Wednesday, November 1, 2017

“Giving back” is more than a slogan

As a former university president, I know first-hand how much you—the students, faculty, and staff at our 14 universities—do to make your local communities a better place. Whether it’s cleaning up a neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon, raising money to support a local program, or utilizing student and faculty expertise to solve a problem, our universities are deeply woven into the community.

We don’t do this because we have to; we do it because we want to. We want to give back to the communities we call home—the communities that make it possible for our universities to provide enriching academic opportunities and ensure student success.

Giving back is important to me personally. It’s both rewarding and inspiring. As citizens, I believe we should offer our time, talents, or resources to help impact the lives of others. Our universities continue to answer the call by creating opportunities for you to give back.

To spotlight these selfless acts, the State System is launching the #givebackPA campaign to bring awareness to the impact our universities have on their local communities, their regions, and the entire Commonwealth. Follow #givebackPA on social media (or here) from now until the end of 2017 to see real-life examples of this generosity.

I am so proud to be part of the State System, and look forward to reading the stories of how you are making a difference every day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“Day One”

This is my first blog as Interim Chancellor of the State System, and I’m very excited to not only have this new opportunity to serve, but to do it at such an important time for our universities. In the coming weeks and months, I hope we will get to know each other a little more as I visit the 14 universities and have conversations with our students, faculty, staff, and others.

I’ll spend my first days as head of this system listening and learning—to hear about what’s important to our students. Everything we do at each of our universities—and as a system—should be focused on our students and their success. So, my first days on the job will be spent on university campuses, meeting with students, faculty, staff, and campus leaders. I’m starting at Slippery Rock and IUP, but these are just the first of many visits I plan to make to our state universities.

Real, genuine dialogue is important if we are to have collaborative, open, and trusting relationships across the System. As we build these connections, we will enhance our ability to advance the distinctive roles of each of our universities. All of this will help us shape the future of the State System to ensure our universities are able to continue providing high-quality, affordable higher education for decades to come.

But talking is only part of the equation. We need action too.

I am pretty much a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. I listen well and will always tell you where I stand. From day one, I can guarantee you that I will work very hard to advance every one of our 14 universities. I can also guarantee you that everyone who wants to work with me will be very involved in advancing our system of universities.

Now is the time to take bold steps toward increasing educational opportunities for students, modernizing how we do business, and ensuring a successful transition to the next chancellor. That’s my focus.

As we get to know each other, you’ll find that I’m an enthusiastically positive person.

We’re all in this together. So, let's get started.