STRATEGIC SYSTEM REVIEW
UPDATE April 25, 2017
Consultant continues stakeholder meetings in preparation for Phase 3 of the strategic review
The consultants assisting the Board of Governors with the strategic review have been meeting directly with System stakeholders and will continue those efforts in the coming weeks. Team members from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) have already visited with students, faculty, staff, and alumni at more than one-third of the 14 universities, with the balance of campus visits slated for this week. NCHEMS also is meeting with trustees, labor leaders, and elected leaders as part of the data collection phase of the review.
According to the timeline, Phase 3 of the review, which includes analysis of the data that is being collected, will begin after stakeholder meetings are completed. Input will continue to be collected through the website that was created for the review. All stakeholders are encouraged to visit www.NCHEMSproject.com/system-review
to track the progress of the review and to utilize a webform through which they can provide ideas, insights, and opinions directly to the NCHEMS team.
FAQs About the State System’s Strategic Review
Q. Why is this review taking place now?
A. The State System and its 14 universities are facing unprecedented challenges, including lagging state funding and declining enrollment at most universities—challenges similar to those facing virtually all of public higher education in America. At the same time, the universities are aligning their academic offerings to meet the needs of students and employers. This review is intended to help the universities and the System identify new opportunities that will allow us to better serve students in every region of the Commonwealth through high-quality educational experiences at an exceptional value.
Q. Is there a plan to close any universities?
A. No. We don’t know what recommendations will be made at the conclusion of the review, but there are no preconceptions. As we have stated before, other states have undertaken mergers or closures, but our goal is to find solutions that are right for Pennsylvania.
Q. Should students continue applying to our universities even during the review?
A. Absolutely. In fact, the review should give students and parents even more confidence in the State System’s long-term commitment to providing access to a high-quality, affordable education—the State System’s primary and ongoing mission—all while continuing to review and approve new academic programs designed to meet student demand and Commonwealth needs. This review and any subsequent operational and organizational changes are intended to ensure that is the case for many, many years ahead.
Q. Who is conducting the review?
A. The Board of Governors is overseeing the process to ensure the best possible outcome on behalf of our current and future students and each of our universities. The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) was selected to assist with the review, including gathering input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders.
Q. Will the public have an opportunity to participate in any way?
A. Yes. Because we are Pennsylvania’s public universities, every resident of the Commonwealth has a stake in our success. Anyone who is interested in the future of higher education in the state will have an opportunity to provide input.
Q. When will the review be completed?
A. We expect data collection and analysis will continue through the rest of this school year and into the summer, leading to a series of recommendations later this year. Depending on the nature of those recommendations, some elements could be implemented as early as Fall 2017.
Q. How will the review affect current students at the universities?
A. This review is about ensuring the long-term future of our System. What happens as a result of the review—the changes that could be made in future years—must first and foremost, benefit students. They must help to ensure the continued success of the universities and the State System.