President names council to find savings and identify opportunities

University Park, Pa. -- The challenging financial times for higher education across the nation have Penn State moving quickly to identify new ways to maintain a quality education, while becoming a more efficient and effective institution.

To facilitate the necessary changes in the University's operations a 13-member council chaired by Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson has been appointed by the president to provide indepth analyses of programs, examine available resources, find efficiencies and determine how to maintain the University's excellence in an era of declining state revenue and mounting fiscal challenges.

Known as the Academic Program and Administrative Services Review Core Council, this group of faculty, staff and administrators from University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses must identify $10 million in permanent cost savings and nontuition revenue sources in each of the coming years.

Over the next 18 months, the council will work closely with three newly named coordinating committees: University Park Academic Review, Campus Academic Review, and Academic and Administrative Services Review (see members below). The council and its working groups have a University-wide goal of finding both permanent, long-term budgetary savings and short-term cuts that can provide funds for reinvestment in areas that support Penn State's five-year strategic plan. The groups are open to all constructive proposals.
 
"The goal is overall cost savings, not cost shifting," Erickson explained. "We have been through 18 years of recycling funds … we are in recycling fatigue. We need to seriously reduce costs and have resources to invest in new opportunities, and hold the line on tuition increases. While some level of central recycling will undoubtedly continue, we will need to focus on vertical, more selective trimming."
 
Erickson was referring to the nearly two decades (since 1992) of recycling that Penn State has undertaken, which has amounted to about $190 million being identified and redirected for reinvestment in the academic areas.
 
The provost said that while Penn State is organized well and has been managed conservatively, the shrinking support from the Commonwealth and the finite resources available elsewhere make it clear that the University can no longer support all of the initiatives in which it is currently involved, including some academic programs, outreach initiatives and research centers. 
 
"The question is not 'what should we eliminate?' The question is really how do we use and combine our resources to do what's best for students? Consolidation is a preferred route, but we are no longer in a position to support everything," he said.
 
Erickson's sentiments coincide with recent statements made to the Legislature by President Graham Spanier, who said Penn State would be forced to cut positions in Cooperative Extension and agricultural research if the Commonwealth did not come up with additional funds.
 
While acknowledging the many challenges that Penn State faces, Erickson also said there are many opportunities that can be found if the University community begins to think more innovatively and strategically.
 
"We need to reduce expenditures while preserving a high-value educational experience for our students. That is no small task," Erickson admitted. "We need to find a balance between these two goals, but any decisions we make will be data driven and informed."
 
Anyone with additional ideas for cost savings or efficiencies should contact the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment at psupia@psu.edu. The provost will hold an open meeting for faculty on Monday, April 12, in 508 Rider Building, University Park. More details on the meeting will be publicized in upcoming stories on Live.
 
Members of the Core Council include:
Erickson, chair
Lee D. Coraor, associate professor of computer science and engineering and Faculty Senate chair
Keith J. Crocker, the William Elliot chaired professor of insurance and risk management, Smeal College of Business
Lynda Goldstein, associate professor of English and women’s studies, Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Madlyn L. Hanes, chancellor, Penn State Harrisburg
Donald Heller, professor or education and director, Center of the Study of Higher Education, College of Education
Albert G. Horvath, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer
Daniel J. Larson, dean, Eberly College of Science
Robert N. Pangborn, vice president and dean, Undergraduate Education
Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs
Regina Vasilatos-Younken, senior associate dean, The Graduate School
Susan Welch, dean, College of the Liberal Arts
Marcus Whitehurst, assistant vice provost for Educational Equity
 
Members of the University Park Academic Review Coordinating Committee:
Chair Susan Welch, dean, College of the Liberal Arts
Marie Hardin, associate professor, College of Communications
Robert Hume, Evan Pugh professor of English
Daniel J. Larson, dean, Eberly College of Science
Susan McHale, professor and director, Social Science Research Institute, College of Health and Human Development
Robert N. Pangborn, vice president and dean, Undergraduate Education
Carlo G. Pantano, director, Penn State Materials Research Institute and distinguished professor of materials science and engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Karen Wiley Sandler, chancellor, Penn State Abington
Kim C. Steiner, professor of forest biology, School of Forest Resources
James B. Thomas, dean, Smeal College of Business
Regina Vasilatos-Younken, senior associate dean, The Graduate School
Craig D. Weidemann, vice president for Outreach

Campus Academic Review Coordinating Committee
Chair Madlyn L. Hanes, chancellor, Penn State Harrisburg
Francis K. Achampong, chief academic officer, Penn State Mont Alto
David Christiansen, associate dean for undergraduate studies and academic administration, Penn State Erie
Lee D. Coraor, associate professor of computer science and engineering and Faculty Senate chair
Ann C. Crouter, dean, College of Health and Human Development
Melanie K. Doebler, director of public engagement, Penn State Public Broadcasting
Lynda Goldstein, associate professor of English and women’s studies, Penn State Wilkes-Barre
R. Keith Hillkirk, chancellor, Penn State Schuylkill
John Johnson, professor of psychology, Penn State DuBois
Fred M. Leeds, chancellor, Penn State Shenango
Cynthia Lightfoot, professor of human development and family studies, Penn State Brandywine
Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs
 
Academic and Administrative Services Review Coordinating Committee
Chair Albert G. Horvath, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer
Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, chancellor, Penn State Altoona
Keith J. Crocker, the William Elliot chaired professor of insurance and risk management, Smeal College of Business
Daniel P. Heist, director, Office of Internal Audit
Gail Hurley, associate vice president, Auxiliary and Business Services
Sally W. Kalin, associate dean, University Libraries
Kevin M. Morooney, vice provost for information technology
David W. Richardson, associate vice president for research
Jeffrey J. Smith, director of finance, facilities and information systems, Penn State Outreach
Marcus Whitehurst, assistant vice provost for Educational Equity
David N. Wormley, dean, College of Engineering
 
You can find more information on the strategic plan and the review process at http://www.psu.edu/president/pia/plans/index.htm.
 

 

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Last Updated March 25, 2010