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 SRU trustees recommend contract extension for President Smith 



February 12, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU trustees recommend contract extension for President Smith     


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University trustees today voted unanimously to submit a letter to Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor John Cavanaugh recommending that SRU President Robert Smith's contract be extended.

           Trustees spent several weeks conducting the required formal evaluation of the president's job performance before reaching their recommendation. Cavanaugh is expected to make his recommendation to the board of governor's at its April meeting.

           Susan Vessella, a trustee from Ellwood City chaired the evaluation committee and moved for the recommendation. "This was really a very good and very thorough learning experience about what you do. We are truly appreciative of what you have done at the University. You have been a great inspiration to me personally and to the University," she said in praising Smith's leadership.  

           Eric Holmes, a trustee from Pittsburgh, who served on the original search committee that recommended hiring Smith in 2004, said, "It has been a pleasure for me to see that we made the right choice."  Josh Young, a trustee from Coatesville, said, "Slippery Rock University is very lucky to have Dr. Smith as president."

           Robert Taylor, council chair from New Hope, who spoke in favor of the president continuing his leadership of the campus, said, "Because of your caring nature, and very strong commitment to the University, there is an abundance of love on campus. Congratulations on a job well done."

           In addition to interviews with key personnel on campus, students, alumni and community members, the review committee also relied on a report compiled by Richard L. Pattenaude, chancellor of the University of Maine System, who was asked to serve as an outside evaluator as part of the process. 

           Pattenaude earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Colorado and has served as a member of the governing board of the American Association of State College and Universities and the executive committee of the State Higher Education Executive Office. He is vice chair-elect of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the regional accrediting entity.

           Smith thanked the council for its kind remarks, saying, "Truly the evaluation is not about me, but about those who serve the institution. We have gathered a group of very committed people. This evaluation will make us an even better institution."

           The trustees voted to approve the proposed Capital Budget Authorization Request calling for $120,731 million in proposed projects at SRU through 2015. Among those on the list are renovations to McKay Education Building, the Student Success Center and Bailey Library.

           In routine action, trustees approved the fixed assets, service and supply purchase orders, and contract reports as presented.

           Trustees were informed of 19 instructional appointments, one professional appointment, five administrator appointments, and 39 support staff appointments covering those involved in the federally funded AmeriCorps Program.

           The retirements of Mohammad Akhtar, a 40-year professor of psychology, Patsy Ann Johnson, a 24-year professor of secondary education and foundations of education professor, and James Kushner, a nine-year dean of lifelong learning, were announced.

           Barbara Ender, vice president for advancement, Kelli McKee, director of advancement services, and Robert Petrick, constituent services and database assurance manager, discussed details of the newly purchased Raiser's Edge software system used to track giving by University alumni and friends.

           Council's next meeting is April 15-16.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


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