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Board Approves Parameters for State Budget Request

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved parameters for the college’s 2014-15 state budget request.

The parameters, which will be submitted to the state along with Penn State’s request, call for a $16,363,000 operating appropriation, which represents a 5-percent increase over the college’s appropriations in 2013-14. Also requested is a continuation of the special appropriations of $396,000. The request also specifies a 3-percent increase in tuition and fees and a 3.5-salary increment.

President Davie Jane Gilmour told the board that the total Fall 2013 enrollment meets budget projections. Enrollment is 5,678, up 1 percent from last year.

Board of Directors' meeting summarized for Penn College community
Board of Directors’ meeting summarized for Penn College community

“We’re thrilled … it’s a great start to the fall semester from an enrollment point of view,” Gilmour said. She added the college is still in the process of registering PC Now students.

State Sen. Gene Yaw, board chairman, noted Penn College’s enrollment had increased this fall when many other institutions are experiencing enrollment declines. He said it’s encouraging and is indicative of “an institution that knows what it’s doing.”

The board heard a report on the college’s investments from Mark Stevenson, vice president and senior portfolio manager for Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors. Stevenson said the gross-of-fees performance for the college’s primary investment portfolio was 10.72 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Edward A. Henninger, dean of health sciences, presented an overview of the academic school he leads. He said health care includes a number of high-demand career fields, and Penn College offers multiple career pathways leading to bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificates. And, thanks to an agreement with Nova Southeastern University, physician assistant students may also pursue master’s degrees.

With 1,574 students, Henninger said, the School of Health Sciences enrolls one in four students at Penn College. He expects continued growth because of the high demand for graduates in health-care professions.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, provided information on a dozen new faculty members teaching at Penn College in Fall 2013, some of whom were needed for new programs being offered.

Brian L. Cygan, executive director for assessment, research and planning, offered a presentation on the activities of his office. The office’s mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate information in support of institutional effectiveness including assessment, accreditation, institutional research, planning, policy analyses and decision-making.

Recent information-sharing improvements include direct links for academic school data, release of a new program review resource portal site and development of a quarterly eNewsletter. Cygan said the various improvements enable ARP to share data more effectively, with quicker and more direct access available for heavy users.

ARP’s focus for the future, he said, includes transforming information into intelligence, investigating sustainable academic programs that support emerging career fields, and expanding voluntary accountability and transparency efforts.

Laura M. Dickinson, chair of College Council, presented on Internal Governance activities over the past year, including approval of the new college vision statement and new strategic initiatives, endorsement of the new college diversity statement, and ratification of governance election results. Also: approvals for the conditional acceptance program, a revision to the academic dishonesty complaint procedure, and approval of a new procedure for electronic distribution and approval of committee minutes.

For 2013-14, Dickinson said, the focus is on presenting and implementing a tobacco use designated area proposal, facilitating transition to new election bylaws in the wake of college restructuring, and establishing a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of Governance.

In her comments to the board, Gilmour recounted preparations for Homecoming 2013, including blue paw prints painted on Hagan Way, blue water in the fountain at the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center and “Wildcat Pride” attire worn by many college employees this week.

Closing has taken place on the college’s purchase of the former Canteen Vending facility adjacent to the northeast end of campus, Gilmour said, and bids are being sought for demolition of the structure on the premises.

The next Board of Directors meeting will be held on Dec. 12.

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