APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared:
Chairwoman Shapira, governors, Chancellor Greenstein, university presidents, and guests.
My name is Dr. Kenneth Mash, and I am the president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. APSCUF represents the faculty and coaches at our great universities.
I wanted to comment briefly on two items this morning. The first is the system redesign, and the second the Board of Governors Policy 1983-13-A, which you will discuss tomorrow.
With regard to the system redesign, I want to thank Chancellor Greenstein for the broad discussion that has already taken place with regard to the document. There is a lot in there, and as a conceptual document, there is a lot to be excited about. We do see in the document the potential for many new opportunities for students that can arise out of sharing system where universities work interdependently – to use the terminology of the report.
There are other items that we believe will require greater discussion. Many of those issues revolve around implementation, but some of those also revolve around policy. One example comes from the student-success portion. Even at first glance, the notion that one of the only three indicators of student success is salary by graduates, raises questions about the what type of success the System will be prioritizing in the future and how that may impact the future of the student body and the academic programs we offer at our universities.
This is but one example: As I said, there is a lot in the document. Having said that, however, I am confident that there will be ongoing conversations about the many different aspects of the redesign. Our hope is that these conversation will take place as a matter of progress not as a dilatory tactic. We are confident that they will take place because that has been the tone Chancellor Greenstein has set.
With regard to Policy 1983-13-A, the faculty continue to have some concern about when alternates will participate on search committees for university presidents. We would like those alternates to participate on the committees so that they are up-to-speed – much like alternate jurors – should they be called on to serve. Our understanding is that currently the alternates are only involved should they need to step in – even if that is at the middle or the end of the process.
Further, while we are on the topic of the policy, we hope that the Board will at some time assess the use of the consulting firms for the process. We have often questioned what is gained by the use of these firms, particularly since the same names seem to reappear at our universities. If nothing else, we would hope that the Board would clarify the governors’ expectations of these firms and that a mechanism be designed to assess their overall value given the high pricetags of many of these consultants.
Thank you for your attention.