Shippensburg University on Tuesday hosted new Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Chancellor Daniel Greenstein as part of his 14-stop university tour.
Greenstein, a self-described “forever optimist” was supposed to begin the day by cycling on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, but the rainy weather deterred his plans. Despite the rain, Chancellor Greenstein’s visit included various times of personal interaction with students, faculty and administrators.
An open forum was held shortly after 1 p.m. in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center, where questions and conversations were discussed with the new chancellor.
Following short opening remarks by SU President Laurie Carter, the chancellor gave a short address about his goals and visions for PASSHE.
He centered his address around emails from students, faculty and community members around the state. Greenstein also discussed the problems that PASSHE currently faces.
“Why would anyone want to move across the country and take a role in a public university with such problems?” Greenstein said. “Our problems are not unique. It’s a national challenge. We have a sense of urgency to take this one. The lives of our students and our communities depend on it.”
Greenstein is extremely confident in his ability to aid in the system redesign process.
As reported previously by The Slate, “Greenstein’s long list of experience in higher education includes holding a top administrative position in the University of California education system, as well as serving as a senior adviser for U.S. education programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Greenstein also touched on the budget for PASSHE universities.
In response to remarks from a February PASSHE budget hearing where senators called for an end to funding to PASSHE, Greenstein said “The conversation about it [the budget], comes down to what our mission is as a system. It is to serve all students. The opportunities at our universities allow students to have affordable pathways into sustaining careers.”
The highly-contested budget has helped, and will continue to provide education for thousands of middle-class students.
“PASSHE will always have its advantages,” Greenstein said. “It’s affordability, career pathways, the favorable faculty to student ratio. There is also a variety and choice within the system. The diversity is a big strength.”
The continuation of PASSHE funding has more benefits for the state than consequences. Greenstein wrote in his welcome blog post that the system redesign is so that “future generations have even more opportunities to thrive and contribute to our economy and to the health and well-being of our commonwealth.”
Greenstein also encouraged an open line of communication with all members of the PASSHE community.
“As chancellor, I am the students’ listener, advocate, and facilitator in-chief,” he said.