Change is something often promised by politicians as they tour around the areas they’ve come into jurisdiction of, along with other promises of improvement and stability.
On Tuesday, Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Dan Greenstein visited IUP, as he has done in the past on more than one occasion, to host an open panel on his plans for system-wide changes, which he refers to as “a sharing system.”
He opened with a short video displaying information on the technological advancements and innovation opportunities made in recent years. He followed this with talk of hope and change, paired with sobering statistics on “lagging public funding” and the “increase in contributions by and costs to students, and less from the state, which has also led to enrollment reductions.”
However, Greenstein then transitioned into a more optimistic outlook, starting with the reminder that there is a “growing adult-student enrollment market” that IUP should be tapping into.
The big announcement, however, was that he was aware of complaints staff members have made about the way PASSHE is run.
“I hear employees demanding we stop competing with each other, stop doing the same wrong things 14 times and stop letting bureaucracy get in the way of things,” he said.
Greenstein’s solution for the competitive, unfriendly and restrictive nature of the current system, is to “become a sharing system.”
“A sharing system places students at the center of everything it does.”
Greenstein gave examples of opportunities that the sharing system would provide, making a “world where a student can access what they need from any campus on any campus” or a world where colleges are “able to offer students courses that colleges struggle to find professors and programs for, like foreign languages and philosophy.”
The sharing system is a more connected network of all the schools in the PASSHE system, in which the schools work together, pool resources and have more direct contact with each other and leadership in Harrisburg.
Greenstein told the audience that Harrisburg lacks the time, power or interest to dominate or micromanage the schools, so autonomy and independence will still be present in the new system.
Ideas were given as examples of the new opportunities and benefits of the new system, such as “virtual reality, online class options and new programs,” or even more staff- and leadership-oriented promises like rewarding managers and leaders based on the success of the staff under them.
In the coming months, new plans will be worked on and refined so that further update can be given, including increased communication and the formation of task forces/teams focusing on the academic success of students, the success of each university, the success and wellness of students and a consultancy team for shared services between campuses.
In reference to the shortcomings and complaints against his predecessor for his outlook on PASSHE’s future, Greenstein ended his presentation by saying that “the sky is falling, but there’s also opportunity.”