considers changing its
designation from college to university
(5/2/2004) Mount St. Mary's College and
Seminary is considering a change of its
designation from college to university.
The switch could happen as early as July 1
if the school's board of trustees
say the Mount has outgrown its present
strictest definition of what a college is,
we're not there," said spokesman Duffy
Ross. "University more accurately reflects
who we are today."
said a university has undergraduate and
graduate divisions, and may include
master's and doctoral studies.
currently about 300 graduate students and
1,400 undergraduate students enrolled at
the Mount. The college offers five
postgraduate programs at four campuses.
President Thomas Powell introduced the
idea of the designation change in a vision
statement he gave the college board of
trustees in March.
Powell's plan, college enrollments are
targeted to grow to 3,000 total students
by the year 2010.
said the Mount isn't trying to compete
with huge universities and doesn't plan to
change its teaching philosophy or add a
not going to be College Park," he said.
"That's not what this is about. We're not
trying to turn this into a large
institution with thousands of students.
The Mount is not going to lose its
reputation as an intimate institution of
said the designation change will set the
Mount apart from other colleges with the
same or similar names and will unify the
institution's college, seminary and
National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes under
said that because the Mount is a private
institution, it does not need permission
from the Maryland Higher Education
Commission to change its designation, and
that the Mount's national accreditation
agency, Middle States, has no jurisdiction
over what the college calls itself.
trustees approve the change, it could take
the college a year to put it fully in
place, Mr. Ross said, and cost "a couple
of hundred thousand dollars."
associated with the change would be tied
to marketing and promotional campaigns, as
well as changes to the Mount's physical
is expected to vote on the change in June.
wide have changed designations
college has been soliciting input from
alumni, faculty, staff and students on the
proposed change, and Dr. Powell has had
several meetings with the college
community, said Mr. Ross.
getting a lot of feedback from our
constituents and by and large, it's
favorable," said Mr. Ross. If there is
resistance, Mr. Ross said his office
expects it to come from young alumni and
personal. They think, `What will my
diploma say? Are you going to replace my
diploma?"' Mr. Ross said.
sophomore Maureen Comer said she's in
favor of the college changing its
should absolutely go for it," Ms. Comer
said, noting the Mount possesses the
course offerings and professors to call
itself a university. "By not doing it, we
would be holding ourselves back."
said she'd heard some students object to
the change, but "most hesitations have
been kind of uninformed."
of colleges nation-wide have changed
designations to universities in recent
years, including Towson, Salisbury and
Frostburg State universities in Maryland.
College in Frederick, which has graduate
course offerings similar to the Mount's,
president Ron Volpe said he's resistant to
the idea of calling Hood a university.
believe we offer a university education in
a small college environment," Dr. Volpe
said. "We don't believe there is a reason
to make that status change."
said that small institutions that change
to university status can face pitfalls,
especially from alumni members, if they do
not live up to the expectations of what a
university is supposed to be.
"We need to be careful it is not only a name change," said Dr. Volpe. "One may ask, `Where's the beef?'"
said he appreciated the Mount's desire to
switch to university status given that the
institution has diverse offerings,
including its seminary program.
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