PITTSBURGH WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. – Gov. Tom Corbett’s Advisory Commission on Post-secondary Education held two open meetings on June 14, with administrators from various sectors of post-secondary institutions, business leaders, and members of the public to discuss the future of post-secondary and higher education institutions in Pennsylvania.
Chair Rob Wonderling said the commission wants to focus on determining greater accessibility and affordability to post-secondary institutions, as well as increased employability for graduates of the institutions. The four main areas of improvement that will be looked at are workforce needs, accessibility and affordability, administration and financial structures, and collaboration.
With the proposed cuts to higher education, the current system is being assessed for potential improvements in the four focus areas. A plan will be constructed by the commission by a November 15 deadline.
Executive administrators from public, private, and community colleges, teachers, students, business leaders, and parents are invited to express their concerns to the commission about the current system and how to go about improving it without damaging the quality of education students receive. Members of the public can join the meetings and express their concerns as well.
Commission member and Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh Mark Nordenberg commended Pennsylvania for its “richly diversified community of providers” of post-secondary and higher education institutions. “It would be difficult to find another state that would swap what Pennsylvania has,” he said.
The decline in state appropriations to Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education system, and the state-related universities, such as Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple, and Lincoln has alarmed numerous individuals to consider alternative methods of funding and educational outcomes of colleges and universities.
“Even though you contemplate change, you [still] need to focus on the protection of what you already have,” Nordenberg said.