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See Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s remarks to the Board of Governors – May 22, 2024 | APSCUF
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The May 22 Board of Governors meeting streamed via YouTube. Below are APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared.

Chairwoman Shapira, Chancellor Greenstein, governors, presidents, and guests. I am Ken Mash, and I am the statewide president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

I have a few brief comments today — this day on which you will name a new president for PennWest University.

First, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate President Christopher Fiorentino on his retirement. I want to do so not only on behalf of my colleagues at West Chester, but also on behalf of my colleagues around the State System.

Among the faculty at West Chester, he has had a reputation for being smart, fair-minded, competent, and considerate. These same traits were on display when my colleagues and I had a chance to work with him during multiple contract negotiations. Of course, we did not always agree, but even when disagreeing, one always sensed that it was a disagreement among colleagues who shared the same basic values.

Of course, he was at one time one of us, which is also true of his provost and now his successor. I know that my colleagues at PennWest feel that during her time as interim president, Dr. Laurie Bernotsky restored a sense of competence, openness, and collegiality.

My PennWest colleagues felt that, with Interim President Bernotsky, the university for the first time was beginning to build a strong culture of shared governance. Our APSCUF leaders at PennWest want to know that this will continue.

Further, there was a rational plan put into place for that university. My colleagues badly want to maintain the momentum they were building.

There are battle scars at PennWest. And there remains the sense that the faculty stepped up to make the institution work, at times keeping the university running with duct tape. They went way beyond their responsibilities to make sure that students were taken care of. Unfortunately, they felt that they were taken advantage of — that they were left to figure out the details on the fly because of a lack of details in the integration plans approved by this board.

The faculty are still taken aback by what they feel was the rushed nature of this presidential search, despite their calls for patience. Still, they look forward to progress, but they are weary. They want assurances that there will not be irrational cutting of programs or the laying off of faculty.

Above all, they want competence, rationality, quality leadership, and stability. They are not particularly interested in a presidential vision for the future. They want to make certain that the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. Like so many of our System students, they are not afraid of doing the work.

But they don’t want fancy, they don’t want jargon, they don’t want “interesting ideas.” They want to do what we all do well: make certain that our students receive the best possible experience and that their university will remain an engine for student success.

With that, I look forward to congratulating the next president. Know that there are big challenges, but that you have faculty who look forward to the university’s success.