State System Advances Bold Initiative to Reshape Public Higher Education in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG, Pa .– The Pennsylvania State Higher Education System Board of Governors today approved two plans to strengthen student success, expand college programming, explore areas for potential growth and ensure that high quality post-secondary education remains viable in critical parts of the Commonwealth.
Known as integrations, the plans would restructure six universities into two combinations of three. The integrated institutions would be the Universities of California, Clarion and Edinboro in the western part of the state and the Universities of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield in the northeast region.
Today’s board vote is one step in a broad consultation process outlined in Law 50 of 2020 before integrations can be finalized by the board this summer. The vote now kicks off a 60-day public comment period, including two public hearings.
“Today’s vote is the most significant reinvention of public higher education since the system was established in 1982,” said Board Chair Cindy Shapira. “We are supporting a bold and innovative vision through Chancellor Dan Greenstein, his leadership team, and the more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff who have come together in working groups to develop these plans.”
The plan calls for the creation of two fully accredited and degree-granting universities, each with three unique partner campuses.
While integrated universities will be established with a single management team, a single cohort of faculty, a single budget, and a single enrollment management, the integration also allows each campus to continue to use its historic name and brand, its traditions and experiences on campus. As each campus will continue its residential activities, each local community will continue to benefit from the establishment’s positive economic impact.
In addition, students from each of the partner institutions will have access to all the academic programs – majors, minors, accreditation, among others – that exist in the partner institutions, and student support will be strengthened, based on the collective resources and expertise. .
“Those who participated in the planning process did exactly what you would expect from mission-oriented professionals passionate about the role public higher education plays in transforming the lives of students. Rather than thinking about how to fit students into the mold that we have developed over decades, they asked, “How can we build an institution that meets the needs of our students now and in the future?” These are extremely exciting things, ”said Greenstein. “It’s less about how to prepare students for college and a lot more focus on how to prepare colleges for our students, and we are grateful to the students, faculty, staff, administrators, leaders. elected, to all who participated in the work as well. far.”
These plans also outline new academic opportunities that the integrated entities will pursue to complement traditional and residential educational experiences.
For Northeastern schools, this means strengthening workforce development, an effort that results from close consultation with major employers and represents a growth opportunity for all three campuses. For the Western trio, the new integrated university will develop a world-class Pennsylvania-based online college program to add to their on-campus offerings.
The plans outline how integrations can increase enrollment and dramatically expand opportunities for students – doing more together than any institution could do on its own. They also show how bringing together three campuses can leverage their combined scale and set each on a path of financial sustainability while preserving the positive economic impact they have in their host communities.
The Pennsylvania State Higher Education System oversees 14 four-year public universities that educate more than 93,000 students. The state system offers more than 2,300 diplomas and certificates in more than 530 academic fields. The universities in the state system are the Universities of Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester of Pennsylvania.