By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO
Maryland Gov. Moore recently appointed six new members to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) after two members resigned. The twelve members of MHEC board serve a term of five years. Currently the board is operating with eleven members.
The new members found themselves quickly immersed in another hot-topic decision. A majority of the members voted to deny Johns Hopkins University and Stevenson University the right to duplicate Ph.D. Programs in Physical Therapy that already exist at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, a historically Black College, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Decision letters were sent to both Johns Hopkins and Stevenson University.
“While I believe it was the right decision, MHEC should respect the decision of the Attorney General and the Reform Committee, whose report is not due until the end of December,” said State Senator Mary Washington, who sits on the Education, Energy, and the Environmental Committee. “They were asked to pause and await the report from the workgroup that will address reforms for MHEC. The workgroup is composed of legislators and higher education officials.
“The Maryland system at MHEC is complaint driven,” says Senator Washington, “That is not how it is done in other sectors. The current model needs to be adjusted to protect all our institutions. This report from the workgroup– I hope– will address how we provide equity throughout the system that allows all our institutions to grow.”
In the decision letter that went out to Hopkins and Stevenson’s Presidents, Chair of MHEC, Catherine Motz, wrote, “the majority of the commissioners voted against the proposals because they are unreasonably duplicative of existing DPT doctor of physical therapy programs in Maryland and will cause demonstrable harm.” Motz also said, “ the decision was final and not subject for review.”
The six new members of the MHEC board are Charlene Mickens Dukes, former President of Prince George’s Community College; Chike Aguh, a senior fellow at Northeastern University’s Burnes Center for Social Change and former chief innovation officer at the U.S. Department of Labor; Sheila Thompson, former national research coordinator with the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study; Mickey L. Burnim, former president of Bowie State University; Janet Wormack, former vice president for administration and finance at Salisbury University and Tanya Johnson, a student commissioner, who attends Morgan State University.
Catherine Motz, executive director of the College Bound Foundation in Baltimore, was appointed as chair of the MHEC board by Governor Moore.
Rebecca Taber Stateheline, was also appointed by Moore and confirmed earlier this year by the Senate of Maryland. The board is supposed to have twelve members.
Gov. Moore is expected to make another appointment to be approved in the 2024 legislative session.
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