Goal 2: Advance Academic Excellence and Research Prominence
Strategy 2.5: Acquire Additional Endowments to Enhance Faculty and Student Quality
It has become clear in recent years that the comparative advantage in attracting and retaining great faculty in many fields is the availability of endowed chairs, professorships, faculty fellowships, and program support funding. Although considerable progress has been made through past campaign fundraising, much more must be done to increase the number of endowed positions at Penn State. The current campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, has significant goals for faculty and program support, and these must be attained if the University is to remain competitive with other institutions in recruiting and retaining the best faculty.
Expanding the financial support for graduate students goes hand-in-hand with growing the support for faculty. The best graduate students typically have multiple offers from competing institutions, including offers with fellowships and substantial stipends along with tuition grants-in-aid. This is particularly relevant at Penn State, where a relatively high proportion of graduate students pursue doctoral degrees that take far longer to complete than the typical professional master’s degree. Inasmuch as University funding for assistantships has increased only modestly through annual increments to stipend budgets, departments are strained to compete effectively, and must cannibalize other sources of funding to puttogether competitive packages. Although the number of graduate fellowships, funded both through University and philanthropic sources, has risen in recent years, the increase insupport has been insufficient to keep Penn State as competitive as it should be. Again, the For the Future fundraising campaign is critically important for future graduate student fellowship funding, and the University must work to identify funds internally to keep stipends competitive.