Both university integrations received initial approval by the institutional accrediting agency Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Accreditation is required by the U.S. Department of Education and assures students, families and communities the university has completed a rigorous review process and provides a high-quality education. In approving the Complex Substantive Change request, Middle States provides a clear path forward for these institutions to officially unite on July 1, 2022. The commission’s decision is another positive step toward building university integrations that will provide more opportunities for students than any of the universities could do on its own.
The Board of Governors voted to request a $550 million general fund appropriation for the next fiscal year as part of a renewed partnership between the State System and the Commonwealth. The request exceeds last year's general operating request by $73 million and will enable the System to continue implementing plans for university integrations that were approved in July, in addition to the ongoing System Redesign efforts occurring across the System. While each campus will retain their local identity and brand, a name for the integrated western university that will include California, Clarion and Edinboro was also announced. The new university will be known as Pennsylvania Western University, or PennWest for short.
University integrations in the West and Northeast were unanimously approved by the Board of Governors on July 14, 2021. Prior to the approval, the team completed updates to the implementation plans based on the public comments received. Those changes were shared during the May and June public workshops with the Board of Governors. The “Guide to Plan Changes" (below) provides an overview of the changes that were made in each section of the plans. Below you can also access links to “clean" versions of both updated plans along with “tracked changes" versions of both updated plans.
Plans for the proposed integrations in the West (California, Clarion, and Edinboro) and Northeast (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield) are now available (click below). On
April 28 the Board of Governors took the next step in System Redesign by voting to approve implementation plans for the northeast and west university integrations so that we can begin a 60-day
public review/comment period before the Board considers final approval this summer.
Plans for the proposed integrations in the West (California, Clarion, and Edinboro) and Northeast (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield) continue to take shape as we look ahead to consideration by the Board of Governors in the coming months. Here is an update on the work underway in a number of areas: Middle States Accreditation, Academic Updates, and NCAA Athletics.
The Chancellor presented an integrations progress report to the Board of Governors at its February 2021 meeting. At its next quarterly meeting in April 2021, the Board is expected to consider implementation plans, and if preliminarily approved, those plans will be subject to two public hearings and a 60-day public comment period. The Board will review public comments and consider final approval of implementation plans as early as July 2021, which would mean the first cohort of students to enroll in an integrated university is Fall 2022.
With an eye toward expanding opportunity and service to the Commonwealth, at its October 2020 meeting, the Board of Governors affirmed the System’s efforts to continue planning for the integration of six of its universities. The board unanimously affirmed the process and next step after Chancellor Dan Greenstein presented findings from an initial financial review of the proposed integrations. The System is exploring two possible combinations – California-Clarion-Edinboro and Bloomsburg-Lock Haven-Mansfield – and each integration would operate as a single accredited entity with a single leadership, faculty, enrollment management strategy, and budget while honoring local identity.
July 2020 meeting, the Board of Governors authorized the Chancellor to review the financial impacts of potentially integrating operations at selected State System universities as part of Phase 3 of System Redesign. This effort is intended to help all State System institutions sustainably provide their students and their communities with affordable, quality higher education for years to come.