Maryland Community College Students Gather in Annapolis for MACC Student Advocacy Day

On February 6, over 300 students representing all 16 Maryland community colleges headed to the State Capital for MACC’s annual Community College Student Advocacy Day. The students met with lawmakers and urged them to support the Governor’s Budget that increases operating and maintains capital funding for the state’s two-year colleges, whose budgets have been hit hard since the downturn of the economy.  The Governor’s proposed FY 2014 operating budget includes a 7% increase in direct aid to the community colleges, which would greatly assist in keeping colleges affordable.

Watch highlights of the day (video courtesy of CCBC):

During the morning’s kick-off rally, students heard from Senate President V. Thomas “Mike” Miller, Senators Verna Jones-Rodwell, Delores Kelley, Thomas “Mac” Middleton and Richard Madaleno, and Delegates Heather Mizeur and Anthony O’Donnell. Speakers also included Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College and Chair of the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents, Dr. Rich Midcap, Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment at Chesapeake College, and MACC Executive Director Dr. Bernie Sadusky.

Pebbles Armwood, a student at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), was the featured student speaker. Watch her speech below. (video courtesy of CCBC).

The Student Advocacy message centered on the theme of Support = Success  — community colleges can only help more citizens be successful if there is greater state support. Students emphasized support of the funding formula for the amount of state aid granted to each college, an increase in the state’s share of the cost of community college education, and support of capital requests at community colleges throughout the state.

While advocating for budget and legislative priorities of their colleges, students also sought to raise awareness of the important role played by Maryland’s community colleges in higher education and their benefits to the state.

Community colleges are the gateway to higher education.  Half of all Maryland undergraduate students are now enrolled in the state’s community colleges.   Increasing the number of students who earn degrees and other credentials is vital to the economic future of the state and nation, and both national and state leaders – beginning with President Obama and Governor O’Malley – have called the completion agenda an economic imperative.

Maryland’s community colleges are committed to addressing this challenge, and have increased associate degree credentials by 33% and workforce credentials by 38% over the past 3 years.

Please take an opportunity to meet some of the fantastic student leaders that represented the Maryland community colleges by visiting the colleges’ Student Advocacy website.

Big Give Unites Maryland Community Colleges Online In Support of 500,000 Maryland Students, Nov. 14

The Big GiveMaryland’s 16 community colleges are uniting in an unprecedented online fundraising effort, The Big Give, on Nov. 14 to raise money and support for the more than half-million students they collectively educate each year.

“We understand as a people that our economic future is tied to how well we prepare our people. If we’re going to compete in a global economy we must continue our work educating, innovating and rebuilding our country,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “Community colleges really are where America goes to college. Our community colleges are where students can obtain a deeper and more relevant education, meeting people where they truly live and giving them the necessary and crucial skills needed in an increasingly faster-paced, market-driven world.”

One of every two undergraduates pursuing higher education in Maryland starts their postsecondary education at a community college, with more than 500,000 students educated and trained by community colleges every year. Additionally 94 percent of the students who attend community colleges are Marylanders who choose to stay in Maryland after receiving their degree.”Community colleges are an essential part of education in Maryland, providing all students the opportunity to learn and succeed,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “They provide an affordable way to educate and train the workforce that will carry our state into the future.”

“While community colleges offer great academic value at a very affordable cost for families, we are seeing more and more students applying for financial aid. It is encouraging to see the community colleges come together on this one day of giving that will greatly help students across Maryland,” said Hagerstown Community College President and Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) Executive Committee President Dr. Guy Altieri.

The Big Give is a massive one-day statewide online fundraiser by the 16 community colleges to support their local programs and students. Each community college will ask its community for 24 hours, starting at 12 a.m. Nov. 14, to go online to give toward scholarships, programs, facilities, and other local projects.

“The diverse programs offered at Maryland’s community colleges serve to train the workforce of tomorrow. The Big Give is your opportunity to wisely invest in supporting these initiatives and guarantee the economic future for your community,” said Dr. Bernard Sadusky, executive director of MACC.

It is the first effort of its kind nationwide for the community colleges, which are facing scarce resources from county and state sources, according to Kimberly Johnson, who serves as president of MACC’s Maryland Community College Fundraising Professionals and is assistant director of the Office of Institutional Advancement at Frederick Community College. “Our statewide goal for the day is to raise $160,000 and gain 1,600 new donors to community college foundations across Maryland. We are extremely excited about this initiative because of its potential to create more scholarships for students who need them.”

By sharing resources to promote the event and harnessing the power of social media, community college officials hope to expand their reach and support from alumni and new and current donors. The community colleges will seek donations online through Razoo, a Washington, D.C.-based company that has helped thousands of nonprofits raise funds nationwide. The community colleges tapped Razoo in part because of its sophisticated online technology and low fee structure, Johnson said, with 98 percent of donations through The Big Give going directly to the community colleges.

Incentives for giving on Nov. 14 are being provided by Big Give sponsors, Discovery Communications and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), which are providing awards for community colleges reaching various goals and multiplying the impact of donations.

Among those helping to build support for the event include the Gazette Newspapers, Maryland Independent, Calvert Recorder and St. Mary’s Enterprise as well as Big Give Partners, including MACC and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

“Maryland’s workforce is an essential factor in the state’s success, and maintaining a highly skilled workforce is a key component to enhancing our economic competitiveness. Our community colleges play a vital role in workforce development and I encourage Maryland business people to support their local community colleges during The Big Give on November 14,” said Maryland Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kathy Snyder CCE.

Each college has an online giving page at mdbiggive.razoo.com where donors are able to give to the college and program of their choice. This unique “online event” will allow community colleges to build awareness with their students, employees, friends, supporters and community to help in raising funds by using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email and other platforms to attract thousands of online supporters for a day. Everyone can participate from their keyboards or smartphones.

Any size donation is appreciated, but a minimum $10 donation is required to donate online. To learn about the local community colleges or to donate on Nov. 14, visit mdbiggive.razoo.com.

American Association of Community Colleges President to Lead Panel Discussion at MACC Completion Summit

Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges and Chair of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, will lead a panel discussion at MACC’s third annual Summit on Completion, to be held December 7, 2012, at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) Catonsville. The panel, slated to include two 21st Century Commission members from Maryland, will examine how the state’s community colleges are progressing with completion initiatives such as those found in the 21st Century Commission’s report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future.

In addition to examples of what Maryland’s two-year colleges are already doing to redesign students’ educational experiences for greater success, the panel will assess opportunities, external challenges and limitations, and recommend policies that, if put in place, could further enhance completion efforts.

MACC sponsored the first in the nation Completion Summit in December 2010 to build on President Barack Obama’s October 2010 White House Summit on Community Colleges and to galvanize a statewide focus on meeting Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s completion challenge that at least 55% of state’s adult population has a degree credential by 2025.

“Although Maryland community colleges remain diversified in our missions to serve many different types of students, we are committed more than ever to successfully assisting those who do come to our institutions for degree attainment,” said Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College and Chair of the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents.

Promise to Act

At the 2010 summit, all 16 community college presidents signed a Promise to Act, collectively pledging to significantly increase degrees and credentials awarded  by 2025. Since then, Maryland’s community colleges have increased associate degree attainment by 20% and certificate credentials by over 30%, according to data recently submitted for fiscal years 2009 to 2011 by the Maryland Higher Education Commission to StateStat, the Governor’s performance measurement office for state agencies.

“These additional degrees, combined with a significant increase in the number of community college students who transfer to public and private four year institutions, including those within the University System of Maryland, will make a substantial contribution toward achieving and surpassing the 55 percent goal,” said Dr. Bernard Sadusky, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.

Over 400 Maryland community college faculty and staff from across the state are expected at this year’s Completion Summit. In addition to the panel discussion, attendees will also participate in a series of professional development workshops to share best practices and new strategies for serving students so that they move through a community college on an even clearer pathway to completing a high quality degree or certificate.

MACC Names Dr. Bernard Sadusky, Interim State Schools Superintendent, as Executive Director

The Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) has named Dr. Bernard J. Sadusky, the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) current Interim State Superintendent of Schools, as its new executive director. Dr. Sadusky will begin his new post at MACC on July 1, after completing a year of service in the interim superintendent role at MSDE, where he has filled the position left vacant by the retirement last year of Dr. Nancy Grasmick.

Dr. Sadusky served as superintendent of schools in Maryland’s Queen Anne’s County from 1994 to 2007, and spent more than 30 years in total in the Queen Anne’s school system as an administrator and teacher. He was recognized as Maryland’s Superintendent of the Year in 2007. Following his retirement in Queen Anne’s County, he joined the Maryland State Department of Education as policy liaison to the local school systems, before being appointed by the Maryland Board of Education to serve as interim state superintendent in 2011.

“Dr. Sadusky brings to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges an enormous wealth of experience in the education field and a lifetime of industry experience in the specific context of our state, having worked with top educators, elected officials and other key policy makers, throughout his illustrious career,” said Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College and the current Chair of the Maryland Community College Presidents Council.

“We’re impressed not only by all that he has accomplished in helping Maryland to earn its well-deserved reputation for educational excellence, but also by his passion for and understanding of the unique and invaluable role that community colleges play in our higher education system,” added Dr. Altieri. “And we’re excited about how Dr. Sadusky’s vast experience in the K-12 sector in Maryland will help us to forge even stronger partnerships with our school systems across the state.”

“I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to lead MACC forward at this critical time and to serve each of Maryland’s 16 outstanding community colleges,” said Dr. Sadusky. “I look forward to working closely with the presidents, trustees and other leaders from our member colleges to advance the important work that they are all doing to best serve the needs of hundreds of thousands of community college students throughout the state each year.”

Dr. Sadusky received his bachelor’s degree in biology from King’s College in Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree in psychology from Washington College and a doctorate in educational administration from Nova-Southeastern University.

As the new executive director, Dr. Sadusky fills the post that was left vacant by the recent retirement of H. Clay Whitlow, who had served MACC since 2006.

MACC Leaders Write to Governor, Urging Convening of Special Session to Replace ‘Doomsday’ Budget

A chaotic ending to this year’s Maryland General Assembly session led to the automatic enactment of a so-called “Doomsday” budget for the state in fiscal year 2013, which, for Maryland’s community colleges, meant a 10 percent reduction in state aid.  MACC leaders recently wrote to Governor O’Malley, urging him to convene a special session in which legislators can work together to enact a revised budget.

“In spite of the difficult fiscal climate we have all faced during the past five years, you have provided the community colleges with the opportunity to keep average annual tuitions and fees below a 3% increase,” wrote Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College and Chair of the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents. “However, without major changes in the currently approved FY 2013 budget, many of our institutions will be forced to raise tuitions beyond the sustainability of our students.”

Community College Presidents Speak Out Against Pension Cost Shift, Leading to Modified Plan

Maryland community college presidents — joined by administrators, faculty and staff from around the state — spoke out in strong opposition to the proposed shifting of pension costs for community college faculty and staff, from the state to the counties.

While lawmakers are continuing to iron out final details of how that cost shift will still impact the pensions of thousands of school teachers and other public employees, the voices of community college leaders were heard as the legislation was modified to remove community college personnel form the proposal.

Several community college presidents expressed their opposition to the pension shift in newspaper commentaries and letters to the editor, which have each been posted on the MACC website.

 

Dr. Guy Altieri Commentary on the Pension Shift Cost Equation: “If a Train Leaves Annapolis at…”

With debate heating up in Annapolis over the proposed shifting of pension costs from the state to the counties, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges is urging legislators to oppose this legislation and has joined forces with a statewide “Stop the Shift” coalition. Dr. Guy Altieri, President of Hagerstown Community College, is chair of the Maryland Association of Community College Presidents Council, and authored the following op-ed piece about the impact of this proposal on community colleges, in the February 24 edition of The Gazette of Politics & Business.

By Dr. Guy Altieri

A current proposal before the Maryland General Assembly to shift teacher pension costs to counties has all of the makings of a classic Algebra problem, one that would be sure to end badly. “If a train leaves Annapolis at high noon, going 50 miles per hour, and another leaves the county seat of Hagerstown at 3 p.m., also going at 50 miles per hour, how soon before they…?

Hold that thought.

Leaders of Maryland’s counties and the state’s teachers’ unions have each weighed in heavily on how devastating a budgetary hit it would be if the General Assembly were to enact Governor O’Malley’s proposal to shift a substantial portion of teacher pension costs from the State of Maryland to the counties.

Yet as devastating as this seismic cost-shift would be to the counties that would have to pick up the bill, few people have even focused on the fact that Maryland’s community colleges, and the students we serve, will be harmed in two ways: .

First, the proposal to transfer a portion of the pension costs to local governments would represent a crushing blow to our annual operating budgets. As currently proposed, it would come with a $9.5 million sticker price in just the first year and that figure would continue to increase in the years to come. Second, if the counties are forced to pay some $239 million in pension costs, they will be hard pressed to maintain critical funding for their community colleges.

To help mitigate the impact of the $239 million cost-shift, the Governor has proposed revenue enhancements, including new taxes, but there is no guarantee that any of this additional revenue will benefit local community colleges. Many counties may opt to dedicate any additional revenue to other local priorities, while expecting the community colleges to make up the deficit by raising tuition.

Maryland’s community colleges are critical to its economic recovery and long-term future.    Enrollments at community colleges have increase exponentially since the beginning of the recession.  From 2008 to 2010, enrollments have increased statewide by approximately 20,000 students, an amount equivalent to the size of Towson University.

In recent years, the state’s traditional commitment to funding one-third of the cost of a community college education has fallen to below 20 percent, with student tuition picking up the shortfall. A pension cost-shift will only further erode the state’s share of the commitment and it will almost surely result in a tuition increase. Such an outcome would hurt the students who can least afford to pay more for their college education and would fly directly in the face of what has been the top priority for higher education for both the Governor and for President Obama – holding college tuition in line, while ensuring that more students receive college degrees.

Ever since the first community colleges in the state were incorporated – dating back to the 1940s – the state has assumed the cost of the pension/retirement system. As is the case with the school systems, this funding has helped our colleges to balance the wealth differences among the various counties and has enabled the less affluent communities to attract and maintain faculty and staff on par with the wealthier communities. Passing these costs on to local governments would eliminate this factor and increase the cost of a community college education, without addressing the ultimate repercussions for Maryland residents.

Remember that equation we began with? We don’t think we need to fully solve it to see that the ultimate outcome here is a fiscal train wreck.

(Visit http://stoptheshiftmd.com/ to learn more about the statewide coalition that has formed to oppose the proposed shifting of pension costs to counties.)

 

Student Advocacy Day: Hundreds Turn Out to Annapolis to Make Voices Heard for State Funding!

Much of the 90-day Maryland General Assembly session in Annapolis can be grueling for state legislators and advocates alike. But few days, if any, are as inspiring to all involved as the annual Community College Student Advocacy Day, which brings together each year hundreds of students from all 16 community colleges for the annual trek to the state capital.

The event is aimed at urging legislators to provide adequate state funding for community colleges, which now serve half of all undergraduate students in Maryland each year. This year’s Student Advocacy Day, held on Thursday, Feb. 9, was an overwhelming success – reminiscent of the theme that the colleges highlighted in their advocacy for additional state funding: “SUPPORT = SUCCESS!”

After arriving to Annapolis in busloads from the various campuses around the state, students took part in a morning rally that featured enlightening speeches from a variety of legislators and community college leaders, and a selected student speaker. This year, it was a young man named Taren Nance, from Wor-Wic Community College, who drew a rousing ovation after sharing his powerful, personal story, which began with the words: “Simply put, community college saved my life.” Taren’s full story, and those of students from all the colleges, is found on the MACC website.

After the rally, each college’s group of students ventured out to meet with various State Senators and Delegates from their county delegations in Annapolis. In these smaller groups, they have the chance to have a dialogue with their elected officials about the difference that their community college is making in their lives and the importance of providing enough state funding to keep tuition affordable and preserve critical student services.

Here are a couple of wonderful news articles about the Student Advocacy Day event…

  • The Baltimore Sun featured two articles, one on the statewide event and a second piece highlighting the story of an extraordinarily brave Howard Community College student, who has battled back from brain injury suffered in a car accident to pursue his education at HCC.
  • A Patch.com story showcasing an enthusiastic group of Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) students (who, incidentally, were sporting some very nifty “SUPPORT = SUCCESS!” Student Advocacy Day shirts).

The advocacy work and the 90-day legislative session winds on for the community colleges, but Student Advocacy Day 2012 will go down once again in the books as a day to remember! Thanks to all who participated! Keep up the good work and keep in touch with our elected officials to let them know how important it is that they provide strong support for our community colleges.

Hundreds from 16 Community Colleges to Rally on Student Advocacy Day in Annapolis, Feb. 9!

On Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, hundreds of students representing all 16 Maryland community colleges will speak with one voice in the state capital, urging lawmakers to help keep community colleges affordable by supporting full funding in the Governor’s FY2013 budget.

MACC’s annual Student Advocacy Day will be kicked off with a morning rally at 9 a.m. in the Presidential Conference Room of the Miller Senate Building in Annapolis. Legislators scheduled to address the students include Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton and Speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael E. Busch.

Students will then meet with legislators from their respective county delegations in order to emphasize support of the funding formula for the amount of state aid granted to each college and support of capital requests at community colleges throughout the state.

The day’s call-to-action also centers on the theme of “Support=SUCCESS” because community colleges can only help more citizens be successful if there is greater state support.

Students will have an opportunitiy to tell their stories of how community college is helping them achieve their goals and what being able to access such affordagle, quality higher education means to them and their families.

Please visit the Student Advocacy Day website to read some of the community college student success stories from around the state!

This Month’s ‘News and Updates’ From MACC…

Our January newsletter is out! This month’s edition features a recap of MACC’s recent Summit on Completion, with excerpts from the keynote presentation by Dr. Uri Treisman of the University of Texas. Also in the newsletter, a summary of the 2012 Legislative Agenda and some brief highlights of news from around the state’s community college campuses.