Monday, October 5, 2015

A renewal of our public higher education mission

The well-attended inauguration of Jody Harpster, the 16th president of Shippensburg University, was a highlight of last week for me. These celebrations of the academy are a wonderful mixture of the present and the past, along with a renewal of our mission in public higher education.

I also enjoyed meeting with about 25 students, nearly equal numbers of freshmen and continuing students, who attended my first fireside chat of the fall semester with the Presidential Leadership Program (PLP). We had an interesting discussion of each student’s best and most challenging experience during the fall semester or, for the returning students, during their time at Bloomsburg.

They told me most of their best experiences came from interactions with dedicated faculty members, followed by opportunities to become involved in many clubs and organizations. Many continuing students said their best experiences have grown from the ability to make strong lasting friendships, often with other PLP students. The challenges include homesickness, too many one-day-a-week night classes, and parking.

At last week’s retreat at Bald Eagle State Park, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Executive Committee reviewed a draft policy on background checks for all team sports officials. The commissioner and our PSAC attorney developed the policy, which is based on the State System policy, and the president will vote electronically this week to approve the slightly edited policy. The goal is to have all officials complete the background check before officiating winter sports. I serve as chair of the board, which is composed of the presidents of the 18 universities in the conference.

Much of my effort this week will be focused on the quarterly State System Board of Governors meeting to be held at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg on Wednesday and Thursday. I am also looking forward to the annual Athletic Hall of Fame banquet and induction on Friday evening and the retirement dinner for Dr. Irv Wright on Saturday evening. Robbie and I also look forward to attending Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello as part of our Celebrity Artist Series on Sunday.

#CollaborativeLearning #SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning

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