Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to the Control Board's main page

Report on the University of the District of Columbia
by the DCFRMA
January 23, 1998




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives

Chapter One – Executive Summary
Chapter Two – Preface
Chapter Three – Introduction
Chapter Four – The Mission of UDC
Chapter Five – Academic Structure
Chapter Six – Governance and Operations

Chapter One - Executive Summary

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is at a crossroads. Established in the 19th century as a small, teachers' college for African Americans, UDC today is a multi-faceted university offering certificates, Associate, Bachelors and Masters degrees. The academic programs include business and public management, education and human ecology, liberal and fine arts, life sciences, physical science, engineering and technology, continuing education, and, most recently, law.

There are different perceptions in the District of Columbia community of what UDC is and what UDC ought to be. For some, UDC is and should be a low cost, open admissions school providing higher education access to low-income urban students likely to be denied other college alternatives. For others, UDC is, and should be, an urban land grant college that is an Historically-Black University created to support the ethnocultural education needs of the African American population. The divergence in thinking about the UDC of the future ranges across the spectrum: some believe that it should be an institution that concentrates on vocational and technical training, others want it to expand into such difficult and competitive areas as bioengineering and aerospace sciences. What is clear is that UDC's academic and research programs have spread beyond the institution's original mission. What is also clear is that there needs to be much greater clarity in what should be the UDC of the future.

Lack of clarity in the mission of the university is not the only problem facing UDC. This institution has had serious financial and management problems. Some of those problems have occurred as a result of the larger financial and management problems confronting the District of Columbia. Other problems have been totally internal. The university's growth has not been effective. Most colleges and universities would be hard-pressed to sustain similar institutional changes without causing significant strains on resources, systems, and outcomes. Therefore, it is no surprise that UDC, a university without the advantages of a highly endowed private university, has been unable to solve many of its problems in the past.

Unfortunately, UDC still has serious problems that must be addressed. The university remains confronted by dwindling appropriated funds, falling revenue despite recent tuition increases, a plummeting student population and persistent management problems. Only recently has the Board of Trustees taken steps to focus on fundamentals and to restructure its academic programs. Even so, their efforts at addressing the 1996 deficit problem were late, causing delay in the beginning of the 1997 school year. That further undermined UDC's credibility. A recent positive sign from the Board and the administration is their recognition that UDC's prior reliance on pleas for more funds is ineffective. They do recognize that restructuring must occur. Untested, however, is the ability of the Board of Trustees and the President of the university to move from confronting only the episodic red ink and operational obstacles to addressing the long-term viability, mission, structure and performance of the university.

Based on a series of reviews of UDC, the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority has concluded that there is a strong present and future requirement for a public university in the Nation's Capital. That university is UDC. The reasons for its basic existence, to serve as a public university for the community of the District of Columbia, remain unchanged. Yet this university cannot successfully exist if it remains the UDC of the recent past – or even the present. UDC needs a period of stability and predictability in which to rebuild its promise of public education. Students seeking a superior education deserve no less. However, public responsibility requires that UDC live within its means and ensure that public funds are effectively spent on programs central to the community's future. There can be no effective public institution of higher education in the District of Columbia without public confidence in UDC's leadership, and in its management and operations.

The Authority has concluded that UDC must revitalize its mission to invigorate the institution of public higher education in the Nation's Capital. Those individuals accountable for the university's viability must strengthen the core mission by which UDC will provide public higher education designed for the community's basic needs. In revitalizing UDC's mission, the Authority urges the university's leadership to focus on the strengths of this unique public institution. UDC should refrain further from fostering a status quo that would distribute all things to all people, or from encouraging further a competition with local private colleges. All university stakeholders should be reminded that, above all else, UDC is –

  • an urban land grant college, one in a class of institutions created to support a local community and its regional attributes;
  • an open admissions, low-cost, university, one in a class of institutions created to ensure equal access to basic higher education for people whose means might otherwise prevent them from obtaining a college degree;
  • an historically-Black University, one in a class of institutions created to support the cultural and educational needs of the African American population.

The future of UDC lies in addressing the core constituencies that the university serves. A revitalized university will focus on programs that respond to community needs, assist residents in improving their educational opportunities, and which prepare students for success in the regional job market. The university's mission is discussed in Chapter Four.

The Authority has concluded that the current academic structure of UDC does not reflect the revitalized mission of the university. UDC should be restructured to better support the university's mission. In the past few years, university officials have begun to streamline the academic structure in an effort to match resources and needs with programs and outcomes. This effort has not been easy to effectuate -- not all UDC stakeholders have been willing partners to change. In fact, we are concerned that not enough change has been forthcoming even in those programs on which the university has focused efforts to date; such change includes the elimination of underutilized programs. Furthermore, many program redundancies remain from the ineffectual merger of the institutions that became UDC. Even beyond the specific changes in programs that might benefit the university's consolidation however, the Trustees and the President have not created a new academic structure that both meets the basic mission of the university community as discussed above, and, simultaneously, ensures the fiscal integrity of the overall institution. Chapter Five further reviews this issue.

The Authority has concluded that UDC must develop a new education environment to support a revitalized mission and the need for a new academic structure. After consideration and review of several models, and based on the criteria discussed above with respect to the university's mission, the Authority recommends that the Trustees and the President of UDC reconfigure the institution. The university's community would benefit from a new emphasis that achieves two critical results. A revitalized structure would strengthen the university's provision of vocational and technical training, remedial education, and courses for the associate level college degree. Greater links to the business community, and to public-private partnerships would be established. It would also enhance and refocus the university's programs for the bachelor's degree. College concentrations would be centered on those areas that facilitate the mission: fundamental educational advancement, urban issues, ethnocultural enrichment, and support for regional job placement. The Authority additionally recommends that the Trustees and President consider the elimination of programs not essential to the institution, including many graduate programs. Core graduate programs of a terminal nature that directly support regional job placement, such as in the Allied Health field, should be retained to facilitate the university's revitalized mission.

With respect to the School of Law, the Authority, in its Report on the District of Columbia Fiscal Year 1996 Budget, stated that the Law School's future should be determined as part of a broader assessment of all offerings at UDC, both undergraduate and graduate. The Authority notes at this juncture that the Congress has directed us by March 1, 1998, to report to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction regarding the accreditation status of the School, and that the Authority shall include in its report recommendations on "whether or not the School should continue to (1) operate and (2) receive funds from the District of Columbia Government." This report is currently being prepared, and will be submitted to the Congress by the required date.

The Authority has concluded that the Trustees and past Presidents of UDC have not always effectively governed and managed the university. Chapter Six discusses the Authority's recommendations for the university to improve the Board's role in governing the institution. It also briefly sets forth criteria for the university's search for a president, and the role of the faculty in UDC's governance. Although problems faced by the university directly result from declining resources, many are demonstrably attributable to inadequate attention to management issues. The Authority recommends that the Trustees and the President avail themselves of this period of restructuring to fundamentally recast UDC's management and operations -- providing for governance of a more focused institution; creating demonstrable board oversight mechanisms; establishing effective outcomes and performance measures for students, staff and faculty; instituting structures of accountability and internal controls that assure public integrity and efficiency; and ensuring a general adherence to the goals of financial and management responsibility.

    An Appendix presents the major findings of the Authority's review.

To accomplish the goals set out in this report, the Authority will require, through a Resolution and Order, that the University by July 1, 1998, provide us with an implementation plan that includes objectives, timetables, and responsible officials who will be held accountable for effectuating specific changes to UDC's mission, structure, academic environment, and management operations.

The Authority is convinced that a properly-structured, effectively-managed, UDC has a central place in the life of the District community. The Authority calls on the Trustees, President and Faculty of the university to ensure that this unique resource -- public higher education in the Nation's Capital -- is not squandered. A combination of vision and responsible governance can still create a place where residents successfully pursue an education and fulfill their dreams for the future.

Back to top of page

Chapter Two – Preface

The University of the District of Columbia was started in 1851 when Myrtilla Miner founded a "school for colored girls". In 1879, Miner Normal School became a part of the public school system. Similarly, Washington Normal School, established in 1873 as a school for white girls, was renamed Wilson Normal School in 1913. In 1929, by an act of Congress, both schools became four-year teachers colleges. After the Supreme Court overturned segregation, the two schools united in 1955 to form the District of Columbia Teachers College. This was the only institution of public higher education in the city.

Years of persistent lobbying for comprehensive public higher education by District residents and others in 1963 caused President John F. Kennedy to appoint a commission to study the District's needs. This panel, called the Chase Commission, found a compelling need for public higher education in the District of Columbia.

The Commission's report stimulated congressional action. Under the leadership of Senator Wayne Morse and Congressman Ancher Nelson, the Public Education Act was enacted in 1966. Two schools were established: Federal City College, whose Board of Higher Education was appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and Washington Technical Institute, whose Board of Vocational Education was appointed by the President of the United States. The mission of both institutions was to serve the needs of the community by directing the resources and knowledge gained through education toward solving urban problems.

Both schools opened their doors in 1968, the year Federal City College and the Washington Technical Institute attained land grant status, more than 100 years after the first Morrill Land Grant College Act was passed by Congress. Washington Technical Institute received accreditation in 1971; Federal City College in 1974.

Although the schools were in their infancy, plans were immediately started for a comprehensive university structure. In 1969, the District of Columbia Teachers College was placed under the jurisdiction of the Board of Higher Education. In 1974, the Board established a joint administrative support system and placed the District of Columbia Teachers College and the Federal City College under a single president.

After Congress granted limited home rule to the District of Columbia, in 1975 it authorized consolidation of the three schools. A new Board of Trustees took office in May, 1976, consisting of 11 members appointed by the Mayor, three appointed by students, and three appointed by alumni associations.

In August, 1977, the Board of Trustees announced the consolidation of the District of Columbia Teachers College, the Federal City College, and the Washington Technical Institute, into the University of the District of Columbia under a single management system. The Board appointed Lisle Carleton Carter, Jr. as the first president of the University.

The consolidation of the university culminated in the establishment of five programmatic colleges -- Business and Public Management; Education and Human Ecology; Liberal and Fine Arts; Life Sciences; and Physical Science, Engineering and Technology - along with the University College, the Continuing Education programs, and several other academic units.

In 1994, a new academic consolidation took effect, resulting in the College of Arts and Sciences, with its School of Arts and Education, and the School of Science and Mathematics; and the College of Professional Studies, which included the School of Business and Public Administration, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

In 1995, the District of Columbia School of Law moved onto the UDC Van Ness campus and merged with the university. The move was intended to reduce the cost of the law school to the city by eliminating over $1 million in rental fees and to remove the law school as a separate line item in the city's budget.

UDC is an Historically Black University and the only Urban Land Grant Institution in the United States. The university offers Certificates, Associates Degrees, Bachelors Degrees, and Masters Degrees. Except for the School of Law, the university is fully accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. UDC maintains an Open Admissions enrollment that allows any freshman student with a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate to be eligible for admission.

Located principally at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C., UDC's physical plant consists of 21 buildings, totaling 1,126,937 square feet. The budget for FY 1997 totaled $75,605,000 including local, federal, private and Intra-District funding.

Back to top of page

Chapter Three -- Introduction

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is at a crossroads. Established in the 19th century as a small, teachers' college for African Americans, UDC today is a multi-faceted university intertwined with the District of Columbia's overall financial and management problems.

The university is the product of a merger of several predecessor institutions designed to provide public higher education in the Nation's Capital. The university's long history of offering higher education to a largely minority population is a source of pride and hope for District residents. UDC, at least in better times, has been a beacon for African Americans seeking equal access to quality higher education and for those who require an alternative to traditional university time frames in order to facilitate their participation.

UDC has many strengths as a public university. Lost in the recent debate about the university's future is that students in many of its programs test well above the national average, and its students are placed effectively in jobs upon graduation. Many UDC graduates, particularly in the allied health fields, are leaders in their specialties in the Washington, D.C. area. The School of Nursing consistently has a waiting list for students seeking program entry.

It should also be noted that UDC has a number of other important attributes. The university has among the lowest prices in the nation for the tuition and fees that it charges students. Its location at a subway stop makes the university accessible to the community from virtually anywhere in the District. UDC's faculty is consistently highly-regarded for the quality of its teaching and student interaction. Remedial courses are offered by the university, and students who leverage these courses tend to succeed at UDC. Likewise, those students who graduate from UDC tend to be successful in finding satisfactory employment.

Nevertheless, the university in recent years has been bedeviled by numerous problems. It is clear that UDC was never fully funded to accomplish its multiple missions - even before serious funding declines during the District Government's financial crisis further eroded the university's ability to provide effective services. Gaps in funding are exacerbated by an absence of effective university integration, and redundancies in both programs and administration make scarce funds even less available. Moreover, considerable mismatches persist between programs and the job market.

In recent years, the university has gone through what can only be called a crisis. Appropriated funds plunged from more than $70 million in 1992 to less than $37 million in 1997. And while per-student prices are well below average, the actual per-student costs are among the highest in the country. Deteriorating finances in the past few years finally culminated in an $18 million deficit for the 1996-1997 school year, which the university handled through furloughs, dismissals, the sale of assets and other actions, to reduce expenditures and raise revenues. That crisis, not surprisingly, has prompted questions about the university's viability, and whether public education has a future in the Nation's Capital.

The last two years, especially, have been very difficult times for UDC. Financial and program instability have caused UDC's enrollment to drop drastically, which in turn has negatively impacted revenues. Enrollment has slid from 11,990 in Fall 1990 to 4,754 in Fall 1997. The absence of adequate funding has also impaired the university's physical plant, which now suffers from some $30 million in deferred maintenance. Students and faculty both attest that, in recent experience, elevators fail, garbage remains uncollected, and equipment goes unrepaired. In the winter of 1997, combined neglect and shortfalls resulted in the university's being cited for safety and fire code violations.

Not surprisingly, the confluence of extensive problems has sapped the morale of UDC's faculty. Many professors have extraordinary loyalty to the university - a large percentage predate the merger of separate colleges into UDC. They have been upset by the subsequent deterioration in facilities, and the reduction in students and revenue. Likewise, the unstable environment and on-going streamlining efforts have produced an atmosphere of uncertain futures. Significant layoffs have occurred, and more are possible as the university continues to make adjustments for aligning programs with the community's needs.

Whether the university is finally beyond the worst of its problems remains to be seen. Confronted by dwindling appropriated funds, falling revenue despite recent tuition increases, a plummeting student population, and persistent management problems, UDC has - belatedly - taken steps to focus on fundamentals and to restructure its academic programs. Begun too late, and not before an operating deficit forced a delay in the school year and further undermined UDC's credibility, the university finally is downsizing. The current administration appears to recognize that UDC's prior reliance on pleas for more funds as a management tool are of limited utility to the University's future, and that a restructuring must occur. Still untested, however, is the ability of the Board of Trustees and the President of the university, for confronting not just the episodic red ink and the short-term operating obstacles, but the long-term viability and structure for UDC's future.

What UDC needs most is a period of stability in which to rebuild on its promise for public higher education in the District. The university must establish a firm funding level, create a strong academic program supported by its mission, and institute a vigorous marketing effort to attract students and faculty that can assure their mutual success. All university stakeholders, the entire District of Columbia community, will benefit from the re-emergence of UDC as a beacon of public education in the Nation's Capital.

Back to top of page

Chapter Four - The Mission of UDC

Organizations are established to accomplish specific purposes, and centers of higher learning are no exception. Any organization, particularly a complex university in the nature of UDC, requires a mission statement. One of the duties of any Board of Trustees, therefore, is to ensure that there exists a compelling and articulate mission statement that conveys a vision of both the strategic context (the long-term view), and the operational issues (more immediate concerns), to guide all stakeholders with respect to the institution's purpose.

A mission statement should define what the organization is, stating its purpose in simple, concise, declarative language. An effective mission statement becomes a fixed standard against which stakeholders may determine what an organization will do, regardless of whether its resources are vast or limited. A mission statement should definitively set out the following: what the institution is (e.g., a public institution of higher education); what the purpose of the institution is, who the constituents of the institution are (who it serves); and what the institution aspires to be.

UDC's most recent mission statement builds on the 1976 Board of Trustees' resolution established at the time of the university's consolidation. The mission statement, in part, reads as follows --

The University of the District of Columbia will strive for excellence in meeting the higher education needs and aspirations of the people of the nation's capital at the lowest possible cost to the student. Towards these ends, the university has established the following goals:

STUDENT ACCESS:  UDC will ensure the legislative entitlement of the residents of the District of Columbia to public post-secondary education.

STUDENT CHOICE:  UDC will offer a variety of programs within its available resources to provide choices for post-secondary education to the residents of the District Of Columbia.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: UDC will seek to provide maximum educational opportunities that will assure the quality of student achievement.

LAND GRANT FUNCTIONS:  UDC will be innovative in translating the traditional land grant functions of teaching, research, and public service in solving urban problems and in improving the quality of urban living in the District of Columbia.

INSTITUTIONAL QUALITY:  UDC will ensure the quality of institutional excellence as determined by tangible achievements.

INSTITUTIONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT :  UDC will continue to grow and develop as a comprehensive university.

ADVANCEMENT OF KNOWLEDGE:  UDC will contribute to the advancement of knowledge at local, national and international levels through traditional and innovative approaches to teaching, research and public service.

Likewise, the University of the District of Columbia School of Law, a separate institution until its 1995 merger with the university, has its own mission statement. That statement, which has not been changed to reflect its merged status, is as follows –

The primary purpose of the District of Columbia School of Law is to provide a sound program of legal education for residents of the District of Columbia and others. Its mission has been further defined in the enabling legislation as follows:

The Board of Governors shall, to the degree feasible, operate the School of Law as a clinical law school committed to representing the legal needs of low-income persons, particularly those who reside in the District of Columbia.

The Board of Governors shall also, to the degree feasible, recruit and enroll students from racial, ethnic, or other population groups that in the past have been underrepresented among persons admitted to the bar in several states and in the District of Columbia.

A review of the existing mission statement finds shortcomings which hamper the effective focus of the institution. Considering the purpose of a mission statement, discussed previously, the existing mission statement is partly limited as follows:

  • Length and inclusion of extraneous information: an organization's mission statement should be brief, at most a paragraph. The existing mission statement contains "background" historical information which is generic to higher education, and not directly related to a definition of UDC.
  • Omission of explicit language that defines UDC: for example, UDC's land grant status is acknowledged by reference rather than declarative statement.
  • Mixing of goals and objectives within the mission: UDC's role as a comprehensive institution is referenced in accompanying goals, but not in the mission statement itself, conversely, while "strengthening intercultural harmony" may be one aspect of an institution's mission, doing so through "fostering an appreciation of… cultural styles" is probably best included as a goal rather than part of the mission.

The absence of an articulate and compelling mission statement defining UDC has delayed, even derailed, the process of merging its predecessor institutions. Without such a statement, the university has witnessed contentious debate over resource allocation, and has clouded its future. The mission statement was characterized in one historical account of the university as "so global it encompassed the universe of higher education." Since the university was formed by the consolidation of three predecessor institutions, the early development of a mission statement was an urgent requirement. That the institution continues to operate without an effective mission statement, or an updated mission statement reflecting changes in the university, was observed in a recent visit by UDC's accrediting body.

The persistent absence of an effective mission statement has been an impediment to the university's development and performance. UDC over time has become an institution without central focus. With little to guide the Trustees, the President or the faculty in structuring and operating the university's programs, academic planning was frequently ad hoc and indulgent. And while budget cuts over time have undermined core programs along with other, less critical courses, the ingrained habit of undisciplined growth frittered away resources on extraneous programs to the detriment of a strong focus on stakeholder needs. UDC's inveterate expansion and subsequent neglect of its mission has weakened the institution overall. Moreover, the absence of a strong mission has contributed to the university's sense of drift in a period of unprecedented turmoil. It is likely that the university's problems might have been addressed more rapidly had UDC adhered to a more defining mission statement, and not attempted to satisfy all manner of requests.

Based on its review of the university, the Authority has concluded that UDC must revitalize its mission to support the needs of public higher education in the Nation's Capital. In revitalizing UDC's mission, the Authority urges the university's leadership to focus programs exclusively on the strengths of this unique public institution.

Certain fundamental elements have always defined UDC. They are:

  • an urban land grant college, one of a class of institutions created to support a local community and its regional attributes;
  • an open admissions, low-cost, university, one of a class of institutions created to ensure equal access to basic higher education for people whose means might otherwise prevent them from obtaining a college degree;
  • an Historically-Black University, one of a class of institutions created to support the ethnocultural education needs of the African-American population.

Although it is not the Authority's role to provide a mission statement for UDC, it offers the following for purposes of illustration and discussion, given the overall recommendation that the institution more tightly focus its mission to serve District stakeholders.

The mission of the University of the District of Columbia, a public University dedicated to the fundamental requirements of higher education, federally chartered as a land grant institution and an Historically Black institution, is to offer quality, post-secondary education options, related to community needs, to the citizens of the District of Columbia under an affordable, open admissions policy.

With respect to the components that make up the university's core mission, perhaps the least appreciated of the three is UDC's status as an urban land grant institution. Federal City College and the Washington Technical Institute, predecessor institutions to UDC, in 1968 attained land grant status, more than 100 years after the first Morrill Land Grant College Act was passed by Congress.

At the time of the founding of UDC, land-grant status clearly carried with it financial benefits. Federal support for land-grant institutions was the principal benefit of the appellation. The primary form of support provided in the first Morrill Act was income from the provision of public lands made available to each state. As an urban land-grant designation, however, the University of the District of Columbia received not land, but an endowment in the amount of approximately $7.2 million. Interest on the endowment provides operating funds for the University. Additionally, annual federal support in the form of ongoing funding (to be matched by UDC) is provided for cooperative extension services and agricultural research.

UDC has not benefited from its land-grant status to the degree that earlier land-grant institutions have. Furthermore, from the standpoint of resource allocation, UDC's land grant status does not provide an increment of funding beyond the local appropriation. Still, this provision is said by UDC's chief financial officer not to represent a financial burden.

Nevertheless, the concept of the land-grants embody powerful political ideals. Their creation revolutionized American education -- "the most significant single representation of the democratization of higher education" reflecting an on-going process of "ever broadening the concept of who should be educated." Similarly, research was "deliberately planned towards utilitarian ends" with the corollary that the "fruits of research should be taken to the people." These democratic ideals and their support of higher education are as compelling now as they were when land-grant institutions were established.

UDC, as the only urban land grant institution in the country, and located in the Nation's Capital, has not effectively supported this element of its mission. The university has a unique opportunity to provide academic leadership and scholarship on pressing matters of urban public policy and governance. UDC should strive to provide programs and services directed at solving problems unique to the next century's cities and, specifically, to the District of Columbia. Working in collaboration with the Federal government, the many research institutions located in Washington, corporations, as well as private institutions and municipal governments, the university should more effectively focus on the community that it is a part of, and which it serves. Such an academic program will not only provide research, funding and scholarly benefit, it will support the urban environment, and it will also provide training and jobs to residents of the District.

With respect to the open admissions policy of the university, this important vehicle for access to higher education has proven successful in educating and graduating students from a wide range of knowledge and skill levels. As the second critical component of the university's mission, an open admissions policy imposes an obligation for UDC to provide and maintain programs that will facilitate students' academic success at all levels of academic preparedness. In today's educational environment throughout the country, and certainly in the District of Columbia, students' academic success usually requires programs of a remedial nature for development of basic reading and mathematics skills. UDC must put further stress on these programs.

The final element of the university's fundamental mission rests with its status as a Historically Black University. This designation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, which maintains a list of such institutions. The designation includes certain types of Federal funding eligibility. UDC's roots as an Historically Black University reach back to Minor Normal School, through the D.C. Teachers College.

The current mission statement does not mention an HBCU designation, although the recent proposed mission statement did reference this status. Furthermore, the restatement associates the HBCU status with a commitment to the ideal of multiculturalism and an emphasis on the cultural heritage of African Americans. Clearly, the reclamation of this identity is integral to the university's heritage, the community's awareness of its place in an historical context, and the ability of UDC to construct academic and research programs that facilitate a greater understanding and leverage of this distinction.

To be sure, the Trustees and President of UDC must consider whether an HBCU designation conveys sufficient inclusiveness appropriate for the only public institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. Further consideration might be given to the inclusion of a strong HBCU focus within the context of a broader institution. Continued discussion of this point, and about UDC's role in strengthening intercultural harmony overall, is an important element to stakeholder claims on the university's future.

Finally, the Authority notes that the fundamental mission of the university, as articulated in the above discussion, reflects a limited cadre of graduate programs. Generally, these programs are not as directly supportive of the urban land grant emphasis, open admissions and low cost access, or HBCU status -- although some, such as in the Allied Health field, may leverage the regional job market. The Trustees and the President, in recognizing that graduate programs are, for the most part, not part of the fundamental mission of the university, must determine whether or not such programs, except for perhaps a few specific exceptions, ought to still be offered in the context of a revised mission for a public institution of higher education.

Back to top of page

Chapter Five -- Academic Structure

Absent an effective mission, the university has evolved academically in a way that is frequently ad hoc and unstructured. UDC is an amalgam of a community college and a university, offering remedial training, vocational and technical education, and the traditional associate's, bachelor's, and graduate degrees.

In 1995, the university recognized that its unstructured growth undermined academic stability and financial health. It also recognized that dwindling resources required actions to sustain education effectiveness. In 1995, the Trustees approved Resolution 95-1, which eliminated and merged a number of UDC's programs. Prior to the resolution, UDC offered 142 programs in five colleges: 123 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Currently, in addition to the law school, UDC offers just 75 academic programs in two colleges: 67 undergraduate programs, and 8 graduate programs. The programs range from Business to Technology to Allied Health to Fine and Performing Arts. However, UDC has not revisited its program review since 1995. There will be little or no progress in the rebuilding of UDC until a complete program review is undertaken and implemented. Classes continue to exist with few students enrolling, further diminishing the University's resources. Student to teacher ratios indicate that teachers are being paid full-time salaries for carrying part-time loads while the types of programs offered are not conducive to the regional job market.

At the associate degree level, the University awards both the Associate of Applied Science (A. A. S.), which is designed for immediate employment upon completion, and the Associate of Arts (A.A.), which is considered the first two years of a bachelor's degree. Nineteen of 22 associate programs award the A.A.S., ranging from Mortuary Science to Legal Assistant. Twenty-one of the baccalaureate programs are in the arts and sciences, such as Art, Political Science, History, and Physics, and 24 are in professional studies, including Accounting, Nursing, and Electrical Engineering. At the master's level, programs in English, Business, Psychology, Counseling, and Speech are offered along with English Composition and Rhetoric, and Mathematics. The academic programs at all degree levels are organized within the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

With the consolidation of the District of Columbia's Teachers College, the Washington Technical Institute and the Federal City College in 1976, the University of the District of Columbia evolved into a tripartite structure rather than a unified whole. Most reviews of the university acknowledge an ineffective merger of the predecessor institutions.

The consolidation allowed the University to address an area of frequent criticism - an abundance of administrative staff. Positions were eliminated, including deans and assistant deans from within the five schools. The emergence of two colleges also allowed some physical consolidation by housing the offices for the two colleges within two separate buildings.

However, the consolidation also appears to have been inconsistent. Academic areas were grouped together randomly, often without regard to their previous location, creating a programmatic structure that is confusing for students and the general public. Critics objected to the consolidation plan, the most serious of which was that faculty were not consulted in the process of assigning academic areas into the two colleges. Many opined that the consolidation necessitated faculty cuts to achieve lower expenditures, but that the consolidation's implementation did not adequately consider program quality and mission. This resulted in departments that have been split within and between the two colleges losing their identity and their unified voice in the resource allocation process.

Furthermore, faculty contend that the claims of reduced administrative staffing due to the consolidation are untrue. Many individuals whose positions were eliminated continue to work at UDC, but in different capacities or under different job titles. By partially implementing a consolidation plan in response to fiscal limitations, the operational and academic structure of UDC has become even further fragmented. As a result, the restructuring has had only limited success in reducing redundancies or eliminating programs that are either underutilized or which do not directly relate to the university's mission.

Program fragmentation is illustrated in the small number of degrees conferred for many programs at the bachelor and graduate degree level. For example, out of 67 offered undergraduate programs, only 19 programs produce an average of 10 or more graduates each year. Computer science, accounting and business management, degrees that are expected to fulfill some of the fastest growing occupations in the region, produced an average of 30 graduates annually. At the graduate level, only three out of eight programs produced an average of 10 or more graduates a year, with the remaining five programs producing an average of five or less graduates a year.

Even after its restructuring, the university clearly offers too many programs for which it, and its students, obtain too little as a result. The university can not afford to offer degrees for which so little demand exists, or for which the mission of UDC is not suited. In continuing to restructure its existing organization, the Trustees and the President should give greater emphasis to aligning programs and demand. The university, in the future, will succeed only to the extent that it more fully recognizes and responds to the shifting financial and performance implications of its programmatic structure.

As the university considers a revitalized mission, a better understanding of the stakeholders, and the community being served, is critical to UDC's future effective approach to academics. With respect to performance outcomes, it is incumbent upon UDC to identify and understand the characteristics and requirements of the stakeholders it serves - and to integrate them with the university's mission.

A recent review of the student environment indicates the following:

UDC serves a non-traditional student body.

The average student at the University of the District of Columbia is black, female, older, is a resident of the District of Columbia, a graduate of the District of Columbia Public Schools, is taking at least one course in the evening, and is attending on a part-time basis.

Moreover, according to enrollment figures for Fall, 1996:

  • 70% of the undergraduate and 60% of the graduate population are residents of the District of Columbia;
  • UDC serves a predominantly minority population. 72% of the students are African American, 3% are Hispanic, 3% are Asian, 3% are White, and 19% comprise other races and ethnicities, including Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and non-resident aliens. UDC's student population is comparable to that of other Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • 43% of UDC students attend classes solely during the daytime, leaving 57% who attend at least one evening or weekend course. Nearly one-third of the entire UDC student body (32%) attend only in the evening, and 25% attend courses both during the day and the evening.

The UDC School of Law serves a substantially different student population than the rest of the University.

The average student attending the School of Law is African American, male, 31 years of age, and not a resident of the District of Columbia. According to enrollment figures for Fall, 1996:

  • 44% of the students enrolled in the School of Law are residents of the District of Columbia, a decrease from 57% since Fall 1991;
  • The School of Law serves white and minority populations almost equally. About 49% of the students are Black, 41% are White, and 10% are from other ethnic origins.

Enrollment at UDC has fallen significantly over the last 15 years.

Enrollment at UDC has decreased from a high of 15,000 full-time students in the academic year 1979-1980 to a new low of approximately 4,000 full-time students in the 1996-1997 academic year. This is a decrease of more than 10,000 students in 17 years. While a slightly fluctuating enrollment is natural for an institution like UDC, the precipitous decrease in enrollment is significant -- and alarming. The declining enrollment in the last few years can be attributed, in part, to the increased public awareness of the University's fiscal problems, and the probable affect that such an adverse and unpredictable situation could have on students' academic future. Additionally, this sizable drop off in students may be attributed to the combination of several factors: increased tuition to offset appropriation declines, the delayed start of the 1996 Fall semester, and negative publicity concerning the university's overall situation. This presents a very unstable environment for academic and research efforts, which has, in turn, contributed to the significant decline in students and tuition.

UDC's Enrollment - Academic Years 1979-1997 (in millions)

The drop in enrollment continues a steady trend that began in 1981, when the university enrolled 14,115 students. In 1994 a precipitous decline in enrollment began, from a Fall enrollment of 10,599 to 7,464 in 1996 -- a 30 per cent decrease in two years. Although little independent research has been conducted to verify it, one can safely assume that a major factor in the decline results from students who have decided to no longer attend UDC because of the university's turmoil. Another factor, however, is probably that UDC is not attracting an adequate number of new students to maintain enrollment. For instance, in Fall, 1994 and 1995, the number of new entering freshmen was 1,731 and 1,286, respectively, which is insufficient to sustain, let alone increase, current enrollment. This is particularly relevant because of the high number of part-time students and the low retention rate of new students.

Remediation is a major element of the academic enterprise at UDC.

The open admissions policy at UDC, laudatory for its goals, nevertheless contributes to a situation in which many entering students lack certain basic skills. Many of the students who attend the university have not been part of an academic environment for several years, or are academically under prepared for college, and, thus, require developmental/remedial classes. This trend mirrors recent patterns throughout the nation, in which colleges and universities are finding that many prospective students lack the basic skills necessary to succeed in college.

Absent effective alternatives, UDC has assumed the responsibility for helping these students gain the skills necessary to succeed in college and the job market, by providing them with developmental/remedial courses in English, reading and mathematics. According to a 1995 university review, inadequate preparation requires that 89% of entering students take a course entitled "English Fundamentals," 46% need "Reading Improvements," 47% require "Basic Mathematics," and 39% need to take "Introductory Algebra."

Currently, all entering freshmen students are required to take the Freshmen Placement test before they are permitted to register for courses. Students requiring remediation take courses designed to improve reading development skills, specifically in phonics, analytical reading, and speed training; improve writing, spelling, and grammar skills; strengthen skills in arithmetic; or improve mathematical skills in elementary algebra. Approximately three out of four entering students take at least one remedial course.

Remediation at UDC

However, because the university does not require that students take all the remedial courses that they need, actual enrollment levels are significantly lower than what is necessary. Thus, only 46% of students in the Fall of 1995 took "English Fundamentals," 15% took "Reading Improvements," 44% took "Basic Mathematics," and 20% took "Introductory Algebra." This means that a significant number of students with identified remedial or developmental needs are not taking the necessary courses, and may be limiting their education opportunities. This, in turn, contributes to UDC's low student retention and graduation rates. At a basic level, one must question the university's commitment to remedial education: the courses are not requirements despite the obvious need and the university's recent faculty cuts disproportionately reduced instructors for these courses.

Student retention at UDC is low, and students take longer to complete their degrees than students at other institutions.

The university's own research on retention and time-to-degree rates indicates serious concerns about the students' abilities to persist and complete a degree or certificate program. Total graduation in recent years has remained steady at 9%.

Several factors may contribute to the university's low retention and graduation rates, including: negative publicity about the institution's future; the developmental remedial needs of individual students; the lack of class attendance policies; the enrollment of students who do not have a degree or certificate goal, and students who enroll on an irregular basis.

As noted previously, many students need developmental/remedial help, but they are not required to take these classes. Unfortunately, many of these students will struggle with the material in the courses they do choose to take. Frequently, they do not complete the course requirements. Research also determined that the course burden of some students may not match their skill set. A study of student enrollment from 1987 to 1993 indicates that only 18% of the students who enrolled for 12 or more credit hours received the credits. The study concluded that these students may be taking on more than they can handle, and that they may not be receiving adequate academic counseling.

To be sure, some students do not attend UDC with the intent of earning a degree or certificate. Instead, these students want to take one or two courses to improve their job skills, or for avocational purposes. Also, some student are unable to attend the university on a regular basis. These students have obligations outside the classroom that may prevent them from enrolling in consecutive semesters. As a result, these students take significantly longer to earn their degrees or achieve other academic goals.

The completion of an academic program is necessary to meet graduation requirements. Degrees awarded trends for the 1996 academic year showed that-

  • In continuing programs at the master's level, programs in Business Administration, Counseling, and Public Administration produced an average of 10 or more graduates a year, while Clinical Psychology, Mathematics, English Composition and Rhetoric, and Mental Health generated an average of less than 5 graduates annually;
  • Nineteen bachelor's degree programs generated an average of 10 or more graduates per year, with Computer Science, Accounting, and Business Management producing an average of over 30 graduates annually. In contrast, there are 19 bachelor's programs that averaged less than 5 graduates a year;
  • Seven associate degree programs produced an average of more than 10 graduates annually, with Nursing generating the most. Eleven programs averaged less than 5 graduates annually.

Number of Degrees Awarded in Academic Year 1996

Total Number of Programs Number of Programs with 10 Degrees Awarded or Less Number of Programs with 5 Degrees Awarded

or Less

Graduate Degrees 9 7 4
Bachelor Degrees 47 30 22
Associate Degrees 22 15 12
Certificates/Diplomas 5 3 3
Total Degrees 83 55 43

In four-year colleges and universities nationally, approximately 50% of first-time, full-time students graduate in five years and approximately 60% graduate in six years. These rates vary depending on the type of higher education institution. The proportion of students who successfully complete the freshman year and continue on to the sophomore level provides important information regarding the persistence of students to graduation. Students who return to the institution as sophomores significantly increase their chances of finally graduating. Of the 526 first-time, full-time freshmen who enrolled at UDC in Fall 1994, 229 --44%-- returned the second year. In Fall 1995, 418 first-time, full-time students attended, yet only 148 -- 35 % -- became sophomores. What remains unclear, however, is how much of the decline can be traced to a fall off in student persistence, and how much is attributable to the university's overall problems.

Time to Baccalaureate Degree Completion at

UDC and Peer Institutions, 1995-96

4 Years 5 Years 6 Years

There does not appear to be a clear connection between UDC's academic program and local labor market needs.

As discussed, one element of the university's core mission is to provide education and research that addresses the needs of the urban environment. This mission should also support the local labor market needs, so that students graduating from the District of Columbia's public institution are prepared for jobs in this region. While the institution seems to be providing some of the local labor market needs of the District of Columbia in fields such as health services and marketing, it appears to be deficient in other areas.

In analyzing the future demand for local jobs that UDC graduates might target, we utilized national data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regarding occupational growth from 1994 to 2005. Since UDC graduates obtain jobs throughout a broad geographic region--including D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia -- an analysis of regional job growth trends would be ideal. However, because consistent data on job growth by education and training level/ category is not maintained on a state-by-state basis, national data have been utilized as a proxy for the regional data. An analysis of available information from Maryland and D.C. indicate that these national data are broadly representative of likely regional trends. The analysis is based on biannual BLS data that addresses job growth, or decline, for each of the 513 occupations identified in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. BLS assigns each occupation to one of 11 different education and training categories, ranging from "work experience" and "short-term on the job training" to "master's degree" and "doctorate degree." According to BLS, the education and training category represents the average amount of training/education needed to effectively complete the tasks required for that occupation.

Overall, the data indicate that the greatest job growth between 1994 and 2005 will occur for individuals with some form of post-secondary education. According to BLS, this is particularly true for jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree. These jobs are projected to grow by an average of 23%, or about twice the level for occupations requiring less education and training.

Of the seven fastest growing jobs requiring a bachelor's degree, UDC offers only one program, a BS. in Computer Science. UDC currently offers a program for three of the five fastest growing jobs requiring an associate's degree. These are paralegals, respiratory therapists, and radiological technicians. UDC currently does not offer programs in the other two occupational areas, medical records technicians and dental hygienists.

Fastest Growing Occupations

with Associate Degrees, 1994-2005

Fastest Growing Occupations

with Bachelor Degrees, 1994-2005

Of the five fastest growing jobs in the "experience plus BA/BS or more" category, UDC currently offers four programs. These are:

  1. engineering, math and natural science managers;
  2. marketing, advertising, and public relations managers;
  3. financial managers; and
  4. artists/commercial artists.

UDC does not currently offer a program in the other occupational category--personnel, training, and labor relations managers. However, students receiving a B.B.A in Business Management might qualify for jobs in this field. UDC currently offers a program for three of the five fastest growing jobs requiring a master's degree. These are speech-language pathologists and audiologists, counselors, and teachers and instructors. UDC does not currently offer programs to train operations research analysts or management analysts.

Slowest Growing Occupations

Two of the five slowest growing occupations requiring an associate's degree, electrical technicians, electronic technicians, and engineering technicians, are in fields where UDC currently offers a degree.

Of the slowest growing occupations requiring a bachelor's degree, UDC currently offers programs in two of the occupational fields: purchasing agents and reporters/correspondents, Of the slowest growing jobs in the "experience plus BA/BS or more" category, only one occupation--purchasing managers--is currently addressed by a UDC academic program, the B.B.A. in Procurement and Public Contracting. However, given the regional job market's continuing need for procurement professionals, graduates of UDC's Procurement and Public Contracting program are more likely to secure employment in this field.

Overall, these data indicate that only a few of UDC's programs are targeted on projected labor market needs. However, the projections also indicate that graduates of some current programs are likely to have fewer job prospects because of low job market demand. Furthermore, the data suggest that UDC may want to consider adding new programs in occupational fields where job growth will be fastest, assuming that these programs are consistent with the university's mission, and with the regional market's specific needs, such as the hospitality field.

The Authority has concluded that the current academic structure of UDC does not reflect the mission requirements of the university. UDC's academic organization should be restructured to better support the university's mission. It is evident that, with respect to the current academic structure, the university is poorly aligned with the characteristics of the student population and the projections of the labor market. Many programs do not produce effective outcomes, others do not reflect labor market trends. The characteristics of the student population point to needs that are not being fully met, including enhanced remediation requirements, and patterns that indicate a greater need for community college type support activities.

Furthermore, in taking a revitalized mission into consideration, the university will have to bring even greater focus to the academic structure to ensure that outcomes reflect community needs. The Trustees and the President must create a new academic structure that both meets the basic mission of the university community, and simultaneously ensures the fiscal integrity of the overall institution.

While there are some generalities to higher education delivery in the United States, all institutions attempt to structure themselves to meet the needs of their unique student population. As part of the review of UDC, and supported by the need for a revitalized mission, the Authority researched five potential models or variations of models from which ideas or lessons learned might be useful in developing a new model for UDC. Additionally, the Authority examined other approaches for the university to provide public education to the City's population.

Model Selection

In selecting five models identified in this report, the Authority first considered more than ten potential models or variations of models. While valuable information might have been forthcoming from any educational delivery model, the Authority considered approaches likely to deliver education to the majority of UDC students. At UDC, education is currently provided from a remedial level through graduate school. However, since a majority of the students never undertake graduate level studies, the Authority chose models which allowed for education at all levels in some instances but, in others, focused more on remedial education needs, the first two years, or the delivery of education to two diverse student populations. For each model, a case study institution was also identified in order to obtain actual current information about an institution offering programs similar to a particular model.

The models selected are defined below:

Model 1 Remedial to Masters University offering remedial, associate, bachelor and minimal graduate programs, including liberal arts programs.
Model 2 Certificate to Masters University offering associate, bachelor and minimal graduate programs, including liberal arts programs. No remedial programs.
Model 3 Remedial to Bachelors University offering associate and bachelor programs with remedial bridge program between high school and college.
Model 4 Community College Community College with remedial and associate degree programs.
Model 5 Two Track Programs Institution with two tracks, technical training/associate degrees or associate/bachelor degree programs.

The Authority has concluded that UDC must develop a new education environment to support a revitalized mission and the need for a new academic structure. After consideration and review of the models discussed above, and based on criteria discussed earlier in this report with respect to the university's mission, the Authority recommends that the Trustees and the President of UDC reconfigure the institution.

The university's community would benefit from a new emphasis that achieves two critical results. A new structure would strengthen the university's provision of vocational and technical training, remedial education, and courses for the associate-level college degree. It would also enhance and refocus the university's programs for the bachelor's degree. College concentrations would be centered on those areas that facilitate the mission: basic educational improvement, urban issues, ethnocultural enrichment, and support for regional job placement. The Authority additionally recommends that the Trustees and President consider abolishing programs not essential to the institution, including most graduate programs.

It is evident that UDC must change its educational emphasis in order to support a revitalized mission and a new academic structure that better serves the university community. The Trustees and President must recognize that the UDC of the past - a multifaceted university center mirroring its private counterparts - can not be sustained. The period in which UDC can provide an education in virtually any field is over. Instead, the university will pursue a narrower, but still necessary, niche in educating District residents who require a more flexible educational alternative.

In structuring a new model for the university, the Trustees and President should remain cognizant of the major requirements of UDC's revitalized mission, the characteristics of its student body, and the dimensions of the emerging job market. The combination of these elements, in the context of the financial environment, provide a direction for the university's future.

The Authority recommends that the Trustees and the President redesign the university's academic structure, utilizing the following principal components critical to the needs of the community:

  • remedial and developmental instruction;
  • technical/vocational skills structured on the community college model;
  • limited baccalaureate programs devoted to regional job market requirements, and supported by general undergraduate education requirements;
  • selected terminal graduate programs, as required to leverage the regional job market in cases where bachelor's degrees are insufficient.

A brief discussion of these elements follows:

Remedial and Developmental Instruction

Remedial and developmental instruction is a critical need of the university community. Despite this critical need, only a portion of the students who should take these courses actually enroll. For instance, although a 1995 university review indicates that 89 per cent of incoming students needed to take a course in English fundamentals, only 46 per cent actually took the course. Similar statistics describe the case for reading and mathematics. It is clear that persistence and graduation rates at the university, unacceptably low, reflect inadequate preparation for higher education. The nature of the university, with its mission of open admissions, certainly contributes to this situation.

The majority of students enrolled at UDC are a product of the D.C. Public Schools. The Authority, in November, 1996, changed the management structure of the Public Schools in order to improve education and safety at the schools. Improving educational outcomes will take time, but efforts to obtain better scores in such basics as reading, math and English are already underway.

Creating a school environment that provides an effective and complete education to District children is the primary goal of the Public School system. For the foreseeable future, however, many children graduating high school are not likely to have all the skills necessary for being successful at the college level. This means that the university, like it or not, must continue to augment the skills of college-age students to ensure that the community and the individuals obtain the best possible educational outcomes. To be sure, universities in a perfect world would have no role to play in the basic education of young people - the public schools would achieve these ends on their own. And with effective change in the D.C. Public School system, UDC and other regional schools will find themselves with fewer obligations in remedial education, and more opportunity to focus on traditional college teaching goals.

In the meantime, universities - and UDC in particular - must play a greater role in remediation and developmental instruction. In a university of open admissions, especially, it remains incumbent upon the institution to support the students at whatever skill level for which they are prepared. Thus, remediation is central to the mission of an open admissions institution. UDC must provide sufficient support to remediation programs so that students quickly attain proficiency in basic fundamentals. Thus, remediation and developmental instruction should become the foundation on which students can to build an academic future, and not -- as it is today -- just a programmatic option for students to consider.

In fostering renewed emphasis on remediation, the university must ensure that all students who need help with basic fundamentals receive it. Remediation should serve as a bridge to students who wish to achieve a higher level of education but for whom the public school system did not adequately prepare them. No student at UDC is likely to be successful, either in educational or job-related endeavors - unless they can effectively master the fundamentals of education. The university should expand its program in remediation and developmental instruction, and require that students who do not meet a certain standard take appropriate remedial instruction. The university should hire suitable instructors for such courses, and not utilize, as in the past, full professors to teach these classes.

The university has a strong mission in the programs that make up the vocational and technical training aspects of UDC. In many ways, the vocational and technical parts of UDC's academic structure resemble the mission and educational offerings of a community college. Programs are designed for students who seek licenses, certificates and associate degrees in such areas as printing, legal assistance, and computer operations.

The Trustees and President must recognize that the vocational and technical programs are vital to the mission of the university, in that they directly support educational outcomes impacting the local job market. The university should seek as much as possible to leverage these programs to help provide students the education necessary for competing effectively in the job market. Community colleges traditionally help students to bridge the world from childhood to productive adulthood, to provide access to pragmatic educational alternatives, and to directly support the needs of local labor markets.

The university has been recognized for doing a credible job in meeting the community college functions of its mission, although focus in additional areas critical to the local labor market would benefit students and the region as a whole. Indeed, as many of these labor areas are growing faster than the national average, and may provide the greater opportunities for productive work in the future, the Trustees and President should consider expanding this program. The discussion in the previous chapter of this report, regarding the labor market's prospects in the coming years, provides a point of departure for university officials seeking to better leverage UDC's mission to the needs of the university community.

The portion of the university's academic structure most in need of reform is its baccalaureate programs. Despite the important and partly successful effort of UDC to streamline these programs, and to eliminate redundancies during the recent financial crisis, there still exists too many courses that have not been consolidated as part of the merger, or which, for various reasons, are misaligned to the university's needs. Moreover, many of the bachelor's programs do not reflect the revitalized mission of the university.


As part of its implementation plan required under the Authority's resolution and order, the Trustees and President should consider an immediate top-to-bottom review of all courses, programs, and departments that are part of the undergraduate education structure of the university. The goal of such a review is to align all programs with the mission of the university, as well as to finally effectuate the merger, to rightsize programs, and to eliminate redundancies. The review would establish criteria by which courses and programs would be examined and approved, and all offerings would be required to fit within the core mission of the university. Those courses which do not fit the university's fundamental educational efforts, consistent with a public institution, should be eliminated.


At the same time, the university should ensure an effective academic structure for students aspiring to broaden their higher education experience. UDC should provide directed opportunities for students completing the vocational/technical program, or the associate's degree, to utilize those educational credits toward the bachelor's programs. In the same way that remedial programs can act as a bridge to achieving wider education goals, so, in appropriate circumstances, can students earning certificates and two-year degrees incorporate their existing education into advanced degrees.

In focusing on its review of all undergraduate programs and departments, the university should:

  • effectively integrate merged programs that, to date, remain redundant, isolated or unincorporated into the university's mission;
  • rightsize programs - require that programs meet certain mission and performance criteria, including set graduation rates, in order to continue in existence. Those programs which graduate few students should be eliminated or, at the very least, downsized and combined with other programs.
  • significantly reduce the number of bachelor's programs available, to reflect the university's revitalized mission. Programs should specifically focus on those fields that support the urban environment, leverage the regional job market, or support the other mission priorities of UDC. For the most part, these programs are likely to be B.S. degrees rather than B.A. degrees.
  • structure a program of educational support, consisting of selected liberal arts courses, to round out students' core programs.

This review should commence as soon as possible, and an implementation plan provided to the Authority no later than July 1, 1998. Implementation of the approved plan should begin no later than the 1998 academic year. Students enrolled in programs that are downsized would be provided a set time period in which to finish their requirements.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at UDC, and the School of Law, must also be evaluated. The Trustees and President, in reviewing graduate programs, must hold such programs to a higher standard with respect to the university's mission. Essentially, few graduate programs are likely to meet the standards of the university's mission. Only those programs where leverage to the regional job market is required, or which directly serve the urban community in the context of this public institution's academic purpose, should be continued. Thus, for instance, the Authority expects that Master's degrees in the Allied Health fields may be candidates for continuation, but Master's in Fine Arts may not meet the university's mission.

With respect to the School of Law, the Authority, in its Report on the District of Columbia Fiscal Year 1996 Budget, stated that the Law School's future should be determined as part of a broader assessment of all offerings at UDC, both undergraduate and graduate. The Authority notes at this juncture that the Congress has directed us by March 1, 1998, to report to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction regarding the accreditation status of the School, and that the Authority shall include in its report recommendations on "whether or not the School should continue to (1) operate and (2) receive funds from the District of Columbia Government." This report is currently being prepared, and will be submitted to the Congress by the required date.

The review of graduate programs should commence as soon as possible, and an implementation plan provided to the Authority no later than July 1, 1998. Implementation of the approved plan should begin no later than the 1998 academic year. Students enrolled in programs that are downsized would be provided a set time period in which to finish their requirements.

UDC Cost Analysis

In order to perform a detailed cost analysis of UDC operating under a revitalized mission and structure, the Authority required certain information:

  • Accurate enrollment projections;
  • Accurate budget projections (including capital);
  • Determined set of programs/disciplines; and
  • Accurate demographic projections.

However, because UDC does not have this information readily available, substitutions and approximations must be utilized instead. For the purposes of this analysis, the Authority has estimated costs based on UDC's fiscal year 1996 actual expenditures, and national averages of costs per student at the community college and bachelor level. We have also determined a desirable spending level based on national average costs of providing institutional support, student services, academic support and maintenance of facilities for four-year public institutions.

Costing assumptions that are specific to UDC include:

  • Substantially more money would be required to fulfill the university's role as a full-fledged land grant institution;
  • In the foreseeable future, public higher education in the District will not be appropriated more than $40 million - and probably less;
  • UDC would continue to offer associate degrees, mostly in applied fields, a limited number of baccalaureate (also mostly applied) and a few terminal masters degrees;
  • Graduate programs would be self-supporting;
  • Federal student aid would continue for about 2/3 of UDC's full time students or about 1/8 of UDC's total enrollment; and
  • UDC has major capital costs associated with modernization and repair of physical plant and equipment.

Price, Cost and Comparisons

For purposes of this report, "price" refers to the price a student would pay, or tuition, to attend UDC. "Cost" refers to the amount of money UDC spends to provide higher education services to individual students.

In the 1996-1997 academic year, UDC's tuition (price) was $1,502 for a full time student. The national average price for a four year public institution was $2,966 and the comparable figure for public community colleges was $1,394. In the 1996-1997 academic year, when UDC had 3,384 full time equivalent students, Fall and Spring semesters combined, educational and general expenditures per FTE student were $21,132, while the national average for four-year public institutions was $11, 154. Thus, UDC has one of the highest costs per student in the nation, and one of the lowest prices per student. The following graphs show the disparity in UDC's price per student and cost per student, as measured against the national average of four-year institutions:

UDC's Price and Cost Per Student v.

National Averages of 4 Year Public Institutions

Enrollment. Universities tend to base their funding needs on enrollment trends. However, UDC does not forecast enrollment further than the next semester. For purposes of this report, we looked at enrollment trends from the 1990 Fall semester to the 1997 Fall semester.

For future use, we can expect that as enrollment at UDC declines, so will its budgetary needs. Expenditures per student will drop somewhat as a result of the UDC's past year budget cuts, but mostly because there has been a significant drop in enrollment.

UDC's Fall Enrollment Trends, 1990-1997

It is clear that UDC has seen a significant drop in enrollment over the past seven years. As their enrollment has decreased, so has the university's local appropriation and total budget.

Price. It is also important to look at student demographic data when determining a price for UDC students. Three-fourths of UDC's students are part-time and three-fifths are working adults over the age of 24, suggesting that UDC cannot increase fees at a significant rate. Indeed, this year's higher substantial drop in enrollment is a function of the fee increase imposed by UDC last year. Many of UDC's students are taking less than a half-time load and are thus not eligible for Federal student aid. Also, there are a substantial number of non-U.S. citizens that are not eligible for Federal student aid. Hence, raising the price of UDC is not the answer to its fiscal problems. In fact, increasing the price of attending UDC decreases enrollment, and, therefore, funding.

Based on past enrollment trends, UDC should set price initially as a percentage of educational costs per student. In the future years, the price would rise not as a proportion of costs, but rather in relation to changes of median family income in the District. Price per associate student should be lower, reflecting lower operational costs, while the price per bachelor student should be increased. The price for non-resident students should be at least double or triple that of a student from the District.

Programs. UDC's tax dollar support, based on the fiscal environment, can not exceed its current local appropriation. Thus, it is quite clear that the present range of academic programs is not sustainable. To continue as a baccalaureate institution, UDC will need further substantial reductions in its offerings, concentrating on those fields in which graduates would have a likely market. A high level of remediation will need to be retained for the foreseeable future, with limited bachelor and graduate programs. As mentioned previously, analyses can be utilized in terms of cost effectiveness of existing programs, but it will not be possible in the future to offer 67 undergraduate and 8 graduate programs. The mission realignment, combined with fiscal stricture, dictate substantial further reductions in an institution which, as recently as two years ago, had nearly 150 programs.

For UDC to survive within the existing fiscal constraints, it needs a combination of a better image, higher quality, fewer programs, and sustained marketing and outreach. To be successful, however, the university must repair its faltering infrastructure. Based on current capital requests, this will call for $7 to $10 million in the short-run, and as much as $30 million over a longer period of time.

Methodology and Cost Analysis

The methodology used to determine a desirable spending level includes the following steps:

  • determine UDC's actual expenditures for the past fiscal year (for purposes of this report fiscal year 1996 actual expenditures were used) by instruction, institutional support, academic support, student services, and physical plant;
  • calculate expenditures per full time student for each category listed above using determined actual expenditures and the number of enrolled full-time students for that fiscal year (for purposes of this report, total full-time enrollees for the 1996 Spring and Fall semester were used);
  • determine the national average per full-time student, including associate and bachelor programs; and
  • calculate UDC's forecasted expenditures based on the national average expenditure per full-time student multiplied by the total full-time enrollees for the 1996 Spring and Fall semesters.

Expenditures Based on National Averages, by Category


1996 Actual Expenditures

Expenditures Per Full Time Student National Average Expenditure Per Full Time Student UDC's Expenditures Based on National Averages Per Full Time Student
Instruction 37,162,511 10,982
- Associate 4,500 8,729,000
- Bachelor 9,000 10,561,200
Institutional Support 9,529,095 2,816 1,208 4,087,876
Academic Support 9,762,113 2,885 2,196 7,432,502
Student Services 2,465,460 729 439 1,486,500
Physical Plant 12,591,427 3,721 701 10,000,000*
TOTAL $71,510,606 $40,810,578

*Physical Plant costs include current capital request of $7.9 million.

As stated earlier, price per full-time associate student should be about half of a bachelor student. Hence, the national average for a full-time associate student is calculated as $1,200, while a full-time bachelor student's price is $2,400. The total number of UDC students taking associate degree classes in the 1996 Spring and Fall semesters was multiplied by $1,200 per student and the total number of UDC students enrolled in bachelor programs was multiplied by $2,400. Total revenue (coming from price per student) is determined by adding associate revenue to bachelor revenue. As mentioned earlier, graduate degrees should be self-supporting. Therefore, graduate students should pay at least twice the price of a bachelor student

Although we mention price differentiations between resident and non-resident students, we have calculated overall revenue as if every full-time student was a District resident. Since this is not apparently so, UDC should expect more revenue than stated here. Hence, the total costs of operating UDC under a new model may be overstated.

Revenue Per Full Time Student, by Discipline Level

Number of

Full Time Students

National Average Price Per

Full Time Student

Total Revenue Per

Full Time Student

Associate Programs 2030 $1,200 per student 2,436,000
Bachelor Programs 1354 $2,400 per student 3,249,600
TOTAL 3384 $5,685,600

Revenue projections were determined for part-time students using the same methodology as full-time students. The same assumption for non-resident students apply.

Revenue Per Part-Time Student, by Discipline Level

Number of

Part Time Students

National Average Price Per Part Time Student Total Revenue Per Part Time Student
Associate Programs 6091 $600 per student 3,654,600,
Bachelor Programs 4061 $1,200 per student 4,873,200
TOTAL 10152 $8,527,800

Total costs were determined by taking the total expenditures to operate a revitalized UDC minus revenues from full-time and part-time enrolled students. We estimate that a desirable spending level is approximately $27 million.

Total Expenditures and Revenue

Total Expenditures $40,810,578

Less Full Time Tuition 5,685,600

Less Part Time Tuition 8,527,800

TOTAL COSTS $26,597,178

Back to top of page

Chapter Six -- Governance and Operations

Chapter Six outlines difficulties and obstacles of the university to engage in responsible governance. The Authority recommends that Trustees and the President avail themselves of this period of restructuring to fundamentally recast UDC's management and operations -- to ensure that the university can effectively provide governance to accomplish the revitalized mission of UDC. This includes creating a strong education delivery system, demonstrable board oversight mechanisms, the creation of effective outcomes and performance measures for students, staff and faculty; instituting structures of accountability and internal controls that assure public integrity and efficiency; and a general adherence to financial stewardship.

UDC's Appointed Board of Trustees

The Authority has concluded that the Board of Trustees has not always been effective in the execution of fundamental duties of trustees, nor in protecting and advancing the interests of the university. Therefore, the Trustees' first duty must be to provide more effective governance to guide the university's successful revitalization.

An appointed Board of Trustees remains the best structure from which the university can implement effective governance, particularly in light of the recommended changes for UDC. Typically, the appointed university board provides for the inclusion of individuals who are both well-qualified and bring balance and diversity to the Board as a whole. Frequently, this is not the case with boards which are elected or constituted through other means.

To avoid the pitfalls that make Boards unduly politicized, and also to ensure its professionalism, certain procedures should be adhered to in the establishment and continuance of the Board and its committee structure.

Probably the most important activities directed at strengthening the leadership capabilities of the Board are those that establish the protocols and criteria for constituting the Board. While each Board will inevitably take on its own character, reflecting its membership, its ability to function effectively and in the best interests of the institution is derived from the integrity and soundness of established protocols and criteria for the operation of such Boards. These include:

  • responsibility for Board nominations should be assigned to a nominating sub-committee of the Board of Trustees,
  • The Trustees should submit to the Mayor three qualified nominations for each vacancy,
  • the incorporation of merit criteria for Board nominations,
  • an effective sequencing and timing of the Board selection process,
  • adherence to limits and staggered terms of service.

Each of these items is discussed more fully below.

Reassign the responsibility for nominating new members of the Board from a nominating committee comprised of members selected by the Mayor and City Council Chair to a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees. The first step in constituting a high quality Board is to establish a high-quality nominating committee, a task that is often overlooked. There are a number of ways to establish a nominating committee, including appointment of the committee members by the Mayor, appointment by the City Council, by the Board of Trustees or by some combination of the above.

Currently, UDC's nominating committee is comprised of 5 members, two of whom are appointed by the Mayor and three by the City Council Chair. However, the current system for nominating candidates and filling board vacancies has not been effective. Vacancies remain unfilled for extended periods of time. Moreover, individuals appointed to the Board, on a frequently politicized basis, have often lacked both depth and breadth of skills and diversity. The result is deleterious to the Board. Some Trustees' lack sufficient interest in the university's affairs, which erodes the ability of the Board to obtain quorums, for instance. Likewise, at times a lack of knowledge makes it difficult for informed decision making to occur in a timely fashion. Additionally, decisions taken by the Board, because of its makeup and self-selection with respect to active participation are not always broadly representative of the interests of UDC's constituents.

The Trustees should assign the responsibility for developing nominations for Board members to a standing committee of the Board. A process which permits the Mayor to appoint a Board member from among the names submitted, and the opportunity for the City Council to confirm the appointment, not only ensures representative governments involved, but this task is accomplished through relatively de-politicized means.

As a corollary to having the nominating committee be a standing committee of the Board, it is also recommended that three names be submitted in nomination to the Mayor for consideration for each vacancy.

Define and incorporate merit criteria for Board service. This is a time of critical change for institutions of higher education. The issues institutions confront are complex and varied, and the ability of an institution to survive is dependent on its ability to make judicious choices about resource allocation. This is particularly true now about UDC. The importance of the Board's role in ensuring the institution's success cannot be overstated. It is critical that an institution's Board be possessed not only of the balance and diversity among its membership that provide public confidence and legitimacy, but also offer expertise on many fronts. Therefore, specific criteria for ensuring that a Board has the requisite essential expertise should be defined.

Define the sequencing and timing of the Board selection process. In order to ensure that Board vacancies are filled promptly with the best qualified candidates, there should be a clearly defined sequence and time limit for the process. Without a defined time limit, there is the prospect for vacancies to go unfilled for extended periods, which in the past has been as long as three years.

Limit and Stagger Terms. All boards are best served if there is (1) an institutional memory and (2) periodic fresh input from new members. To achieve this, UDC's Board terms should be limited and staggered. Each term of service should be no longer than six years; no Board member should be permitted to serve more than two consecutive terms; and initial Board appointments should be staggered so that, over time, one-third of Board terms expire every two years.

Board Committees

Redefine and realign board committees. Eight rule-defined standing committees of the Board were established in the 1988 District of Columbia Municipal Regulations-8 (DCNM-8). The standing committees were -- Executive, Campus Planning and Building and Grounds, Educational Policy, Finance and Audit, Legislation Organization and Rules, Personnel, Public Affairs and Community Relations, and Student Affairs.

When DCUR-8 was revised in 1992, rule-defined standing committees were discontinued and replaced with a system whereby the Board chair annually proposes a committee structure for adoption by resolution of a majority of the full Board, with no specific rules or functions assigned to Board committees. There are currently 5 committees, including Academic Policy, Student Affairs, Finance and Facilities, Rules, and Development.

Committees are a critical element in a board's effectiveness. Properly structured, and led by Board members with skills relevant to the charge of the specific committee, these groups can be crucial to leveraging Boards' time and areas of expertise.

It is recommended that rule-defined committees be reestablished, with particular attention in their recreation to the overall mission of the university. Standing committees should encompass the following areas:

  • finance, budget and audit;
  • campus planning / building and grounds;
  • educational policy;
  • industry and community outreach;
  • information technology;
  • legislative outreach (local and federal);
  • personnel;
  • public affairs;
  • student affairs.

President of UDC

As UDC struggles to overcome its financial difficulties and overhaul its mission and academic structure, one of the most important tasks facing the university is the selection and empowerment of a strong and visionary president.

The Authority recommends that a presidential selection committee develop the specific criteria and define the qualifications desirable for the next president of UDC. Historical experience and the current situation of the University suggest some overarching characteristics that a new president should possess to improve the overall management capacity and effectiveness of UDC.

In particular, it is recommended that the next president of the University demonstrate, as a minimum baseline qualification, the following abilities:

  • consummate political skill in developing and forging relationships with elected leaders; past evidence of charismatic leadership skills; demonstrated ability in fundraising, particularly in the corporate arena;
  • demonstrated experience in building bridges with the business community and in developing productive partnerships with local and regional institutions;
  • strong skills in management oversight, including executive level oversight of finance and budget issues;
  • strong communications skills, particularly in public speaking; effective in community outreach; national stature in his or her field.

The individual chosen to lead UDC must do better than his/her predecessors in leading the university through the challenges posed both by the greatly changing circumstances of finances and student needs on the one hand, and the relative inflexibility of faculty and some other institutional stakeholders, on the other hand.

Faculty at UDC

Clarifying the role of faculty in the shared governance system that permeates higher education begins from the premise that the faculty's influence centers around instruction, research, and service. It covers such areas as course and curriculum approval, student evaluation, graduation requirements, and various educationally-related aspects of student life. In these areas, the consent of the faculty should be strongly considered.

The role of faculty in the governance of other areas is less critical, and the faculty can most effectively support the Trustees and the President in an advisory capacity. Collectively, the faculty should work with the President and the Board in identifying these issues and codifying the appropriate participation of faculty in governance. As a starting point, AGB guidelines suggest that these issues be broken out as:

  • those in which faculty advice will be sought and considered but not required (e.g., budget issues); and
  • those in which the faculty is not consulted.

Recognizing the need for greater efficiency in institutional management, AGB guidelines also recommend that procedures be defined within the Faculty Senate to shorten the extended consideration" of issues through multiple and sometimes serial committee debates. Ideally, a goal is to assign most issues to one specific committee and report recommendations and decisions within an agreed-upon time frame.

Faculty Workload

UDC must also recognize that with a redefined mission and structure, the needs of the faculty will also change. Faculty should be expected to teach the core subjects offered while increasing their class load in the process. Based on anecdotal evidence, reviews and informal survey, it is clear that, to date, the faculty has not fully been willing to accept greater responsibility.

Faculty responsibilities for UDC include teaching, research, University service, and public service. As explained in detail in the Master Agreement, the normal workload assignment per semester is 32 "professional units." One professional unit is equivalent to 15 hours per semester and includes instruction, course preparation, grading and record keeping, graduate thesis or dissertation advisement, and scholarly activity or service. The contract explicitly states: "In no case shall a faculty member be required to teach more than twenty-four (24) credit hours per academic year," - which generally amounts to 8 courses annually. Moreover, the agreement further explains faculty workload in the following statement: "In recognition of the responsibilities expected to be undertaken in the areas of scholarly activities and service, the University limits its assigned workload so as to leave a faculty member free the equivalent of one full day per week. UDC may, however, include scholarly or service activities as part of an individual's assigned workload." With a revitalized mission, which reduces the number of programs offered, and with UDC's urgency to operate more efficiently, the components of the Master Agreement should be changed so that teacher workload is proportional to most four-year universities.

Back to top of page


Summary of Major Findings

Part I - Governance

Part II - Academics

Part III - Management and Operations

Part I: Governance

The overarching theme related to governance of the University of the District of Columbia has been the inability of the three governing bodies – the Board of Trustees, the President and the faculty – to act in concert.

Board of Trustees

  • The absence of an "articulate and compelling" mission statement defining clearly what the University of the District of Columbia should be has delayed, even derailed, the process of merging its predecessor institutions and engenders contentious debate over resource allocation. A primary responsibility of a board is to ensure that the institution has such a mission.
  • Formal planning has occurred infrequently and is often not tied to resource-based implementation plans.
  • In the area of financial and management oversight, there is a pattern of :
  • reliance on short term quick fixes (e.g., spending of the reserve fund, dependence on "supplemental budget appropriates")
  • inattentiveness to financial performance indicators (e.g., FTE expenditures among the highest in the nation, excessive spending of endowment income at the expense of long-term endowment growth)
  • lack of execution of basic duties, (e.g., budget review and approval before submission to City Council, maintenance and reinvestment in the physical plant, ongoing evaluation of major financial transactions such as the purchase of 4250 Connecticut Avenue, compliance with basic annual reporting requirements).
  • Despite early warning signals about stability and level of appropriated funding, the functions of fundraising and solicitation of gifts and grants received little or no attention until very recently.
  • The Board is perceived by at least some members of the City Council not to have been an assertive or effective advocate in representing and defending the University's interests.
  • With the 1992 revisions of the D.C. Municipal Regulations, Section 8, which eliminate the requirement for standing Board committees, the committee structure appears to have become essentially inactive, reducing the effectiveness of or eliminating an important level of Board oversight.
  • Breadth and type of expertise consistent with areas of Board oversight does not appear to be present on the current Board.


  • Major accomplishments under UDC's former presidnent included restructuring academic and administrative operations to achieve greater efficiency, removing the Board of Trustees from day-to-day operations and abolishing the Faculty Senate in accordance with stated Middle States concerns.
  • The former president's performance in the area of fiscal oversight is mixed. Although he accommodated significant budget reductions (more than 40% in local appropriations during his tenure) with cost reductions of $23 million and nearly $3 million in revenue increases, he also engaged in short-term "quick fixes" such as use of reserves to fund deficit spending and, most seriously, abrogated responsibilities for budget development and compliance with reporting requirements to the D.C. government.
  • The former president's least successful performance was in the area of public relations/University spokesperson. Public pronouncements were intemperate (e.g., stating that the University was in danger of closing its doors, advising Council members to take Accounting 101) and harmful to the University's interests.
  • For most of the former administration, fundraising was not a priority. The President did, however, succeed in overseeing an increase in funded research from $12 million to $18.9 million.


  • The faculty role in governance has never been successfully resolved.
  • The definition of UDC's system of "checks and balances" that is a feature of US higher education seems to be subject to the greatest amount of disagreement at the faculty level, especially the distinction between sharing governance in areas related to the academic program and sharing authority in broader University areas.

Part II: Academics

Student Indicators

  • UDC serves a non-traditional student body.
  • The UDC School of Law serves a substantially different student population than the rest of the University.
  • Enrollment at UDC has fallen significantly over the last 15 years.
  • Student recruitment efforts have been minimal.
  • Remediation is a major element of the academic enterprise at UDC.
  • Student retention at UDC is low, with those students who do persist taking longer to obtain their degrees than students at other institutions.
  • UDC confers a relatively small number of degrees.
  • There does not appear to be a clear connection between UDC's academic programs and local labor market needs.
  • Students choose to attend UDC because it is affordable and convenient.
  • The quality of student services at UDC has declined in recent years.
  • UDC offers many opportunities for students to become involved in the University outside of the classroom.
  • UDC does not currently have an effective and systematic program of data collection about alumni accomplishments and employment status.

Faculty Indicators

  • The faculty at UDC is a diverse and experienced group of educators.
  • Despite budgetary obstacles and a decaying University infrastructure, many faculty continue to be committed to the University's teaching mission.
  • Faculty morale appears to have been negatively affected by the fiscal crisis.
  • The academic program at UDC is diverse, though little effort appears to have been applied toward examining the productivity of programs.
  • The balance among teaching, research, and public service at UDC appears to be appropriate.
  • The 1995 consolidation of academic programs into two colleges has produced mixed results.
  • Limited faculty evaluation occurs at UDC, resulting in de facto tenure for most full-time faculty.

Cost Indicators

  • The "sticker price" charged to students at UDC is low, making a UDC education affordable compared to most peer institutions.
  • The per-student costs of educating students at UDC are high.
  • Research grants at UDC, though important components of the academic mission of the institution, cannot substitute for direct operating funds.

Part III: Operations and Management

  • UDC lacks the tools to provide basic management information that is accurate and timely.
  • UDC's technology, both hardware and software, is antiquated and incapable of meeting the needs of the administration and students.
  • Key management staff have not received the necessary management training in order to be effective leaders and managers of their departments or functions.
  • Linear, manual procedures are used in many functional areas, resulting in slower work and more quality control steps than are found in institutions with greater automation of information systems.
  • Present facilities maintenance and management operations cost 17% more than the private sector, but are unable to deliver quality services or maintain the physical plant adequately.
  • University staff lack the necessary student consumer information needed to attract and maintain its student population.
  • UDC's budget process is top-down; a needs based budget has not been developed since 1995, and the annual spending plan is created after receiving notification of District appropriations.
  • Personnel management does not provide adequate support to managers in the key areas of hiring, training, and performance evaluations.
  • Current labor contract provisions restrict UDC's ability to manage resources effectively.
  • UDC's procurement office does not know how long it takes to procure goods or services.
  • UDC's quality of procurement documents are questionable.
  • UDC does not engage in planning for its needs.
  • Financial aid resources available through the District and the Federal government have not kept up with tuition increases.
  • The financial aid process is challenged by the lack of adequate technology and insufficient training.
  • Resource development efforts at UDC have not attracted adequate funds to support the university.
  • UDC's inability to attract and compete for students is hindered by substandard marketing materials.
  • UDC has failed to conduct periodic physical inventories of fixed assets.
  • UDC facilities maintenance personnel are responsible for more square feet, on average, than the benchmark average.
  • UDC's technological infrastructure is on the brink of obsolescence; its hardware is antiquated and its software is outdated.
  • The operations side of academic affairs does not support a quality academic process.
  • UDC does not train or evaluate employees.

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)