A new higher education building to be constructed on the campus of Harford Community College by Towson University is being planned to open by the fall of 2014, according to a Towson official. The new facility will allow students to complete baccalaureate degrees on the community college campus, which is located in Bel Air.
Following approval of the so-called “2 + 2” plan by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) on March 30th, Dr. Marcia Welsh, Towson University provost and vice president for academic affairs, said through a spokesperson that the Towson program will offer 300 and 400 level courses for the final two years of bachelor’s degrees in Integrated Elementary Education/Special Education, Psychology, and Business Administration (Management Concentration), with more programs added over time.
The planned opening in 2014, which Welsh said assumed “all goes well”, would mean that the timing would be right for 2012 high school graduates to transition from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree on the community college campus.
Towson University currently offers 2 + 2 programs at the HEAT Center in Aberdeen that Welsh said will be moved to the new building after construction is complete.
The partnership between Harford Community College (HCC) and Towson University is the first of its kind in Maryland, according to Dr. Dennis Golladay, president of HCC. Golladay welcomed news of the approval from MHEC, which also gives Morgan State University the option of offering 2 + 2 programs at the new facility.
“I am delighted with the approval from MHEC”, Gollway wrote in an email to The Dagger, “it’s been a long time coming, but I can understand that a new and unique concept of a university constructing a building on a two-year community college campus would require more deliberation and thought than standard requests.”
The new building will be constructed on the west side of Thomas Run Road, across from Joppa Hall. John Cox, HCC vice president of finance, operations and government relations, said that the estimated cost is $25 million and that HCC is not involved in the financing. “The current discussion is that the University System of Maryland will borrow and Towson will pay the debt service through auxiliary enterprises and not tuition,” Cox said.
Under the plan approved by MHEC, Morgan State has a year to exercise an option to lease rooms in the new building or to finance 50% of the cost in exchange for co-naming rights with Towson.
When asked how students and employers in Harford County will benefit from the new building and the plan approved by MHEC, Golladay said:
“The benefit to the students in the region will be immense. Instead of having to make a daily two-way trip to the Baltimore area — thus saving time, money, and energy — they will have the opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree locally. It is a tremendous convenience which we predict will have more students completing a baccalaureate degree than is now the case.
The benefit to potential employers will be a larger locally-grown pool of educated employees with stronger qualifications and credentials.”
Golladay said he hoped that other Maryland institutions would consider similar partnerships. “With both the state and the national governments putting and emphasis on increasing the number of those holding a college degree or credential, this type of partnership offers one logical pathway to achieve that goal.”