“We are at a turning point. This year, with our partners, the general assembly, we will decide the course of public higher education in this commonwealth,” Pennsylvania State System of Education (PASSHE) Chancellor Daniel Greenstein said during his State of the System address on Jan. 15. “This year we will decide whether all Pennsylvanians — regardless of race, zip code or wealth — will have an affordable pathway into and beyond the middle class.”
The chancellor, PASSHE Board of Governors, members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and representatives from the system’s 14 universities gathered in the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg for the annual State of the System address.
After brief remarks from Cynthia Shapira, chair of the PASSHE Board of Governors, “Chancellor Dan” shared the achievements PASSHE accomplished in 2019 and created new goals for 2020 and beyond.
The chancellor listed his goals for 2020 including ideas centered around a “sharing system,” where students at one university can access courses and programs across the system.
“The state of our system is fluid. We are at a turning point. This year — with our partners — we will decide the course of public higher education in this Commonwealth,” he said.
“The extent of our success, it’s not ours alone to determine. It depends on the committed partnership of others. Our foundations and our donors will be critical. Transformation at this scale requires investment and innovation in upscaling our own employees and of course in our students,” Greenstein said.
The support through partnerships with the state, employers, schools and community colleges are important to the system’s ongoing success, Greenstein said, emphasizing the partnership with the state.
“We are implementing a strategy, we are on a path, and because the challenges we are addressing are shared across U.S. higher education, the nation is watching,” he said during his address.
APSCUF President Ken Mash told the Board of Governors that the “systemness” of a shared system is not a new concept to the members he represents.
“For many, ‘systemness’ is a new thing. But please understand that for APSCUF systemness is not new. We have always, and I believe always will have, an understanding that what happens on one campus has an impact on others. And reports of deeds on one campus do affect the attitude of faculties across the system. How a president or a provost behaves on one campus will impact how everyone weighs the success of the project we are on,” Mash said.
Later that day, the chancellor shared some of his remarks on his blog.
“We [PASSHE] are confronting challenges that have grown to existential proportion,” the chancellor wrote on his blog. “We have made demonstrable progress in five foundational areas: radical transparency, real accountability, freezing tuition, aligning costs with our revenues and addressing the challenges faced by our low-enrolled universities.”
Greenstein wrote that PASSHE requested a 2% increase in yearly appropriation for 2020, as well as a $20 million installment on the $100 million needed over five years “to become a sharing system that delivers for the people and employers of the state.”
“Let me be clear: this request, this investment, is critical to the success of our efforts and the future of the State System,” Greenstein wrote.
For more information about the system redesign and to read the chancellor’s blog, visit passhe.edu.