Penn State Shenango's Strategic Plan: 07/07/2008
Chancellor's observations and executive summary
It would not be an understatement to suggest that Provost Erickson's memo of June 26, 2007 announcing the University's new round of strategic planning was met with little enthusiasm. Such tasks rarely create excitement. Nor would it be an overstatement to suggest that his directive was never more critical than it is at this moment in the history of Penn State. The Provost's memo encapsulates the issues that all the University's units must confront, and its subtext is that while our institution is diverse, there is a shared obligation to seek solutions that will result in greater health for Penn State in all of its components.
Penn State Shenango is a small campus located in the western part of the Commonwealth in sight of the Ohio border. The community's elderly residents continue to reminisce about the days when heavy manufacturing here meant well-paying jobs, generations of the same family living close by, busy downtowns, secure pensions, health benefits, and so forth. That world began to vanish three decades ago. That lost world, however, was the one which sought to acquire an institution of higher learning, and Penn State responded with the establishment of what was then called the Shenango Valley Campus. In a community that was prosperous, a college was needed to keep the economic engine running and to enable its citizens to remain where they could enjoy the comforts of home and the benefits of secure employment.
The decline of the American steel industry and the satellite industries that it had fostered was felt strongly in this region, however. Unemployment rose; small businesses closed; domestic disruptions fueled by financial and emotional stress increased. Indeed, if a community can be said to have a psyche, our region's would have been characterized as melancholic.
Amid this gloom, however, there was some light, and that was Penn State Shenango. It not only provided the kind of education that opened new employment possibilities to displaced workers; it also served the women whose lives were changed both by their need to find work outside the home and by the breakdown of the family structures that had been their raison d'être. Though it may sound immodest, Penn State has been the lifeboat that has saved our community from the sea of despair. Oddly, it is only recently that this has been acknowledged by leaders in this region, coinciding perhaps with their final realization that the ?good old days? will never return.
Penn State Shenango is not unique among Penn State campuses, notably those in the western part of the Commonwealth. It often seems that Pennsylvania has two separate identities: a western and an eastern. But the Provost's mandate is timely for Penn State Shenango because the campus has the potential to change more in the next 5 years than it has in the previous 43 years of its history. We began our strategic planning process by conducting an external environmental scan and an internal faculty and staff survey. The data we collected from these two assessments led us to conclude that there will be an opportunity to reshape not only the administration, faculty, and staff, but also the way the campus conducts business during the period of this plan.
The challenges that the campus must confront are both external and internal. Scanning the environment in which the campus is located, we see the following:
- a relatively stagnant local economy
- the loss of a locally resident executive cohort that ran the large factories
- an aging population
- out-migration of families
- fewer high school graduates
- intensified competition from other post-secondary institutions
- an increase in the number of economically disadvantaged residents.
On the inside, our challenges are
- an inevitably escalating cost of attendance with concomitant higher levels of student indebtedness
- an academic portfolio that does not fully reflect current job trends
- dependency on part-time faculty
- functional inefficiencies such as under enrolled courses and curricula; interdepartmental communication failures; lack of engagement on the part of faculty and staff
- uncertainty over the campus' place in the larger context of Penn State University.
Grasping the gravity of the issues that the campus and its community face must engender the resolve to confront them head-on because Penn State Shenango is perhaps more critical to the future of our region than any other local institution. While the campus cannot increase the birth rate or dissuade the unemployed from migrating elsewhere or modify its cost to community college levels does not mean that it is impotent. The campus can stimulate economic development, can compete with other post-secondary institutions by emphasizing value and quality, and can administer an antidote to poverty by educating the local citizenry. To do these, it must address its internal challenges by providing more scholarship money for deserving students; adding degree programs that will draw enrollment; deleting degree programs that no longer attract sufficient student interest; consolidating faculty positions to decrease course delivery by part-time instructors, thus strengthening academic quality while enhancing reputation; minimizing the number of under enrolled courses; engendering a shared purpose among employees; effectively exploiting opportunities for change provided by the anticipated retirement of many faculty and staff; maintaining the sense of belonging and affiliation with the University via disciplinary communities and shared resources with other Penn State campuses.
In addition to addressing its shortcomings, the campus must build upon and enhance its strengths. It must continue to cultivate the community of scholar/teachers who deliver instruction. It must continue its tradition of student-centeredness. It must continue to provide services to a diverse cohort of students of different ages and ethnicities. It must continue to demonstrate that it values its employees by maintaining an environment that is supportive and respectful. It must continue to emphasize the Penn State identity that lies at the heart of the campus' mission and viability.
If the campus does all these things, what will it look like in 5 to 10 years? It will be more fiscally efficient; it will have a stable enrollment; it will be an engine for regional economic growth; it will be agile in acquiring and jettisoning academic offerings; it will be a partner with other units within Penn State to deliver the University's mission to citizens in this region of the Commonwealth.
Strategic Planning Guidelines:
N.B. During our planning process, it seemed appropriate to combine Guidelines 1 and 2.
- An articulated vision of where you see your unit's future in 5-10 years. This vision should include an identification of those functional areas and types of programming that will be enhanced and those that will be less emphasized or eliminated in order to achieve the unit's vision within a context of limited financial and other resources. This vision for the future should incorporate an analysis of the overarching trends and forces that are shaping the environment in which your unit operates, nationally and locally.
- A discussion of specific strategies for achieving the vision and measures of performance. As you consider future directions, you should address the implications and impact on current capacity in areas such as enrollments, staffing requirements, budgetary resources/flexibility, and space/facilities, as appropriate to your academic or support unit. Discuss the unit's current internal and external challenges that have been identified through benchmarking, constituent feedback, market analysis, and other assessment data, and how they will be addressed.
Be especially cognizant of major University initiatives and priorities that have implications for unit level planning. For example, units may wish to highlight interdisciplinary and cross-campus collaborations and efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
In the articulation of its vision for the campus, the Strategic Planning Committee has identified 4 functional areas for enhancement: academics, enrollment, staff, and environment.
The academic vision rests upon the principles of current program enrichment by judicious use of options and foci; the exploitation of technology and University resources such as World Campus, eLearning, and inter-campus course-sharing via PicTel to provide access to degrees that would be otherwise unavailable here; and the deletion of curricula that are no longer viable as measured by enrollment or market demand. Use of distance education technology may be a way to gauge accurately the enrollment potential of degree programs and thus reduce the risk of making personnel commitments at the outset of a new curricular offering. Once a perceived demand is supplanted by a robust student cohort, the campus will explore the effectiveness of delivery modes and make modifications if necessary or desirable. Concomitantly, a diverse faculty cohort will be developed in light of these principles, so that new hires are able to deliver coursework in a variety of modes while being devoted not only to their disciplines but also to interdisciplinarity.
Enrollment is critical to our vision of the future. In fact, it is the sine qua non of campus viability. First, it will be necessary to curtail the declines of the past; next, it will be necessary to increase the number of students we serve. Of course, the planned enhancement of the academic portfolio should prove attractive. Getting the Penn State message across, however, may be of equal importance. To this end, a multi-faceted marketing campaign will be initiated, promoting the 2+2 model as a key component of Penn State's appeal. Moreover, expanding opportunities for undergraduate research, international studies, a robust student life environment, the investigation of untapped populations, and the appropriate use of the Outreach office are also strategies that will be employed to reverse negative trends and engender enrollment growth.
The vision we have for the non-teaching staff is predicated on providing the highest level of personalized and professional service to students and to the community. Emphasis will be placed on advising and learning support services to improve retention; moreover, expansion of the IT staff and the hiring of a specialist to serve students and faculty engaged in technology-intensive programs of study will complement the traditional configuration.
Our vision of the campus environment involves the renovation of the campus auditorium; the closing of Shenango Avenue, which bisects our property; the addition of technology-equipped classrooms; the air conditioning of the Science Building; the improvement of way-finding both on campus and in the vicinity; continuous campus beautification and the selection of graphic works that reinforce the campus' Penn State identity; and partnership with the City of Sharon to enhance the urban setting where the campus is located.
The campus visions and our strategies for meeting them and performance indicators are detailed as follows
A. Develop new programs or enhance existing programs that reflect national and local job trend analyses.
Strategies: Evaluate the environmental scan to identify national and local trends
Collaborate with other campuses to jointly offer programs when possible, in order to share resources and reduce costs
Utilize data from the current pilot with the Beaver campus to offer the 4IST locally. The pilot is entering its third semester and is showing signs of long- term viability
Exploit the individualized option in BSB and LASCC (2 & 4 year) to assist students in developing a marketable skill set within the degree
Within BSB individualized option, add Finance focus, HR focus, HRIM focus, HPA focus, International Business focus
Within 4LASCC, promote communications focus, PR focus
Within 2 LASCC promote Behavioral Health Tech, Gerontology Tech, and an IST focus
Develop the IST minor for the business program
Phase out the 2 MET program and reduce the number and frequency of under enrolled courses offered throughout the schedule.
Performance Measures: Track graduates related to type of job obtained and the correlation of job to degree earned
Track national and local job trend analyses once per year and adjust campus majors as appropriate.
B. Actively promote hybrid/blended learning experiences available on World Campus to enhance skill set development and to expand majors.
Strategies: Train IT staff to serve dual roles as blended learning coordinators and student advisors for students in WC courses
Market World Campus Bachelor of Science in Organizational leadership more aggressively
Add World Campus Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; market it as a blended learning experience
Add Individualized option to the 2 IST as the job market is moving away from networking and toward database administrators and computer and information systems managers
Conduct study to assess interest in on-line degree programs in Shenango's service area
Develop communication/marketing plan to promote hybrid/blended learning experiences to new and current students.
Performance measure: Number of students enrolled in blended learning experiences.
C. Promote excellence in teaching and learning.
Strategies: Increase the core of full-time faculty to support new programming initiatives in Sociology, Business, HDFS
Expand research capacity and publication production
Encourage RDG participation
Actively explore external funding opportunities
Celebrate and publicize faculty achievements
Explore community research needs and opportunities
Schedule a yearly faculty development retreat and faculty discipline meetings by semester (include full- and part-time faculty)
Coordinate faculty and staff development activities with regional PSU campuses
Facilitate the use of innovative instructional methodologies and the integration of technology into instruction
Promote interactive, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning
Embrace both individual and team-based learning.
Performance Measures: Number of full-time faculty is increased
Track faculty scholarship and development activities yearly
Track trends in SRTE's.
C1. Reduce our reliance upon and ensure the quality of part-time faculty.
Strategies: Consolidate offerings where appropriate to replace part-time faculty with full-time faculty
Compete actively for the best adjunct instructors in the region
Initiate a part-time faculty database in cooperation with other area institutions to improve staffing in less frequently offered courses
Develop course syllabus templates to improve consistency of offerings
Institute a formal, on-going peer evaluation process for part-time faculty
Create a mentoring and evaluation system, perhaps through the Faculty Senate, that would ensure quality teaching while allowing part-time faculty academic freedom to develop syllabi, choose texts, etc.
Performance measures: Track trends in SRTE's
Track faculty scholarship and development activities yearly
Schedule fewer courses taught by part-time faculty.
C2. Increase the number of "smart classrooms" and promote the use of technology- enhanced teaching and active learning strategies.
Add at least one smart classroom per year.
D. Create an academic environment that embraces human and academic diversity.
Strategies: Actively work to make our faculty and staff more racially and ethnically diverse; this is immensely important to students' educational experience
Incorporate Diversity Issues forum into new student orientation
Model broad-mindedness, sensitivity, and understanding
Develop an orientation to the Diversity Studies Certificate
Implement strategies outlined in ?A Framework to Foster Diversity – Fall 2006 Update,? including an annual campus climate assessment
Consult University Park HR regarding ways to enhance candidate pool diversity, e.g. Hire Power.
Performance Measures: Campus climate assessment indicates a positive climate related to diversity
Continued practice of having a diversity advocate on all search committees
Increased racial and ethnic diversity of faculty and staff
Increased enrollment in and completion of the Diversity Studies Certificate.
E. Improve disability services.
Strategies: Develop "essential functions" documents for each of the majors
Expand counseling services for incoming students with self-disclosed disabilities to assist them in choosing an appropriate major (one in which they are able to perform the essential functions with reasonable accommodation)
Seek funding for learning center support of learning disabled students
Provide regular faculty and staff training workshops for assisting disabled students with course accommodations.
Performance Measures: Each major lists essential functions
Campus climate survey indicates positive support of the learning disabled
Increased opportunities for training related to disability services.
A. Eliminate the community perception of Shenango as the "13th grade" via student activities and academic experiences that are clearly collegiate.
Strategies: Continue a Student Government Association that reflects both traditional and non-traditional aged student needs
Recognize that students are of clearly distinct age groups and promote age- appropriate activities
Expand and continue to promote co-curricular/academic activities such as theatre and museum trips
Continue to host dances and develop the sporting activity programs that may be of interest to traditional aged students
Continue to promote family-oriented activities and social ones that tend to be more attractive to older students
Expand opportunities for student participation in service-learning and internships
Promote out- of- area paid internships to expand geographic horizons for students
Develop and promote international experiences
Develop an active undergraduate research agenda by: utilizing college-funded undergraduate research stipends; evaluating their use and reapplying for campus-based matching funds for undergraduate research and special student projects; seeking external grants to assist with research funding and student projects.
Performance measures: Conduct student focus groups and an online survey of student services and activities to inform the planning for the next year
Increased numbers of quality service learning activities, and internships
Increased numbers of undergraduate research projects.
B. Develop an aggressive marketing campaign to highlight the contributions of the campus to the community.
Strategies: Promote the quality of the faculty, since faculty are our greatest asset and are central to the college experience of our students
Increase the number of feature stories in newspaper, especially promoting faculty research and publications
Consider paid ads focused on faculty
Encourage faculty to write forum pieces for newspaper
Develop a news flyer featuring faculty pictures and qualifications
Update the web page each Monday
Take advantage of "special" weeks, i.e. PA education week
Reevaluate marketing expenditures to determine if we are targeting our markets correctly
Evaluate the effects of direct mail vs. newspaper insert
Promote "quality" in every advertising piece
Target the Ohio market and promote PSU as a good alternative to YSU and Kent
Promote campus cultural and entertainment events to further encourage more community attendance
Engage the Penn State Advisory Board and the Penn State Shenango Alumni Association, as well as current students, in recruiting efforts.
Performance Measures: Number of marketing and information occurrences in media
Attendance at campus cultural events
Enrollment numbers and campus philanthropy.
C. Strive to build enrollment in our existing programs with more students like those currently attending: HDFS; Business; LASCC; 2 IST; 2 PTA.
Performance measure: Increased enrollment and graduates from these programs.
D. Build enrollment of underrepresented members of the community
Strategy: Focus on 2+2 enrollment; dual enrollment; the 4 LASCC degree as graduate-school track.
Performance measure: Increased enrollment.
E. Use CE and outreach activities as first exposure to educational opportunities at Shenango
Strategies: Recruit students from among CDA and Director Credential courses for HDFS programs
Use workforce development programs as opportunities to meet and recruit potential students
Develop credit training programs for companies
Identify employers who provide tuition reimbursement
Search for untapped pools of adult students in area businesses and employers in the face of the projected 8% decline in high school graduates.
Performance measures: Increased number and diversity of CE offerings
Higher HDFS enrollments from CDA cohort
Increased enrollment of adult students currently employed.
F. Engage in a stealth marketing campaign for the campus.
Strategies: Improve participation of University personnel in key community and economic development initiatives
Develop partnerships with public and private agencies and organizations in the community to share resources and expertise
Develop and market timely and appropriate family and community education programs through the Institute for Family and Community Empowerment.
Performance measures: Faculty and staff membership on community boards
Number of activities sponsored by the Institute for Family and Community Empowerment.
A. Maintain and improve student- centered attitude of professionalism and a service-based organizational culture.
Strategy: Offer workshops on customer service; annual performance reviews and raises reflect success or failure in this area.
Performance measures: Number of and attendance at formal staff development workshops
Student feedback from focus groups and satisfaction surveys.
B. Expand Learning Center staffing and programming
Strategies: Seek funding for the development of a college transition course to improve the preparation of and remediate the skills of high-risk admissions (provisional students)
Monitor student attendance and achievement and promote interventions to improve student retention and decrease walk-aways.
Performance measure: Learning Center attendance data
Higher retention rates
C. Expand advising services
Strategies: Add a part-time advisor who can also serve as ePortfolio advisor for the Learning Center
Reengage faculty in academic advising.
Performance measure: Number and types of advising contacts.
A.Explore classroom configurations to meet the curricular needs of different programs.
Strategies: Provide furniture appropriate to student size/shape
Air condition Science Building classrooms
Add data view projectors and computer consoles to all classrooms
Renovate the campus auditorium for multiple uses and as community venue.
B. Expand library and computer lab hours.
C. Develop an official entrance to campus.
D. Close Shenango Avenue, which bisects the campus, and create a mall area there.
E. Change directions to campus on the campus web site to direct visitors through thriving areas of the valley rather than through the industrial area.
F. Continue to build partnerships with the City of Sharon to beautify the area surrounding the campus and with developers to provide private student housing.
G. Make the campus tobacco-free by 2009.
Performance measure: Positive outcomes on satisfaction surveys.
3. (For Academic Units) A discussion of progress and initiatives in learning outcomes assessment. Plans should include information regarding how academic assessment and efforts to review undergraduate and graduate degree programs will be accomplished, especially for those fields not subject to national accreditation reviews.
Learning outcomes assessment has been an integral part of Penn State Shenango's programs in Nursing, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Physical Therapist Assistant. Thus, the campus and its faculty are not strangers to the notion of establishing appropriate learning outcomes. Additionally, the official University Bulletin and the Class Orientation Sheet and/or syllabus for every course include a statement of learning objectives. These stated objectives have tended to be general in nature, however, and do not provide a significant level of detail, particularly in terms of skill-sets to be acquired by the student. Certain academic disciplines, such as mathematics and foreign languages have established lists of topics that faculty must cover; these lists were developed to ensure that students across our distributed system can move freely from location to location without interruption of academic progress. They also lend counterpoise to the dangers of what has been called ?curricular drift.? A significant part of learning outcomes assessment lies outside the purview of any individual campus for programs that are shared between locations. Learning objectives and assessment for these will doubtless be conducted within the context of disciplinary communities. This does not, of course, preclude campus-specific focus on these matters.
The notion of core competencies has been explored in the professional literature. A document that resonates particularly for Shenango campus is the one published by the LEAP National Leadership Council focusing on Essential Learning Outcomes. It reads:
"The Essential Learning Outcomes"
Beginning in school, and continuing at successively higher levels across their college studies, students should prepare for twenty-first-century challenges by gaining:
- Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
- Through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts
Focused by engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring
- Through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts
- Intellectual and Practical Skills, including
- Inquiry and analysis
- Critical and creative thinking
- Written and oral communication
- Quantitative literacy
- Information literacy
- Teamwork and problem solving
Practiced extensively, across the curriculum, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance
- Personal and Social Responsibility, including
- Civic knowledge and engagement—local and global
- Intercultural knowledge and competence
- Ethical reasoning and action
- Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
Anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges
- Integrative Learning, including
- Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies
Demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems"
- Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies
These principles will serve as the framework to direct Penn State Shenango's implementation of learning outcomes. Our approach is as follows
I. Develop curriculum strategies to promote core competencies of learners (critical thinking, communication skills, information literacy and technology, appreciation of diversity and global perspectives).
Strategies: Include core competencies as course objectives in every course and develop learning strategies to meet these core competencies
Create rubrics for faculty across the disciplines to use in evaluating students' problem-solving, writing, and analytical-thinking skills
Work with faculty across the disciplines to help them create and encourage them to use essay tests in their field that require students to demonstrate problem-solving, writing, and analytical skills
Exploit ePortfolio opportunities for students and showcase learning outcomes by including projects that meets goals set forth for each program
Consider authentic assessment techniques as measures of student success such as: project-based final assessments for courses; essay testing that requires critical thinking; senior projects/capstone projects for majors.
Performance measures: Yearly program evaluations that assess learning outcomes and student success
Employer evaluations of recent graduates.
II. Engage the Advisory Board and the alumni in program development and student achievement.
Strategies: Develop a community mentorship program
Enlist the help of Advisory Board and alumni in student preparation for job interviews
Canvass alumni and Advisory Board yearly for program and curriculum development needs
Develop Advisory Councils for each of the baccalaureate programs from within the current Advisory Board.
Performance measure: Level of Advisory Board and Alumni Society engagement.
4. Strategic performance indicators appropriate to unit level goals. The University will continue to monitor strategic performance indicators at the university level. Units are encouraged to continue to collect data and utilize indicators appropriate to unit level goals.
Strategic performance indicators will include:
- Head count, credit hours produced, direct cost per student credit hour, number of degrees awarded, average section size, and job placement rate for graduates
- Surveys of community perceptions of the campus, especially perceptions of organizations employing our graduates
- Data from student satisfaction surveys
- Data from campus climate surveys.
5. An indication of how elements of the Framework to Foster Diversity are incorporated into the unit's strategic plan. Although diversity planning will continue to occur in a parallel planning process, units should take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate related elements of their goals and commitments regarding diversity into the larger context of the unit's future vision and strategies. Units should also incorporate other elements of climate that may be reflected in faculty and staff surveys as available.
Penn State Shenango's academic vision as articulated above included two important goals that are supportive of the Framework to Foster Diversity:
Create an academic environment that embraces human and academic diversity
Improve disability services
Strategies to reach these goals and performance indicators are also described in the academic vision.
I. Academic Initiative in Support of diversity
Strategy: Strengthen and diversify our course offerings via the Diversity Certificate, and market the program to current students, new students, and community stakeholders in the areas of Women, Gender and Sexuality; and Race, Ethnicity and Religion.
Performance measure: Number of students who earn the Diversity Certificate.
II. Admissions activities related to supporting diversity are focused on the campus relationship with
Strategies: Participate in job club program – explain admissions process and assist CareerLink clients with application/financial aid
Reach out to all TRA/TAA eligible students
Continue to be part of the Rapid Response team when businesses close
Maintain relationship with GED coordinators to assist capable students with college search/career guidance/application/financial aid.
Strategy: Participate in annual veteran's job/career fair.
Strategy: Attend several adult-focused events in the community such as Shenango Valley Business Expo, Women's Expo, Mahoning Valley Adult Education Showcase, Juneteenth Celebration, and Shenango Valley Mall Career Fair.
d) High Schools
Strategies: Work closely with Talent Search coordinators in Sharon and Farrell school districts to provide career exploration/college planning exercises for students. Host Talent Search staff and participants on campus for tours/information sessions.
Dual Enrollment: continue and expand dual enrollment program and focus on underserved populations
Martin Luther King/ Penn Stater for the day; continue to host high school students and have them participate in Martin Luther King celebration on campus.
e) Campus Events
Strategies: Continue adult-focused open houses every fall and spring with adult students serving as guest speakers and as hosts.
Continue adult student representation among Lion Ambassadors
Hold adults- only offer receptions.
Performance measures: Student focus groups reflect a climate that appreciates diversity
Student population reflects diversity.
Strategies: Collaborate with UP to develop adult post cards for event mailings
Create adult-focused newspaper ads using adult students from Shenango campus
Publish a campus-wide formal definition of diversity
Implement a strategic plan for diversity with long-range, measurable goals.
III. Continue Student Services initiatives related to supporting diversity.
a) Increase visibility of resources
Strategies: display Zero Tolerance Network member symbols outside of ADSA and staff offices
Create an environment that encourages non-traditional students to take leadership roles in clubs/organizations and activity planning
Continue the practice of multiple meeting times both day and evening to accommodate adult/working students
Ensure that staff are available 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate day and evening student needs
Offer adult, evening Orientation
Continue to offer family-related activities (HDFS Halloween and Easter Parties, Family Day, Children's movies)
Continue to offer adult- relevant personal enrichment discussions (taxes, budgeting, stress relief)
Keep the Fitness Center open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Game Room from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Continue to offer Career Services course with special attention paid to development of technology skills needed for the job search process, and provide a technology tutor to assist students with technology questions
Offer evening cultural events through Student Activities
Offer Career Services evening workshops
Keep Career Services office hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Utilize the Student Diversity Committee
Promote SSCD (Shenango Students for Cultural Diversity) Club
Offer SA and club activities focused on diverse student cohorts
Continue to offer free transportation to the WestPACS' SEED Diversity Networking-Workshop
Support Rainbow Lions (GLBT club) established during 2005-2006.
Performance measure: Climate assessments are favorable.
6. A five-year recycling plan that describes those adjustments that would be necessary for the unit to recycle centrally up to 1.0 % of its permanent operating budget each year. Some continued central recycling will almost assuredly be necessary to balance the University's overall budget, providing for regular and competitive salary increases, improved facilities, and limited new strategic investments.
The most significant source of permanent funds resides in salaries, so it is likely that it is to positions that we will have to look for money to recycle. Consistent with our vision for the future and our campus' hopes for additional academic programs, the faculty cohort should remain immune from cuts during the next 5-year period. In order to recycle approximately $50 thousand permanent dollars each year for 5 years, we will undertake the following steps:
Fill positions vacated by retiring employees with lower-paid replacements
Fill vacant staff positions with (HR 88) employees, i.e. less than full-time
Explore sharing of faculty and staff between the Beaver and the Shenango campuses
Replace retiring personnel funded through permanent dollars with temporary dollars, thus freeing up the permanent money for recycling
Seize opportunities for consolidation of job responsibilities
Evaluate each standing budget to determine if any are over-funded
Generate income by developing an aggressive and community/industry responsive CE unit
Use student fees to support technology classrooms and co-curricular initiatives
Offer fewer under enrolled courses
Create a specific plan for using the World Campus shared revenues generated in the 2BA and the BSB programs and any future blended/hybrid programs
Charge for printing from campus computers in computer labs and library after a designated number of free pages is established
Charge for printing from campus computers in computer labs and library after a designated number of free pages is established
Develop a specific energy conservation plan and enforce it, e.g. shutting down computers at night, installing motion sensors on lighting in all classrooms.
7. Units should identify those centrally funded, jointly funded, and/or enrollment-growth-funded (in the case of Commonwealth Campuses and Great Valley) strategic investments that would have the greatest impact in helping to achieve the unit's articulated vision. Units should consider three possible scenarios when making their requests: (1) the unit would have at its disposal strategic investment funds (in addition to the regularly provided general salary increase funds) over the next five years equal to approximately half of those funds that would be centrally recycled, and (2) the unit would have strategic investment funds equal to the total of those funds centrally recycled by the unit, and (3) the unit would have the equivalent of its centrally recycled funds plus an increment of strategic investment funds equal to approximately 5.0 percent of its current base budget. The last of these scenarios should provide units with the opportunity to think more boldly and creatively about how they could best position themselves for future success in an environment of more plentiful resources, recognizing that only a few units may, in the end, experience such increases. It should also be noted that the University's continuing goal is to shift relatively more of its resources to "core" instructional, research, and related support functions, and to operate administratively in the most efficient and streamlined manner possible while not adversely impacting mission critical support services.
The viability of Penn State Shenango, as with any campus within the University, is tied to enrollment. The campus must first stem the decline in student population it has recently experienced, and then increase the number of those who enroll and are retained. To this end, if funds do become available as per the scenarios enunciated in Guideline #7, they will be directed toward achieving that fundamental objective.
The cost of a Penn State education is escalating at a rate that makes it very hard for economically disadvantaged people in our service delivery area to attend Shenango. The indebtedness of a Penn State Shenango graduate is approximately 50% greater than that of a student who attends the University Park campus. Moreover, the price of books has caused some students to begin classes without the texts and supplemental materials they need for academic success. To address some of the financial impediments to attendance, the campus proposes to use "investment funds" from scenarios 1, 2, and 3 as follows:
to create a "book award" for economically disadvantaged students that will cover the cost of books
to underwrite a portion of the tuition for economically disadvantaged students as determined by an evaluation of their financial situation
to provide day-care vouchers for economically disadvantaged students with young children
to develop a "Try-One" program whereby first-time adult learners could enroll in a 3-credit course at 1/2 tuition.
Additionally, to vouchsafe the successful dual-enrollment program currently subsidized by the University College's administration and by the Commonwealth's Project 720, we propose to direct "investment funds" toward its continuation. This is a backup plan under scenarios 2 and 3 in the event that either the University's or the Commonwealth's contribution should no longer be available.
The importance of marketing cannot be overemphasized; however, the campus' budget directed to marketing is very small. Under scenarios 1 and 2, we propose to evaluate our marketing strategies and make changes as necessary. We might consider using some funds in the first year to hire a professional marketing consultant to review all of our efforts in this area although our preference is to work with Penn State personnel; subsequently, we would use the funds to penetrate markets that will yield additional enrollment for the campus.
Clearly scenario 3 would allow the campus to do more dramatic things that will enhance the environment and make Shenango a more desirable destination for potential students. To this end, we would proceed with one of the following projects:
the installation of state-of-the-art technology in the campus auditorium
the establishment of a campus radio station.
Finally, based on availability of monies, we would consider the following enhancements:
reinforcing regional disciplinary communities by establishing a professional lecture series in a conference-type format featuring distinguished faculty from Penn State and other institutions of higher learning
providing supplemental support for faculty attendance at professional meetings, as well as support for other scholarly endeavors.
Chancellor's final observations
This year, Penn State Shenango was fortunate to conduct a scenario planning exercise under the auspices of Peter Idowu, Administrative Fellow to Provost Erickson, and Catherine Dufour, Administrative Fellow to Vice-President Romano. Scenario planning is predicated on the principle that since the future is uncertain, it is appropriate to explore different versions of what it might look like. Gathering tacit knowledge from informants familiar with the campus' internal and external environments and then combining it with data from various sources, Dr. Idowu crafted scenarios that describe what futures may await Penn State Shenango.
The scenario planning exercise was conducted in parallel to the strategic planning process that resulted in the document presented above; however, scenario planning did not inform the strategic plan. The two remained separate entities. Although both were based largely on the same data and on the views of knowledgeable informants, each had different goals. This makes sense considering the propositions from which each derives.
Strategic planning assumes the stability of underlying principles and organizational structures. Scenario planning makes no such assumptions. Thus, what emerges from scenario planning is a less constrained view of potential futures.
In a memo dated March 26, 2008, Provost Erickson charged a "Campus Missions" task force, chaired by Vice-President Romano, to analyze and make recommendations regarding the key issues that campuses must address to ensure that Penn State continues to deliver effectively its programs and services throughout the Commonwealth. This is a clear indication that the University, at its highest levels, acknowledges now what has too long remained unspoken, i.e. that the challenges the University's campuses face cannot be met by continuing to do business as usual.
Penn State Shenango has been described in this strategic plan as a "lifeboat," and this descriptor is in no way an exaggeration. There are and will continue to be citizens in the campus' region who desperately need what Penn State alone with its vast resources and commitment to the land grant mission can offer. To serve these people, new thinking and structural transformations among proximate campuses will be essential if we are to vouchsafe Penn State's mission in the western part of the Commonwealth. The will to participate actively in this process is strong at Penn State Shenango, as is the belief in the value of what we do here.