The University of the District of Columbia is an institution in transition. A 160-year-old public land-grant university, UDC continues to be the only public university in our nation’s capital. It has a broad mission of academics, research and community outreach. We are physically rebuilding the university in its various locations across the District, and we are overhauling and rejuvenating our academic offerings to support the professional needs of our students for the 21st century. We want to apply the best possible examples of our experience through our new Center for Urban Education and become a leader among urban educators.
To reenergize our land-grant role we have established the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences. Using the University’s 143 acre farm in Beltsville, MD as one focus and applying our faculty’s expertise in agriculture, water resource management, architectural restoration and renewable energy among other disciplines, we hope to redefine the urban, land-grant agenda by using our nation’s capitol as our research base.
The university, with the support of the mayor and city council, opened a community college in the 2009 – 2010 academic year. In its second year, enrollment increased more than 50%, clearly illustrating a regional demand for Associate’s Degrees, Certificate Programs and workforce development in various trades. Our community college continues to bridge that educational gap between high school and college for many urban students. And it has allowed up to focus on an educational core centering not on K-12, as has been the focus in the past, but K-age 24, to include higher education. In Washington, the job market requires education to at least a Bachelor’s Degree, with most professional jobs requiring a Master’s Degree. With the creation of the community college with open enrollment, our flagship university has been able to establish admission standards to allow it to begin the transition to a truly great state university.