ICYMI: Recapping integration, program moratoriums and more

Category:  News
Sunday, February 14th, 2021 at 11:17 AM
ICYMI: Recapping integration, program moratoriums and more by Kimberly Firestine
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Students, faculty and staff within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) saw an eventful, that some would call tumultuous, Fall 2020 semester. Between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the continuing PASSHE system redesign, and retrenchment already hitting multiple universities (including Edinboro), change remains in the air. 

For those who may have missed it, here’s a rundown of Edinboro’s past six months and what’s to come.  

July 16, 2020: PASSHE announces integration study for six schools, pairing up: California University and Clarion University, Mansfield University and Lock Haven University, and Edinboro and Slippery Rock University. In regard to the Edinboro and Slippery Rock pairing, a PASSHE release describes this as: “an integration that would strengthen and broaden available academic opportunities by aligning two educational programs into one, driving down costs and coordinating enrollment strategies.” 

August 2020: On Edinboro’s campus, rumors begin to swirl regarding the art department and potential program cuts (or moratoriums as they’re officially referred to), specifically in the fine arts areas. A list of program cuts being debated leaks through the Facebook page: “Save Edinboro University Fine Arts.” Other department program cuts are rumored, but the public attention primarily turns to the arts. 

Sept. 4, 2020: Edinboro University submits a second draft of programs to be considered for moratorium to the PASSHE Board of Governors (BOG). According to Edinboro Provost Dr. Michael Hannan, the first draft listed 85 programs, while the second was narrowed down to 50. The university also submitted its Comprehensive Planning Process (CPP; formerly known as the financial planning process) to the BOG. This is a separate review from the integration study that includes possible faculty retrenchment to aid in cost-saving. 

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Interview: Michael Hannan

Sept. 14, 2020: Edinboro, Clarion University and California University announce joint partnership venture via mass email, moving away from Edinboro’s previous integration possibility with Slippery Rock. Edinboro Vice President for Marketing and Communications Angela Burrows said that preliminary data on the potential Edinboro and Slippery Rock pairing “suggested that a two-university integration would not provide enough scale for what would be needed to ensure affordable higher education and to reach new markets.” 

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EU, Cal U and Clairon joining forces
Michael Hannan speaks on new partnership

Sept. 30, 2020: PASSHE Chancellor Dr. Daniel Greenstein holds open forum with Edinboro students, faculty and staff to discuss the ongoing PASSHE integration review. Later that same day, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty (APSCUF) held a PASSHE student journalism panel, where APSCUF Director of Government Relations Sean Crampsie and President Dr. Jamie Martin addressed the PASSHE reviews and how students can help their faculty and staff that are facing possible retrenchment.

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Greenstein Open Forum
APSCUF and student journalists

Oct. 20, 2020: Edinboro releases final list of program moratoriums. This list — down to 30 from the original draft of 85 — has the education department suffering the biggest losses. No fine arts programs are included on the final list. For students, and according to Provost Dr. Michael Hannan, “What that (moratorium) basically says is that you can't put any new students into a program, but any student who is already in that program, they would continue until they’re done or they change their major.” 

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Program Moratoriums

Oct. 30, 2020: The university officially retrenches 21 permanent faculty, while also "reducing the teaching load assignments by the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 26 temporary/adjunct and regular part-time faculty following the end of the spring semester." 

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Edinboro retrenches 21 permanent faculty 

Nov. 16, 2020: Former Edinboro University President Dr. Guiyou Huang is unanimously selected to serve as president at Western Illinois University, effective Jan. 1, 2021. He leaves EU after a year and a half. 

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First interview with Dr. Huang

Nov. 18, 2020: PASSHE places Clarion University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson in the interim president spot at Edinboro University, effective Jan. 1, 2021. 

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Pehrsson announcement
First interview 

Nov. 19, 2020: Edinboro, California and Clarion launch Integration webpage, which contains an FAQ page. Angela Burrows’ email announcement to students states, in part: “We invite you to visit the webpage from time to time to stay informed. It includes some FAQs and a link to the System’s new integrations website. The page will be updated as the planning process continues.” 

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Integration webpage launched

The next steps 

Within the PASSHE integration study, there are several steps the system must take in order to comply with Act 50, legislation signed into law by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in July 2020. On Feb. 4, Greenstein provided the PASSHE BOG with an update as the integration planning process moved to “developing and implementing plans.”  

Greenstein explained, “We began in July (2020), conducting a financial review … The second phase is the one we're now developing, an implementation plan. We expect to deliver that plan to the board in April.” He continued: “This is obviously a preliminary and early report on our progress to date. If we deliver the report to the board in April, the board is in a position to give it a contingent approval, which would trigger a 60-day public comment period.” 

According to a “Progress Report” presentation, the earliest the BOG can decide to move forward or not with the integration is July 2021. Between July 2021 and July 2022, a “phased integration” will take place if integration is approved. No students will be enrolled within the integrated university system before August 2022. The plan also notes that as the potentially integrated university opens Fall 2022, there will be “continued development.”  

On slide four of that presentation, integration will result in the following for the grouped schools: one leadership team; one faculty and staff; one program array; one enrollment management strategy; one budget; a single accredited entity; and “three vibrant campuses, each with its own identity.” Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield is the other trio of universities that are set to combine.

Kimberly Firestine is a graduate assistant with The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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