Cynthia Shapira, President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and Chancellor Daniel Greenstein
State System Chancellor Daniel Greenstein visited Clarion today as part of his tour of each of the 14 schools in the system.
As part of his visit, Greenstein engaged in an open forum with members of the Clarion community. But before the open forum began, Greenstein addressed the topic of school closings:
"I didn't come here to close campuses. I wanted to get that off the table so we can have a conversation," he said, adding that closing campuses is counterproductive to the mission of higher education.
On more than one occasion he referred to himself as an optimist and noted that the culture in the State System needs to be repaired between the Board of Governors, upper management, faculty and staff. He believes that is a sign of current political times, but thinks relations can be repaired with a climate of mutual respect, trust and the ability to have polite, civil discourse.
Another task in the State System is to truly understand who our students are and where we're going in order to determine how to proceed.
Greenstein took questions from the crowd concerning diversity, public relations problems (specifically regarding enrollment), online education, helping students become entrepreneurs, competition between schools and implementing programs without being delayed by extensive processes.
Greenstein said he supports building diversity on the campuses, as universities are often the place where people can go to interact with others who aren't like them.
Regarding public relations, he said we need to be honest about our enrollment issues and determine which populations are underserved such as adult learners, people of color and single parents.
As for online education, Greenstein said it has come a long way and it's no question that online education offers the same quality as an on-the-ground delivery system. Each school just needs to determine which programs work best online and which flavor of online delivery works best for those programs.
Greenstein fielded a question about how he could help students become entrepreneurs, and his response was that he could do that, but he believes each school is better equipped to do so because they know the area and have more interaction with students than he would have. Greenstein said he believes that's one way to give back a sense of autonomy to each school.
On the topic of competition among the State System schools, Greenstein said he believes schools need to have honest conversations with each other regarding programming and collaborate where possible.
Dr. Phil Frese, dean of the College of Business and Information Sciences, said often programs are developed but delayed in the approval process by the Board of Governors in Harrisburg, allowing private schools to beat the State System in launching them.
Greenstein said he is aware, and steps have been taken to streamline the approval process.
Cynthia Shapira, chair of the State System Board of Governors, chimed in with her thoughts about the Board of Governors' role and said the board's number one goal is the student success.