By Carnegie classification, Towson University is a public Master's (Comprehensive) University I. Students choose from 64 undergraduate majors, 35 master's programs, and 4 doctoral programs. The suburban campus is located ten miles from downtown Baltimore, Maryland and about an hour from Washington, D.C.
Founded in Baltimore City in 1866, Towson University began as The Maryland State Normal School. In 1915, it moved to its current location in Towson, and it became the Maryland State Teachers College at Towson in 1935, offering a Bachelor of Science degree in education. The institution's mission was expanded in 1946 with the introduction of a variety of degree programs in the arts and sciences, and ongoing programmatic expansion led to its becoming Towson State College in 1963. The move to a more diverse academic portfolio including health professions, business, and technology resulted in the transition to Towson State University in 1976 and Towson University in 1997.
The University is made up of five divisions (Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Economic and Community Outreach, Student Affairs, and University Advancement). There are six colleges with faculty (Business and Economics, Education, Fine Arts and Communication, Health Professions, Liberal Arts, and Science and Mathematics), the College of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Honors College.
Towson is the second-largest public university in Maryland and the largest in Baltimore with a fall 2006 enrollment of 18,921 students (81% undergraduate, 19% graduate). Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) data confirm that Towson continuously graduates the largest number of initial teacher certification candidates in Maryland (Exhibit 1). Of the fall, 2006 undergraduate population, 88% attended full-time, 60% were women, and 30% belonged to racial or ethnic minorities or were identified as foreign or other/unknown. The majority of graduate students were part-time (75%) and female (74%); 32% belonged to racial or ethnic minorities or identified themselves as foreign or other/unknown.
In fall 2006, the University employed 694 full-time faculty (71% tenured/tenure-track, 29% non-tenure-track) and 77 FTE part-time faculty. Among the full-time tenured/tenure- track faculty, 32% were at the rank of full professor, 28% associate, and 39% assistant. The gender breakdown of the full-time faculty was 51% female and 49% male, with 16% having racial/ethnic backgrounds. (See Exhibit 2 for complete rank and demographic data.)
The current president, Dr. Robert Caret, arrived in July 2003. A new strategic plan,
Towson University 2010: Mapping the Future(2004; Exhibit 3), clearly defined the
Towson University is a premier, metropolitan comprehensive institution, nationally recognized for quality and value, focused on teaching and committed to providing a broad range of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate education. The undergraduate curriculum will enable students to acquire the intellectual skills essential to effectively communicate in speaking and writing, the gathering and evaluation of information, critical analysis, competence in the use of technology and an appreciation of diverse points of view (p. 9).