University of Baltimore to see first doctorate recipient today

January 07, 2001|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The University of Baltimore marks a milestone this weekend - awarding its first doctoral degree.

While the degree might be new, its recipient typifies the adult student the school on Mount Royal Avenue has served for 75 years.

Dorine C. Andrews, 54, commuted to the school from Arlington, Va., for the past two years, little knowing how her course of study would change her life. A veteran of the business world - she was a pioneer in helping companies cope with technology - she is taking her doctorate in communication design and joining the faculty at Georgetown University.

"I didn't have any intentions of a teaching career," says Andrews. "I had been spending 75 percent of my time on the road, and I was burned out - crispy-toasty."

She sold her interest in her consulting business to her partner. "I just wanted to go back to school to think about what I wanted to do now that I was over 50, since I want to work well into my 70s," she says.

Andrews will be one of 325 UB graduates receiving degrees this afternoon at the Lyric Theatre in the school's winter commencement ceremonies.

"I think it's terrific," says UB President H. Mebane Turner of the school's first doctorate. "We'll have many more to come."

Andrews was in the second class to enter the doctoral program, but as the only one of the program's 15 students able to attend full time, she is the first to graduate.

Andrews heard about the program by accident, running into its director, Neil Kleinman, at a party in Baltimore and telling him of her midlife career dissatisfaction. Kleinman said he had the answer.

The communications design degree is one of three doctoral programs approved in recent years for UB - founded as a place where the working adults of Baltimore could take classes at night.

Although it offered law and business degrees from its beginning, and over the decades its undergraduate liberal arts departments have moved into master's programs, the school opened its doors to those seeking doctorates - in communication design and public administration - only three years ago. A third doctoral program, in psychology, will be open to students in the fall.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission approved a business doctorate program for UB last year but withdrew its approval after Morgan State University objected that it duplicated a program offered on that campus.

Turner notes that UB's doctorates are applied degrees - not the Ph.D. sought by those headed for academia, but programs of study aimed at those seeking to advance their careers.

But Andrews will join a program called Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown, which prompts UB's communications design faculty to rethink the potential of its program.

"We had no intention of this being a terminal degree that would lead to a teaching position at a research university," says Kleinman. "But that's exactly what it is for our first graduate."

It's not surprising that the career paths of the degree's recipients are hard to predict, because the degree itself is hard to define - it's part technology and part art, part business and part philosophy, part literature and part law.

Kleinman was instrumental in starting the communication design program when he was dean at UB in the 1980s. At the time, the school offered master's degrees to those interested in exploring the cutting edge of media and technology, long before the Internet. The doctoral program places the impact of technology on society into a historical and theoretical framework but remains anchored in marketplace realities.

Kleinman has a law degree, but that came a decade after he received a doctorate in Renaissance literature. He says both degrees are appropriate for this calling, because new technologies not only are redefining areas of law but also are bringing changes to contemporary society analogous to the transformation European society underwent in the Renaissance.

Andrews came to the program with entirely different training - psychology and industrial relations degrees and three decades in business helping companies cope with the effects of technology.

"I've got this weird background," she says. "I wanted to take it to the next step. What I had to develop was my critical side."

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