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Frostburg Doctoral Candidates Paving a Smoother Road From High School to College
03/24/2016

Four candidates from Frostburg State University’s inaugural Doctor of Education cohort in Hagerstown recently published an important paper in “Colleges & University Journal,” a publication of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

“Paving the Road for Student Success: Building a Case for Integrated Strategic Planning” aims to ease the difficult transition today’s high school students will face when enrolling in a college or university. The thesis is straightforward: To best smooth students’ transitions, K-12 and higher-education administrators must work together in joint strategic planning sessions.

“In order for pre-K–16 strategic planning to be successful, communication must take place before, during and after the process,” the candidates write. “It cannot take place only when specified objectives or goals need to be reached. Administrators representing both groups must understand their colleagues’ goals and objectives and ensure that they stay connected for the benefit of the students.”

Over half of students entering two-year colleges and about 20 percent of students entering four-year universities require remedial courses. For these students, a semester or more may be spent learning lessons that could have been learned in high school. Both sectors must collaborate to ensure high school graduates are prepared for college coursework.

The candidates point to existing initiatives that address this need, but they find issues with the way those are structured. Such programs typically exist in isolation. They serve a narrow audience, within a single institution or program, and they are frequently created in response to state mandates or only when grant funding is available.

If college and high school administrators collaborate during the strategic planning process, the candidates argue, high school courses will help students avoid the added time and costs of remedial coursework. The candidates also argue for the creation of “transition centers,” which would provide information, diagnostic testing and topic-specific support workshops to prepare students for the college experience.

They also recommended the creation of a unified student information system that administrators can use to track students before they enter and after they leave an institution. Better information management will help identify new and unnoticed obstacles on the road to college.

The four candidates brought a wealth of personal experience in education from both sectors to bear on the issue. Jarrett Kealey is assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Education at UMBC. Renee Peterson has worked as a full-time high school English teacher for the past two decades. Angela Thompson is the senior business analyst of the Office of the Registrar at UMUC. Kristin Waters is the associate director of operations for Undergraduate Admissions at UMBC.

“The first Hagerstown cohort of the Frostburg Educational Doctorate program is an exceptional group of educators,” said Dr. Glenn Thompson, FSU’s Ed.D. program coordinator. “Many are destined to hold high-level leadership positions in both institutions of higher education and public education. Several of the members of the cohort have a significant number of publications, and Frostburg is proud they have chosen our program for their terminal degree.”

For information about enrolling in FSU’s Ed.D. program, offered at the Frostburg and Hagerstown locations, visit www.frostburg.edu/edd/ or call the Office of Graduate Services at 301-687-7053.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu