Group will provide recommendations to trustees, Board of Governors
Harrisburg – Robert W. Bogle, chair of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania's Council of Trustees, and Aaron A. Walton, vice chair of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, will co-chair a task force charged with developing a new institutional model for the university. An advisory group of constituents—students, faculty, staff, alumni, community leaders, elected officials, and others—is being formed to provide input to the task force.
The Board of Governors authorized the creation of the task force last month to lead the development of a new institutional model for Cheyney, "with a focused mission that builds on the success of the Keystone Honors Academy, ensures operational and financial stability, and includes an aggressive timeline for implementation." The Keystone Honors Academy at Cheyney serves high-achieving students, many of them first-generation college students, from Pennsylvania.
The task force will begin working immediately on the development of that new institutional model. It is expected to provide preliminary recommendations to the Board of Governors and the Council of Trustees by May.
"We all understand Cheyney University's historic value for our students, the System and the whole commonwealth, and we are all coming together to ensure its relevance well into the future," Mr. Bogle said. "The work of this task force will be pivotally important to charting a bold path forward for Cheyney."
Cheyney University is the oldest Historically Black University in the United States, having been founded in 1837. It also is the oldest university in the State System.
"I am honored to serve on and recognize the significance of the task force," Mr. Walton said. "We need to be thorough and thoughtful in our information gathering and in the development of a new direction for Cheyney University, but we also need to move aggressively. The future of this historic institution is at stake. We want what is best for the university; but, most important, we want what is best for the students."
Also on the task force will be Cheyney University trustee Sam Patterson, state Sen. Vincent Hughes, state Rep. Matthew Baker, chair of Pennsylvania's Legislative Black Caucus and state Rep. Jordan Harris, Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia D. Shapira, Board of Governors Vice Chair David M. Maser, and Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally representing the Office of the Governor.
"The Board of Governors is committed to the long-term success of Cheyney University," Ms. Shapira said. "This task force has a very important charge; to help ensure that success. Cheyney University has served students and the Commonwealth for nearly two centuries. If it is to continue to do so, it must develop a focused mission that will enable it to meet the needs of students today and tomorrow, and to do so while balancing its budget and living within its means.
"We are so grateful to Governor Tom Wolf and members of the General Assembly who visited Cheyney University recently. His support and the ongoing engagement of the General Assembly—including the Legislative Black Caucus—are critically important as we all work together for the future of this important institution."
The task force will conduct its work even as the State System undertakes a broader strategic review that seeks solutions to ensure every university within the System is operationally and financially sound.
Both the Board of Governors and Council of Trustees will be asked to consider the preliminary recommendations, after which a detailed academic and business plan will be completed by university and System staff. The final plan also will be reviewed by the task force and key constituents.
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling more than 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.