Board of Trustees actions: March 18, 2005

March 24, 2005

Penn State's Board of Trustees met on Friday, March 18, 2005, at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. 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 March 18 at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. In his opening remarks to the board, President Graham B. Spanier highlighted the record-breaking Dance Marathon, which raised more than $4.1 million last month to support The Four Diamonds Fund programs for Penn State Children's Hospital pediatric cancer patients and their families. He also provided an update on Penn State's appropriation, for which the governor has proposed a 2.2 percent increase for 2005-06, and discussed the status of the two-campus concept for the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, which was approved earlier this month by the law school's board of governors. Spanier also touched upon civility on campus, a healthy growth in the number of student applications to Penn State to date, Greek life enhancement initiatives under way at the University and the launch of an investment fund designed to give Penn State business students real-life experience in the financial services sector.
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Medical center succeeding despite challenges, Kirch tells trustees
Despite uncertainty about the future of state and federal funding for medical education, declining reimbursements from Medicaid, a national shortage of health-care workers and a need for physical space to support its growing education, research and patient-care missions, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is in on track to meet its budget goals for the current fiscal year. Darrell G. Kirch, senior vice president for health affairs, dean of Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Hershey Medical Center chief executive officer told the Penn State University Board of Trustees March 18 that the medical center has experienced substantial growth in patient volumes over the past year, showing a 1 percent increase in emergency room visits, a 6 percent increase in outpatient clinic visits, a 9 percent increase in hospital admissions and an 18 percent increase in the number of surgical cases. During February, the hospital occupancy rate for adult patients averaged 100 percent. The average occupancy rate for pediatric patients (patients under age 18) was 96 percent.
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Penn State College of Medicine to offer master's in homeland security degree
Beginning spring semester 2006, Penn State College of Medicine will offer the first master's in homeland security degree with a public health preparedness focus through Penn State's World Campus, the University's online education program. Penn State's Board of Trustees approved the degree March 18. The goal of the online Master of Homeland Security in Health Preparedness is to prepare current homeland security professionals and individuals interested in transitioning into the field. It is specifically focused on public health preparedness. This program will help prepare emergency management workers, first responders, public health officials and others on the front lines of homeland security to better respond to challenges faced each day. Penn State hopes to attract students nationally. "The program is designed to graduate leaders who value the freedom and protections offered by a civilized society and who are dedicated to guarding against potentially preventable threats to our public health and security," said Robert Cherry, medical director of Penn State Shock Trauma Center, chief of the Section of Trauma and Critical Care at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and academic chair of the program.
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Board learns about Penn State's plan to combat high-risk drinking
Penn State is a leader in environmental management approaches to address problem drinking among its students, said Dennis Heitzmann, director of The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), to the Board of Trustees March 18 at their meeting on the campus of Penn State's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. "High-risk drinking among students may be one of the greatest challenges facing institutions of higher education," said Heitzmann. However, the University has spearheaded efforts to combat problem drinking through what is called the environmental management approach. This approach relies on partnering with the local community to address elements on campus or in town that trigger or support binge drinking. An estimated 1,400 American college students die of alcohol-related deaths every year as the result of alcohol poisoning, fatal accidents and student suicides, in which the depressant effects of alcohol may play a part.
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Preliminary plans for new ballpark at University Park unveiled to trustees
Featuring accommodations for approximately 6,000 spectators in its three-level design, preliminary plans for the new baseball park at Penn State's University Park campus were approved by the University's Board of Trustees March 18. The ballpark, which is being designed by the architectural firm of L. Robert Kimball and Associates of State College, will be the new home for the Penn State baseball team as well as a minor league baseball team to be acquired by the owners of the Altoona Curve franchise. The facility is scheduled to be ready for use by the minor league team in June 2006. Located near the intersection of Curtin and Porter Roads and adjacent to Beaver Stadium and The Bryce Jordan Center, the ballpark's preliminary designs call for three levels -- a concourse level, suite level and field level. Reinforcing an "athletic village" concept, the designs for the new ballpark complement the nearby Bryce Jordan Center, Beaver Stadium and the Multisport Indoor Facility, with plans to feature brick, pre-cast, metal and glass in the construction. Field lights and a scoreboard will be integrated into that design.
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New for this fall: CSI Penn State
For more than three decades, Penn State has been involved in helping professional law enforcement officials do their jobs better. Now, Penn State is putting its longstanding expertise and experience in forensics to use in educating undergraduates. On Friday, March 18, the Penn State Board of Trustees learned that the University will have a new major in forensic science in place by this fall. The interdisciplinary program, which because of its strong science content will be housed in the Eberly College of Science, will involve faculty from anthropology, biobehavioral health, entomology, veterinary science, sociology (crime, law and justice) and psychology, as well as most of the basic sciences. A primary component of the major will be a forensic science seminar. This seminar is an advanced-level, discussion-oriented course designed to reinforce understanding of the purpose, importance and limitations of scientific methods and techniques commonly used in forensic science; introduce how specific fields such as meteorology, geology, engineering and psychology can contribute to forensic science; more fully appreciate how evidence is introduced and used in criminal trials; and provide an opportunity to improve student skills in oral expression.
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Board approves plans for improvements at Hershey Medical Center
The Penn State Board of Trustees March 18 approved preliminary plans that will bring new student housing, a fitness center expansion and new roadway to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The housing project will provide residences for 105 medical and graduate students on the west campus, and the plan allows for future growth that may include two additional phases, each with apartments for 80 students. Expansion of the fitness center will expand the existing facility into a campus community center, and will include a new conference center and student common space. The new fitness facilities will include a cardiovascular workout space with an office for observation, an aerobics room and personal training studio, as well as men's and women's locker rooms, while the new conference center will include a parking lot for with 423 spaces and a conference room providing space for 150-200 people. Finally, an east-west connector roadway will provide a direct link between the east campus and campus core, an avenue that will be expanded in the future to form a ring road that will link all campus facilities.
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Architect appointed for Life Sciences II Building
The Penn State Board of Trustees on March 18 approved the appointment of Rafael Vitoly Architects of New York and Perfido Weiskopf Architects of Pittsburgh to design plans for Life Sciences II Building, a new facility at University Park that will complement the recently constructed Life Sciences Building and provide additional facilities for the Neurosciences Institute in the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences. "In our effort to continue to upgrade facilities that will position Penn State as a leader in neuroscience among major public research universities, we are ready to build the Life Sciences II Building," said Gary C. Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University. Home to the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, the initial Life Sciences Building was dedicated in September 2004. The selected site for Life Science II Building is located near Life Sciences Building, between Shortlidge Mall and Bigler Road. The new facility will be located adjacent to and connected with Life Sciences Building.
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Property sale proceeds will endow engineering chair
Penn State will sell a property in South Carolina that was gifted to the University in December and purchase another adjoining the University Park campus, following approval from the Board of Trustees March 18. John L. McCain gifted a residential condominium at Plantation Club Villas in Hilton Head, S.C., to Penn State in December 2004, but the University was not obligated to keep the property. A buyer has agreed to purchase the property at the appraisal value of $410,000, and at the request of McCain, net proceeds will endow the John L. and Genevieve H. McCain Chair in Engineering at University Park. Additionally, the University will acquire from Arthur E. and Stephanie G. Gover an adjoining, undeveloped property including 5.707 acres and located on Puddintown Road in College Township, adjacent to Route 322. The plot was offered to Penn State for $57,000.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009