What goes into changing a college's name?
More than you would think, it turns out.
Charles County Community College doesn't officially become the College of Southern Maryland until July, but administrators are scrambling now to prepare for the transition.
There's the sign on Route 301. Changing it requires approval from the State Highway Administration.
Then there's the college's Web page. Changing that will require getting a new URL address.
Not to mention the business cards, the letterhead, the course catalogues, the diplomas and the change in the Yellow Pages listing.
"It affects a lot," said Michelle Goodwin, chairwoman of the transition committee. "Even the alumni are asking the question, 'What about our resumes? Do we put the College of Southern Maryland down as our school?' "
Then there's the all-important task of re-creating the school's image. The college is in the midst of a marketing onslaught to notify community members--students, professors, residents--that the soon-to-be College of Southern Maryland is changing more than its name.
"We're not only changing our name. We're heading in a whole new direction, so get on board," Goodwin said.
The process began in April when the Maryland General Assembly approved a measure allowing creation of a single regional community college to replace the Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's branches of Charles County Community College.
The major benefit of the arrangement is more money--state law allocates extra funding for construction projects to regional community colleges. Once the college takes on its new role, the state will pick up 75 percent of its building costs, compared with the 52 percent to 61 percent the state paid for Charles County Community College and its campuses.
The other benefit, college officials say, is that the college will be able to project a more cohesive image. "In the past it was a contractual relationship rather than a partnership," Goodwin said.
From now until the transition is completed, the college's marketing staff will be trying to demonstrate what that partnership will mean for students.
A partial list of the offerings includes more Web courses and degrees online, greater access to bachelor degrees from four-year colleges such as Johns Hopkins University, kiosks in locations throughout the area to supply information to students and prospective students, and easier tuition payment plans.
All in all, what the college promises is "better customer service," Goodwin said.
So far, a few official changes have served as reminders of the imminent change. Names have been chosen for the college's four campuses. They will be called the College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus; College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown Campus; College of Southern Maryland, Prince Frederick Campus; and College of Southern Maryland-University of Maryland University College Waldorf Center.
Also, the Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to change the titles of the executive directors of Calvert and St. Mary's campuses. They will be known as deans in the College of Southern Maryland.
The college already has a new logo, which will remain undisclosed until next year.