coordinators to discuss how to appropriately develop agency BRAC goals and corresponding BRAC STATS for track accomplishments over the coupes of the year. Accomplishments will be compiled into a BRAC Annual Report.

April 16, 2008: Dr. Reid, Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen and Director of Government Affairs Gareth Murray attended the groundbreaking of the Defense Information Systems Agency Joint Task Force – Global Network Operations ground-breaking ceremony at Fort George G. Meade resulting in MHEC’s support of BRAC projects coming to Maryland.

April 16, 2008: Dr. Lyons marked his first year as Higher Education Secretary at the full MHEC Commission meeting resulting in high praise from Chairman O’Keefe and other members. The meeting was very substantive including Director of Finance Policy Geoffrey Newman presenting an overview of the FY 2009 higher education operating and capital budgets, Director of Legislative Affairs Gareth Murray discussing the 2008 General Assembly Session, a report on programs reviewed from Jan. 1, 2008-February 29, 2008 and a report on Private Career Schools approval actions from February 1, 2008. All reports resulted in a positive reception by the Commission.

April 19, 2008: Secretary Lyons attended and spoke at the first Maryland Latino Education Summit and said it was a rousing success. Secretary Lyons has spent considerable time developing strong ties with MHEC and the Latino community.

April 21, 2008: Grants Director Paula Fitzwater conducted reviewer consensus meeting for the Nurse Support Program II Competitive Grant to formulate funding recommendation to the Health Services Cost Review Commission.

April 21, 2008: Ms. Fitzwater attended the closing session of the College Preparation and Intervention Program grant and the Dundalk area mathematics teachers featuring Dr. Don Thomas, director of the Hackerman Academy and former astronaut for four shuttle flights. The goals of the Hackerman Academy are to attract more students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors and to prepare teachers who will be energized to teach in area schools in these much needed discipline areas.

April 24, 2008: Secretary Lyons, Assistant Secretary Reid, Director of Government Affairs Director of Government Relations Gareth Murray and Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen attended the Governor’s bill signing ceremony in which the Governor signed two of MHEC’s bills into law as well as the Parren J. Mitchell public service scholarship which MHEC’s Office of Student Financial Assistance will coordinate.

April 24, 2008: Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen worked with the Governor’s office of photography to get 30 photos of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown autographed for distribution to various people Christopher comes in contact with. This has and will result in the Governor and Lt. Governor getting positive exposure not just from those who receive the pictures, but who the people who receive the pictures to show their friends, co-workers and associates.

April 25, 2008: Secretary Lyons traveled to Ft. Monmouth in New Jersey to visit to celebrate the opening of Maryland’s “One-Stop” shop. Ft. Monmouth will be closed by 2011 with most of its operations transferring to Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

April 25, 2008: MHEC issued a RFA for federal Title IIA, Improving Teacher Quality State Grant program through which approximately $1 million will be awarded to eligible partnerships to provide teacher and principal development in the core subject areas. These funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to K-16 partnerships to provide teacher and principal professional development in the core subject areas. The funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to K-16 partnerships that aim to improve teacher quality; to increase the number of highly qualified teachers and principals; and to increase the academic achievement of Maryland students.

April 26, 2008: Ms. Fitzwater meet with the Deans and Directors of Nursing programs to discuss credentialing of nursing faculty and campus hiring practices.

April 29, 2008: Mr. Falkenhagen joined his Public Information Officer counterparts at a meeting in the Governor’s Baltimore Office with Chief of Staff Michael Enright who gave a brief presentation and Rick Abbruzzese, the governor’s director of communications. The very productive meeting allowed PIOs to show what they have done to promote the governor’s and their own message and how to develop a 15-month strategy on how to improve getting the governor’s message out even better and each agency’s message out stronger as well.


Workforce Development / WIA:

  • Dean Kendall, Associate Director of Workforce Development represented MHEC at the MCCACET meeting (Maryland Community College Association for Continuing Education & Training – Deans and Vice Presidents—4/11.

  • Mr. Kendall represented MHEC during a conference call with USDOE regarding CTE programs and Perkins funding.

  • Mr. Kendall with Geoff Newman and Melinda Vann coordinated an informational meeting between the Governor’s WIB and six Regional Higher Education Centers.

  • Mr. Kendall represented MHEC at the MSDE CTE awards banquet.

  • Mr. Kendall represented MHEC at four workforce committee meetings.

Private Career Schools:

  • Sent copies of an educational brochure about private lending to all private career schools with private lending for distribution to all incoming students.

  • Invited eligible private career schools to an informational meeting offered by MHEC staff about how to participate in offering training to veterans under the GI Bill.

  • Invited all private career schools currently approved to offer training to veterans under the GI Bill to a training session to be offered by school certifying officials by MHEC staff.

  • One new private career school offering a nursing assistant program was approved by the Secretary.

  • Three site inspections were conducted for new school applicant facilities and new program applicant facilities.

  • Met with and counseled one training provider who had previously been issued a notice of deficiency.

  • The approval to operate was revoked for one school.

  • PCS Database being revamped and went “live” to MHEC Academic Affairs.

Records from Closed Institutions of Postsecondary Education:

  • Responded to 33 requests for records from closed schools.

  • Provided 11 enrollment verifications.

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