Students In Eliminated Programs Can Finish Degrees
UDC students react to the board of trustees' decision to eliminate 17 programs.
Students in the 17 programs eliminated in November by the University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees will be given the opportunity to finish their degrees, according to officials. The cuts are part of the administrations 2020 Vision Plan.
Dr. April Massey, acting dean of College of Arts and Sciences who hosted several roundtable discussions, explained that students would be notified of a scheduled meeting to review transcripts, and create a plan to complete their degree.
“We want to assure the students of the university’s legal obligation to teach them out,” she said.
Meanwhile, Tim Allen, a senior in the Masters of Science and Applied Statics program, was satisfied with the explanation. “As we just heard from Dr. Massey, there maybe some changes in the way things happen but basically in the fall of next year; I will graduate”.
If there are not enough students to group together, an adjunct professor will be hired to teach them out or an independent study course can be offered. This will apply to all students enrolled in eliminated programs as of Nov. 19, 2013.
Dr. Massey also explained that the eliminated programs have not been completely erased from the curriculum. Some programs, such as history, will become foundational coursework, which means it may become a part of the general education curriculum and support general coursework for a particular major. She said that the intention is, “…to make history a part of a larger interdisciplinary humanities degree,” but this process will not be in place before 2015.
Meanwhile, Massey said that other programs will be moved into new majors as concentrations. The example given was the eliminated programs in graphic design and mass media. These programs “…will change from a BA [Bachelor of Arts] degree to become a concentration in the new area degree designation of BFA [Bachelor of Fine Arts],” said Massey. Students have the option of continuing with that program, or change their major to a newly reconstituted program.
Dr. Sandra G. Yates, acting dean of the School of Business and Public Administration supports the changes, but feels that students should have been better informed. “They knew that there was a strategic plan, they heard about Vision 20/20, but they also woke up one morning and Channel 5 says, ‘UDC is eliminating 23 majors’,” she explained.
She added that “We had students involved with the Vision 20/20 Plan [but]they were not necessary directed to go back to the student body and share with them.”
UDC’s administration said program eliminations were not based on a perceived weakness or low numbers, but a means to hone in on things the university does well.
The cuts come as part of “right-sizing” measures mandated by the DC Council in May of 2012. As part of UDC’s strategic plan, the administration was also tasked with increasing enrollment by 20% over a six-year period.
According to the university’s Provost, Dr. Rachel Petty, two-thirds of the prospected increase will be targeted for enrollment in the flagship and the other one-third targeted for the community college and law school combined. Dr. Petty explained that the Vision 2020 plan also includes the hiring of an assistant provost who will work to ensure an aggressive marketing and recruiting plan.
“We are currently actively recruiting for this position (Assistant Provost for Enrollment Management) and expect to fill it by mid January. The person selected will oversee recruitment, admissions, financial aid and the registrar. He/she will also work with advancement to market all university program and develop targeted efforts to attract students to under enrolled programs,” she said.
An explanation of the criteria used as well as information related to programs that have been eliminated, concentrated and reconstituted can be found at http://www.udc.edu/docs/bot/Vision2020_InstitutionalEffectivnessPlan_final.pdf.
Alumni Enjoy Success After Graduation
COMELITA PAYTON AT A RECENT FILM FESTIVAL.
University of the District of Columbia (UDC) alumni come from both near and far to attend the nation’s only public land grant university. For two graduates their degree has been a foundation for success in their chosen careers.
After Comelita Payton graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor degree from the Theater of Arts in 2008, her first job was making a commercial for the District of Columbia Department of Health (HIV Awareness Campaign) “Ask for the test.” Aired both locally and on radio stations nationwide, it was just the beginning of a burgeoning career.
Pursuing her dreams of becoming a professional actress, Payton performed in the stage production “Harlem Renaissance Review,” that featured well known actors such as Blair Underwood, star of films such as City of Angels, and Set It Off. She described Underwood as “down to earth;” Jasmin Guy, known for her role on the hit show “A Different World,” and Isaiah Washington also appeared in the review. The production took place at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C.
Payton was also recognized as “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in the local film in ‘Koming Afika’ and for the World Music Independent Film Festival 2013 (WMIFF 2013).
Today she is CEO of her own company, MYVISION Entertainment, works as a actress in films and stage productions, as well as writes screenplays and music lyric. "Graduating from UDC allowed me to gain the knowledge and experience to become a professional working actress which helped me to further my acting career in television commercials, feature films and stage productions," said Payton.
For Jordaania Andima who attended UDC between fall 2007 and fall 2011 and her degree in Mass Media, Journalism landed her a job on Namibia’s top newspaper, The Namibian. She currently works as a senior visual photojournalist. Her goal is to become an international correspondent and photographer for a leading news agency, covering war and disaster related stories.
Andima, an international student, was ecstatic to receive her acceptance letter from UDC. “This affected me a great deal. Not because I got in, but mainly because I was given a chance and an experience to kick start my journalism career with professors who shared the same vision as I did.”
When asked about how her experience at UDC shaped her career path. She said, “I volunteered myself for the editor, photographer, and layout positions. I managed to perfect my skills in all those areas within two years at the university.”
Andima successfully filled her portfolio of writing and photography samples from her internship programs at the Windhoek Observer in Namibia, The Washington Informer in D.C. and from the Free Voice.
She said that photography was her greatest weapon. “Attending UDC opened up the door for me to capture footage on political issues, environmental, protests and human-interest stories.”
She said that right after graduation she was more focused then ever. “I knew I had to get my self out there to land the right job. I had to be proactive.”
Lastly, she said, “Most people think once you graduate all the hard work stops there. Unfortunately for me it didn't. In college I had a great professor who taught me all about the ins and outs of the news industry. As an alumna I can be proud of where I started in life.”
AmericaSpeaks, D.C. Listens
STUDENTS ATTEND "CREATING COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS" SEMINAR.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID GASTON
WASHINGTON, DC – AmericaSpeaks, along with Mayor Vincent Gray, invited the city into an interactive discussion on mental health as it affects our youth, and how communities can support our youth and young adults.
On Oct. 12, over 400 public officials, mental health services providers and advocates, students and city residents packed the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to attend the “Creating Community Solutions” town meeting. Youth made up the majority of attendees at 23 percent, which is intriguing considering this group is only 6 percent of the District’s demographic.
AmericaSpeaks, a DC-based, non-profit organization, provided the format for the discussion, where participants were seated at roundtables and given keypads to select responses that were transmitted to a group of people who then tabulated their responses. Attendees were then encouraged to provide feedback to the responses by way of roundtable discussions. The responses provided such information as: who attended, why they attended and what they expected to get from the discussion.
Kimberly Johnson, project manager of the Department of Behavioral Health’s Office of Programs and Policy said that she thought the format was very well organized and the conference planning team did a great job of keeping attendees engaged. “Responding to the surveys using technology allowed for the results to be processed in real time. This gave everyone an opportunity to see how fellow community members view mental health,” she said.
Regarding the roundtable discussions, Johnson went on to say that, “The experience I had with my group was special. Not only did we have an opportunity to share personal experiences about how we are connected to mental health, but some of us discovered services in the community we never knew existed.” Johnson also felt that there were many rich discussions that made for a fulfilling experience and that they were organically driven by issues important to those sitting at each table.
As a result of this event, an action planning committee has been meeting bi-weekly over the phone and in person to address areas of mental health issues such as stigma, early identification and prevention, access to services, youth engagement, and curricula and programs. Johnson, is on the public awareness campaign team which will address the issue of stigma, and is currently outlining media strategy.
The Aquaponics Project in the Southeast Washington community is one of the programs that will be discontinued in the Agricuture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) Department as a part of UDC’s Vision 2020 Plan.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, world-renowned multicultural visual artist, Synthia SAINT JAMES unveiled her latest painting titled, “The Dream.” The piece is inspired by the infamous words in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
With the holidays coming fast, there are plenty of activities for you and your family to be in the Christmas spirit. From Nov. 29-Jan. 1, excluding Christmas and Christmas eve, from 5-9 p.m. there will be Zoo Lights at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. The National Zoo presents a display of thousands of lights featuring sculptures of the Zoo’s most popular animals, including giant pandas, Asian elephants and more.
The bitter winter season is upon us. If you are like many others and wish to getaway for even a weekend or a little longer, here are a just a few great suggestions of how to escape the cold days of winter and enjoy December as you would July.