When Jerome S. Paige was chosen as an American Council on Education Fellow in 1988, he says he had barely heard of the University of Baltimore.
But Dr. Paige chose to serve the prestigious fellowship at the university largely because the school is within commuting distance of his Washington home. And that turned out to be fortuitous, says Dr. Paige.
"I got to know the institution during my fellowship, and I found it to be a nice place to be," he says. The fellowship that brought him to Baltimore is aimed at training academics to be administrators.
Dr. Paige took that training to heart, coming to the University to Baltimore this school year as an associate provost. He also had worked in the provost's office during his fellowship.
He oversees a wide range of functions in his job: academiresearch, the delivery of computer services to the school and a range of internal planning, assessment and statistical chores.
That means he is in charge of functions ranging from an on-going analysis of the state Department of Human Resources' welfare rolls and payment systems, to the retention rate of incoming students.
He also teaches a course or two. "I try to keep my fingers in the classroom," he says.
Dr. Paige has been teaching since 1975, the year after he earned his master's degree in economics from American University. The Philadelphia native graduated from Howard University in 1974, and earned his Ph.D. from American in 1982.
So much of what he is doing now is something of a change for Dr. Paige, who prior to coming to UB was on the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia for 12 years. During his time at UDC, he was a professor of economics teaching courses from urban economics to intermediate economic theory.
Dr. Paige also is a "forensic economist." In that role, he prepares expert testimony estimating economic losses in personal injury and wrongful death cases.
He also spent two years -- while on leave from UDC -- as deputy director of the D.C. mayor's policy office. There, he was essentially an analyst, projecting the impact of proposed legislation and helping the mayor form his positions.
While Dr. Paige now finds himself dealing with a different level of university life, he says he likes the change. He also thinks UB already has the kind of student profile that other schools will have in the future.
He says the school is well positioned for the future -- an assessment that piqued his interest in working there. Many of the university's 5,700 students already are into their working lives and are at the school part time to enhance their careers.
"We see ourselves as an institution that delivers educational services to the adult student," Dr. Paige says. And, he points out, the "adult, part-time learner" is expected to constitute 60 percent of America's college population by the year 2000.
In addition, Dr. Paige says the university promises to have a higher profile in the future. He cites the new business school building that's on the drawing board, the increasing amount of research being done at the school and a continuing upswing in applicants to the law school as evidence.
Dr. Paige says one challenge the university faces is finding a way to increase the number of Baltimoreans who make their way there. Currently, he said, most of the university's students are from suburban counties.
And with a major Labor Department study showing that the vast majority entering the American work force in the near future will ,, not be white males, it is incumbent on schools like UB to serve more minorities and women. Dr. Paige thinks UB is well positioned to do that.
"This is going to be a difficult next few years for higher educatiobecause of changing demographics," he says. "But UB already is focused in on its mission."