Happy Spring and congratulations to the graduating Class of 2022! We are so proud of their accomplishments and wish them great success in the future. Thank you to our faculty and staff for your continued support of our students as they prepare for continuing education or the first steps in their careers.
Many months of planning will soon come to fruition. This spring, we have reached several key milestones, moving us closer to our integrated state. On July 1, 2022, we look ahead to officially integrating Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities creating a student-centered, academic powerhouse that will grow opportunities for our students, while honoring our rich traditions.
Spring 2022 Integration Milestones
Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities to Retain Historic Names Through Integration
On March 2, the PASSHE Board of Governors approved the name Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania to represent the integrated entity for Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities. The integrated University name was developed through research and input from students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, the community, and prospective students and their families.
Each campus will continue to be branded with its respective location name, logos, colors, mascots, and athletic representations. Utilization of Commonwealth University of PA allows for strategic placement supporting recruitment, workforce development, and other strategic initiatives. Diplomas will prominently display either Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, or Mansfield at the top of the document and will include the new seal for Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania.
Existing alumni associations and foundations will remain separate and continue to support their respective campuses. Donors can continue to designate funds to support programs or a campus of their choosing.
Middle States Announces Initial Approval of Northeast Integration
On March 15, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities received initial approval from the institutional accrediting agency, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Middle States). Accreditation by Middle States is required by the U.S. Department of Education. It assures students, families, and communities that the university has completed a rigorous review process and provides a high-quality education. Middle States approval provided a clear path forward for our three institutions to officially unite on July 1, 2022.
Together, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield embody the power of three and create a higher education experience, the likes of which is not possible without integration.
NCAA Approves Plan to Retain Full Complement of Athletic Programs at Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield
On April 20, the NCAA Membership Committee approved the plans for Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield to retain our full complements of athletic programs on the campuses that currently host them.
Our student-athletes deserve the opportunity to continue their athletic pursuits, and intercollegiate athletics hold a special place as part of the fabric of each of our campus communities and institutional brands. Together we can confidently move forward into the 2022-23 academic year and beyond - to cheer on the Huskies, Bald Eagles, and Mounties.
Thank you to all of our colleagues and supporters from BU, LHU, and MU who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point and continue the efforts to launch one University. You are owed a debt of gratitude for your tireless contributions in service to our campus communities, and most importantly, our students.
Congratulations again to all of our graduating seniors. We look forward to celebrating with them in the coming days!
We wish all of our students a strong finish to the semester and best of luck on their remaining final exams. Thank you to our faculty and staff for your continued commitment to supporting our students and their success.
We hope you have a restful and restorative summer!
Happy New Year and best wishes to our students, faculty, and staff for a successful spring semester! Each new year brings a sense of excitement along with the prospect of new beginnings. On July 1, 2022, we look ahead to officially integrating Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities creating a student-centered, academic powerhouse that will grow opportunities while honoring local campus traditions.
Many months of planning - with important input from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members - is helping us boldly reimagine public higher education and develop a best-in-class learning experience for all students. From humble beginnings, our universities have evolved and adapted over the years to meet the needs of students. 2022 brings the next evolution of our universities, and we’re excited about the bright future ahead of us.
As we continue on this path, it is critically important that we develop how our integration story is told, and we are pleased to unveil our first elevator speech (below), which is ready for your use. We’ll be printing this and distributing it to all departments.
The Power of Three
The integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities is a bold investment in the communities and people of Pennsylvania. Our mission is to expand high-quality, affordable academic opportunities and support a vibrant on-campus student experience.
Powerful ideas start here, carried by dynamic stories and voices, resulting in empowered students. Together, we provide financially responsible degree options that maximize experiential learning, career preparation, and efficient time to degree completion.
We're Honoring our History by preserving the founding principles of each campus and continuing as pillars of our communities, supporting students and our neighbors alike.
We're Investing in Today by answering the greatest challenges facing higher education: accessibility, cost, quality, and relevance through the combined strength of our storied institutions.
We're Building a Powerful Tomorrow by boldly changing the trajectory of public higher education to position ourselves for growth and meet economic and workforce development needs in our region, across Pennsylvania and beyond.
That's the power of three.
What Won't Change:
- Our footprint: No campus is closing, and we will deliver robust residential experiences. Students will have a home campus and will not be required to travel between campuses for daily classes.
- Our collective brand will maintain our names, colors, mascots, and local traditions. The integrated university's name will be used as a secondary element for Middle States and accreditation purposes and announced this spring.
- Our athletic brands: Each campus will retain a full complement of NCAA Athletic programs and we are working to confirm this path in the spring.
- Our academic mission: Students will be able to complete the programs they start; it is our academic contract with them.
- Our commitment to a world-class education: Real-time technology will support new collaborative learning environments while program-based field study, semester residency, or other multi-campus experiences will be developed.
- Our commitment to generous alumni and donors: Foundations and alumni associations remain separate. Donors may still designate funds to support programs or a campus/campuses of their choosing.
Functional Area Leadership
We continue to be laser-focused on creating a leadership structure that will best serve the needs of our students and position all of us – students, faculty, and staff – for optimal success.
As previously announced, the integrated institution will consist of five distinct divisions: Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management, Finance and Administration, Student Success and Campus Life, and Advancement. Deans and Department Chairs in Academic Affairs were announced by the Provosts and APSCUF in early November.
President's Holiday Message
We are pleased to share the integrated program array, the deans of the five colleges, and department chairs that were communicated to the campuses over the past several weeks.
The integrated program array includes a robust set of more than 80 degree programs across a wide variety of disciplinary fields that will be phased in over a three-year period as faculty develop the curriculum. Once the curricular process is completed, we will be well positioned to meet our students’ educational and career goals in alignment with the workforce needs of our region, the Commonwealth, and beyond.
Here are some key points for you to use and share with students:
- Nearly 80% of students are enrolled in 12 programs which will be offered on all three campuses. Business Administration, Nursing, Health Sciences with pre-professional pathways, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Criminal Justice, Applied Computer Science, Biology, Psychology, Social Work, Media and Journalism, and Exercise Science
- Students will not be required to travel between campuses to take classes yet may have the opportunity for intra-campus field study or residencies.
- Currently enrolled students and incoming students entering Fall ’22 will be able to complete their academic programs that currently exist at all three campuses.
- Programs not included in the integrated array that have not been put into moratorium have the opportunity to be resubmitted for consideration of the Integrated Curriculum Committee.
The list of deans for the five integrated colleges (Nov. 12) along with academic department chairs (Nov. 19), as selected by department faculty, are available under the Integration News section of the integration webpage.
Additionally, the integration webpage includes a link to an integration tri-fold from the fall Counselor Information Day hosted by admissions.
Over the next several months, the Vice Presidents of the integrated divisions will work with personnel within the division while partnering with Human Resources to create integrated divisional organizational charts, identify department and subunit assignments, revise and regrade position descriptions (as needed), and provide transitional training as appropriate. Existing positions and classifications will remain in place through June 30, 2022, at all three institutions.
To give you a better sense of the decisions we still have ahead of us, please find below the following timeline:
November 2021 through February 2022
Non-faculty Departments Identified and Staff Departmental Assignments Identified
All Staff Assignments Reviewed and Finalized, Positions Identified, and Job Descriptions Completed
Training Plan Developed and Implemented for New Roles
Summer 2022-Spring 2023
Ongoing Assessment and Evaluation
Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities were selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to participate in the newly launched Transformation Accelerator Cohort (TAC). The two-year, team-based program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is designed to help institutions eliminate race, ethnicity, and income as predictors of student success.
The proposal and application materials were developed by Albert Jones, Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer and Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Senior Vice President and Provost.
The TAC cohort approach involves peer-to-peer learning across institutions via in-person and virtual Student Success Academies and through the program, campus leaders will learn best practices to close equity gaps and achieve student success goals for underrepresented students. Participants will have access to resources, such as online modules and webinars, and receive support from subject matter experts in data analytics, equity, student success, advising, institutional transformation, and strategic and systems planning.
We are pleased to announce the following updates that were communicated to faculty and staff over the past few weeks. We will continue to communicate these updates as more about our organizational structure takes shape.
- Deana Hill, Chief Administration and Finance Officer/Title IX Coordinator at Lock Haven University, has agreed to serve as Chief of Staff and Chief Labor Relations Officer in the Office of the President, effective November 8.
- The marketing and communications teams for all three campuses, as well as BU Athletics, will continue to report to the President’s Office.
- The Title IX offices on all three campuses will report to our Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Albert Jones.
- All campus police, facilities, and campus safety departments will report to our Chief Facilities and Safety Officer, Eric Ness.
- The information technology departments on all three campuses will report to our Interim Associate Vice President for Information Technology, Dr. Ed Keller.
- Amy Osborne will be moving to the President’s Office as Director of Operations and Resource Management, filling the role formerly occupied by Amanda Biddings.
- James Black will transition to the Provost’s Office and assume many of Amy Osborne’s former duties. James’s previous position in the Zeigler College of Business will be eliminated.
With a focus on student outcomes and best practices, the Senior Cabinet has determined that Career Development will be housed within the Advancement Division in the integrated university. Additionally, a regional structure will be created with the expectations of both a robust and regular assessment of career services and the creation of a collaborative oversight / advisory board inclusive of colleagues across Academic Affairs, Advancement, and Student Success & Campus Life.
Recognizing the tremendous opportunities present in seamlessly engaging alumni and external organizations with students and faculty at all campuses, our aim is for the Northeast triad to serve as a model for students' career and professional development.
NE Integration Survey
Last week you received an email from SimpsonScarborough, a third-party higher education research firm, inviting you to take an important online survey about Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities. If you haven’t done so already, please take time to complete the survey.
The survey should take about 6-8 minutes to complete.
Your responses are submitted directly to SimpsonScarborough and will be kept strictly confidential. Findings from this study will only be shared in the aggregate.
Your input is highly valued, and we hope you will choose to participate in this important research project. If you have questions, please contact SimpsonScarborough Research Project Manager Alec Smith at email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for your engagement in this process.
NE Integrated University Naming
As we continue our process of determining the Northeast integrated university’s name for Middle States and other accreditation purposes, we will be conducting more research this fall, and then we will determine our next steps. We want to ensure that we strategically align our resources in the Northeast to maintain the strength of our brands and in ways that champion our students, their success and maintain the traditions and names of our three campuses.
The NCAA is aware of the unanimous vote by the PA State System Board of Governors to proceed with the integration of Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, and Mansfield. The NCAA has indicated that it will act following a Middle States decision, expected in Spring 2022. Given state and federal assignment required for athletics, this is not a surprise. We are continuing along the path we laid out from the beginning—that we will retain athletics on the three campuses that currently host them.
NE Integration Timeline
The Northeast Integration leadership team remains committed that our names, colors, mascots, and other brand elements will not change. This fall, we will conduct additional research as we continue determining the Northeast integrated university's name for Middle States and other accreditation purposes.
While the Northeast and the West are each engaging in the integration process concurrently, the timelines for deliverables will not always align. We should note that our colleagues in the West Integration are charged with launching an online campus as a stand-alone entity which will impact how they proceed with a naming convention. They are on a different track than the Northeast, and it is important to identify that we are pursuing different paths.
Faculty members have received their departmental assignments following several rounds of review and revision. In the coming months, aligned with the three-year phased-in curriculum, we look forward to announcing the academic programs and pathways that will benefit our students. Faculty, supported by integration leaders and university administrators, will work together to develop curriculum and implement it over a three year period. Further details, including college structure and departments (majors, minors, concentrations, and certificates) are forthcoming.
Below are the five colleges and academic departments* set forth by the Academic Affairs team led by Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Dr. Ron Darbeau, and Dr. John Ulrich. Further confirmation will come following Council of Trustees approvals and the response from Middle States.
Zeigler College of Business
- Finance, Insurance, Risk Management, and Economics
- Instructional Technology, Technical Leadership, and Information and Technology Management
- Marketing and Sales
College of Education and Human Development (proposed)
- Counseling, Student Affairs, and Education Administration
- Early Childhood Education
- Middle Level, Secondary, and K-12 Education
- Social Work
- Exceptionality Programs: ASL and English Interpreting, Special Education
College of Health Professions (proposed)
- Allied Health
- Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Exercise Science
- Nursing – Graduate
- Nursing – Undergraduate
- Physician Assistant
College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (proposed)
- Anthropology, Criminal Justice, and Sociology
- Communication Studies
- History, Political Science, and Philosophy
- Languages and Cultures
- Media and Journalism
- Music, Theatre, and Dance
- Visual Arts
College of Science and Technology
- Biochemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, and Physics
- Mathematics, Computer Science, and Digital Forensics
- Environmental, Geographical, and Geologic Sciences
Interdisciplinary & Multidisciplinary Studies
In addition to the above, students will have the opportunity to design a program of study that will meet their career goals.
* Pending Middle States Commission on Higher Education approval.
(New) Student Success and Campus Life Division Update
After reviewing best practices among regional public universities with a total student population similar to the combined total at our three institutions, and in consultation with the regional leadership team, we have created a singularly dedicated division to our students and their success. The Division of Student Success and Campus Life will be separate and distinct from Enrollment Management, and it will serve the needs of all students across our three institutions. The new division will be led by Dr. Marty Wygmans, Interim VP for Student Success and Campus Life, and Dr. Scott Kane will continue to serve as the Dean of Students for Bloomsburg and Mansfield.
Senior Leadership Team
Earlier this month, updates were provided regarding the senior leadership team for the integrated institution’s divisions and the process for organizational change over the next several months.
NE Region Integrated Division Vice Presidents
The integrated institution will consist of five distinct divisions: Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Enrollment Management, Student Success and Campus Life, and University Advancement. As we phase into a single integrated entity beginning on July 1, 2022, the following will serve as divisional Vice Presidents, and they will lead the integration process in their respective divisions over the coming months:
Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Claudia Thrush, Vice President for Administration and Finance
Stephen Lee, Ed.D., Vice President for Enrollment Management
Martha Wygmans, Ed.D., Interim Vice President for Student Success and Campus Life
Erik Evans, Vice President for University Advancement
Within the Academic Affairs division, Ron Darbeau, Ph.D. will serve as Vice President for Faculty Affairs & Academic Operations. Albert Jones, who serves as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for all three institutions, will continue in the same capacity within the integrated university. Dr. John Ulrich has announced his intent to retire on June 30, 2022, and he has graciously agreed to remain involved at Mansfield as we implement integration. Similarly, Tom Fletcher has likewise expressed interest in retiring in 2022 but will also continue to be a valued partner throughout this process.
Over the next several months, the Vice Presidents of each of the integrated divisions will work closely with personnel within the division while partnering with Human Resources to create integrated divisional organizational charts, identify department and subunit assignments, revise and regrade position descriptions (as needed), and provide transitional training as appropriate. Existing positions and classifications will remain in place through June 30, 2022, at all three institutions. To give you a better sense of the decisions we still have ahead of us, please find below the following timeline:
Divisions and Vice Presidents Named
November 2021 through February 2022
Non-faculty Departments Identified and Staff Departmental Assignments Identified
All Staff Assignments Reviewed and Finalized, Positions Identified, and Job Descriptions Completed
Training Plan Developed and Implemented for New Roles
Summer 2022-Spring 2023
Ongoing Assessment and Evaluation
We appreciate the opportunity to share with you new information relating to the Northeast Integration. Our Functional and Senior Implementation teams have been hard at work through the summer to operationalize the plans that were submitted in July.
In addition to expanded academic program offerings at each campus, below are some of the developing examples of new academic opportunities that will become available through integration.
- Artist or Musician in Residence opportunities, aligned with faculty expertise, to explore new techniques and develop new skills in state-of-the-art studio settings.
- Business – Plans exist to expand professional development, Business Idea Competition, and more through the AACSB-accredited business program at BU.
- Criminal Justice – Opportunity for to enroll into the Police Academy pathway for Criminal Justice majors (spend 6-months in the PA Municipal Police Academy as part of your degree program) or add an EMT-national certification at Mansfield.
- Education – Broader opportunities for student-teaching (including residential housing opportunities) are forthcoming, including plans to closely align with districts and employment opportunities they can offer to our graduating seniors.
- Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Science field camp opportunities will expand, offering opportunities to explore differences offered through our respective locations. A new soils minor may be offered through BU/LHU soils expertise/partnership.
- Nursing/Physician Assistant Programs – There are plans to offer expanded clinical settings or clinical rotation opportunities.
- Pharm.D. Program – Expand on new BU partnerships with Temple and Farleigh Dickinson universities and their respective Schools of Pharmacy – these partner institutions are excited to expand their reach into Central PA through LHU/MU. Signing ceremonies will occur in September 2021.
- Scientist in Residence opportunities that align with faculty expertise and research opportunities. For example, collaborative tree swallow nesting research through BU/MU faculty connections is already taking place.
The NCAA is aware of the unanimous vote by the PA State System Board of Governors to proceed with the integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield. The NCAA has indicated that it will act following a Middle States decision, expected in Spring 2022. Given state and federal alignment required for athletics, this is not a surprise. We are continuing along the path we laid out from the beginning - that we will retain athletics on the three campuses that currently host them.
Our athletics programs are a vital aspect of campus and student life, contributing to much of what we love most about our universities. For current student-athletes – we are operating as we would in any other year. For those currently being recruited, this path would allow us to retain our existing sports teams on each campus.
NE Naming Research
As we continue our process of determining the Northeast integrated university's name for Middle States and other accreditation purposes, we will be conducting more research this fall, and then we will determine our next steps. As we have stated previously, our names, colors, mascots, and other brand elements will not change. We want to ensure that we strategically align our resources in the Northeast to maintain the strength of our brands and in ways that champion our students and their success.
We should note that our colleagues in the West Integration are charged with launching an online campus as a stand-alone entity. They are on a different pace and timeline that may include the announcement of a naming convention this fall.
Future Big-Picture Opportunities
For high school students – Expansion of dual enrollment will be part of a broad portfolio of programs to engage with our institutions. This includes opportunities to earn an associate's degree, especially in some pre-health care tracks of interest. In-person and hybrid modalities will be kept in mind for flexible offerings.
Anchor program – Bloomsburg University's Anchor Program provides youth, ages 15 to 18, involved in the Pennsylvania foster care system the opportunity to explore their academic interests and talents through a multi-year summer residential college life experience program and year-round mentorship opportunities to ensure that they are confident and prepared to make life choices like furthering their education and living independently.
June 9, 2021
This message finds us amid a very important time in the process of the proposed integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities. Plans continue to take shape as we look ahead to the PASSHE Board of Governors review of comments from the public comment period and the Board’s vote this summer.
We invite you to read the plans and offer comments through any of the following opportunities:
The State System values your input and has developed processes that ensure we consider every comment we receive. Every comment is being reviewed for how it might help inform the next update of the plans. While all comments are welcomed, you are encouraged to share actionable suggestions that can help enhance the plans. Prior to the Board’s next vote, a report will be produced that outlines how the plans evolved based on the input received.
The Board of Governors will hold public hearings to receive public comments regarding the proposed university integrations plans. While each hearing is designated for a particular plan, the Board welcomes comments on either or both plans at all sessions.
- June 9, 2021 at 8 a.m. (Western plan) - VIEW RECORDING
- June 9, 2021 4:30 p.m. (Western plan)
- June 10, 2021 at 8 a.m. (Northeastern plan)
- June 10, 2021 4:30 p.m. (Northeastern plan)
VIEW the hearings live on YouTube
PARTICIPATE in the hearings through ZOOM
REGISTER to speak during a hearing; registration is welcome, but not required in order to offer public comment during the hearing.
Submit Public Comments
Online Form: Submit comments here
Office of the Chancellor, University Integrations Public Comment
Dixon University Center, 2986 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Integration Insights Monthly
May 11, 2021
1) Highlights from the Plan
- More than 500 students, faculty, staff, trustees, and community leaders helped shape the Northeast Integration plan. Below are some of the highlights:
- A single faculty providing instruction in a unified academic program array. Students will be able to select from an expanded array of academic programs, including nearly double the program options for Mansfield and Lock Haven students.
- 75% of our enrollment is clustered in 8-10 disciplinary areas and these academic programs will continue to be delivered 100% in-person on all three campuses. A typical student will take most in-person courses at their home campus and some courses through real-time remote learning.
- Significantly expanded opportunities for adult students seeking to re-skill and up-skill through non-degree credentialing courses.
- Each institution’s name, logo, mascot, and identity will be preserved. An integrated entity name will be established and used for accreditation purposes.
- Students will enjoy on-campus housing, student clubs and organizations, athletics, and vibrant campus life on all three campuses. Athletics remains an important part of our campus culture, and we are pursuing a path with the NCAA where each campus will retain its current complement of teams.
- Students can design a university experience that works for them with dedicated support services on each campus.
- A single President and leadership team with one reporting relationship to the Board of Governors through the Chancellor.
Read the Northeast Integration Plan
2) Integration Insights Process and Timeline 5-11-21
- Share the implementation plan(s) with the public, holding at least two public hearings and taking public comments on the plan
- Submit the implementation plan(s) for final approval by the Board
- Begin implementation (July 2021 - August 2022)
- Welcome first class of students to integrated university in August 2022
April-July 2021—Public Comment Period
On April 28 the Board of Governors took the next step in System Redesign by voting to approve implementation plans for the Northeast and West university integrations so that we can begin a 60-day public review/comment period before the Board considers final approval this summer.
Your feedback is important and may be shared through the designated State System options.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Chancellor
University Integrations Public Comment
Dixon University Center
2986 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110
June 2021 Public Hearings
June 9, 4:30-6 p.m.
June 10, 4:30-6 p.m.
Zoom Links TBD
July 15, 2021—Board of Governors’ Meeting
Board votes whether to provide final approval of proposed implementation plans for West and Northeast integrations.
4) Next Steps
As we learn more through the 60-day public comment period work continues to evolve the plan to bring three institutions together to create an affordable, quality student experience. Through integration we are committed to:
- Preserving Yesterday: We will preserve the founding principles of each campus and the communities we serve.
- Adapting to Today: We will answer the greatest challenges facing higher education: access, cost, opportunity, quality, and relevance.
- Building a Stronger Tomorrow: We will change the trajectory of public higher education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and will enhance the value of degrees from Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities.
As this work continues, we are all making plans for the Fall 2021 semester to be held in-person. We remain wholly committed to supporting our current students and recruiting future Huskies, Bald Eagles, and Mounties.
March 5, 2021
Plans for the proposed integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities, resulting in a new integrated university, continues to take shape as we look ahead to their consideration by the PASSHE Board of Governors.
The goal of the Northeastern Academic Affairs team is to increase program options for students from high school dual-enrollment through associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. Leveraging the academic strengths of each university promises the growth potential to pursue emerging areas of student interest and develop career and degree pathways grounded in both student and workforce demand.
The combined array of the new integrated university will offer a robust educational experience with enhanced access points for students across the region. In the future, students will realize the benefit of expanded access to all disciplines on all campuses.
The increased options will provide students with more opportunities to access exemplary, affordable degree programs and well-qualified faculty while taking part in high-impact experiences aimed at ensuring career readiness.
Regionally, this means a significant broadening of the program array options. For Lock Haven and Mansfield students, this expansion leads to nearly double the bachelor’s degree program options from which to choose.
Expanded academic opportunities and alignment with workforce development initiatives means that the Northeastern universities will be able to offer an exemplary educational experience for all students—including outlined pathways for efficient degree-completion programs. Students will have more choices than ever before and the flexibility to complete a degree that works for their lifestyle and their timeline.
Middle States Accreditation:
The Western Integration completed a significant integration milestone: the submission of the Preliminary Complex Substantive Change Form to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Last week, the Western integration (California, Clarion, and Edinboro) outlined its plan to integrate (Middle States uses the term “consolidate”) to create a single integrated/consolidated university, and explains why integration/consolidation is a good fit for the partner universities.
In the weeks ahead, the Northeastern universities will be following the same accreditation process. Middle States recommended that one set of integration partners submit first and await feedback before the second set of partners makes its submission.
While not identical, the forms submitted to Middle States are aligned and consistent, with common boilerplate, timelines, and details. Some areas that will align with our forthcoming Northeastern integration submission include:
Administrative Hub: Middle States requires the integrated university to identify one partner campus as its administrative unit for accreditation purposes. Middle States recommends that the university that completed the accreditation process most recently act as the administrative unit for the integrated entity. Based on this recommendation, Bloomsburg has been identified as the administrative unit for accreditation purposes. If we do not select an existing accreditation, Middle States would recognize the new integrated university as a brand-new entity that is not accredited, and thus we would be pursuing accreditation for the first time. This is all contingent on the feedback received by the Western integration per its Middle States submission.
For the purposes of the submission, Middle States uses the term “main campus” to describe the administrative unit. Although this designation is required by MSCHE accreditation policies and appears in the submission for compliance purposes, we have clearly stated to Middle States that the three campuses of our integrated university will operate as collaborating partners in all other respects.
Naming process: Middle States officials are aware that the integrated university will have a new name, which has yet to be determined. We are working with Ologie, a branding and marketing firm, to conduct research and engage with prospective student and parent audiences to provide naming convention recommendations to the leadership group that align with the goals of integration: retaining the name, brand and historic identity of the universities.
Functional areas: A tentative organizational chart is being developed. This is required for the Middle States submission, and depicts the integrated university organized into a basic, three-level org chart (office of the president > divisions > functional areas) which is still evolving; it will be expanded to include job titles and other details in the months ahead. We will share the organizational chart when it is ready to be submitted.
No potential changes will impact our legal responsibility to honor collective bargaining agreements.
Both the Northeastern and Western integration teams have made a formal proposal to the NCAA to retain the full complement of intercollegiate sports on all partner campuses. We continue to pursue this path with the NCAA and are encouraged by the thoughtful response to our request. For current student-athletes and those currently being recruited, this path would provide the ability to retain our existing sports teams.
As you can see, creating the integrated university is a complex and multi-faceted project. Bloomsburg University is well represented among the 500+ individuals who are involved in innovating and re-imagining student-centered higher education in Pennsylvania. Their work informs recommendations that will be shared with the Board of Governors as we seek to shape our future as a premier provider of higher education for northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. I am immensely proud of and thankful for their work, and I encourage all of you to stay informed as the process continues.
Plans for both the Northeastern and Western integrations will be presented to the PASSHE Board of Governors at its upcoming meeting in April. Board affirmation would initiate a 60-day period for public comment, culminating in a decision by the Board at its July meeting.
We expect further updates to include greater detail on the academic program array and organizational structure. I will keep our Bloomsburg community informed as planning continues and opportunities for your input arise. For a deeper dive into System Redesign or to share your feedback, visit www.passhe.edu/integrations.
INTEGRATION: ONWARD AND UPWARD TOGETHER
Onward and Upward is more than just our brand. It’s the foundation upon which our University was built and a commitment to lifting up our students and our region, propelling them toward success. That is why it is important to us that you know about the ongoing work toward the potential integration of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities. Read more.
Dr. Bashar Hanna to be Lock Haven University's Interim President
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education today selected Dr. Bashar Hanna to serve as interim president of Lock Haven University, starting Feb. 5, 2021.
Hanna will continue to serve as president of Bloomsburg University, a position he’s held since 2017. And he has extensive experience with the State System, including time served at Kutztown University as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and interim provost from 2005 to 2009. Read more.
Integration plans on track for Board consideration this spring
Integrating six universities into two entities would expand student opportunities, improve affordability.
Momentum is building toward successfully integrating multiple universities as a means of expanding student opportunities thanks to the work of more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff and volunteers, Chancellor Dan Greenstein told Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Board of Governors at its quarterly meeting Thursday.
Planning has involved 19 working groups and 216 subgroups thus far in the effort to integrate California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities in Western Pennsylvania and Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities in Northeastern Pennsylvania into two multi-campus institutions. The System is moving toward its next milestone – the presentation of implementation plans to the Board at its April meeting. Read more.
Proposed partnership a chance to grow
By: John Wetzel, state secretary of corrections and member of the Bloomsburg University Council of Trustees.
(This op-ed originally appeared in the Press Enterprise and the Sunbury Daily Item, February 2021)
As Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Corrections, I have seen first-hand how education can change the lives of individuals and impact their families for generations. It can take a person from a life behind bars to a life where he or she can be a successful, productive member of society. A college degree can and does make a positive difference in the life of the graduates and their families.
PASSHE Northeast Integration Gains Momentum
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.
New Partnership to be Explored by Three PA State System Universities
A new partnership between Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University has the potential to alter the face of higher education in eastern and north-central Pennsylvania for years to come.
As part of the ongoing system redesign plans within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System), the universities will explore opportunities to collaborate and build on their existing strengths, create greater efficiencies, and expand affordable, high-quality educational opportunities for students throughout the region and beyond.
As you may know, the Board of Governors in July authorized Chancellor Greenstein to review the financial impacts of potential integrations within the State System.
One of the pairings that was originally identified was an integration between Lock Haven and Mansfield. The initial financial analysis suggests that the addition of Bloomsburg to this pairing provides the needed support, stability, and scalability to increase the probability of success for the State System’s regional landscape.
With Lock Haven and Mansfield, and in partnership with the Office of the Chancellor, we will assess this potential integration. As we continue to collect the data, I want to emphasize that this is an ongoing process. Where the process ultimately leads will be driven by the analysis of the data and the potential for leveraging our strengths for the benefit of our students and their success.
Throughout this process, I look forward to working with you to expand our existing collaborations with Mansfield, and to include Lock Haven in these partnerships. I also look forward to capitalizing on the many talents of our faculty and staff, and assure you that our strong history of almost 200 years will continue to flourish. I am grateful to all of you that we are in such a position to explore potential partnerships. As the Chairperson of our Council of Trustees, the Honorable Mary Jane Bowes, notes, “the fact that the System would entertain the notion of Bloomsburg assisting other System institutions is itself an endorsement of the hard work of BU’s faculty and staff in situating the University amidst many unknowns.”
During the months ahead, we will continue discussions with the Office of the Chancellor, our Council of Trustees, our many stakeholders, as well as our colleagues at Lock Haven and Mansfield.
Bashar W. Hanna