Goal 5: Serve the People of the Commonwealth and Beyond
Strategy 5.3: Share Programs, Faculty, Staff, and Facilities within Regions
Many of Penn State’s campuses are relatively small in numbers of students and, consequently, are not able to offer as wide a range of undergraduate degrees, courses, and student services as a larger campus. It makes good economic and educational sense to foster greater sharing of Penn State programs, faculty, staff, and facilities within regions across the Commonwealth. Although many of the campuses have begun to take such steps recently, this approach must be enhanced in order to reduce operating costs and improve the attractiveness of the academic programs and services at individual campuses. This approach may be even more important in coming years if the current weak economic climate persists and more students are unable to afford living away from home and instead commute to one of Penn State’s campuses.
Sharing faculty can be facilitated by collaborative scheduling that allows teaching at more than one campus, by the use of technology through which students at multiple campuses can participate in the same class, and by the use of online courses to supplement program offerings at any given campus. Similarly, shared degree programs can be offered among multiple campuses across a region to derive maximum value from limited resources. Some campuses have more access to specialized facilities than other campuses (e.g., science laboratories, computing technology, engineering facilities and equipment, etc.) and creative scheduling can make such facilities available to more students from multiple campuses than would otherwise be available.
A specific example where such sharing arrangements should be initiated is in the Philadelphia region, where Penn State has two undergraduate campuses and one graduate campus. At Abington and Brandywine campuses, facilities are not filled to capacity during typical evening hours, while the Great Valley campus is largely unused by students during daytime hours because the campus serves almost exclusively professionals who work full time during the day. The opportunity to open up new markets with faculty from other campuses filling in those open hours could attract new students to all of the region’s Penn State campuses.