By a vote of 4 to 3, the Maryland Higher Education Commission has approved the establishment of a business analytics doctoral program at Towson University. But David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University in Baltimore, has voiced strong opposition to the decision.
In a letter to state lawmakers. President Wilson said the new program duplicated a well-established program at Morgan State. The new program, he argues, would pull students who would have enrolled at Morgan State to Towson University.
Two years ago, the state approved a $577 million settlement to enhance the state’s four HBCUs. The money is being used, in part, to expand academic programs and course offerings. Duplicate programs at predominately White institutions do harm to the efforts of HBCUs to attract a diverse group of students to their campuses, according to critics of the new program at Towson.
“It seems to me that the bill that legislatively settled the long-running HBCU lawsuit in 2021 explicitly required that a process be established to prohibit unnecessary program duplication going forward,” Dr. Wilson wrote. “It was my understanding that until such processes and procedures were put in place, no action would be taken by the Maryland Higher Education Commission that would harm the state’s HBCUs.”
Mary Pat Seurkamp, chair of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, stated that “Towson’s proposed program is not unreasonably duplicative of Morgan’s Ph.D. in business administration generally or of the concentration in supply chain and logistics management. The majority found that while some elements of the programs were similar, ultimately the two programs have distinct differences in their curricula. We found that there was insufficient evidence of demonstrable harm to the existing program at Morgan.”