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Review of the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Academic Program Review Process


In early 2022, the Maryland Department of Legislative Services (DLS) hired NCHEMS through a competitive RFP process to conduct a study of MHEC’s academic review policies and practices.

Challenges Approach Resources


In 2021 the federal lawsuit that spanned 15 years, The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et al. v. Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), et. al (06–CV–02773–CCB), was settled. As a result, the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Larry Hogan signed SB 0001 and HB 0001 in 2021 to address issues relating to “inequities caused by the unnecessary duplication of HBCU programs at non-HBCU institutions.” One of the legislation’s requirements was for the DLS to conduct a study of MHEC’s academic program review process.


NCHEMS conducted a variety of activities for this study, including:

  • Campus focus groups and listening sessions with the four HBCUs in Maryland
  • In-person and virtual interviews with University of Maryland leadership, MHEC, and the University System of Maryland
  • In-person and virtual interviews with Maryland Independent College & University Association, the Department of Labor, and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges
  • Review of MHEC regulations, policies, and practices related to program review, along with a historical review of data related to program review
  • Review of the academic review processes and structures from seven states: Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi
  • Assessment MHEC’s capacity to assess the labor market demand for new programs