Goal 5: Serve the People of the Commonwealth and Beyond
Strategy 5.2: Consolidate Specialized Services at Regional and Campus Sites
In recent years, Penn State has begun to consolidate some service operations at fewer, regional sites. Cooperative Extension, for example, has consolidated operations significantly in response to reduced state and federal appropriations and increased operating costs. Extension educators with a particular type of expertise increasingly serve multiple counties. It may be necessary to serve the Commonwealth from a single site in the case of highly specialized and infrequently used expertise. It will surely be necessary to continue such forms of consolidation, working closely with county governments and other constituencies that rely upon and provide an increasing share of financial support to these key educational activities, primarily in the food and fiber sectors of the state’s economy.
Penn State currently operates at about 100 different geographic locations across the Commonwealth and at twenty-four campuses. This myriad of facilities and offices, most of which provide various educational services and community-based learning opportunities to the citizens of Pennsylvania, are often co-located with governmental and other nonprofit organizations, while others are free-standing operations, frequently in rental space. To the extent feasible, these service operations should be co-located at Penn State’s campuses, where they would draw people to campus and help to familiarize them with the educational programs and facilities of our campuses. Survey data indicate that many prospective students and their families are not familiar with Penn State’s campuses in their regional service areas, and co-locating facilities and aligning continuing education and admission service areas would help to disseminate that information. Experience tells us that once a prospective student visits a campus, the probability of attending that campus increases significantly.