The consulting firm hired to assist with a strategic review of the overall operations of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has launched a website through which the public can track the progress of the review and offer their thoughts on the future of the State System.
The State System’s Board of Governors last month hired the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) to help with the review, which will involve a thorough study of the operations of the 14 state-owned universities and the Office of the Chancellor.
In April, NCHEMS will visit every university within the State System for face-to-face meetings with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, community members, etc.; other sessions to be held with university presidents, trustees, elected leaders, labor union leaders, and the Board of Governors.
Members of the NCHEMS review team already have begun meeting with stakeholder groups, and plan to visit every campus before the end of the spring semester. At the conclusion of the review, NCHEMS will make recommendations for changes that might be necessary to help ensure the System’s long-term future.
The new website will include updates throughout the process and will provide all members of the public the opportunity to comment on the review and to offer their suggestions on ways to enhance the System and its operations. To visit the website, go to NCHEMSproject.com/system-review or link to it from the State System website at passhe.edu.
The strategic review is being undertaken as the System works to ensure the universities are prepared to meet the needs of students and employers in every region of the Commonwealth, both today and in the future. The review comes at a time when the State System universities are facing unprecedented challenges, fueled largely by lagging state funding and decreasing numbers of high school graduates, leading to declining enrollments at many universities.
“During the campus visits, NCHEMS team members will hear from students, faculty, staff, alumni and others,” said State System spokesman Kenn Marshall. “They also will meet with elected officials, business and community leaders and others, and this website will be a great tool for everyone to provide their insights directly to NCHEMS.”
The strategic review is expected to conclude by the end of the summer, after which NCHEMS will provides its recommendations to the Board of Governors.
NCHEMS in recent years has worked with several other higher education systems facing challenges similar to those confronting the State System, including public university systems in Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon and Tennessee. The non-profit organization has extensive experience in collecting and analyzing data and in the areas of student success, enrollment management, financial planning and system governance.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.