Harrisburg – Chancellor Frank T. Brogan today announced he will retire Sept. 1 from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The Board of Governors will name interim leadership pending a national search for Mr. Brogan’s successor.
“From the moment he arrived, Chancellor Brogan has shined a bright light on the challenges facing our universities and the State System—prompting important public dialogue about the need to do things differently,” said Board of Governors chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “Because of his leadership, we are better positioned to make important decisions about the future of our System.”
Chancellor Brogan informed board members just prior to last week’s Board of Governors meeting of his decision to retire.
“We are all very sad to see Frank leave, but we can’t thank him enough for leading us through some very difficult days and creating an environment for real change,” said Board Vice Chair David M. Maser.
The chancellor and Board of Governors last year initiated an independent, comprehensive review of the System that resulted in a set of recommendations for the State System to consider as it develops an action plan for the future.
“The strategic system review is perhaps the most important effort this System has ever undertaken,” said Chancellor Brogan. “I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done to better serve students today and far into the future. This is the System’s opportunity to make bold choices that will ensure our universities are here to meet the needs of our current and future students and the Commonwealth for decades to come, and beyond.
“While there is never a perfect time for a transition such as this, my family and I know we leave behind a system that is primed for the future, led by a team that is committed to making sure our students always come first.”
Since Chancellor Brogan’s appointment in 2013, the State System has refocused its efforts toward putting students first. Within months of his arrival, the Board of Governors adopted a new strategic plan focused on academic excellence, student success, financial stability and transparency. Nearly one-third of the objectives in “Strategic Plan 2020: Rising to the Challenge” already have been met—three years ahead of schedule—and measurable progress has been made on the vast majority of the others.
“Though there is more work to be done, we didn’t expect to achieve so much, so quickly,” Chancellor Brogan said. “Even amid some very serious challenges, the progress we have made on these goals proves that our universities are positioning themselves to better organize around student success.”
“Chancellor Brogan is a tireless champion for students, and it has been my honor to serve with him,” said Shaina Hilsey, student body president at California University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Board of Governors. “He has laid the foundation for the System’s future—one from which we, as students, will benefit for years to come.”
Prior to arriving at the State System, Mr. Brogan served as chancellor of the State University System of Florida, president of Florida Atlantic University, lieutenant governor of Florida and secretary of education of Florida. He began his career as a fifth grade teacher, then served as assistant principal, principal and superintendent of the Martin County School District in Florida.
“It’s been a real pleasure to work with a leader who is an educator at heart and who has worked at all levels of education,” said Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael A. Driscoll, who also serves as the chair of the presidents’ council for the 14 State System universities. “Frank’s passion for students and his vision for our ability to transform their lives through education guides every decision he makes.”
“We wanted a change agent when we asked Frank to come here four years ago, and we got one,” said Guido M. Pichini, chair emeritus of the Board of Governors. “While we are all deeply sad to see him leave, we all know that—because of his leadership, courage, and dedication—this System is better poised for success than when he arrived.”
“As a long-time university trustee, I want to thank Chancellor Brogan for fostering true respect for the role of the local campus voice in the important decisions that the System makes,” said Board Vice Chair Harold Shields, who also serves on Edinboro University’s Council of Trustees and as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees. “The PACT organization and I personally thank Chancellor Brogan for his strong support and his candid sharing of system issues with us. He has carved a pathway for us to follow into the future—one that will help us better serve students for years to come.”
Among the accomplishments achieved during Chancellor Brogan’s tenure, the State System:
• Worked with the Governor and General Assembly to increase public investment in the State System for the past three legislative sessions—resulting in the first new state funding in seven years;
• Implemented a new general education policy that reaffirms the significance and value of general education by focusing on essential student learning outcomes that ensure students acquire and demonstrate a variety of essential skills;
• Implemented a transfer policy that respects prior learning experience and includes guaranteed admission for graduates from Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges and adopted the first system-wide reverse transfer agreement;
• Increased online learning opportunities available for students at the universities to better serve all students, especially adult learners;
• Implemented a supply/demand gap analysis system to assist the universities in aligning their academic program array with the needs of students and employers in their regions, and the Commonwealth;
• Enhanced system-wide accountability and transparency by instituting multi-year action plans that require the universities to outline their goals and aspirations, strategic priorities, challenges and opportunities;
• Implemented a system-wide protection of minors policy that requires all System employees to obtain criminal background checks and to receive training regarding how to detect and report suspected abuse of minors;
• Developed and instituted university financial risk dashboards that provide easy-to-use data regarding institutional financial health and financial stability;
• Eliminated outdated or burdensome regulations and instituted new policies to encourage local flexibility and enhance shared governance—allowing local universities to approve new minors, certificates and letters of completion;
• Increased efficiency within the Office of the Chancellor by reducing the number of vice chancellors from five to two and reinvesting in front-line resources that better serve the universities; and
• Better organized advocacy efforts across all 14 universities, resulting in three consecutive years of increased state funding for the State System.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling more than 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.