In his first 60 days serving as chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Frank Brogan made it his goal to visit the 14 universities he oversees.
Shippensburg University was visit number 13 on the list for Brogan, who came to the Old Main Chapel at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Students, professors, college deans and trustees all gathered to hear Brogan speak about his plans for PASSHE and his 37 years of experience working in the Florida state education system.
When his contract as Florida chancellor was coming to a close, Brogan began to look for education opportunities elsewhere. After discussing PASSHE with former chancellor John Cavanaugh, Brogan was sold on coming to Pennsylvania.
Brogan began his career in education working as a classroom teacher and later was elected lieutenant governor.
Inside Old Main, Brogan discussed the benefits of PASSHE and the improvements that can be made to Pennsylvania universities to increase their standing against competitive universities.
Members of the faculty union, Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) held up paper signs reading, “Ship stands with” followed by either Mansfield, Clarion, Slippery Rock, East Stroudsburg or Edinboro. APSCUF did this to protest the retrenchment of faculty across PASSHE.
“I’m impressed by virtually the fact that Shippensburg, which is not currently going through retrenchment, still has people who think enough of what’s going on in some of our other universities to be able to make their case on their behalf,” Brogan said of APSCUF’s protest of sorts.
Brogan noted that 90 percent of the students in PASSHE are Pennsylvania residents and 80 percent of PASSHE graduates chose to continue living and working in Pennsylvania.
He went on to speak about how these numbers reflect the future of Pennsylvania.
“We’re educating our students for their place in the world,” Brogan said.
Brogan listed affordability and proximity to home as two major factors that bring in students to PASSHE schools. Brogan wants to keep the cost of higher education down and use the recession as a time to reevaluate the way PASSHE operates.
Brogan discussed the implementation of new programs, as well as the importance of consolidating old programs to generate forward progress.
Brogan also mentioned the importance of interactive online education. He emphasized the need for a relationship between professors and students as well as between students and their peers. Although online resources are helpful in the learning process, they cannot replace the classroom experience, according to Brogan.
During the talk, Brogan also mentioned the relationship PASSHE has with community colleges. He noted the relationship is good, but not great.
The number of students who transfer to state universities after receiving community college education has increased in recent years and PASSHE strives to maintain a good connection with those institutions of higher education. Brogan wants to ensure that transferring from community college to a PASSHE school is a smooth transition.
Among the students who sat in on Brogan’s visitation was Luke Perry, Student Senate president.
“He’s been a school teacher, he was a principal, so he’s seen both sides of the field. We haven’t had a chancellor like that in a long time,” Perry said of Brogan.