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Minutes October 21, 2004 

University Forum Meeting

October 21, 2004

University Union, Room 205


Attendance for October 21, 2004 was:
Patricia Campbell, Deb Cohen, Michael Conlon, Kim Creasy, Scott Dawson,
Thomas Deems, Steven Doherty, June Edwards, Wayne Forbes, Anita Gorman,
Susan Hadley, Robert Isherwood, Richard Marchand, Jose Martinez-Samos,
Blyth McDanel, Mark Mraz, Christine Pease-Hernandez, Alison Plessinger,
Annette Salsovic, Darla Shields, Jon Shumway, Laura Smiley, Jeff Taylor,
Donald Strano, Melissa Teodoro, Mary/Teri Vetere, Willliam Williams, Marcy


  1. Meeting opened by president Steven Doherty

-          The purpose of this meeting was to all Dr. William Williams, Provost, to discuss ‘Leading the Way’ the PSSHE Strategic Plan for 2004 to 2009.  The hope was that by letting the University Forum (UF) understand the direction the State System is obligating the institutions to take, then the UF would be able to choose directions that will assist SRU in meeting the requirements in a fashion comfortable to most.  The meeting took the form of a loose talk, in which Dr. Williams discussed aspects of the PSSHE Strategic Plan and responded to questions.


What is the PSSHE Strategic Plan?


-          This outlines the goals the State System has established for the institutions.  The ultimate goals are set for 2009, but there are a series of steps that must be met.  Provost Williams was responsible for drafting a document revealing both an identification strategy for achieving the goals and devising a method to measure the success of the action.  Dr. Williams' aim in his document is to minimize focus on aspirational projects, and to focus on ongoing projects (as these are sure to be engaged).

-          It was explained that while this is not the same as the Performance Indicators (PI – goals the institution must reach or exceed to receive a portion of the retained money), it is similar in its scope.

 The State School PIs involve roughly $21 million that are withheld from the state allocation each year (this number seems destined to increase based on recent trends).  The 14 schools compete for this money in a variety of categories.  If you fail to meet a target (based on current numbers for each institution) you get no money in that category.  Hitting a target gets you some money, while exceeding a target produces more money.  If you can exceed a target in which all other schools come up short, a great deal of money can be obtained in one area.  SRU does well in most areas, but has no ‘powerball’ category.

-          The PSSHE Strategic Plan has 5 core areas, most of which contain rather broad statements of the goals of each area.  Some areas, such as ‘Student Achievement and Success’, are rather broad and reflect the general aims of SRU.  Other areas, such as ‘Manage Growth and Access to State Universities’, allow for a variety of programs to be highlighted.  Dr. Williams mentioned both our projects to support certification of local teachers (measured by attendance) and to support and develop K-12 partners to develop teachers (measured by both number of schools involved and the degree of their involvement.  Finally, other areas, such as ‘Increase Diversity’ are more aspirational, requiring SRU to initiate plans to increase diversity, but the results are impossible to guarantee.


Enrollment issues.


-          Dr. Williams briefly discussed recent trends in enrollment.  In 1991, SRU enjoyed high enrollment, well complemented by out of state students.  State mandated changes in out of state tuition fees lead to a loss of those students. To make up for the lost students, SRU lowered admission standards.  In 1999, SRU began a goal of increasing admission standards, and developed a scholarship system to attract out of state students.  Since then, we have obtained more PI money.  In the fall of 2004, enrollment was 7928, the most ever.  It is significant to note that students are accepted but who don’t attend SRU are attending schools like Penn State, Pitt and IUP (we are not losing students to insignificant schools).

-          As a result of increased standards, SRU is currently the highest ranked State School in Western PA by the US News and World Report.  We are ranked a high 3.


Questions from the floor.


Q – Is there an underserved population to be targeted?

A – SRU desires a diverse population of students and faculty, largely based on the belief that a non-homogeneous environment is beneficial to everyone.


Q – Is PI money tied to increasing diversity?

A – Yes.  Beyond that, failure to hit targets leads to stern warnings from the state.


Q – How do you (Provost Williams) feel about the competition model between schools based on the PI system?

A – Competition will make each school better.  It should not be viewed as a war, but as necessary goal setting to encourage the institutions to strive.


Q – Do PIs impact the wording of the latest search document (esp. ‘experience working with diverse populations’)?

A – Yes.  SRU must have faculty that can work with diverse populations if we hope to retain them.  Dr. Williams stressed that there is flexibility on the wording, and a shift to ‘willingness to work with diverse populations’ is possible.  As a part of this aim, SRU is aiming to achieve our goal of 15% minority faculty.


Q – Can we attract diverse populations to SRU?

A – Yes, though it requires effort.  Our focus in on areas of Ohio supported by our development of out of state scholarships.  Pittsburgh is targeted, but is over-recruited.  We find it difficult to retain students from Philadelphia, or other eastern centers, in western PA.


Q – How long is the delay on the PI money?

A – Not long, usually within 2 months of submitting the 15th day data.


Q – How can the demands the State System places on the institution be communicated to the faculty?

A – It is difficult, and requires the departments to look beyond their needs to see the limits on the institution.


Q – What goals would you (Provost Williams) like to set for UF?

A – Would like to see initiatives that aid SRU in reaching the goals set by the State System.


Q – How will the requirements for more than 12 graduates in every degree program be handled?

A – This is a state mandate, and will go through.  The aim is that 25% (or less) or our programs be graduating 12 or less.  Currently, we have roughly 40% in that area.  Renaming/consolidating programs to reduce the numbers of CIP codes that they represent can manipulate much of this.  Should it be necessary to remove some programs, that Provost Williams will handle decision.  A second issue is that the state requires that any degree granting program that could be accredited receives that accreditation.  Some departments may struggle with this.


  1. Doherty and the UF as a whole thanked Dr. Williams for attending.


  1. Adjourned at 1:30