In a new blog welcoming the start of the school year, the chancellor of the state higher education system, Daniel Greenstein, shares his optimism for the future of the public university system and says he can’t wait to start visiting schools in person. . , which has been rare since the start of the pandemic. Hinting at some health issues, Greenstein writes that he’s “grayer, probably a little shorter, and maybe stiffer.” He recently visited Slippery Rock.

The Chancellor writes that he is a “shameless optimist” and that the “resurgence of a positive narrative” about the state system speaks to its power and promise.


new beginnings

Back to school always makes me dizzy. My visit to Slippery Rock University a few weeks ago was another reminder – thank you, fellow Butler County colleagues! I had the pleasure of touring SRU’s new engineering labs with their super cool new science equipment and fully renovated, state of the art visual and performing arts spaces. Students entering one of these programs, you will have a unique and world-class experience. I’m really excited for you.

And I was lucky enough to meet faculty and staff who were all excited about the start of the semester. Maybe it was because there were still a few weeks of summer left or because it was a nice day with a good lunch. Or maybe it was because the faculty and staff I met know how special the SRU really is – special as all our universities are – understand the capabilities of our universities and are ready to turn them into real, life-changing earnings for real students.

Does the pandemic experience cast a long shadow? Yes, of course it is, here as elsewhere in higher education, and the effects of the pandemic will likely be felt for years to come as students who have suffered a loss of education at all times, from kindergarten to the whole school career. The same goes for the integration of six universities into Commonwealth University and PennWest University and the very difficult decisions universities had to make through the system in order to regain the trust of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. and, through it, of the people of Pennsylvania. These too cast a long shadow, and they probably will for some time to come.

We have traveled light years together in no time. Not always comfortably. But in doing so, we have arrived at a unique and historic opportunity to restore the role and value that public higher education plays in this state as an engine of economic development and social mobility. Our audience – the people of this Commonwealth – are listening with open ears. Have you followed the news media surrounding the state system and its universities? Have you listened to the legislative hearings and read the media reports about them? The story is moving. It is no longer almost exclusively focused on management, financial and enrollment challenges, or the workloads and compensation of our employees.

The resurgence of a positive narrative speaks to the power and promise of the public higher education we uniquely offer in this state. It is grounded in Pennsylvania’s enormous need for affordable pathways to sustainable careers, without which our Commonwealth cannot fill its talent gap. The Positive Narrative is grounded in an appreciation inquiry into what we can really do to improve the outcomes of the students we enroll, while also opening up the opportunities we can provide to others who have so far been underserved. With the enactment of the state budget for fiscal year 2022-23, the Legislature and Governor have invested in that promise at a level that restores our support to where it was near the peak years of our growth. I’m so grateful for their trust and confidence – it’s so deserved! I’m sure it will be paid back with dividends in the form of more students served.

I look forward to visiting the campuses. As always, I want to hear from you about the issues that concern you. I also want to hear from you what we need to do to achieve this next phase of our redesign – one that increases the number of Pennsylvanians we enroll and graduate.

Shortly after the Legislature and Governor cemented their historic investment in us in July, I presented to my Director, the Board of Directors, the System goals . They are also my objectives and are taken into account in my performance management.

The Goals are grouped into five areas:

  1. Expand student opportunities and improve student outcomes.
  2. Increase student affordability and growth.
  3. Sustainable operation.
  4. Strengthen our partnership with the State.
  5. Investing in our people and infrastructure so that we can achieve all of the above.

I look forward to your feedback on the opportunities you see in any or all of these areas, especially 1, 2, and 5. I hope to do so by engaging with you in the work. I want to see how you advance these and other goals in an educational setting, with student support, and in other ways. I also want to engage with you on what you perceive to be the cutting edge of your work and our service to our students and to this Commonwealth.

By the time we meet, it will be a while for some of us since we’ve seen each other outside of the Hollywood squares that frame our Zoom interactions. Spoiler alert: I’m grayer, probably a little shorter, and maybe moving faster than before. But I remain an unconditional optimist. As I wrote in my very first blog on this specific point: “I can’t help it. I see great opportunities for our universities, for our system and – above all – for our students. I don’t believe we encounter any obstacles that cannot be overcome through our collective talents and creativity. Nothing has changed in this regard. Not one iota. Not in four very eventful years.

And as always, this blog is one of many ways for us to exchange ideas. I hope you will use it to provide feedback, either in the comments function below or by emailing me directly at [email protected]