Clarion – New Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Chancellor Frank T. Brogan was joined today by university presidents in presenting his initial public comments on his goals for transforming the system to meet the changing demands of students and employers in the Commonwealth.
“The most important thing we do is provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their careers and personal lives,” said Mr. Brogan during a visit to Clarion University of Pennsylvania. “Like practically every other public higher education system across the country, PASSHE is going through a critical realignment of our academic offerings. It’s happening in a number of other states, including Texas, California, New York and Florida, just to name a few.
“While this is only my second week as Chancellor, I am already very aware that program alignment to match student and employer needs has been a focus at our universities for years.”
Over the past five years PASSHE’s Board of Governors has approved 56 new academic programs in areas such as software engineering, applied science, safety management and a variety of allied health fields. Several of the new programs are being offered at universities that are in the midst of workforce plans, including Clarion, Edinboro and Mansfield universities.
At the same time, the universities placed 158 low-enrolled programs in moratorium, meaning they no longer accept new students while ensuring currently enrolled students receive the classes and support they need through graduation; discontinued 40 programs in which no students were enrolled; and reorganized 90 programs to ensure their currency.
The early results from this transformation are in: New and existing programs in science, technology, mathematics, business and finance and allied health are enrolling more students now than PASSHE’s historical strengths in education and other public service programs.
“It is my intention to ensure we remain focused on academic alignment and retool how we are organized around major needs to pay for the enterprise,” Mr. Brogan said. “In some cases, this has meant and will
mean a different complement of faculty.
“Equally important to me is the need to operate as a system of universities. I know how important it is because of my experience in Florida. That means we need to collaborate on academic offerings; we need to be flexible and creative in how, when and where we offer our programs; and we need to do a better job of reaching out to nontraditional students, returning adults and our veterans.
“Each of the PASSHE universities has unique strengths that must not only be preserved, but also enhanced.” Mr. Brogan continued. “Each is striving to find the right balance between existing and new programs, and finding sufficient resources to support growth areas. Equally important, our universities need to stop offering programs with low or no demand.”