State System universities are catalysts for upward social mobility for the whole community, and especially for those that face social and economic barriers to success. While our universities undoubtedly provide a personal benefit to their students, they also represent a public good that has a multiplier effect for their communities and for the commonwealth.

Success Highlights

President Joe Biden announced during a recent trip to Philadelphia that the region could become “the center of the clean energy universe” and create 20,000 union jobs in coming years. A portion of those workers will be trained through unions in a partnership with local colleges and universities, including Cheyney University, the oldest historically Black university in the nation. 
The National Science Foundation has awarded a six-year, $2.5 million grant to Commonwealth University through its Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. The CU-THRIVE in STEM Project will aid in the recruitment, retention, and graduation of academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, giving them a targeted, holistic roadmap for an inclusive, valuable education while providing the commonwealth with well-educated graduates to fill the growing demand for scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians.
Three East Stroudsburg University professors and two graduate students are participating in a two-year grant project funded by the Bureau of Family Health, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, that focuses on promoting the safety and well-being of children and reducing preventable childhood fatalities. Dr. Clare Lenhart, associate professor of public health; Dr. Christine Fisher, associate professor of health studies; and Dr. Kelly Varcoe, assistant professor of nursing, along with Kamya Edmonds and Taylor Rau, graduate students in public health, represent ESU on a Child Death Review Program Team. .
IUP celebrated the opening of John J. and Char Kopchick Hall, the university’s new $90 million, 142,536-square-foot science and mathematics building, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 2. Home to the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, it includes more than 51,600 square feet of laboratory space and is sited facing the Oak Grove.
Kutztown University has been awarded a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a Title III program, which is funded 100% with federal funds, to increase undergraduate retention and graduation rates and eliminate equity gaps for students. Through the Title III Strengthening Institutions Program, “Increasing Retention and Persistence Through Deliberate Design of High-Impact Practices and Targeted Student Support Services,” KU will launch two primary activities that will contribute to institutional growth and self-sufficiency.
Millersville University student Brenna Chernich is serving a two-year term on the State Board of Education’s Council of Higher Education. The dual early childhood education and special education major with a minor in integrative STEM education methods was recently approved by the State Board of Education to serve as an advisory member on the council. Chernich officially took over the position on July 12 at the State Board of Education’s bi-monthly meeting. 
Dr. Michael Hummel, professor of criminal justice at PennWest California, has dedicated over 18 years to teaching and molding the next generation of criminal justice professionals. A career military and criminal justice professional, Hummel’s experience and teachings have helped students learn the ins and outs of protecting and serving. To continue giving back, he, along with fellow criminal justice professors Dr. Christopher Wydra and Dr. Mathilda Spencer, have worked together to expand the Dr. Michael L. Hummel Wounded Warrior Scholarship Fund to give Cal students support as they continue their criminal justice education.
From 10 clients at the start of the year to over 100, Growing Edges Community Clinic is living up to its name and is continuing to grow its mental health services. Shippensburg University Counseling Department graduate students working there are growing their careers, too. The clinic is the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, according to Dr. Ford Brooks, professor of Counselor Education, who has been a part of Growing Edges Community Clinic since its opening in 2008. Today, the clinic is helping to fill a critical need within the greater Shippensburg community. 
Slippery Rock University and Butler County Community College have signed six new articulation agreements creating more opportunities for BC3 students to transfer to SRU and earn their bachelor's degrees. These agreements will help save students time and money by opening 13 new formal transfer pathways, bringing the current total of formal pathways between the two Butler County schools to 46. According to SRU President Karen Riley, “Partnerships with community colleges are critically important to fulfilling our mission to serve students and provide access to affordable four-year degrees that prepare students for jobs that are in demand. In addition to benefiting our students by making them more competitive in the workforce, this partnership has a positive impact on the local economy as students are able to complete their degrees in Butler County and work in our region." 
The Maternal and Child Health Consortium of Chester County (MCHC) recognized West Chester University with the Community Impact Award for long-term internship and research partnerships with MCHC. Students from the departments of public health, social work, and English have completed internships and projects that support the mission and services of MCHC to advocate for and empower prenatal and parenting families to achieve healthy beginnings and bright futures through a culture of service. WCU faculty members also partner with MCHC on research projects. WCU also received a citation from Senators Carolyn T. Comitta and John I. Kane at the event.