APSCUF Vice President Dr. Jamie Martin’s comments as prepared:
Chancellor Greenstein, Chairwoman Shapira, governors, university presidents, and guests,
Good morning. My name is Jamie Martin, I am professor here at IUP in the department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and I am the vice president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), which represents the faculty and coaches at our 14 great universities.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you (except for Dr. Driscoll) to our beautiful campus. I hope that you have had, or will have, some time to take a stroll through our Oak Grove and to see all that is happening at IUP. It truly is a beautiful campus.
On behalf of our membership, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for the time and energy that you put forth in trying to improve the lives of our students and striving to fulfill the mission of our system: to provide a high-quality, affordable education for them.
I also wish to speak on behalf of our membership in welcoming Dr. Dan Greenstein. Dr. Greenstein, I think that you witnessed, when you spoke at the APSCUF legislative assembly a couple of weeks ago, the hope and excitement that the faculty displayed as you gave your remarks. I know that you heard that we appreciate many things related to your leadership: your vision for our universities, your transparency, and your willingness to be inclusive and recognize the talents of the faculty and coaches at our 14 universities. We appreciate the willingness of you and the Board of Governors to show a commitment to making contract negotiations less contentious, and we are pleased that you have included us in numerous committees that are examining challenges facing our universities and the State System. We are very hopeful that the leadership style that you have thus far displayed will continue well into the future.
I also see common ground in our views of our students. In your recent blog, you spoke very eloquently about the wonderful students that we have at our universities. One of the great joys of my life is walking into a classroom and interacting with my students. I see the same things that you do. I see talented, committed students who are engaged and eager to learn. I have had the opportunity to teach some of the same students in their freshmen year and four years later in their senior year. I am always amazed at the transformation in them because of what they have experienced in the classroom and outside of it. And I have had the opportunity to interact with our alumni and hear about how the education that they received at IUP prepared them for their careers. As you noted, a student at Lock Haven pointed out that our students attend our universities because they want to help others. Most of the alumni that I have the pleasure of speaking with are doing just that … .and they love to return to their alma maters.
I also see common ground in our concerns about the challenges that our students face as they work on completing their college degrees. You have heard when you meet with students their concerns about the financial and other challenges that they face. I have had personal conversations, often during office hours, with young men and women who talk to me about trying to juggle working two jobs with trying to find time to study, being unable to afford books for their classes, and wondering how they will pay rent, purchase food, etc. These are heartbreaking stories to hear. We all have to do better by our students.
We share the concerns that you have articulated and, it seems, that you share ours. We all know how critical funding from the state legislature is, and we believe that we together, the State System and APSCUF, can more effectively argue for additional state funds when we are rowing together against the tide rather than rowing separately.
We stand ready to work together with you, to do what we can to improve the lives of our students and to participate in helping to solve the challenges that face our universities. We hope that you and all the university presidents will include — and rely on — their faculty to assist in these ambitions.
Thank you very much for your time.