Good job open in College Park Scenarios: Possible candidates for the president's position are employed in Catonsville, at the State House and on Capitol Hill. The incumbent is planning a career move to Ohio.

Education Beat

January 11, 1998|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

Long before University of Maryland, College Park President William E. Kirwan departs for greener pastures at Ohio State University -- and even before appointment of a search committee to fill his post -- trial balloons are afloat over College Park, Annapolis, Catonsville and even Washington.

Two of them were launched by parties unknown within a day of Kirwan's acceptance of the Ohio post last Monday. They are:

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, tiring of his 16 years in Congress, gives up his seat to assume the College Park presidency. This opens the way for a special election to fill Hoyer's 5th District seat. If he wants the job, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is a prohibitive favorite in the congressional district that includes much of his home county, Prince George's, along with part of Anne Arundel and all of Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties.

The only trouble with this scenario is that Hoyer has no direct administrative experience in higher education, although he has been involved in setting higher education legislative policy. His administrative assistant, Betsy Bossart, says rumors that he is interested in the College Park top job surfaced before Kirwan's announcement, "and he [Hoyer] said, 'It's not in my stars.' "

Freeman Hrabowski, the popular president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, moves down Interstate 95 to College Park, forcing a search to fill the vacancy created in Catonsville.

Hrabowski is a hot property and will certainly move eventually to a job in brighter limelight. He gets top job offers almost monthly and last week was scouted by representatives of North Carolina State University, which is looking for a president. But Hrabowski insists he's not interested in moving until at least 2000. "I want the interest to be on what we're doing here at UMBC, not on me and where I might go," he says.

Two rather more fanciful scenarios were suggested by Barry Rascovar, The Sun's resident political observer:

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a longtime political science professor at College Park with many friends in higher education, loses the Maryland Democratic primary in September, while the College Park presidential search is still going on. Is there a more logical career move for Glendening?

Glendening loses the general election in November. This leaves a month or so for the university to appoint him College Park president before the inauguration of Gov. Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

Fanciful perhaps, but not out of the question. Politicians often cross over to university administration, and vice versa. William // Bulger, president of the University of Massachusetts, was president of the Massachusetts Senate for many years. North Carolina's Terry Sanford and Tennessee's Lamar Alexander have moved back and forth easily. Glendening could, too.

Singing the praises of arts education

The distinguished educators who gathered for a "summit" on the arts Thursday at the Johns Hopkins University didn't need convincing. This was the choir singing favorite hymns to itself.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, for example, sat through the entire program, but she didn't need to be told that art, music and drama are part of any effective education program; that artistic expression helps students excel; that kids with arts in their background do better on standardized tests, are less bored in school, watch less TV.

Indeed, recent neurological research has found that piano instruction beats computer training in stimulating intellectual development. (This might explain why so many older people who took piano lessons BC -- Before Computers -- are excellent readers.)

Frances Rauscher, a University of Wisconsin researcher, was there with some of her new findings. Rauscher became something of a media star when she discovered that kids do better on "spatial-temporal" exercises if they have listened immediately beforehand to Mozart sonatas.

The "Mozart effect" works on rats, too, Rauscher reported, but it has short-lived effects among humans and rats.

"The brain is quite plastic," Rauscher said, "even at later ages."

One summit attendee was Joe S. Nelson, superintendent of schools in rural Bertie County, N.C. His county's schools are among the poorest in the nation; all 2,500 students are on free lunches. But an arts education program has helped "change our focus" and raise test scores significantly, Nelson reported.

Bertie, in northeastern North Carolina, is in the fourth year of a five-year reform effort financed by a $1 million gift from Jim Perdue, president of Maryland-based Perdue Farms Inc., the county's largest employer. Some of the Perdue money went to finance the arts education program, known as A+.

State contributes 30 percent of university budget

Wednesday's Education Beat misstated the percentage of state funds in the University System of Maryland's budget. The figure we used, 56 percent, includes tuition revenue. The appropriation from state general funds this year is $601 million of the system's $2 billion budget. That's roughly 30 percent, down from 41 percent in 1990.

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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