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Heartened by Middle States Review, College Embraces Challenges

(The following communique from Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Pennsylvania College of Technology president, was issued in response to this week’s Middle States re-accreditation visit.)

Excellence can be attained if you CARE more than others think is wise, RISK more than others think is safe, DREAM more than others think is practical and EXPECT more than others think is possible.

Author Unknown

March 6, 2002, was an important day for Pennsylvania College of Technology. We worked together for more than two years to complete our own rigorous self-assessment and, for the past three and one half days, have been subject to the professional scrutiny of colleagues. There are many who deserve a very sincere “thank you”:

Doreen Shope for her leadership through this entire process. Recall that Doreen stepped in when our chair Elizabeth Meyer moved on from Penn College. Right beside Doreen was Tom Gregory, who provided consistency and focus throughout the self-study process. Bonnie Powell served as secretary for the Middle States work and did a great job on the first draft of the self-study, the exhibits and the tracking of the entire Steering Committee process.

The Steering Committee did an outstanding job, including the work of the subcommittee chairs: Mark Noe, Brett Reasner, Mary Sullivan and Al Thomas. All of the members of the subcommittees are to be commended for their time and effort in this vital discovery and learning process.

As the arrangements for the team came near, Valerie Baier did an outstanding job in the pivotal role of scheduling the many intricate aspects of the actual visit and Lenore Penfield functioned as our liaison to the Radisson, where the team members were housed during their stay, and did a great job. Students were involved in all aspects of our work and that commitment was clearly heard throughout the exit interview.

Veronica Muzic kept her finger on the pulse of the self-study work and provided sound leadership, vision and judgment to the entire process.

All together, these individuals along with countless faculty members, staff and students who met with the team distinguished themselves and Penn College. As we heard in the exit interview, we have much to be proud of and we have some sound suggestions from colleagues to consider in our work ahead. One formal recommendation was made regarding Outcomes Assessment, using the language of our recommendation in the self-study document.

We heard many commendations about the College, faculty, staff and students. I am particularly proud that our College was recognized, repeatedly, as student-centered. We have improvements to make; we have to wrap our arms around the Outcomes Assessment initiative and make it part of our everyday fabric at Penn College. All of that is possible in an environment where students, teaching and learning come first.

Join me in a deep breath of relief that our visit has concluded with exceptional results. At the same time, we can begin to look to the future as we work with the suggestions to improve what we do and value.

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