USM B-Power Initiative: Paving the Way for a Stronger Baltimore
The University System of Maryland (USM) B-Power initiative — short for Baltimore Power — is an initiative to work with Baltimore City-serving organizations to increase education and career opportunities for the city's students.
USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret announced the launch of the B-Power initiative in August 2016.
The nucleus of B-Power is a partnership between Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Baltimore (UB). These campuses are located, respectively, in west Baltimore and the historic Mt. Vernon neighborhood. This partnership will forge a wider alliance with two organizations serving the city: Baltimore City Community College and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland are also part of the B-Power alliance.
As part of the B-Power initiative, UB and Coppin are using a variety of strategies to help increase student success, retention, and college completion in Baltimore. Several of these strategies are outlined below.
Expanding College Readiness Programs
- UB launched the B-Power Readiness Academy in four Baltimore City Public School (BCPS) high schools. Taught by UB instructors, students in the academy are exposed to college-level writing and algebra.
- UB hosted a B-Power Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshop to assist high school students in applying for financial aid.
- Coppin is expanding its Coppin Bridge program to help students be more academically prepared for college. In fall 2016, 85 students were enrolled in this program.
- Coppin is recruiting BCPS students to participate in its Summer Academic Success Academy, facilitating students' transition from high school to college and enabling them to earn college credits.
Baltimore City has numerous educational challenges that must be addressed head on. Given USM's mission of providing educational access and thereby improving quality of life, we have the ability and responsibility to focus our resources on our state's urban center and its educational needs for the benefit of the city, its citizens, and especially its students.
— USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret
Expanding Dual Enrollment
- Up to 80 students will take WRIT 101: Freshman Composition, taught by UB instructors, at the BCPS high schools in which UB offers the B-Power Readiness Academy.
- UB initiated a "Bee Line" agreement with Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), assisting BCCC students who wish to transfer to UB by providing them guaranteed admission and financial assistance.
- Coppin is working with BCPS to formalize an articulation agreement allowing students to earn dual credit for Coppin courses taken during high school.
- Twelve students from Coppin Academy, a public charter high school operated by and located at CSU, are enrolled in and earning dual credit for courses taken through Coppin State.
- UB is hiring a full-time academic program specialist to support its program manager for early college initiatives in overseeing UB's B-Power-related activities. UB will also hire instructors, coaches, and undergraduate students to support students enrolled in the B-Power Readiness Academy.
- Coppin State hired a new P-20 (preschool through graduate school) director to better coordinate Coppin's interactions with all levels of education.
Funding for B-Power comes from many sources. USM has committed funds to support the outreach and support efforts at both UB and Coppin. In addition, B-Power will seek support from local foundations and programs like the Next Generation Scholars Program approved by the Maryland Legislature in 2016.
Other USM institutions will participate in B-Power as the initiative evolves.
B-Power News and Updates
- Mission, Goals, and Strategic Planning Progress Report (Nov. 30, 2016)
- Press Release (Aug. 4, 2016)
- Chancellor Caret's Speeches/Articles/Reports/Updates
For More Infomation
Dr. Sikharini Ray
Interim Director of P-20 Initiatives
Coppin State University
Program Manager, Early College Initiatives
University of Baltimore