EU, Cal, Clarion take another step toward planned integration

Category:  News
Friday, March 5th, 2021 at 5:48 PM

The proposed integration of Edinboro, Clarion, and California universities continues to progress, according to a March 4 email from EU, and has reached “an important milestone.”

The message from Interim University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson details how they’ve submitted “Preliminary Complex Substantive Change Forms” to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is a voluntary, non-governmental institution designed to “assure students and the public of the educational quality of higher education,” according to their website.

These forms, submitted individually by each of the three universities, lay the foundation of the planned integration. And while the colleges did not submit identical forms, they are “aligned and consistent,” with the following highlights:

Administration Hub: California would be named the “main campus” in this integration plan for “accreditation purposes.” This was tied to California most recently completing the “Middle States accreditation process.”

Readers are assured though that “the three campuses of our new Integrated University will operate as partners in all other respects.”

Naming Process: It has been repeatedly stressed that Edinboro’s name will remain for this campus. In regard to the consolidated college, no new name has been agreed on, and it’s currently being referred to as the “Integrated University” and the “Western Integration project.”

Functional Areas: An organizational chart, tentative for now, was required for submission to MSCHE. The current plan breaks the integrated university down into seven different “functional areas”: “Academic Affairs; Student Affairs; Strategic Enrollment Management; University Advancement; Administration and Finance; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Virtual and Global Education.” Further details are still being worked out, according to the email.

The message further reads: “No potential changes will impact our legal responsibility to honor collective bargaining agreements. In the meantime, retirement incentives are being offered through System Redesign.”

Once these forms have been reviewed by the MSCHE, the universities will then be granted a period of time to respond to questions and information requests. Then, the integration planners will be able to prepare a more in-depth version of the forms, which will “identify how each partner university will meet Middle States standards within the integrated/consolidated entity,” according to the email.

Additional Information: There is a large section of the email that deals with academic offerings for this proposed integration. The highlights are as follows: 

— After research, they currently have “approximately 80 disciplinary units, or areas of study, that will be offered at the Integrated University.”

— General education courses are planned for all three campuses.

— “Program structure, assessment and program-level accreditation locations and processes will be determined in the coming months.”

— A “typical student” could take in-person courses at their home campus, along with hybrid, remote or online classes at the other campuses.

— There will be fully online programs, as well.

It’s also noted all universities are aiming to keep their own athletic teams.

PASSHE’s integration proposal is due to the PASSHE Board of Governors (BOG) in April. If approved, a 60-day public comment period is to follow, per Act 50. Approval by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) could happen in July.

Hazel Modlin is the Executive Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: integration

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