For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2021
Contact: Tom McGuire, Director of Communications/Media Relations
PASSHE Northeast Integration Gains Momentum
BLOOMSBURG—The process to integrate Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities continues to gain support and momentum through three virtual meetings that took place in January. The State System’s Chancellor, Dan Greenstein, joined by university presidents Bashar Hanna (Bloomsburg), Robert Pignatello (Lock Haven), and Charles Patterson (Mansfield), gathered with more than 200 government, business, and community leaders to discuss the State System’s integration plan. The plan, set to be voted on in July, is focused on expanding learning opportunities and making college more affordable and accessible for students while maintaining university identity, traditions, and community connections.
The discussions resulted in positive feedback and a shared mission for all stakeholders to work together to help support students and the various university communities.
“Making sure our children, and our children’s children, have an opportunity for a State System-quality education without having to leave the community is paramount,” said Mansfield Borough Council member, Mansfield University alumnus and retired MU employee Steve McCloskey. “Mansfield University has done a great job and President Patterson is leading us through this. We are committed as a Borough Council and as a community to supporting this integration because it gives us the opportunity to thrive. We’re going to be better because of this.”
University integration is focused on accessibility and student success and aims to retain the unique and personal on-campus experiences, services, and faculty-student interactions that have historically reinforced our campus identities, brands, and value propositions. Integration includes pursuing a path with the NCAA, where all three campuses would retain their current complement of athletic teams. This effort also will build upon an existing foundation of collaboration and partnership to expand and deliver undergraduate and graduate programs across the region and beyond.
As envisioned, university integration also would enhance responsiveness to workforce-aligned, nondegree, certificate and stackable credentialing programs to meet regional and statewide economic and workforce demands, reinforcing the role that these anchor institutions serve in their communities and the region.
More than 1,000 faculty and staff are collaboratively building the integration plan through working groups and sub-groups, focusing on specific areas of institutional operations such as academics, enrollment, finance, and more. Input and feedback from all constituents, including community leaders, like those in attendance for the town halls and other recent virtual meetings, are critical to the process.
“This is an ambitious undertaking aimed at preserving our legacies while sustainably building a new institution that will serve the commonwealth’s students for generations to come,” said northeast integration lead-president, Bashar Hanna. “Within each institution’s community will remain the advantage of a thriving university that continues to have strong partnerships with school districts and area employers with whom we can partner to prepare our students for the region’s workforce and beyond. This is yet another evolution for our institutions, which began as Normal Schools and a Seminary over 150 years ago. Together, we will take charge of our future and boldly build the next chapter of our rich histories.”
“The State System has a plan that seeks to protect the identity of our universities. The chancellor and university leadership have brought people together to come up with this plan – it’s a game-changer for the sustainability of our universities, our communities, the State System, and our commonwealth,” expressed State Senator Chris Dush. “It is absolutely critical, not only for the State System and our commonwealth, but our students, that the State System and these universities take action to expand opportunities. We are truly blessed to have Lock Haven, Mansfield, and Bloomsburg Universities, and I am grateful for the work of our chancellor, presidents, faculty and staff who are committed to their success.”
For more information about integration, visit www.passhe.edu/systemredesign/Pages/integrations.aspx.