Chancellor McDonald Shares Achievements and Challenges with Board of Trustees
DuBois – Penn State DuBois Chancellor Anita McDonald made a presentation on the campus goals and initiatives at the July 9 meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees. Each year, the July meeting is held at one of the other 23 Penn State locations so that Trustees are able to experience first-hand life and operations on various Penn State campuses. With this meeting taking place in DuBois during the 75th Anniversary of the campus, McDonald seized the opportunity to showcase the best that Penn State DuBois has to offer, and the highlights of the campus' future plans.
"In our 2009 – 2013 Strategic Plan we organized our key goals into five themes," McDonald said. "They are: Access, Operational Excellence, Quality and Reputation, Growth, and Transformation. Doing so allowed all campus units to contribute to each theme and therefore the entire plan."
Under the Access category, McDonald explained that she is always looking for new ways to make it convenient for students to attend the campus, noting that many of the students must travel long distances to get to class.
"Today, the service area for the campus is nine counties, representing the largest geographic region of any campus. Students come from as far north as the New York border and as far south as North Indiana County. These miles are not on highways, but rural, two land roads. In some cases it may also be over at least one to two or three mountains," McDonald said. She explained that forming good relationships with area landlords was one goal of the strategic plan, giving students opportunities to move closer to campus.
In terms of operational excellence on campus, McDonald said she strives to see that staff members are cross-trained, giving them the ability to cover for their colleagues. "Folks are cross trained so that we have backup when someone is ill or on vacation," she explained. "It's another method for promoting efficiency and cost savings."
"Quality and reputation begin with our faculty. This has been another banner year for our faculty," said McDonald, expanding on the third goal of the strategic plan. She outlined faculty members who had made significant accomplishments in the last year, as well as those recognized by the university for their work.
McDonald also noted the success the campus has seen in securing funding for research. "I’m proud to say that for the past two years, we have been the leaders within University College in the amount of funds received from grants and contracts. In the fiscal year 2009, we received almost $1.8 million, and for fiscal year 2010 we were down just slightly to $1.3 million. Not bad in this economy," she said.
The theme of Growth, McDonald said, will be realized through the addition of programs that match the needs of area industry and students. She explained, "We will add program options that have a demand and we will do so by collaborating across campuses, including University Park; on alternative delivery options, such as World Campus and the new Video Learning Network, and adding more online classes."
To bring to life the theme of Transformation, McDonald said that offering new and alternative services, and expanding diversity are key elements. Recruitment has reached far beyond the campus' traditional service area, she said. This has brought international students to campus, as well as students from varied ethnic backgrounds.
McDonald noted plans for building renovations and additions as well. She said that an expansion to the Multipurpose Building, including updated athletic facilities, is greatly needed to help support and house the growing campus athletic programs. She also outlined plans for the renovation of a house, recently purchased by the university, which will be home to the campus honors program once renovation is complete.
In terms of new services, McDonald spoke of the Office of Technology Transfer at Penn State DuBois. It was established to help small business and inventors secure funding and research opportunities in order to establish themselves, and their product, in the marketplace. "There is quite an entrepreneurial spirit here in North Central Pennsylvania and we have developed a model to foster this culture of entrepreneurship and innovation," she said. "We have been able to create this office with grant and internal funding and it is an exciting initiative and demonstrates our ability to serve our area industries and creative individuals while also giving our students real life issues to solve, interaction with local employers and research projects guided by their faculty."
In closing, McDonald thanked the trustees for the opportunity to share the campus plan with them. She also thanked them for choosing Penn State DuBois as the venue for their July meeting. "It certainly has a special significance for us in this year of our 75th anniversary."