Task Force for Program Advancement

NASULGC 2003 Panel Presentation

Human Sciences Programs: Challenges and Opportunities
Presented to the Members of the Board on Human Sciences

1890 Institutional Issues and Response
by Shirley Hymon-Parker
University of Maryland - Eastern Shore

The presentation is based on ten challenges espoused by Carol Kellett during the previous session, and addresses those ten challenges as they relate to 1890 institutions.

1. Mission - Human Sciences administrators must examine our strengths and assets.

Missions are being impacted @ 1890s because of

  • Changes in priorities (which may negatively impact our units) and others who just
  • Don't understand the 1890 land-grant tradition
  • Still there are administrative problems-among and between the ranks, that trickle down to our units

2. Organizational Structure - institutions are restructuring by default rather than by design; or, by convenience rather than by purpose or mission. As we deal with restructuring, consider, Kellett encouraged partnering with private and community colleges to implement and/or enhance programs

Currently two (2) of the 1890 schools are threatened with possible merger, dismantling or elimination. This forced change can be partially attributed to new senior administrators who do not understand our units and its programs, or who are not committed to our continued existence.

Opportunities available to address this issue include the following strategies:

  • Chance to develop public relation materials that will educate University administrators and the public (local community) about who we are, what we do, and the impact of our programs on individuals, families & communities.
  • Develop or revamp programs so as to expand our units and student population.
  • Increase work with the community and develop more field based learning experiences for students.

3. Federal & State Funding (constrained resources) - are decreasing or being redirected - which now require that we do much more to generate money to sustain our units/programs.

  • Currently most 1890s receive about 28% of their funding from the State. The remainder comes from declining Federal money, and the ever-increasing tuition, which has gone up an average of 10% over the past 2 years.


  • Created competition between institutions for dwindling funds
  • Unable to recruit/attract high achieving students & competent faculty to our institutions
  • Unmotivated and demoralized faculty that have been faced with furloughs, no cost of living or merit increases during the past 2+ years
  • Inability to fund faculty development activities
  • Inability to fund programs and services.

Opportunities (that can result from constrained resources and restructuring)

  • 1890s are partnering with other universities and colleges to offer courses or programs
  • Offering more course via distance learning/on-line
  • Building an alliance among the 1890 to offer courses/programs that can no longer be supported by one campus
  • Write more grants - at UMES the President has required that everyone, including VPs, Deans, Department Chairs, and faculty write grant proposals
  • Identify "niche" teaching and research area to excel in - vs. trying to be all things to all people
    • This will also require units to do some strategic planning.

4. Infrastructure - can't obtain new facilities without funds, nor can we maintain/operate current facilities or perform the much-needed renovations.

1890s infrastructure has been impacted significantly by budget cuts.

Partner with other units on campus - collaborative, and partner with other schools, business or industry.

5. Graduate Education & *Faculty Development - Are we preparing faculty to be scholars of education beyond their discipline? Are we preparing them to be leaders? Where are our faculty learning FCS issues?

As referenced earlier - decreased funding has significantly impacted our ability to support faculty development activities. As a result faculty are not motivated and they feel demoralized - not valued at all. In addition, given the current conditions in higher education, there are not enough graduates in the pipeline, pursuing degrees or with terminal degrees. Areas hardest hit include: nutrition, fashion merchandising, FCS education, and now financial planners.

6. Faculty roles & rewards - divided assignments. What are the rewards for being successful?

Because of dwindling resources, teaching loads have increased, especially as units attempt to implement new programs without additional resources. Relief usually found when new grants are awarded that provides release time and/or funds to hire a replacement. The problem here is that often it is difficult to find appropriate individuals to replace faculty that have release time.

7. Faculty appointments - fewer tenure/tenure-track faculty increase, in part-time appointments and competition for faculty.

Fortunately for the 1890 administrators responding to my survey, only one lost faculty lines during the past year. The dilemma is that for us, about one third of our faculty are supported by soft-money-, which are non-tenure track appointments. Thus, retention becomes a problem because these individuals will leave our institutions as soon as they can obtain a tenure-track appointment.

8. AAA- Accountability, Assessment, Accreditation - No comments

9. Enrollment management - to support increased enrollment, distance education, community-college partnerships. Competition for the best and brightest students results from the number of available programs and recruitment by other disciplines and institutions.

I consider this part of organizational structure. However, for most 1890s this task falls to the unit and its faculty. We must recruit students and develop partnerships with industry and colleges, as well as maintain the relationships and collect data.

11. Access - interested, admission, tuition (affordability).

  • While UG enrollment in1890 FCS units declined just 1% last year, graduate enrollment increased by 10%.
  • At 1890s and most Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), over 80% of the student receive some type of financial assistance. Therefore, tuition hikes and reduced federal funding will have a significant impact on our students' ability to enroll in college and graduate in 4-5 years.
  • In addition, over 50% of HBCU students work part-time in order to support themselves, parents, and siblings.

Summarized comments from NASULGC panel presentation given by Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, November 16, 2003

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