Wilkes-Barre, Pa — On Thursday APSCUF Vice-President Ken Mash participated in a public meeting of Gov. Corbett’s post-secondary education commission, addressing the lack of faculty and student representation from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education on the commission.
Mash asked to include representation from faculty members and students of public institutions – the individuals affected by the policy recommendations generated by the commission.
Mash said distance education should not be used as a cure for the current challenges facing higher education. He noted the lack definitive surveys indicating a true market demand for distance education. He added that students prefer a traditional classroom setting and that institutions should not push students into distance education classes by making traditional classes overcrowded or unavailable.
The commission members also discussed the potential shift in funding from the universities directly to the students. Members said that universities would then have to compete for students and may become inclined to build attractive amenities for students, such as nicer dorms, larger recreation centers, and more food options as a way to encourage students to attend.
Mash said the PASSHE institutions are not institutionally prepared to compete with the other private institutions if funding would shift to the students because, among other things, they do not have the large foundations or endowments major private institutions have.
Multiple attendees weighed in on collaboration efforts between institutions and businesses.
Mash stated that APSCUF favors collaboration between PASSHE and businesses; however, the commission cannot “forget the other role of universities…that is creating good citizens, informed consumers” and assets to communities.
The public regional meetings concluded with the meeting in Wilkes-Barre. The 30-member commission will now reconvene in Harrisburg, Pa on July 16 to start creating the report.
For more information about the commission, visit their website at www.pahigheredcommission.com