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Higher Education in Maryland

March 2008 Press Release




Governor’s Monthly Report from MHEC for March



Accomplishments and results:

  • March 1-31, 2008: Working together as a cohesive unit, all segments of MHEC’s staff met consistently to review bills that affect higher education. The bill review committee agreed to consult with the Governor’s office whether to support or not support a bill or to write a letter of concern or letter of information. This resulted in better communication between the MHEC staff in various departments and the Governor’s office so we were all on the same page.

  • March 1-31, 2008: MHEC staff (most notably Secretary Lyons, Assistant Secretary Andrea Mansfield, Assistant Secretary George Reid and Legislative Affairs Director Gareth Murray) was a constant presence in Annapolis to testify on various bills of interest to the agency. This resulted in a stronger relationship with MHEC and members of the General Assembly.

  • March 1-31, 2008: Secretary Lyons held bi-weekly meetings with Assistant Secretaries Mansfield and Reid so that all three could discuss in-depth, issues affecting MHEC on a regular basis. This resulted in all three being united in the course they wanted to take the agency on various key issues of importance.

  • March 11, 2008: MHEC’s Education Policy Analyst Candace Caraco participated in a quarterly meeting of the Deans and Directors of Teacher Education.

  • March 14, 2008: MHEC released its job requirements for its BRAC coordinator on its website. The closing date is April 4, 2008. This resulted in a series of outstanding resumes coming to Secretary Lyons for review.

  • March 14, 2008: Secretary Lyons was the luncheon speaker at the 11th Annual Historically Black Colleges and University Conference Summit on Retention in Ocean City. Secretary Lyons addressed the needs of African-American students wherever they attend college resulting in an outstanding reception from conference attendees.

  • March 14, 2008: Candace participated in a meeting of the Inter-segmental Chief Academic Officers and Maryland Council of Community College Chief Academic Officers.

  • March 17, 2008: Secretary Lyons was only Cabinet Secretary to attend the groundbreaking of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds groundbreaking of their new Army’s Team C4ISR Complex. This $477 million complex is approximately one million square feet of administrative and specialized laboratory space for up to 5,000 personnel. This was a result of an invitation Secretary Lyons accepted from Deborah T. Devlin, HR Director from Fort Monmouth and Lisa A. Swoboda, Deputy Director of Military and Federal Affairs with DBED who met with MHEC’s Advisory Board on March 10, 2008. The key result of Secretary Lyons’ attendance was that it showed MHEC’s strong commitment to BRAC initiatives.

  • March 1-31, 2008: Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen in tandem with Ashley Valis in the Governor’s office has compiled a data base of names of people who serve on various MHEC advisory councils and ad hoc committees. Christopher is writing letters of thank you or congratulations from Governor O’Malley to go out to the people who have served on these committees. This resulted in MHEC sending out more than 150 letters with Governor O’Malley’s signature.

  • March 1-31, 2008: MHEC’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is currently processing student financial aid scholarships and grants resulting in 90,000 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the 2008-2009 academic year being received by OSFA and 2,000 Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant applications for the 2008-2009 academic year. This is a result by heavy promotion by OSFA, the Director of Communications’ office and MHEC’s Outreach group to get students to file their FAFSA forms.

  • March 1-31, 2008: OSFA also has awarded complete on-time waiting list of 12 students for the Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship (VAIC) program for 2007-2008 academic year. They previously awarded 129 students. The Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program is designed to provide financial assistance to United States armed forces personnel who served in the Afghanistan or Iraq Conflicts, and their sons, daughters, or spouses attending a Maryland postsecondary institution.

  • March 1-31, 2008: Awarded full on-time and late waiting list of 17 students for the Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship program for the 2007-2008 academic year. One hundred-five students were previously awarded. The Conroy Scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to sons and daughters of deceased, missing in action or prisoner of war United States armed forces personnel, sons and daughters of deceased public safety personnel, surviving spouses who have not remarried deceased public safety personnel, disable public safety personnel and son, daughters and/or surviving spouses of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks attending a Maryland postsecondary institution.

  • March 25, 2008: Senate Bill 146, which alters the service obligation for nonresident nursing students receiving a tuition reduction at a public institution of higher education and SB 187 which authorizes MHEC to require an application fee from institutions of postsecondary education seeking certification to operate in the State were heard in the House Appropriations Committee. As a result of MHEC officials’ testimony on these bills, SB 146 (46-1) and SB 187 (47-0) passed out of the Senate with strong votes.

  • March 27, 2008: MHEC worked with the University System of Maryland (USM) and Maryland Association of Community Colleges to provide a response to SB 967, a proposal by the legislature to make changes to the Early College Access grant program and other aspects of early postsecondary access and high school graduation.

  • March 28, 2008: MHEC’s Office of Financial Assistance provided a representative of Ft. Monmouth with numerous materials to bring back to New Jersey to educate them about Maryland’s public and independent colleges and universities as well as our numerous financial assistance programs.

  • March 28, 2008: MHEC’s mail house sent out 76,000 MDgo4it calendars to all of Maryland’s public and independent high schools. This popular calendar features more than a hundred tips and websites to inform or remind students what they should do to be best prepared for the college experience such as talking with guidance counselors about career plans, visiting colleges that fit their personalities, asking for recommendation letters, updating their resumes among countless others valuable advice. It targets all Maryland high school juniors.

  • March 28, 2008-March 31, 2008: Evangeline Redding, chief aid to Secretary Mansfield, processed labels, inserted individual letters and MHEC’s new MDgo4it calendars to University Presidents (68), every member of the General Assembly (338), all cabinet members (21) and financial aid officers (61). Director of Communications Christopher Falkenhagen dropped off 60 calendars for distribution to all of Maryland’s Independent colleges and universities to the Maryland Independent College and University Association offices on West Street then mailed out 60 calendars to MHEC Commission members, University System of Maryland public relations officials and all members of the Segmental Advisory Council.

  • March 1-31, 2008: MHEC served as lead staff to the Teacher Shortage Task Force; three subgroups are now completing their recommendations to submit to the whole task force for final approval. The report will go before the P-20 Workgroup in May.

  • March 1-31, 2008: MHEC served as lead staff to the Committee on the Education of African-American Males, resulting in the group now working on pulling together material submitted by the full committee. A draft will be presented to the P-20 Workgroup later this spring.

Workforce Development / WIA:

  • Represented MHEC at six workforce committee meetings.

  • Working with GWIB Subcabinet to compile an annual “MD Workforce Report Card”.

  • March 14, 2008: Associate Director of Workforce Development Dean Kendall represented MHEC at the MCCACET meeting (Maryland Community College Association for Continuing Education & Training – Deans and Vice Presidents).

  • March 17, 2008: Dean Represented MHEC at one Career and Technology Education meeting (coordinating the CTE program application process between community colleges and MSDE).

Private Career Schools (PCS):

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

  • Two site inspections were conducted for new school applicant facilities.

  • One new school location was approved.

  • Met with and counseled three pre-approval training providers.

  • A notice of deficiencies was issued to one private career school. Staff met with and counseled the noncompliant approved private career school.

  • The approval to operate was revoked for one school.

  • Finalized and uploaded web site FAQ.

  • Modified the PCS 2008 Annual report and notified all private career schools.

Records from Closed Institutions of Postsecondary Education:

  • Responded to 23 requests for records from closed schools.

  • Provided 4 enrollment verifications.

Good news items:

  • MHEC awarded $563,318 to six (6) institutions of higher education through the State’s College Preparation Intervention Program (CPIP) for the purpose of supporting eligible Maryland GEAR UP – Focus on Math sites. Maryland GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded early intervention program administered by the Maryland State Department of Education.

  • MHEC’s GEAR-UP director coordinated seminars on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” for GEAR UP students.

  • Secretary Lyons sent out congratulatory letters to the presidents and head coach of all of the Maryland basketball teams (UMBC, Coppin State, Mt. St. Mary’s men’s teams and the University of Maryland College Park and Coppin State’s women’s teams) that made the Division I NCAA tournament.

  • Congratulatory letters were also sent to Chesapeake and Prince George’s Community College’s basketball teams for outstanding seasons by Secretary Lyons.

  • Congratulatory letters were sent out by Secretary Lyons to Towson University students Dayvon Love and Deven Cooper for winning the Cross Examination Debate Association’s five-day tournament in Wichita, KA. They were the first African-Americans to achieve this accomplishment.

  • Congratulatory letters were also sent out to members of various college and university board of trustees Governor’s appointments who were approved by the full Senate.

  • PCS Database being revamped and going “live” to MHEC Academic Affairs in April.

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