President Barron unveils vision of ‘One Penn State 2025’ for trustees

September 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — By 2025, Penn State President Eric Barron said he envisions the University as a leader among higher education institutions in its focus on student success and lifelong engagement — from the time students apply to Penn State through graduation and throughout their lives.   

Describing it as a “transformational experience,” Barron shared his vision for “One Penn State 2025,” a new guiding framework for University-wide educational innovation, in a presentation to the Board of Trustees at its Friday (Sept. 14) meeting. 

“One Penn State 2025” is an effort that began in 2016 to reimagine student learning and support services across all Penn State’s campuses to boost student success, engagement with Penn State and the efficient use of University resources. With partnerships across colleges, campuses and administrative units, the initiative will transform business processes, curricula, course and degree content, and delivery methods across the University.  

“‘One Penn State 2025’ is an ambitious re-thinking of some of our most fundamental approaches to how we structure learning and operate to support student services,” Barron said. “The purpose is to establish a fluid, personalized and collaborative educational environment that serves the needs of students and alumni and helps them achieve their academic and professional goals regardless of their location in the world.”

In the coming months and years, the University will identify ways to support collaboration and direct resources toward becoming more integrated, flexible and responsive as an institution, and to provide students with seamless 24/7 online access to curricula and processes across all campuses, according to Barron. 

 “With our combination of academic rankings, history as an online pioneer, technological capabilities and growth, financial stability and efforts to tackle costs over the last decade,Penn State is uniquely positioned to innovate in ways that few other institutions are capable of within higher education,” Barron said. 

At the trustees meeting, Barron outlined “One Penn State 2025’s” five guiding principles to: 

Provide a seamless student experience

  • Streamline students’ interactions with the University by shifting time and attention from navigating business transactions to learning. This component will integrate admissions, enrollment and student processes, courses, co-curricular learning and support services. 

Achieve curricular coherence 

  • Work toward one unified curriculum across each major, minor and certificate program — with flexible models of course taking — while maintaining the individuality and creativity of faculty members’ lessons and teaching. 

Design relevant and responsive programs 

  • Offer degrees and programs with learning outcomes defined by disciplinary communities and contemporary needs, while also offering flexibility in achieving these outcomes via multiple curriculum pathways. 

Engage learners throughout their lifetimes 

  • Deliver content that is timely, topical and relevant to personal and professional well-being. This component will offer a single University portal with easy access to distributed content sources for learners, faculty, colleges and campuses. 

Achieve the highest level of efficiency of University resources 

  • Leverage digital resources and align faculty, academic and administrative resources to achieve greater institutional efficiency to address affordability for a high-quality Penn State education. 

Successful work already underway includes efforts to develop content and systems that engage learners to pursue a Penn State education throughout their lifetimes.  

Currently, the Offices of Admissions, Student Aid, Bursar and Registrar are exploring cross-functional teams that will support the majority of students’ transactional needs, as well as a one-stop, intuitive platform to provide access to students from their entry into Penn State through graduation, and beyond. 

“We want Penn State to be your University for life,” Barron said. “Once enrolled, we want students to have access to educational opportunities for their lifespan, whether it’s degree programs, single courses, certificates or an additional minor or major, to advance their careers and interests. Under this model, graduation is no longer an end-point and students are always registered — we’ll always be open and here for you.” 

The foundation of “One Penn State 2025” springs from the Penn State Strategic Plan’s priority to transform educationby fulfilling the21st-century land-grant mission, while continuing to expand access to education, promote diversity and inclusion, and drive research and discovery.  

“One Penn State 2025” began in 2016 when a task force was charged with reviewing trends and recommending a framework and vision for the future of online learning at the University based on the success of Penn State World Campus. In 2017, that mission was expanded to transformingthe future of learning by leveraging the digital environment, following input from more than 600 academic leaders, faculty, students and staff. In spring 2018, a report outlining the five guiding principles of “One Penn State 2025” was formalized. 

“In many ways, we’re already collaborating and making progress down many of these paths to envision and generate what Penn State might look like in 2025,” Barron said. “Its evolution depends on the partnership with and leadership of our faculty, aligning across the University, and strengthening already existing partnerships and commitments to determine what our students and alumni need academically, and how we can best continue to serve them.”  

To see Barron’s full presentation, visit



Last Updated June 10, 2019