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Students and alumni

Welcome to the APSCUF students’ page! Here you will find the latest information about how contract negotiations affect you, upcoming events, student-centered projects, contacting your legislator, and APSCUF scholarships and internships. Click the links below to jump to the corresponding sections:

APSCUF is the voice for a quality public higher education that works to ensure students receive all the educational benefits and opportunities possible from our 14 state colleges and universities. Representing more than 100,000 students from the State System universities, APSCUF is dedicated to keeping students updated through our APSCUF Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages. We’re also on Snapchat (APSCUF). Follow us!

Days until the State System Board of Governors vote on consolidation plans

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UNIVERSITY CONSOLIDATION (INTEGRATION): WHAT APSCUF KNOWS NOW

University consolidation (which the State System refers to as “integration”) is being planned at three universities in western Pennsylvania (California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities of Pennsylvania) and three in the north (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities of Pennsylvania). Your faculty members’ and coaches’ union, APSCUF, is working diligently to hold the State System accountable and put students at the forefront of these plans. Find answers to your frequently asked questions by expanding the boxes below. If you’re a student journalist, contact Kathryn Morton, APSCUF’s communications director, to schedule an interview to discuss consolidation and how it could affect your university.

Click here to read APSCUF’s statement about the July 14 vote to move forward with consolidation plans.

I see the plan is posted. What can I do now?

The State System posted the plans to its website and presented the plans to the Board of Governors April 28. After a 60-day public-comment period, the State System issued revised versions of the northeast and west plans. Join APSCUF and other advocates for actions in response to the plans, such as our rally and press conference held April 28. We’re also listing dates you can learn more about consolidation via panel discussions, interviews, etc. Some of them offer opportunities to participate, and we encourage you to do so.

Events

July 14–15

Next scheduled quarterly Board of Governors meeting. The board is expected to vote on the plans July 14; that meeting begins 10:30 a.m. The agenda and information about how to give public comments will be posted here.

How can students and alumni have a voice in consolidation?

Your input as students and alumni is important. Students and alumni can:

  • Write letters to the editor and columns for your student publications and local news outlets. YOUR story is compelling and important. YOUR story can make a difference.
  • Reach out to your campus’ APSCUF chapter and ask about upcoming advocacy events in which you can participate. Click here to find APSCUF chapter contact information.
  • Contact your legislators to express your support of YOUR quality education. Click here to look up legislator contact information.
  • Contact Gov. Tom Wolf to share your concerns about the plan and encourage a delay in the vote.
  • Submit feedback to the State System via their form. If you are comfortable doing so, email a copy of your comments to scrampsie@apscuf.org.
  • Tell your university’s administration, Chancellor Daniel Greenstein and the State System Board of Governors that you support YOUR quality education. Find Board of Governors contact information here.
  • If you’re a student journalist, contact Kathryn Morton, APSCUF’s communications director, to schedule an interview to discuss consolidation and how it could affect your university. Start with an email to kmorton@apscuf.org.
  • Talk about consolidation with your fellow students, and discuss how it could affect all of you. Share the APSCUF.org/students page.
  • Follow APSCUF on social media: We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You also can subscribe to the APSCUF blog (subscription box on the righthand side).

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors held a workshop May 26 to discuss public comments received up to that point.

Another workshop took place in June:

Bring me up to speed on university consolidation.

After the summer 2020 announcement about consolidation possibilities (and campus press releases in fall 2020 about different combinations), the State System needed first to determine whether what it calls “integrations” were financially feasible. The Board of Governors heard these results at its October 2020 board meeting, which you can watch in its entirety via the State System’s YouTube channel, and voted to move forward with the planning portion of the process. The State System presented its plans to the Board of Governors on April 28. APSCUF issued the following statement in April:

“We were disappointed by the lack of detail in the 439-page report presented to the Board of Governors today. The State System’s consolidation plans fail to address many questions and concerns stakeholders raised throughout the 10 months before the plans’ release. Questions remain about forced hybrid learning for our students, whether our student-athletes’ teams will exist, and the economic community impacts, for example. What we did learn from the plans is that the costs of consolidation are much greater than the savings that will be realized. We were shocked by this. Given the lack of detail and unanswered questions, and the lack of any financial savings, APSCUF cannot endorse or support these consolidation plans.” —APSCUF President Dr. Jamie Martin

APSCUF has been asking and will continue to ask questions at local and statewide levels to make sure the System does what truly is best for students.

The State System posted revisions to the northeast plan and west plan on July 7. APSCUF is reading the plans carefully — through a lens that keeps student concerns at the forefront.

Act 50 of 2020 requires the State System to update legislators about the State System’s redesign and integration plans at joint House and Senate appropriation- and education-committee hearings. APSCUF has live-tweeted the events, and the blog posts below contain links to watch the hearing footage.

Democratic Caucus policy committee hearings addressed university consolidation:

What questions is APSCUF asking?

The chancellor has said the consolidated universities will have a single faculty and staff, a unified leadership team and a single academic program array, “while honoring (campus) local identity.” The details are important. Among the student-related questions APSCUF continues to ask:

  • What will happen to athletics? Will sports teams be integrated in this plan? If so, what would that mean for athletes who are receiving scholarship funds?
  • If a student wants to play a sport that is housed at one university, and the program they want to pursue at another, how will that work?
  • What about scholarships in general?
  • Will students have an opportunity to testify at the public hearings mandated under Act 50?
  • Will students at some universities only have online-learning options and no opportunities to take courses face to face?
  • Will students need to travel between physical universities? Will there be inter-university transportation for students?
  • Will students apply to the universities that still exist, or will they apply to a single university?
  • Which will be the degree-granting university, once consolidation occurs? When a student graduates, what school name will appear on the diploma?
  • How will services (such as library services, counseling services, healthcare services, cultural events) be provided?
Are there things that definitely can or cannot happen with consolidation?

Act 50 of 2020 outlines clear processes and procedures for some fundamental changes to our universities. APSCUF will insist that the State System follows the law. (It’s important to note that neither the legislation that founded Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education nor this year’s act allow the State System to outright close campuses. Those decisions only can be made by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.)

What is important to APSCUF regarding consolidation?

APSCUF is eager to be fully engaged in the process of consolidation at six of our universities. Related to students, APSCUF will demand that:

  • Consolidation does NOT sacrifice student opportunities through program and faculty cuts.
  • Consolidation does NOT create additional burdens for students.
  • The State System follows the requirements of Act 50.
What research has been done about the consolidations?

APSCUF’s consolidation survey

APSCUF’s survey of faculty members captured concerns about the consolidation process underway at six universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Among the findings: Less than 8% of the faculty members who responded to the survey indicated support for the consolidation, while nearly 70% are not supportive.

Nearly 1,000 faculty members responded to the survey, conducted in late March, which asked for the views and perceptions of faculty members at Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities (northern) and of California, Clarion and Edinboro universities (western). Click here to view the executive summary, and click here to view our press release.

The Economic Impact of the PASSHE Employment Reductions

Political Economy Research Institute analyzed the economic impact and other effects of employment reductions related to State System redesign.

“Large cuts in staffing, both of faculty and of professional and classified staff in good unionized jobs, constitute the core of the restructuring,” researchers said in the report abstract. “The cuts, amounting to 14 percent of overall PASSHE employment, are of a magnitude equivalent to the largest private-sector plant closings and mass layoffs of the previous decade in Pennsylvania. This study documents that the cuts and their spillover effects will have a substantial negative impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The largest negative impacts in terms of job loss and revenue decline will be in the economic regions near each university that is facing job cuts. These job cuts will have their most severe impact on women. This is because women constitute large majorities of both the student body of the PASSHE universities and of the untenured faculty on staff.”

Click here to view the full report.

Where can I find State System information about consolidation?

After the summer 2020 announcement about consolidation possibilities (and campus press releases this fall about different combinations), the State System needed first to determine whether what it calls “integrations” were financially feasible. The Board of Governors heard these results at its October 2020 board meeting, which you can watch in its entirety via the State System’s YouTube channel, and voted to move forward with the planning portion of the process.

Northeast and Western plans were presented to the Board of Governors on April 28, and the board voted to move the plans forward into the 60-day public-comment period. Click here to view the agenda and plan. Click here to watch the meeting.

The State System’s university integration page, including frequently asked questions

Meeting footage: Integrations Leadership Orientation

Chancellor blog: Lessons from the (virtual) road

Chancellor post on LinkedIn about integration planning, including these slides from an orientation session.

State System release: State System enters new phase of proposed university integrations with Board’s unanimous support

State System release: State System to explore university integrations to support student opportunities

How can I read updates about consolidation?

Follow APSCUF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where we post links to news articles, letters to the editor, opinion pieces and other information related to consolidation. Read APSCUF press releases here. We will continue to update this page.

Sometimes I see "integration," but APSCUF is now using "consolidation." Which is the best term?

Act 50 of 2020 states that “A board shall develop policies and procedures by which the board may create, expand, consolidate, transfer or affiliate an institution … ” The word “integration,” which the State System is using, is not listed in the legislation. Thus, while APSCUF initially used the State System’s terminology, our continued careful examination of the law led us to reevaluate our vocabulary. Moving forward, State APSCUF plans to refer to the process as consolidation, to use the correct legal term.

SAVE PROGRAMS AND JOBS: HELP US AVOID RETRENCHMENT

Retrenchment (faculty layoffs) is a possibility at five (Cheyney, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities) of our 14 State System universities. Your faculty members’ union, APSCUF, is working diligently to find alternatives to these layoffs. Your support and advocacy as students and alumni would be an immense help to the cause. Find answers to your frequently asked questions by expanding the boxes below. If you’re a student journalist, contact Kathryn Morton, APSCUF’s communications director, to schedule an interview to discuss retrenchment and how it could affect your university (even if yours is not one of the threatened campuses).

What is retrenchment?

Retrenchment is the dismissal of a faculty member through no fault of their own. In other words, it is not because of a disciplinary issue, and it is not because they are not performing their jobs. Retrenchment leads to a permanent reduction in the number of faculty, and universities with the possibility of retrenchment could find other, less devastating ways to meet their financial goals.

Which State System universities want to retrench faculty members?

Retrenchment is a possibility at five (Cheyney, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities) of our 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. By Oct. 30, Cheyney, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities had issued letters to tenured and tenure-track faculty members. IUP issued one additional letter on Dec. 1. (see “When will faculty members know if they’ll be retrenched?” below). No additional letters were issued by the Dec. 15 deadline.

Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, Kutztown and Millersville universities previously announced possibilities of retrenchment; through the work of your faculty members’ union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), those five universities rescinded their retrenchment possibilities.

How would retrenchment affect students?

The State System wants to return to the student/faculty ratios of 2010–11 within the next two years. This will be extremely difficult to achieve in that timeframe without retrenching hundreds of faculty. If universities retrench faculty, the impact on students will be extreme. A smaller faculty means higher student/faculty ratios. Classes could be larger, and programs could be cut. We don’t know for sure what will happen, but we know that faculty cuts take opportunities away from students.

Why is retrenchment a possibility now, during a global pandemic?

While the State System began a redesign years ago, APSCUF continually questions why the State System wants to make cuts in the midst of a global pandemic, with such exceptional circumstances. This is not the time to make changes that would be detrimental to students and to faculty. Cuts now could affect programs and student success for years to come.

How many faculty members could be retrenched?

It is possible for about 350 faculty members to be retrenched across the seven threatened universities. We do not know final numbers, but of course we hope no one is retrenched.

When will faculty members know if they’ll be retrenched?

The APSCUF collective bargaining agreement, our contract with the State System, specifies dates by which faculty members must be given official notice that they will be retrenched at the end of the academic year. Tenured faculty members are to be sent letters by certified mail or hand delivery on or before Oct. 30; probationary non-tenured faculty members beyond the second year, on or before Dec. 1; second-year probationary non-tenured faculty members, on or before Dec. 15; and first-year probationary non-tenured faculty members, on or before March 1.

By the first deadline, Oct. 30, more than 100 faculty members across five universities received letters. Click here to read APSCUF’s press release.

What are faculty members doing to fight retrenchment?

APSCUF is working diligently to find alternatives to these layoffs. APSCUF leaders at the state and university levels are meeting with administrators regularly to discuss options. Initially, 10 of the 14 State System universities told APSCUF there was a possibility of retrenchment. Through APSCUF’s hard work, Kutztown, Bloomsburg and Millersville universities have rescinded their retrenchment possibilities, and we are down to seven universities — but that’s still too many. We do not know what those seven universities will decide, but we hope they will not retrench.

What can students and alumni do to fight retrenchment?

Your support and advocacy as students and alumni can be an immense help to the cause. Students and alumni can:

  • Write letters to the editor and columns for your student publications and local news outlets. Write about the importance of the university in the community, about how higher education improved your life, and about the quality of education you’ve received. You don’t have to be an English or journalism major to write an effective letter. YOUR story is compelling and important. YOUR story can make a difference.
  • Reach out to your campus’ APSCUF chapter and ask about upcoming advocacy events in which you can participate. Click here to find APSCUF chapter contact information.
  • Contact your legislators to express your support of YOUR quality education and your faculty. Click here to look up legislator contact information.
  • Tell your university’s administration, Chancellor Daniel Greenstein and the State System Board of Governors that you support YOUR quality education and your faculty. Find Board of Governors contact information here.
  • If you’re a student journalist, contact Kathryn Morton, APSCUF’s communications director, to schedule an interview to discuss retrenchment and how it could affect your university (even if yours is not one of the threatened campuses). Start with an email to kmorton@apscuf.org.
  • The State System wants to return to the high student/faculty ratios of 2010–11. If you were a State System student during that period, your story could help APSCUF’s advocacy efforts. You can submit a description of your experiences via the form at the bottom of this section or visit this page for a stand-alone form. If you weren’t a student during that time but you know parents, siblings, relatives and friends who were, please share the link with them and encourage them to submit their stories.
  • Talk about retrenchment with your fellow students, and discuss how it could affect all of you. Share the APSCUF.org/students page.
  • Follow APSCUF on social media: We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You also can subscribe to the APSCUF blog (subscription box on the righthand side).

ALUMNI, TELL US YOUR STORY. The State System wants to return to the high student/faculty ratios of 2010–11. If you were a State System student during that period, your story could help APSCUF’s advocacy efforts. You can submit a description of your experiences using the form below. (Hover over the form and scroll down to view the entire form.) Thank you for taking action.

STUDENTS AND ALUMNI FOR ACTION: HELP APSCUF ADVOCATE FOR YOU

APSCUF faculty and coaches are proud to provide our students with the best education possible, and we work tirelessly in that endeavor. From time to time, we have opportunities for students and alumni to join us in the fight for quality, affordable higher education in Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in participating in select APSCUF activities, please complete the form below. (Hover over the form and scroll down to view the entire form.) Thank you for taking action.

STATE APSCUF SCHOLARSHIP

APSCUF offers a $3,000 scholarship to relatives of APSCUF or APSCURF members in good standing. Click here to download the 2021 scholarship application in Word form, and click here to download a fillable PDF. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 1, and the committee will award the scholarship(s) in August. Direct questions to APSCUF’s director of membership services at 800-932-0587, Ext. 3021.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bennett of Edinboro University, our 2020 scholarship recipient. Click here to read more about Bennett in her own words, and click here to read a profile from Edinboro University. Click here to view a list of past scholarship winners.

Elizabeth Bennett of Edinboro University won the 2020 APSCUF scholarship. Her father, Dan Bennett, is a faculty APSCUF member at Edinboro. Submitted photo

AFFORDABLE COLLEGE AND LESS STUDENT DEBT — SUPPORTING THE NELLIE BLY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

APSCUF supports Gov. Tom Wolf’s Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, proposed in his 2020–21 budget and reintroduced in his 2021–22 budget. Wolf’s plan would provide money to Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education students and help graduates earn their degrees with little to no student debt. We’re using #fundPAfuture and #NellieBlyScholarship on social media. Click here to read the bill.

You can advocate for the plan, too:

  • Sign the petition (new petition for 2021–22) in support of the plan.
  • Share your story/support on social media. Use #fundPAfuture (and #NellieBlyScholarship, too, if you have space) and let everyone know why you support the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program.
  • Share your story with APSCUF. Email qualityeducation@apscuf.org outlining how a $10,000 scholarship would help you and what having less college debt would mean to you.
  • Contact your legislators and tell them to support the Nellie Bly Scholarship plan. Click here to find your legislators.

GOVERNMENT/PUBLIC RELATIONS INTERNSHIP

We offer a paid internship in government and public relations for undergraduates attending a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university. The APSCUF internship is a great opportunity for a student interested in government, politics, public affairs, journalism or communications. APSCUF interns must be professional, self-motivated and skilled communicators. Our recent interns have gone on to jobs in the legislature, lobbying and the news media (see Where are the APSCUF interns now?).

We are seeking a junior or senior majoring in political science, communications, journalism or a related field to serve as a government relations/communications intern at the state APSCUF office building at 319 N. Front St. in Harrisburg. The student internship must be for academic credit under the supervision of a State System university faculty member. The successful applicant should have strong knowledge of government workings, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills. APSCUF will pay $11 per hour, and interns are expected to work 35 hours each week, Monday through Friday.

Upcoming and current internships:

  • The summer 2021 internship begins Tuesday, June 1, and concludes Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. The application deadline was Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, and we have selected our intern.
  • The 2022 internship application will be available to download in fall 2021.

For more information, please contact Kathryn Morton, communications director.

Want to learn a little more about our internship — from past interns’ perspectives? Read their blog posts:

Bower: APSCUF intern makes valuable connections during summer of meaningful, appreciable work
Ford: Work for a union that’s working for you
Miller: Enjoy the time you have to learn
Danvers: Be confident with an open mind
Leahy: People make APSCUF experience, fall intern says
Newton: Summer internship full of learning, experience
Mansfield: Winter intern reflects on month at APSCUF
Rebuck: Why an APSCUF internship is for you
Matthews: 10 Reasons Why You Should Intern for APSCUF

REGISTER TO VOTE

Make your voice heard by voting. Get started by registering here via this link or by downloading an application here. May 3, 2021, was the last day to register before the May 18, 2021, election.

STAND UP FOR AFFORDABLE COLLEGE NOW WITH PENNSYLVANIA PROMISE

Pennsylvania students are leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and who knows how many students are simply not going to college because they cannot afford it? Pennsylvania, which U.S. News this year ranked 50th in higher education, is failing a generation by not providing affordable public higher education. It’s time for Pennsylvania Promise — a plan to make higher education affordable in the Commonwealth. APSCUF is a proud partner of this plan, and we encourage you to get involved as well. Click here to visit the Pennsylvania Promise website to learn more information about how to attend a rally, contact legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf to show your support, or to share your story about paying for college. And be sure to follow PA Promise on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

FUNDING FOR OUR STATE SYSTEM: WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

About 500 people filled the Capitol rotunda Feb. 8, 2016, to advocate for fair funding for our 14 state-owned universities. The event was a roaring display of unity and activism featuring legislators and State System students, faculty members, and alumni. But our work is not over, and there is much you can do:

  • Contact your legislators and tell them the importance of fair funding for your university and the entire State System.
  • Contact your university’s APSCUF office to find out how you can get involved on your campus.
  • Apply for an APSCUF internship to learn more about what the organization does for students, faculty, and coaches — and to take an active role in our efforts.

DACA RESOURCES

APSCUF’s September 2017 legislative assembly approved two statements about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, one of which called for APSCUF to compile and post a list of local and statewide resources available to students (and staff and faculty) on our campuses whose immigration status is at risk in the wake of the recision of the DACA program. Click here to view the list so far.

FACULTY AND COACH CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

Your professors, coaches, and other faculty members are organized in the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. This union negotiates with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to reach fair collective-bargaining agreements that facilitate faculty and coach members’ ability to provide quality, affordable higher education. Our current agreements expire June 30, 2023, and we expect to begin negotiations with the State System in summer 2022. Read updates about negotiations in our news center here.

LEARN MORE

Click this link or the image below to watch a video about how APSCUF provides students with the best education possible.