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 President tells Trustees: SRU's goals lead to 'bragging rights' 



June 15, 2007
Contact: K.E. Schwab


President tells Trustees: SRU's goals lead to 'bragging rights'


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. �- "Slippery Rock University's goals of enhancing the value of an SRU degree by providing students with unique applied learning opportunities, and serving as outstanding stewards of its financial assets are paying off in unexpected ways," Robert Smith, SRU president, told the Council of Trustees at today's quarterly meeting.

          In the June 2007 issue, Consumers Digest magazine ranked Slippery Rock University as one of the 'Top 5 Best Values among Public Colleges and Universities,'" Smith said. The magazine analyzed approximately 3,800 institutions of higher learning nationally and ranked the best based on attributes that validate or define the institutions' academic prowess factored against the annual cost of tuition and room-and-board. That "value-index" score was factored with the cost of attending each school to determine which schools offered the most academic value per dollar.

          "The Consumers Digest ranking is an unbiased validation of the value of an SRU degree. We are very proud of the quality academic programs, activities and services we provide and that we are an affordable institution," Smith said.

          "Being named as one of the 'Top 5 Best Values among Public Colleges and Universities' is just one area where the University can claim bragging rights," Smith said.

          "The University is also able to boast we are one of only a few, if not the only, University in the nation, to have two professional sports teams playing home games on campus," Smith said.

           Smith credited Paul Lueken, SRU athletic director, for agreements with the New Castle Thunder, part of the North American Football League, and the Slippery Rock Sliders, part of the independent Frontier Baseball League to play their home games at SRU.

           Thunder games are played in N. Kerr Thompson Stadium, while Slider games are played in Jack Critchfield Park.

           Smith said both SRU and the community are benefiting from the exposure generated by visitors to the games, but beyond the excitement the teams bring to campus, the real payoff for the University is that both teams are giving SRU students internship opportunities in all aspects of game operations. 

           "The fact two pro franchises have chosen SRU as their home is a testimony to our facilities and the unique arrangements we have included to provide student learning experiences as part of the packages," Smith said.

           The president also noted fall enrollment forecasts are "on target with the University plan." Smith said, "We expect to see a generally stable enrollment and the quality of the class will remain consistent with the high quality of the last several years in terms of students in the top 10 and 25 percent of their high school class, SAT scores and grade-point averages."

           Trustees welcomed two new members to the council. New members are John A. Hicks, SRU professor-emeritus of elementary education and early childhood, and Joshua B. Young, a 2004 SRU political science graduate from Coatesville. 

           Young is a third-generation employee in his family's hometown business and in 2005 was elected a Caln Township supervisor, making him the youngest elected commissioner in the township's history. As commissioner, he serves on the parks and recreation committee, the King's Highway Park master plan committee and the Caln Community Day committee, among others. As a student, he served as a senator to the Student Government Association, speaker of the senate and as student representative to the Council of Trustees.

           Hicks, a 1962 SRU graduate, retired from the University in 2002 after 29 years service as professor and assistant to the dean of SRU's College of Education. He twice served as interim dean. As assistant to the dean, he was certification officer, responsible for the placements of more than 400 student teachers per year and liaison to regional school districts. His other interim appointments included associate dean, director of continuing education, school improvement coordinator and department of administration and supervision chair. He has been a member of the SRU Sports Hall of Fame board of directors since 1985.

           As part of council's annual business, trustees voted to accept the nominating committee's report recommending re-election of the current slate of officers. Suzanne Vessella, of New Castle, remains as chair; Robert Taylor, of Solebury, as vice-chair; and Grace Hawkins, of Cranberry Township, secretary. Vessella was named to the council in 2003 and was elected chair in 2006 after serving as vice chair.

           In routine action, council voted to accept the minutes of the March 9 meeting as well as reports on contracts, fixed assets, and service and supply purchase orders. Council also accepted the prepared Annual Inspecting of Facilities report. 

           A resolution seeking demolition of a University storage facility at 125 Kiester Road, deemed to have passed its life cycle and no longer needed, was approved. A report on the 1,713-square-foot, wood frame facility, once a private residence, documented it would require substantial investment in order to be usable. In addition to the trustee's demolition request, action by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors will be required before demolition can take place.

           Council was told of the creation of the new professional studies department and the renaming of the department of sociology, anthropology and social work to the department of social work, criminology and criminal justice to better reflect its academic focus. The professional studies department's mission is to support the University and community through innovative courses and programs, scholarly growth and service contributions. Study within the department will deliver an alternative, flexible, outcomes based and high-quality degree program in professional studies. 

           Trustees were informed of two strategic leadership appointments: Barbara Ender, vice president for University advancement, and Susan Hannam, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science, and two tactical leadership/senior professional appointments: Scott Albert, director of facilities, and W. C. Vance, director of undergraduate admissions. Jodiann Solito was named director of the SRU Women's Center. Twenty-six instructional appointments and 25 support staff appointments were announced.

           Council was also told of six faculty retirements and eight support staff retirements. 

           Retiring faculty include:

          � Victor Campagna, assistant professor of physical education with 25 years; 

          � Robert Fidoten, associate professor of communication, 17 years; 

          � Anita Gorman, professor of English, 17 years; 

          � Dale Stewart, associate professor of parks and recreation/environmental education, 29 years; 

          � Michael Stowe, associate professor of sociology, anthropology and social work, 25 years, and 

          � Donald Thompkins, associate professor in the School of Business, 25 years.

           Staff retirements include: 

          Terri Glavan, clerk typist 2 in the Admissions Office, 9 years;

          � Karla Markl, clerk typist 3 at the McKeever Environmental Education Center, 22 years;

          � Debra Moors, clerk typist 2 in sociology, anthropology and social work department, 35 years;

          � Barbara Porter, administrative assistant 1 College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, 32 years;

          �Leona Porter, forms layout specialist 2 in Printing Services, 32 years;

          � Craig Snyder, maintenance repairman 2 in facilities and planning, 25 years;

          � Joseph Stahlman, maintenance repairman 2 in facilities and planning, 35 years; and

          � Bonita Vinton, clerk typist 2 in geology, geology and the environment, 38 years.

           Professor emeritus status was granted Charles Shultz, professor of geography, geology and the environment, who retired in 2003 with 33 years of service, and Esther Skirboll, professor of sociology, anthropology and social work, who retired earlier this year with 19 years of service. Twenty-one faculty members were granted tenure.

           Council's next quarterly session is noon Sept. 14.

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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