Board of Trustees actions: July 15, 2005

July 15, 2005

Penn State's Board of Trustees met on Friday, July 15, at Penn State Delaware County campus. The following items were presented to the board for action or informational purposes:

Penn State Board of Trustees meets; President Spanier's remarks
Penn State's Board of Trustees held its regular, bi-monthly meeting July 15 at Penn State Delaware County. In his opening remarks to the board, President Graham B. Spanier highlighted May's commencement exercises, where a total of 10,726 students graduated, and provided an outlook for robust enrollment expected this year. He also cited the June 14 visit by President George W. Bush to the University Park campus, and major academic and research developments in recent months -- including a $40 million grant from the state for the construction of a state-of-the-art materials research building, the creation of a new forensic sciences program to be headed by the former chief medical examiner for New York City, and construction of a new baseball park at University Park. Spanier also noted the academic achievement of Penn State student-athletes, among whom a record 253 students earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition in 2004-05.
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Penn State sets operating budget for 2005-06
Penn State's overall operating budget will just exceed $3 billion in 2005-06 under a plan approved July 15 by the University's Board of Trustees. The $3.04 billion budget illustrates the quickly growing economic impact the University is having on virtually every segment of the commonwealth -- estimated at more than $6.1 billion annually. "This budget reflects the scope of our statewide reach and supports the high-quality educational experience we provide, despite an appropriation increase that was less than a third of our request," said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. "The budget plan succeeds in maintaining quality, meeting escalating costs and keeping the tuition increase to its lowest level in a number of years." Penn State's operating budget is funded by seven sources of revenue, the largest in 2005-06 being tuition and fees (33.0 percent). Other income sources include: hospital and clinical operations (24.4 percent); restricted funding (17.6 percent); state appropriation (10.6 percent); auxiliary enterprises (8.9 percent); federal agricultural support (0.7 percent); and other sources (4.9 percent).
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Penn State sets tuition rates for 2005-06 academic year
Penn State will increase its tuition rate by 5.9 percent for in-state, lower division undergraduate students for the 2005-06 academic year -- the lowest tuition increase at the University in six years. This rate translates into $308 per semester for full-time students at University Park, with slightly lower amounts for students at other Penn State locations. The benchmark tuition for out-of-state, lower division undergraduate students, whose tuition is expected to cover the entire cost of their education, will increase by 4.5 percent. This rate is based on a formula approved by the board in 2002 that sets the dollar-figure tuition increase for out-of-state students at 1.5 times the increase for in-state students, reflecting more appropriately the increases in the actual costs of instruction. "We believe we've succeeded in maintaining the high-quality educational experience that we value at Penn State and addressing escalating costs faced in higher education, despite an appropriation increase that was less than a third of our request," said University President Graham B. Spanier. "In particular, we've been successful in keeping the tuition increase to its lowest level in a number of years."
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Task force identifies cost savings for Penn State
A Penn State task force has identified $10.6 million in cost savings and non-tuition income enhancements for the University's 2005-06 budget, continuing Penn State's quest for even greater operating efficiency among its administrative, academic and outreach units. The total cost savings effort, which well exceeded the task force's targeted goal of $5.9 million, will benefit students with an avoided tuition increase that would have been otherwise necessary of 1.7 percent, or approximately $180 per year for full-time students. In its three years of operation, the task force has identified approximately $31 million in annual savings and income enhancements, avoiding a tuition increase of 5.5 percent. Since 1992-93, the University has recycled nearly $127 million from departmental operating budgets, with a large portion of those funds shifted from non-academic to academic functions. Additionally during this time, 98 programs or majors and 14 academic departments have been systematically merged or eliminated while new ones have been added, keeping pace with changing student demand, trends in academic fields, accreditation requirements and the need for curricular reform.
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Collaborative efforts enhance student services at all campuses
Penn State's 24 campuses are working in concert to provide service enhancements for all students University-wide, reported Vicky L. Triponey, vice president for Student Affairs. A panel of Penn State student affairs administrators joined Triponey to apprise the board of the University's long-standing collaborative service efforts, the recent formation of a services enhancement task force, and efforts to inventory and prioritize student affairs offerings University-wide. At the heart of efforts to study and improve the delivery of student services systemwide is a vital collaboration among Student Affairs staff at all of Penn State's 24 campuses. Among the long-standing student affairs partnerships that have been used as models for enhancement efforts are cooperative services in judicial affairs and student activities, as well as cross-campus networking for student affairs professionals and an innovative housing cohort program that has been emulated at many campuses throughout the Penn State system.
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New chancellor highlights campus' mission to succeed
As members of Penn State's Board of Trustees and administration met at Penn State Delaware County, the campus was entering an exciting period in its 37-year history, according to its new chancellor. Sophia T. Wisniewska said there's every reason to believe the campus will continue to be one of the best in the Philadelphia region at educating students from all walks of life. "The information I've gathered during the past few weeks has confirmed my impression that this is a special place, with a rich history and a bright future," said Wisniewska, who began as chancellor of Penn State Delaware County on July 1. Wisniewska cited four key objectives that will help the campus succeed in the highly competitive Philadelphia market: updating its strategic plan for the campus; enhancing its academic reputation; strengthening ties with the community; and improving facilities.
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Board approves architect for health, counseling services building
The Penn State Board of Trustees approved the appointment of an architect for a new University health and counseling services building to be constructed on the University Park campus. The Hiller Group of Philadelphia was appointed to design plans for the new building, which upon completion will serve as the on-campus, health-care service and hospital facility at University Park. University Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services, both units within Penn State's Division of Student Affairs, will move to the new facility from their current location in Ritenour Building. Additionally, the board authorized the employment of Weber Murphy Fox of Erie, Pa., to design plans for an addition to Penn State Erie's Research and Economic Development Center, which currently is under construction, to include a lecture hall and support spaces. Weber Murphy Fox had teamed with NBBJ of Columbus, Ohio, to design plans for the existing structure, and for that reason the board agreed to waive the usual architect selection process.
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Board authorizes land purchase, sale at Penn State Harrisburg
Penn State will sell a facility and purchase a 6.47-acre property for the University's Harrisburg location following approval by the Penn State Board of Trustees. The University will sell The Downtown Center, a 6,763 gross square foot facility located at 234 N. Third St. in metropolitan Harrisburg, to Mark S. and Jacqueline L. Singel for $407,500. The University first leased The Downtown Center in 1988 and exercised an option to buy in 1989. The facility is no longer conducive to Penn State Harrisburg's administrative and programmatic uses, which are being consolidated at the University's nearby Eastgate facility. Penn State also will acquire property adjoining the Harrisburg campus from the Middletown Area School District. The property, which includes the former 24-classroom Demey Elementary School, will provide the opportunity for future campus development. It has been offered to Penn State for $840,000.
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Eckel, Peechatka re-elected to Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center board
Keith W. Eckel and Walter N. Peechatka, both members of Penn State's Board of Trustees, were each re-elected to serve an additional one-year term as directors of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center of The Dickinson School of Law. The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center was established in 1998, following the 1997 merger of The Dickinson School of Law with Penn State. It is designed to provide the highest-quality educational programs, information and materials to those involved or interested in the agricultural industry. The center is a collaboration between the law school and the University's College of Agricultural Sciences, and is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Eckel is partner in Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms Inc. in Clarks Summit. Peechatka is executive vice president of PennAg Industries Association, a non-profit association representing agricultural businesses.
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Beahm awarded the rank of trustee emerita
Mary Beahm, vice president of human resources for C-COR Inc. and former member of the Board of Trustees, was awarded the rank of trustee emerita in recognition of her meritorious service as a board member for more than 15 years. "We are delighted that Mary will continue to work with us as a trustee emerita. She has been a dedicated and hard-working colleague and a friend to Penn State," said Cynthia A. Baldwin, chair of the Board of Trustees. Although retired from voting and serving as officers, Penn State's trustee emeriti continue to serve on the board as their schedules permit.
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Alumni Association updates trustees on growth, initiatives
The Penn State Alumni Association reported on its membership growth, expanded outreach to young alumni and continued service to the University in a presentation to the Penn State Board of Trustees. Marianne Ellis Alexander, a 1962 liberal arts graduate of Penn State who just completed her term as Alumni Association president on July 1, outlined the association's agenda and results of last year. Topping the list of accomplishments was growing the Alumni Association by more than 9,500 new members in the last two years to reach a record 156,142 members. "We have continued to solidify our status as the world's largest dues-paying alumni association," said Alexander. "We continually strive to involve more alumni in the life of the University." The Penn State Alumni Association, established in 1870, will celebrate its 135th anniversary on July 28. Its mission is to connect alumni to the University and to each other, to provide valuable benefits to members and to support the University's mission of teaching, research and service.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009