We are pleased to present the Penn State Schuylkill 2014-2019 Strategic Plan
Also Available for download in a PDF format.
Penn State Schuylkill Strategic Plan 2014-2019
As a campus of The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Schuylkill shares the University’s threefold mission of teaching, research, and service. As a student-centered campus, we will continue to provide the academic opportunities of an internationally recognized major research university in an intimate and supportive small college environment.
Penn State Schuylkill, as an integral part of Penn State University, will be the leading higher educational institution in east central Pennsylvania, committed to providing high-quality academics through a shared commitment to teaching, research, and service.
Sustainability will serve as the overarching framework that will permeate our themes. The University’s definition of sustainability as “the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations” demonstrates the comprehensiveness of the concept. Penn State Schuylkill will intentionally embed sustainability as a fundamental value of the campus and local communities through the involvement of all sectors of the campus including students, faculty, staff, administration, and local community partners, including our advisory board. The EPICS project will assist the campus in implementation. This project includes several steps: Envision, Plan, Implement, Change, and Sustain. A more detailed explanation will be included with each theme.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators of Penn State Schuylkill shall be committed to the Penn State Values. Faculty, staff, and administrators shall be committed to all University policies and practices relating to ethical behavior and ethical standards of professional conduct. Faculty shall be committed to the ethical standards of their respective disciplines and the professional societies to which they may belong.
New students arriving at Penn State Schuylkill shall be given instruction on the Penn State Values and expectations of ethical behavior. New employees shall be informed of their responsibility pertaining to the Penn State Values, University policies for ethical behavior, and expectations of professional conduct.
Faculty, staff, and administrators shall be models of ethical conduct and behavior in all relations with students and the Penn State community.
Violations of the Penn State Values or University policies concerning ethical behavior and professional conduct shall be referred without delay to appropriate administrative authority.
The range of stakeholders with which universities must interact has widened. Student populations have become more diverse and their needs more varied. Universities must be sensitive to a wider range of needs and expectations in their student community based on demographic and cultural characteristics as well as educational requirements, particularly the special needs of working adults who are returning to the classroom seeking improved skills and capabilities, and first-year, traditional age students who are first-generation college students.
Community involvement and outreach programs have become essential activities for colleges and universities to ensure their relevance within society and to attract sources of revenue in a period marked by limited resources. Students who enter higher education programs are often proficient in the use of new technologies and expect universities to provide the most up-to-date information systems.
In Pennsylvania, the changing demography of the state, most notably the slow population growth forecast for Pennsylvania, an aging population, modest population diversity in the Commonwealth, the increasing proportion of women attending college, and a shrinking pool of high school graduates will provide challenges for the campus in this strategic planning cycle.
The service area of Penn State Schuylkill includes most of Schuylkill County and the southern part of Northumberland County. The total population is 156,575, including a school age population (5-17 years old) of 14% or 22,152. Based on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) enrollment projections, the school districts in the Schuylkill service area are projected to increase by almost 5% from 2009-2010 to the 2018-2019 school year (Census Data: Core Council Letter: 10/25/11).
The primary strategic issue for the campus is growing enrollment in a highly competitive environment, while appreciating the capacity to leverage existing resources to meet the changing needs and expectations of stakeholders. Existing resources must be wisely allocated in order to achieve optimum effectiveness, and organizational competencies must be utilized to enhance Penn State Schuylkill’s position as the leading provider of educational programs in the region. The Schuylkill campus has excellent faculty and possesses the necessary competencies that can be engaged to ensure long-term success.
At the undergraduate level, Penn State Schuylkill is able to offer the first two years of study in more than 160 majors, 7 baccalaureate programs, and a selection of associate degree and certificate programs.
In 2009, the campus contributed nearly $68.7 million to the Schuylkill County economy. In the same year, Penn State Schuylkill was responsible for the employment of nearly 309 persons. In addition to the dollars spent by Penn State Schuylkill students and employees, visitors to conferences, sporting, cultural, and alumni events contributed $8.1 million to the region’s economy.
As the regional representative of the University, quality in all activities is expected and is a major theme of the current Strategic Plan. The challenge is how well the campus will succeed in leveraging existing high-quality resources and improving others to meet the expectations of stakeholders in a time of rapid change, intense competition, and limited resources.
The Strategic Plan presents priorities for the next five years and identifies strategic initiatives to help the campus community achieve its mission and realize its vision. The plan is organized into six overarching themes: Enhancing academic excellence; Enhancing student success through expanded recruitment and academic retention efforts; Enhancing student success through expanded Student Affairs programming; Building partnerships and expanding alliances; Realigning resources to support our mission and vision; and Diversity and inclusion.
Each theme reflects the campus’s goals and the strategic initiatives for achieving them. The Strategic Themes, moreover, focus on “quality first”. The commitment of the campus personnel, as well as support from the communities we serve, enable all of the stated objectives to be achieved. Accomplished, the goals ensure the future success and sustainability of Penn State Schuylkill.
Strategic Theme 1
Enhance academic excellence through support of high-quality teaching, research, and service
The campus theme of Academic Excellence reflects its ongoing commitment to quality. Quality assurance is demonstrated through ongoing program review and assessment of learning outcomes.
Initiative: Invest in flexible and competitive human resource hiring and retention practices.
In this planning cycle, the campus will continue to invest in building a workforce of excellence by investing in tenure-line and multi-year faculty and high-quality staff to support new and existing programs through judicial hiring practices and appropriate reward systems.
The campus offers faculty orientation and development programs under the direction of the Office of Academic Affairs. Programs are designed to advance understanding of promotion and tenure policies and performance expectations, enhance teaching, and support research. In this planning cycle, we plan to increase the number of professional development opportunities available to faculty, and will encourage faculty participation in conference contributions and conference attendance to improve the visibility of our high-quality faculty. In keeping with the EPICS project, faculty workshops provide the tools necessary to incorporate sustainability initiatives into courses to support the campus as a living laboratory for learning.
The campus also partners with surrounding campuses to offer professional development programming for staff, with particular emphasis on leadership development and diversity training. With the newly hired regional human resource representative for the northeast, the campus plans to expand professional development offerings and tailor programs to meet the specific development needs of our employees. Partnering with Health Matters, we will continue to support the health and welfare of our employees by offering programs that support and encourage wellness and good health.
The campus will continue to support and encourage the expansion of high impact educational practices to include engaged scholarship, first-year experience, and honors programming. Additionally, Penn State Schuylkill will promote faculty and student-mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities through the reallocation of internal funds to support such endeavors. Improvement of faculty visibility through the encouragement of faculty publications, conference contributions, and conference attendance will support the campus’s pursuit of excellence.
Initiative: Ensure ongoing assessment to align course, degree, and program offerings to community strengths and needs.
Assessing learning outcomes on an ongoing basis is necessary to measure student satisfaction and success. Assessment will include first-year seminars, student learning in general education and academic major courses, out-of-class and co-curricular experiences, and the impact of student support services. Assessment is a key component of the EPICS project to ascertain which current practices are related to the sustainability initiative. Once the baseline has been established, assessment will continue on an ongoing basis to evaluate our efforts in establishing the campus as a living laboratory.
Currently, all baccalaureate programs offered at Penn State Schuylkill have program assessments in place. However, the programs differ in how assessments were developed and implemented.
Overall, a major accomplishment during the last strategic planning cycle was the development and implementation of program assessments for all campus baccalaureate programs and the continued implementation of the assessment plan for one associate degree program. At the same time, the format, extent, and quality of the plans differed significantly. In addition, there has been little campus-wide coordination of assessment efforts. Therefore, during the next strategic planning cycle, we will provide a mechanism for coordinating and improving program assessments at the campus level. A campus assessment committee will be established and chaired by the director of Academic Affairs. The committee members will be those faculty who direct assessment for each program.
We also propose to develop standard procedures to gather feedback from exiting students to guide changes for our campus and for specific academic programs. A procedure will also be developed for students who graduate or who fail to return. A two-part survey will be distributed by the Office of Academic Affairs containing questions about the student’s general experience at the campus, and a separate section with questions relevant to the learning objectives of particular programs.
Accountability will be a priority. A commitment will be made to the ongoing evaluation of student learning, consistent with the activities of the new committee established to address learning outcomes. The newly formed committee will develop learning outcomes assessment plans to measure the effectiveness of instructional efforts and guide changes to instructional approaches. Ultimately, these assessments will help Penn State Schuylkill ensure that students are gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare them for careers or advanced study.
A successful effort requires the establishment of a campus culture that values assessment. In addition to identifying a program-level assessment process, this initiative will also include the continued development of faculty support and commitment for such activities.
Initiative: Explore market needs-based degrees, minors, and certificate programs
Penn State Schuylkill seeks to monitor and potentially discontinue under-enrolled and under-performing degree programs while adding new programs that appeal to our core market. Whenever possible, collaboration with other campuses and colleges will take precedence over the development of new programs. Included in expansion efforts are courses and degree programs that utilize videoconferencing facilities and online offerings such as the newly added bachelor of arts degree in Corporate Communication, and the accounting option for the bachelor of science degree in Business. New faculty, some shared with other campuses, may be added to support new courses and programs. Any measures taken should contribute to increasing revenue and supporting sustainable economic practices.
The development and promotion of additional minors and certificate programs are also strategic priorities. Minors complement areas of major study and promote multi and inter-disciplinary learning for resident undergraduate students, whereas specialized certificate programs provide concentrated study for adult learners and those in the workplace, and contribute to the campus’s outreach capability. The EPICS project is a prime example of the campus’s response to a growing need for sustainability initiatives in business and the community at large. This project includes plans for a certificate and a minor in sustainability.
The campus will continue to encourage collaboration between continuing education and resident instruction academic programming to ensure market needs are being met. This includes summer session, evening programming, and online learning collaboration.
Additionally, the Office of Continuing Education will continue to develop programming for the community youth population, focusing on STEM related programs and programs that assist in preparing high school students to enter the college environment.
Finally, the campus will explore the creation of an entrepreneurship institute to further encourage student development and support community needs.
Initiative: Integrate academic priorities into the campus Facilities and Infrastructure Plan
The campus Facilities and Infrastructure Plan integrates capital improvements with academic and co-curricular priorities, with particular commitment to the campus goal of enhancing the student experience for both commuter and residential populations.
The Facilities and Infrastructure Plan addresses many of the long-term academic needs related to instructional space. While the campus appears to adequately utilize the existing space on campus, the quality and appropriateness of space presents ongoing challenges. Until 1967, the current site of Penn State Schuylkill served as part of the county almshouse; many of the existing spaces were retrofitted then to serve the needs of a post-secondary institution. As such, the campus has seen a growing need for facilities improvements, including larger classrooms equipped with the latest technology, as well as improved instructional, laboratory, and research space.
The campus plans to continue to invest in sustainable improvements of laboratory spaces (radiology, physics, and chemistry) to meet the growing needs of STEM and other related academic areas of study in order to sustain a competitive advantage in eastern Pennsylvania.
Technology will become increasingly important to the future success of Penn State Schuylkill. During this planning cycle we are committed to investing resources into information technology that enhances learning across multiple platforms to ensure Schuylkill campus remains competitive in this ever-changing arena. Wisely investing in technology will enable Schuylkill campus to become an information technology leader by integrating learning across multiple platforms.
Expanded support of instructional design services, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) facilities, the One Button Studio, and online learning collaboration efforts will be priorities. Additionally, the campus will continue to invest in sustainable facilities that support new and existing academic initiatives. We will explore the viability of such initiatives as an expansion of the John E. Morgan Auditorium, and the creation of a library learning commons.
Penn State Schuylkill plans to enhance the academic learning experience of our students by wisely investing in improvements to our general purpose classrooms and learning support facilities (library, Academic Resource Center, etc.). Facilities will be enhanced to support the ever-changing needs of the faculty and students. University best practices will be the standard for this initiative.
Environmental stewardship is also a strategic priority. The campus, through the Offices of Physical Plant and Business Services, is committed to energy management, environmentally-responsible purchasing practices, and green standards for new construction and renovation. The campus will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate additional sustainability initiatives in our facilities and operations through the EPICS project focus on environmental stewardship. Student-based projects may enhance our efforts.
The efficient use of classroom space is also an important goal for the campus. Classrooms and laboratories will be scheduled to maximize use of available space. Data included within the Integrated Strategic Planning Model will serve as a benchmark for evaluating the effective and efficient use of classroom and laboratory spaces.
In order to attract and retain a high-quality student population, the out-of-classroom experience must be enriched through the creation of additional space and the improvement of existing recreational spaces. In order to remain competitive within east central Pennsylvania, the campus will need to update facilitates to support growth and demand in intramural, recreation, fitness, and wellness programs. Campus growth potential will require strategic investments.
Penn State Schuylkill is committed to faculty, staff, and student safety. Resources have also been dedicated to the continuous review and improvement of campus safety. Emergency plans have been established and are regularly updated. Additionally, physical plant improvements are being implemented, and annual emergency drills are held in compliance with the Clery Act.
Strategic Theme 2
Expand recruitment and academic retention efforts to enhance student success
Initiative: Continue to focus and expand recruitment efforts in the Penn State Schuylkill service area, becoming the leading higher education option in east central Pennsylvania.
We will continue to invest in recruitment efforts that will yield high-quality prospects. Expanding need and merit-based scholarships will assist in achieving our goal while making Penn State Schuylkill accessible and affordable to area students. We will increase market share by building on our relationships with the thirteen local area school districts. Currently, 56.9% of our service area fall within the ages of 19-64.
While we do not plan on increasing the Evaluative Index figure for our campus, we will continue to review all students with three-part combined SAT scores below 1200. The SAT Review Committee will review each student individually to ensure within reason that admitted students can be successful.
Admission efforts will include recruitment of both traditional age students as well as expansion of adult recruitment efforts, as there are a large number of adults in the campus service area without college degrees. Our marketing efforts will be strategically focused on both traditional and adult students within our service area. Marketing efforts will include enhanced use of various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in addition to more traditional marketing initiatives. Currently, 89.5% of persons in our service area over the age of 25 are high school graduates who do not hold a college degree, and only 14% hold a baccalaureate degree or higher. We will take this opportunity to target this market segment.
We will continue to be innovative and expand admissions and recruitment programs and opportunities for prospective and accepted students. Indications are that prospective students are looking for institutions that embrace sustainability. Additionally, graduates with a background in sustainability should have a competitive edge when seeking employment. Providing the opportunity for students to engage in the application of sustainability theory to real world projects may enhance retention efforts. The EPICS program will assist in achieving this goal.
We will continue to expand our efforts to attract veteran students. Our Military Friendly Schools® designation and our strong relationships with the local VFW’s, American Legions, and Military Reserve Training Facilities will support these initiatives. We will continue to provide veterans with a one-stop-shop approach to enrollment by utilizing a team approach for serving their advising, registration, and financial aid needs.
Initiative: Strategically target out-of-area, out-of-state, and international markets to ensure successful efforts leading to quality recruitment.
Penn State Schuylkill historically has had success in out-of-state markets within New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. We will continue to focus our efforts on these surrounding states and examine recruitment opportunities in other states. Additionally, we will continue to build on our relationship with the Community Recruitment Center of Penn State in Philadelphia, focusing on referrals of high-quality prospects from the greater Philadelphia market.
Enhanced initiatives are under way within our Enrollment Services unit to create an Office of Global Programs that will target the needs of our international students. Expanded and improved office and lounge facilities, designated staff support services, and academic support resources will be available to attract and retain an international student population.
Initiative: Enhance student retention through targeted academic advising and co-curricular programs.
Many factors are involved in the successful retention of students in higher education from first enrollment through to graduation. Those factors include a myriad of academic and non-academic variables, ranging from academic advising and support services to the range and variety of student activities on campus and personal support and counseling services.
Penn State Schuylkill recognizes the critical role of academic advising in student satisfaction and academic retention. Beginning in fall 2013, the campus expanded the role of the Academic Advising Center to include both academic advising and professional/peer tutoring services. The new Academic Resource Center provides oversight for all student advising services, in addition to academic retention and tutoring programs. Faculty advisers will continue to serve students with determined fields of study, and assist students in maintaining academic progress toward degree completion. In addition to developing a comprehensive “First Year Experience/Seminar” course, new initiatives are being developed and implemented to address the needs to academically at-risk students.
An Academic Retention Plan will be developed based on current and evolving best practices adapted to the specific needs of students at Penn State Schuylkill. The elements of the plan will be assessed and modified based on continuing evaluations of their effectiveness and on discussions with the various constituencies in the Schuylkill campus community. The campus also plans to re-establish and empower a retention committee solely charged with monitoring student performance as measured by appropriate progress and timely graduation and soliciting recommendations from faculty and administrative units to improve retention and graduation rates. Additionally, an assessment tool will be developed to determine why students leave the Schuylkill campus for reasons other than academic.
We will increase student involvement in positive co-curricular experiences by developing a culture of student responsibility and building bridges between student life and academic success to prepare students for active citizenship. We will create more opportunities for students to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills necessary for successful careers in an increasingly global environment. The focus on the campus as a living laboratory will encourage students to engage in sustainability initiatives and will enhance their connection with the campus through these initiatives.
Initiative: Increase alumni involvement in both recruitment efforts and in career mentoring of students.
Alumni play an important role in recruitment and retention efforts. During this planning cycle we plan to enhance communication with internal and external audiences and increase alumni involvement in campus student life and academic programs.
Our goal will be to establish high-quality internship and career mentoring opportunities in order to enhance student career readiness. Service learning opportunities will also be expanded. We plan to enhance the partnership between Alumni Relations and Career Services to increase internship opportunities. Additional mentor luncheons, alumni career panels, and speaker series will support this initiative.
Initiative: Increase campus merit awards and scholarships through aggressive fundraising efforts to ensure accessibility and affordability.
College needs to be affordable and accessible. Academic merit based scholarship funds will improve affordability and will enhance the attraction for academically prepared students. The Office of Development will continue to identify prospective donors to support this initiative. In this planning cycle, we will focus on campus alumni as prospective donors in order to increase our available scholarship funds.
We will engage members of the Schuylkill Campus Advisory Board, and partner with other community leaders to further enhance fundraising efforts within our community. The board has been very instrumental in contributing to both the physical and financial growth of the campus. We will continue to strengthen this relationship during the next planning cycle.
Advertising awards and scholarships will play a key role in recruiting high-quality students. Our Offices of University Relations and Enrollment Services will work together to develop a detailed marketing strategy that will focus on advertising opportunities with prospective students in the Schuylkill service area. Use of social media sites will be explored in order share scholarship opportunities.
The campus will carefully review internal resources and determine opportunities to combine existing internal resources with those contributed by outside donors to increase funds available to assist students with financial need.
Strategic Theme 3
Enhance student success both in and out of the classroom through excellence in student affairs programs
The fundamental role of the Office Student Affairs is to support and enhance the University's educational mission. At the core of all we do is a commitment to promote student success in and outside the classroom. The learning environment should inspire, challenge and support students to achieve their full potential as individuals, as members of the Penn State community and as citizens of a larger society. A critical focus of the environment we foster is ensuring that students coming to Penn State Schuylkill participate in and receive an education of lasting value. We take a comprehensive approach to students' intellectual and personal development by integrating formal studies with residential life, a vibrant array of student organizations and activities, leadership development, the arts and athletics
Initiative: Enhance athletic facilities and offerings to build school pride and assist with student involvement, recruitment and retention efforts.
Through the expansion of intercollegiate athletic programs, intramural activities, and improved athletic facilities, Penn State Schuylkill will attract and retain more students and continue to provide involvement opportunities for students. Schuylkill campus will explore and expand intercollegiate and intramural athletic programs to assist in the attraction and retention of students as well as continue to build Penn State Schuylkill pride. Tied to this we will explore the creation of a true “common hour” dedicated to student activities and athletics to ensure that students are receiving a balanced education.
In an effort to support the out-of-classroom experience, we will develop a long term athletic facilities plan to ensure Schuylkill campus students have access to facilities that are competitive with those at other campuses and institutions.
Initiative: Expand efforts for leadership development, career exploration and preparedness, civic and community engagement and graduate school application.
Career services will continue to partner with other campus offices, other Penn State campuses, and local civic and community programs to provide students with experiences and activities to help them prepare for life after Penn State. Additional connections with Penn State Schuylkill alumni will enhance placement efforts for graduating students.
We will create a leadership development program that will span students’ first and second years, leading to the eventual development of a four-year program as more students choose to complete their baccalaureate degrees entirely at Penn State Schuylkill. Utilizing current leadership development theories will be the basis for the creation of this program.
Initiative: Create opportunities for out-of-class learning by expanding living and learning communities, presenting both entertaining and enriching programs, designating more student social spaces, identifying club and organizational spaces and creating a student life curriculum.
By developing a student life curriculum to serve as a blueprint, Penn State Schuylkill will promote excellence in co-curricular experiences, enhancing their overall undergraduate experience and complimenting their academic experience.
We will continue to strategically utilize student activity fee programming dollars to provide students with entertaining, enriching programs, and we will collaborate with faculty to provide co-curricular experiences that compliment in class learning. Penn State Schuylkill will continue to reevaluate and expand move-in weekend orientation programming to better engage students to help them identify and understand student expectations and recognize the resources available to them.
The establishment of Living and Learning Communities within the Nittany Apartments will be a strategic priority for Student Affairs. Developing strong communities in the Honors House, GREEN House, and Discovery House will help to strengthen the residential experience for students choosing to live on campus.
Strategic Theme 4
Create a more inclusive, civil, and diverse Penn State Schuylkill learning community
Penn State Schuylkill is committed to achieving the goals set forth in A framework to foster diversity at Penn State. We seek to build an inclusive campus community that values and embraces the unique backgrounds, histories, experiences, and characteristics of its students, faculty, staff, and partners in the larger community. Central to this goal is the fostering of a campus culture that respects and celebrates diversity through dialogue, instruction, educational support services, research, campus events, co-curricular activities, work environments, outreach, and other aspects of university and community life.
Initiative: Develop a shared and inclusive understanding of diversity.
We will create a broad definition of diversity with the range of emphasis extending beyond populations for which data are most easily gathered (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender) to include additional diverse populations that are reflected in the unit's definition of diversity (e.g., LGBT; individuals with disabilities; veterans; low-income, first-generation students; adult learners, students with dependent-care responsibilities; international students, etc.).
We will conduct mandatory diversity training as part of new faculty and staff orientation, create opportunities for campus dialogue and discussion around issues of diversity, and foster a more inclusive and civil environment for the entire campus community (faculty, staff, students, and community members).
Initiative: Recruit and retain a diverse student body.
The campus will continue to focus recruitment efforts on attracting a more diverse student population, based on our broad definition of diversity. Our marketing efforts will seek to improve our message of promoting diversity both on and off campus. Social media, as well as external publications and advertisements will reflect our mission of valuing diversity. We will develop and support initiatives to augment the internationalization of Penn State, including study abroad opportunities for domestic students; academic, co-curricular, and social support systems for international students; and efforts to utilize international students and faculty to enhance international exposure and interaction for domestic students.
Initiative: Recruit and retain a diverse workforce: faculty, staff, and administration.
We will approach hiring as an opportunity to augment the diversity profile of the unit and consider diversity expertise and credentials as an important job criterion. We will utilize the Office of Human Resources to facilitate search and hiring processes that will attract talented and diverse pools for faculty and staff at all levels and we will continue to develop professional networks, community connections, targeted advertising strategies, and other avenues that facilitate recruitment of diverse applicants.
Initiative: Develop a curriculum that fosters intercultural and international competencies.
Penn State Schuylkill will promote curricular and research initiatives that increase all students’ capacity to understand domestic and international diversity issues. We will strive to create opportunities to live and work effectively within multicultural and international workplaces along with diverse social environments.
Initiative: Monitor and enhance the efforts to make Penn State Schuylkill more civil, inclusive and diverse.
Penn State Schuylkill will re-create a standing diversity committee to monitor, address and enhance implementation of the efforts/strategic plan to make campus more inclusive and diverse. This committee will also be charged with monitoring and enhancing Schuylkill campus implementation of the goals established in A framework to foster diversity at Penn State.
Initiative: Diversify University leadership and management.
Leadership for diversity encompasses both demographic diversity and a demonstrated capacity within our leadership for fostering a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. Certainly the demographic profile of leadership is a prominent and visible component. We must also seek leaders with experience, understanding, ability, and drive to foster diversity at all levels and within all aspects of the organization, leaders who value educational excellence and position diversity within the institution's core values.
Initiative: Coordinate organizational change to support our diversity goals.
Diversity is a core ideology of Penn State and we must ensure that our commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and equity is part of our central values and enduring principles and are able to transcend periodic changes in environment and personnel. Doing so also implies updating other organizational ideologies, which can be supported by our belief in the benefits of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment across the institution.
Strategic Theme 5
Build partnerships and expand alliances
Building partnerships and expanding alliances is crucial to the overall sustainability of Penn State Schuylkill. The campus strategic initiatives for this theme will focus on the campus’s commitment to continuing existing partnerships and developing new alliances to support the overall success of the organization. The EPICS project builds on the strengths of our current partnerships within the community to meet a growing need for sustainability within businesses and the community at large.
Additionally, Penn State Schuylkill will partner with other campuses, colleges, and the World Campus to expand programming capability and accessibility across the Commonwealth.
Initiative: Maximize interdisciplinary and cross-campus/cross-institution collaborations in teaching, research, and service that address regional opportunities and needs.
Penn State Schuylkill has developed a strong relationship with the Schuylkill Health as well as other surrounding medical facilities. Currently, our nursing and radiology programs utilize many surrounding medical facilities as clinical sites, in addition to sharing instructors. We will continue to identify collaboration opportunities within the nursing, radiology, and STEM related programs to strengthen partnerships and enhance student success. The Offices of Continuing Education and Academic Affairs are working closely to identify programs and services needed to serve the residents of our community. We will carefully study our current schedule to determine scheduling deficiencies and implement flexible scheduling of courses and activities to address student and community needs (adult learners, veterans, working adults).
During this planning period, we will expand and strengthen campus partnerships with public and private schools across our service area. Dual enrollment, campus visits, and hosting community youth events will support the success of this initiative.
Initiative: Provide applied learning opportunities through international programs, public scholarship, internships, and undergraduate research.
Penn State Schuylkill contributes greatly to the economy of Schuylkill County. The campus will continue to promote the University and campus economic impact statement in order to inform the local community and support future initiatives.
Renovations to our admissions suite, and the creation of a Global Programs office, will enable the campus to create an administrative center dedicated to serving the needs of our international students. Additionally, faculty and staff will work jointly in developing international and service opportunities for Schuylkill campus students.
Initiative: Use technology to improve learning, enhance information literacy, and encourage increased competence in various digital environments.
Penn State Schuylkill will continue to enhance learning opportunities through use of modern technology. We will strive to become an information technology leader in the delivery of high-quality instruction, and we will invest in equipment and professional development in order to ensure the needs of today’s student are being satisfied. To accomplish this goal, an Information Technology Advisory Committee consisting of faculty, staff, and students will be established to regularly assess the needs of the Schuylkill campus community.
Additionally, we will increase support of campus Instructional Design Services to enhance training opportunities for faculty and staff, and we will continue to enhance our use of social media outlets to deliver our message and increase awareness of campus initiatives.
Strategic Theme 6
Realign programs, services, and resources to support the vision and mission of Penn State Schuylkill
Initiative: Invest operating funds strategically to reallocate resources to areas of existing or emerging strengths across the campus.
Ongoing budget monitoring will ensure fiscally prudent practices adopted by the campus will avoid spending that detracts from strategic priorities. Penn State Schuylkill will implement multi-year targets for cost reduction, and in some cases, strategies for revenue enhancements, including increased efforts to secure private and sponsored dollars in support of campus academic and program priorities.
Opportunities that present themselves via natural attrition to reorganize assigned responsibilities and move personnel lines will be regularly reviewed and implemented as necessary. Additionally, annual unit spending plans and redirection of internal dollars will be reviewed to maximize support for new strategic initiatives and program development.
Partnerships and alliances with other Penn State campuses and colleges will be critical to the success of Penn State Schuylkill in this planning cycle. To accomplish this goal, we will invest in technology to increase online, blended, and hybrid delivery programs.
Initiative: Invest capital in new facilities and equipment to support current and emerging campus strengths.
The campus is committed to the creation of high-quality facilities in support of existing and emerging opportunities. New degree and expanded degree offerings will require modern and properly equipped classrooms.
We will maximize the effective use of classroom/learning space, using benchmarks from the University’s Integrated Planning Model, and address facility, equipment, and technology needs for expanding teaching and research.
Penn State Schuylkill will strategically plan and budget for regular upgrades to the facilities and classrooms required to support associate and baccalaureate programs with extraordinary equipment or technology needs such as corporate communications, STEM fields, and information technology and develop a plan to address facility space configuration and equipment needs for expanding teaching, research, and outreach agendas.
We will continue to partner with the University’s Office of Physical Plant to obtain necessary funds to support capital improvements (expanded dining commons, ADA improvements, and sustainability), and will continue to assess and update the five year deferred maintenance plan for the Nittany Apartments to ensure that the high-quality living facilities are properly maintained.
Initiative: Assess campus sustainability efforts.
Improving sustainability efforts at the campus is ongoing. We will continue to assess the current state of sustainability through both self-assessments and with the assistance of external consultants to determine areas of excellence as well as areas requiring attention.
Focusing on the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability will provide a fertile opportunity to have the campus practice good stewardship in all aspects. The assessment process and student projects may provide opportunities to explore new ways to enhance these efforts.
Strategic Plan Assessment and Accountability
The strategic plan is a dynamic document, requiring ongoing assessment of progress and revision in response to new and emerging opportunities and challenges. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee includes representatives from both the administrative and academic planning units. The steering committee will oversee practices for ongoing assessment. Annually, the individual campus units will assess progress regarding implementation.
Department level review will be a three-part process. Departments will conduct a self-assessment to measure progress toward goals, identify critical issues facilitating or impeding progress, and recommend any resolutions. Progress reviews follow a stated procedure and template:
- The chancellor, in conjunction with the steering committee chairpersons, will set review Schedules for each campus department;
- Each departmental unit will assess its progress on plan implementation based on established guidelines and will present the status to the steering committee;
- The steering committee will review the unit self-assessments and provides feedback;
- The departmental units will then make revisions accordingly;
- The chancellor will then meet with the department head for periodic progress review, will recommend recommends revisions, and will address resource issues, if applicable.