'Tea Time' talks integration, graduation and new website

Category:  News
Monday, March 22nd, 2021 at 3:02 PM

Students were invited to join Edinboro University Interim President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and other EU leaders for another “Tea Time” session on March 8 from 4-5 p.m. These events are set up as “informal conversations” between students and campus officials, with this one covering the planned PASSHE integration, the upcoming graduation ceremony, and more.

Beyond Pehrsson, speakers included Angela Burrows, vice president for marketing and communications, Shellie Ritzel, interim dean of student engagement, Jim Dahle, director of safety and risk management, Dr. Michael Hannan, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. William Edmonds, vice president for enrollment management, Dr. Terrence Mitchell, chief diversity and inclusion officer, John Hynes, vice president for finance and administration, Wayne Patterson, associate vice president of human resources and faculty relations, and Amanda Sissem, interim vice president for advancement and director of alumni engagement.

Pehrsson spoke first of Edinboro’s planned integration with Clarion and California universities. She believes the integration would give students a wider array of educational opportunities, as well as having a similar course offering as before. She also mentioned students will have the option of taking certain courses online or as hybrid learning.

As far as what the new name would be for the potential collection of campuses, a company was hired for the task. Then, according to multiple university emails on the subject, the Edinboro name would be retained for this campus. Pehrsson stated the collective name would be chosen around June.

Another important factor of the integration, according to Pehrsson, is planning and looking ahead to the next 20 years and what can be done to allow students to have a less expensive experience.

Dahle then spoke about COVID-19. He stated that the highest cases for Edinboro occurred two weeks prior and mentioned the 10-day shutdown of campus (Feb. 26 to March 8).

Dahle went on to reiterate how everyone must follow social distancing and mask rules, and not be lax when it comes to this and related issues concerning the virus. The week after the COVID-19 spike (69 total cases) there was 16 cases. Then, for the week of March 8-14, there was six cases, right around where Edinboro was before the campus pause.

Ritzel stated that Edinboro’s Student Government Association planned to discuss the integration plan with Pehrsson. In addition, she said students can now apply for housing for the Fall 2021 semester, which they hope will be closer to normal capacity. This semester, students can access the Engage EU portal for approved events during this time, such as virtual yoga, choosing the theme for homecoming, UPB giveaways, and vinyl record painting.

Dr. Michael Hannan then took the floor, expressing the university’s desire to return to as normal as possible for campus this fall. He stated they are hoping for the majority of classes to be face-to-face. Concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, Hannan relayed the belief from the federal government that there will be enough of the vaccine by May, but it may not be nationwide until the end of the summer.

Mitchell then spoke about some of the events being held throughout Women’s History Month, including a self-care discussion being rebroadcast from last fall. You can find all the events, here.

Hynes spoke of continuous university improvement; he was then echoed by Sissem, who spoke to the students about an upcoming email to apply for the student hardship fund. The fund is designed to assist students who are faced with impossible and/or unforeseen circumstances, and consists of charitable donations made by Edinboro’s faculty, staff, alumni, parents, community members and others.

Following Sissem, Edmonds spoke on the number of admitted students to the university. While the numbers fluctuated, Edmonds mentioned the reason was due to the three original Fighting Scots Days being broken down into 27 smaller events wherein prospective students could visit and tour the campus.

Burrows then spoke about the success of Edinboro’s new website. She stated there was a 164% increase in views on the homepage, a 77% increase on the majors pages and a 267% increase in traffic on the apply page.

Finally, Patterson discussed the issues of university staffing and other considerations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the speakers, an informal Q&A session was held.

Nicholas Constantino is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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