President Michael Driscoll held a 50-minute discussion Wednesday in Sutton Hall to discuss with members of the IUP community how the university can meet its mission without hurting students along the way.
It was also an opportunity for students and faculty to tell the administration what hinders their good work and to give advice on how the university can move forward.
Driscoll first started by explaining the impact IUP has on graduates.
“Every year, the Career and Professional Development Center does a survey of recent graduates about life after graduation,” he said. “The results from 2017 recently came in, and 95 percent of recent graduates are productive. They are all working, in grad school or in the military, and 81 percent are working in their field of choice.”
Everyone in the room was offered a chance to speak, with about 40 people present.
Yaw Asamoah, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, asked Driscoll to confirm if IUP, one of the larger universities in the State System, is subsidizing other universities. Driscoll confirmed that IUP in fact does subsidize (support financially) some other institutions like Cheney University.
“A few years ago, the board agreed to loan Cheney University $30 million with some ability to forgive some of those loans under some conditions,” Driscoll said.
Pennsylvania ranks 48th in the country in terms of state support per student in higher education.
International students raised concerns about their student visa requirements being fulfilled.
Farzaneh Jahangiri, who received her master’s degree at IUP and is now obtaining her doctorate, raised a question about being recognized as a full-time student. She is also an international student, working in a graduate assistantship.
International students are required to maintain full-time student status. The Office of International Education recognizes international students as full-time if they maintain 18 credits during the academic year, but the School of Graduate Studies doesn’t recognize them as full-time students.
“It would be nice if the graduate school would consider us as full-time students as long as we maintain 18 credits during the whole academic year,” Jahangiri said. “We would have time to dedicate more to IUP, instead of going through some unnecessary challenges.”
“We’ll mark that down, and we’ll have a discussion about that, so thanks for raising that,” Driscoll responded.
Driscoll continued by explaining that the State System chancellor would like to work on the challenge of affordability for students.
“I think he’s hoping by the time we get to our October board meeting, to have some of those things in place so we can talk about them,” Driscoll said.
Driscoll also said that there will be a few more listening tours before the end of the semester, and they will be continued in the fall, as well as some scheduled for the summer for students and faculty who will be at IUP in the summer.