Trustees committee updated on efforts to transform education

September 14, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — During its meeting on Sept. 14, members of the Board of Trustees Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning learned more about the importance of transforming education at Penn State and how the University plans to do so. 

Craig Weidemann, special assistant to the provost for innovation and education technology initiatives, shared a vision statement, goals, strategies and guiding principles that will enable Penn State to continue to provide a world-class education in rapidly changing times. 

According to Weidemann, Penn State’s focus on the transformation of education is essential to increasing the benefits of digital innovation in the teaching and learning enterprise, reducing the amount of time and money students need to earn a degree, and preparing graduates to thrive in the modern, global workforce. 

“Because teaching and learning are at the core of our mission, Transforming Education is one of the key themes in the University’s strategic plan,” said Weidemann. “Within the planning process, many members of our academic community are advancing critical initiatives that build on our legacy of outstanding teaching and engage digital innovations in instruction – all to ensure that our students achieve their academic goals and are prepared for success in the 21st century.” 

Robert Pangborn, vice president and dean of undergraduate education, and Weidemann are co-chairs of the Strategic Plan Transforming Education Executive Committee, which has been working to identify key strategies and initiatives to support this thematic priority. 

Based on goals articulated in the strategic plan, a new vision statement, “One Penn State: 2025,” maintains the University will be more integrated and flexible in providing its students a world-class education. “By 2025,” it says, “we will develop a culture and curriculum that facilitates seamless access by students across instructional modes, be they fully in-person, online, or hybrid. Responsive online processes will be embedded in every part of Penn State, enabling us to become a 24/7/365, agile, diverse and inclusive institution. One Penn State: 2025 will be an individualized and collaborative environment for students, faculty and staff to achieve their goals regardless of their location on our campuses or in the world.” 

Weidemann cited three principal goals linked to this vision statement: Advance Student Success, Transform the Teaching and Learning Environment, and Provide Professional Development for All Instructors. For each goal, they outlined several strategies to accomplish them, such as creating the new Student Engagement Network, expanding the use of open educational resources, and providing premier instructional design support to faculty. 

Five principles guide the strategies and the goals they support: Provide a Seamless Student Experience, Achieve Curricular Coherence, Design Relevant and Responsive Programs, Engage Learners Throughout Their Lifetimes, and Achieve the Highest Level of Efficiency of University Resources. 

Moving forward, small groups comprising faculty, staff and administrators will work to implement specific strategic initiatives that align with the three goals. 

"Penn State will be a leader in the transformation of education as it continues to fulfill its land-grant mission in a 21st-century context," said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost of the University. “I thank and congratulate everyone who has been working hard to develop the ideas and initiatives that will ensure we succeed in this effort.”


Last Updated September 20, 2017