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REPORTofTHE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY(PENN STATE)State College, PennsylvaniabyAN EVALUATION TEAM REPRESENTINGMIDDLE STATES COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATIONWilliam E. “Brit” Kirwan, ChairPrepared after a study of PSU’s self study reportand University Park campus visitMarch 22-March 25, 2015(plus site visits to four Commonwealth campusesJanuary 2015)This report represents the views of the evaluation team and wasreviewed by the institution for factual corrections before beingconsidered by the MSCHE.1

I. INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEWThe Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), founded in 1855, is theCommonwealth of Pennsylvania’s sole land grant institution and its largest publicuniversity. In accordance with its land grant designation, Penn State has a broadmission of teaching, research, and public service. It was originally chartered as oneof the nation's first colleges of agricultural science, with a goal to apply scientificprinciples to farming. The site was established with a gift of 200 acres fromgentleman farmer and ironmaster James Irvin, in the very center of the state.Founding President Evan Pugh drew on the scientific education he had received inEurope to plan a curriculum that combined theoretical studies with practicalapplications.Pugh and similar visionaries in other states championed Congressionalpassage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862. The act enabled states to sell federalland, invest the proceeds, and use the income to support colleges "where the leadingobject shall be, without excluding scientific and classical studies . to teachagriculture and the mechanic arts [engineering] . in order to promote the liberaland practical education of the industrial classes in all the pursuits and professions oflife." The Pennsylvania state legislature designated Penn State the land-grantinstitution of Pennsylvania.In the 1880s, the college expanded its curriculum to match the Land-GrantAct's broad mandate. From that time onward, curriculums in engineering, thesciences, the liberal arts, and more began to expand. In the early 1900s, Penn Stateintroduced cooperative extension and additional outreach programming, extendingthe reach of its academic mission. In the 1930s Penn State established a series ofundergraduate branch campuses, primarily to meet the needs of students who werelocation-bound during the Great Depression. Those campuses were predecessors oftoday's system of 24 Penn State campuses located throughout the Commonwealth.Penn State began offering advanced-degree work in 1922 with the formationof the Graduate School. By 1950 the University had won international recognitionfor investigations in dairy science, building insulation, diesel engines, and acoustics,and other specialized fields.A college of medicine and teaching hospital were established in 1967 with a 50 million gift from the charitable trusts of renowned chocolate magnate Milton S.Hershey. In 1989 the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport became2

an affiliate of the University. In 2000, Penn State and the Dickinson School of Lawmerged. In 2015, two Penn State law schools, known as Dickinson Law (in Carlisle,Pennsylvania) and Penn State Law (on University Park campus) will be in operation.Penn State's online World Campus graduated its first students in 2000 and nowenrolls nearly 11,000.With its 24 campuses, Penn State boasts that there is a campus within practicalcommuting distance of every Pennsylvania citizen. They include: ErieFayetteGreat ValleyGreater AlleghenyHarrisburgHazletonHersheyLehigh ValleyMont AltoNew KensingtonSchuylkillShenangoUniversity ParkWilkes-BarreWilliamsport (The Penn College of Technology) is counted as a campusbut is an affiliate of Penn StateWorld Campus (online education)Worthington ScrantonYorkThe University comprises 18 colleges or divisions: Agricultural SciencesArts & ArchitectureSmeal College of BusinessCommunications3

Earth and Mineral SciencesEducationEngineeringHealth and Human DevelopmentInformation Sciences and TechnologyCollege of the Liberal ArtsCollege of MedicineCollege of NursingEberly College of ScienceSchools of LawSchreyer Honors CollegeThe Graduate SchoolPennsylvania College of TechnologyDivision of Undergraduate StudiesPenn State offers over 160 baccalaureate degree programs, 76 associatedegree programs at selected campuses and over 160 graduate degree programs,including doctorates and both academic and professional master’s degrees. Itreceives over 800 million in total research support (of which approximate 501million comes from federal sources). The university raised over 2 billion forprivate support in the capital campaign, which ended one year ago.II. NATURE AND CONDUCT OF THE EVALUATION TEAM VISIT TO PENN STATEUNIVERSITYA team of peer evaluators, chaired by University System of MarylandChancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan, visited the University Park campus March 22March 25, 2015. Prior to the visit, Chancellor Kirwan had a preliminary visit to theUniversity Park campus in November 2014; and several members of the evaluationtam visited other Penn State campuses prior to the March visit. Those campusesincluded Dickinson Law in Carlisle, Hershey Medical Center, Mont Alto, Harrisburg,Altoona, New Kensington, Berks, Brandywine and the program in Florence, Italy.Besides Chancellor Kirwan, the team included: Bryan Andriano, Executive Director, Global and Experiential Education,School of Business, The George Washington University Barbara Bender, Associate Dean for Academic Support and GraduateStudent Services, Rutgers University Marin Clarkberg, Director, Institutional Research and Planning, CornellUniversity Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor Emeritus, CUNY Michael Halleran, Provost, College of William and Mary4

Dawn Morton-Rias, Professor and former Dean, College of Health RelatedProfessions, SUNY Downstate Medical CenterGeorge Otte, University Director of Academic Technology, CUNY andAssociate Dean of Academic Affairs, CUNY SPSCharles Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dean ofUndergraduate Colleges, SUNY at Stony BrookMichael Ryan, Former Director of University Accreditation andAssessment (ret); Emeritus Professor, SUNY BuffaloJames Sheehan, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance, Universityof Massachusetts, AmherstMary Ann Swain, Professor, SUNY at BinghamtonKatie Ryan, senior advisor to Chancellor Kirwan, assisted the team.Prior to the visit, the team reviewed materials provided by Penn State’s SelfStudy Committee, including, but not limited to: The comprehensive institutional self study report Supporting Data Documents Supporting institutional information materialsDuring the visit, the team met with the following groups and individuals who werescheduled: Nicholas Jones, Provost Eric Barron, President Middle States Steering Committee Leaders in the undergraduate education program Trustee leadership University Council on Engaged Scholarship Administrative Council for Undergraduate Education AssessmentCoordinating Committee Provost’s Staff Leaders in the Graduate and Professional Education Program Senate Officers and Chairs of Standing and Special Committees Council of Academic Deans Leaders in the Co-curricular Learning Outcomes Program General Education Task Force Undergraduate student representatives Graduate student representatives World Campus leaders Global Program leaders.In addition, the team requested several other meetings that had not been scheduledoriginally, including Members of the University Staff Advisory Council5

The newly appointed chief ethics and compliance officer and members ofthe University Ethics and Compliance CounclBudget officersVice President for Student AffairsThose who oversee student learning outcomes assessmentThose who oversee financial aidInstitutional data personnelRepresentatives from the facilities officeTeam leader, Chancellor Kirwan, also had a one-on-one meeting with PresidentBarron.During the visit, the team noted that the campus was still feeling the effectsof the very public issues surrounding the football program three years before.Although not a focus of the team’s review (except in the areas of governance andadministration), the topic was frequently raised by those interviewed.III. COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENT OF AFFILIATIONPenn State meets all ten requirements of affiliation for accreditation by theMiddle States Commission on Higher Education.IV. COMMENDATIONSThe team noted institutional strengths and aspects worthy of commendationwithin a discussion of the fourteen (14) standards (Section V).V. STANDARDS 1-14MISSION & GOALS: STANDARD 1The institution’s mission clearly defines its purpose within the context of highereducation and indicates whom the institution serves and what it intends to accomplish.The institution’s stated goal, consistent with the aspirations and expectations of highereducation, clearly specify how the institution will fulfill its mission. The mission andgoals are developed and recognized by the institution with the participation of itsmembers and its governing body and are used to develop and shape its programs andpractices and to evaluate its effectiveness.Conclusion: The University appears to meet this standard.Summary of Evidence and Findings The university has a well-developed statement that clearly articulates itsmission as a multi-campus, public research and land grant institution with6

responsibilities for education, research and service to the state and nation.Through an ongoing collaborative planning process involving multipleconstituencies, the university has developed a well-articulated and widelycommunicated strategic plan with seven broad goals tied directly to its mission.Efforts are underway to develop a new plan covering the period 2015 to 2020.The institution’s well-defined mission and goals make clear its support forscholarly and creative activities at all levels and for its educationalresponsibilities.The university regularly collects data and makes findings public on theintuition’s performance toward meeting its goals.Significant Accomplishment The land grant philosophy is embedded in the university’s mission and resultsin a university well integrated into the economic and cultural life of the state.Suggestion Given the change in senior leadership at the institution, the process fordeveloping a new strategic planning process was delayed but is now in fullforce. The campus community is anxious for the plan to be completedexpeditiously; the team suggests that it should be a high priority for theinstitution.PLANNING, RESOURCE ALLOCATION, AND INSTITUTION RENEWAL:STANDARD 2An Institution conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its missionand goals, develops objectives to achieve them, and utilizes the results of its assessmentactivities for institutional renewal. Implementation and subsequent evaluation of thesuccess of the strategic plan and resource allocation support the development andchange necessary to improve and maintain institutional quality.Conclusion: The University appears to meet this standard.Summary of Evidence and Findings The strategic planning, self-study and budget processes rely on robust datasources, critical analyses of the environment and emerging needs, and broadconstituent input, as well as other vital strategies to identify and developinnovative initiatives designed to meet mission sensitive and evolving needs.7

This is evident in the development of Innovation Park (start-up incubator), theWorld Campus, hundreds of diverse educational offerings across all disciplines,and credential ranges (non- credit bearing certificates to doctoral degrees). Thecommitment to the Land Grant Mission and significant forward progress hasbeen unwavering, in the face of increased public scrutiny.The campus enjoys a substantial operational and development budget andutilizes processes to facilitate innovation and growth while maintainingexceptional core operations. The top down/bottom up hybrid administrativestructure allows for implementation, growth and assessment of missionsensitive priorities while preserving and fostering unique, community focusedinitiatives at the Commonwealth campus level.The organizational structure incorporates input from all facets of the institution(leadership, faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and the community) in theidentification and development of new initiatives.Findings from the first ever campus Information Technology Assessment andearly recognition of the potential benefits of emerging technologies haveresulted in systematic improvements and modernization of many aspects ofservice delivery as is evident in the development of the World Campus,transition to LionPath, and improved HR assessments, among others.The increase in a global focus and the subsequent creation of the World Campus,with the requirement for increased information technology and instructionaldesign intelligence, have driven changes in instructional design and businessintelligence across all educational units. The impact of this innovationtranscends the approximate 11,000 students enrolled in the World Campus. Thisgrowth initiative has helped inform thinking around instructional design,scholarship and development endeavors, which impacts all students. It has alsocreated a substantial revenue source that supports other new initiatives andspurs new innovations.The administrative and governance structures facilitate collaboration,communication and shared expertise, across all campuses and units. Thisenhances the university’s ability to assess the effectiveness of planning, resourceallocation and renewal.The pride and commitment to the history and envisioned future of theinstitution are evident in the collaborative planning process that engages theinput from faculty, staff, students and other constituencies with anunderstanding of their respective roles.8

Penn State, University Park and the Commonwealth campuses, are economicengines for the local communities in which they are housed and theCommonwealth, at large.Significant Accomplishment The institution is to be commended for maintaining, even enhancing, its highlyranked education, scholarship, research and athletics programs in the face ofdeclining fiscal support from the state and recent legal and public relationschallenges.Suggestions The University should do more to promote the innovative initiatives evident atthe Commonwealth campuses.In the development of its new strategic plan, the University should make clear itscommitment to link the resource allocation process with the priorities of thestrategic plan.INSTITUTIONAL RESOURCES: STANDARD 3The human, financial, technical, physical facilities and other resources necessary toachieve an institution's mission and goals are available and accessible. In the contextof the institution's mission, the effective and efficient uses of the institution's resourcesare analyzed as part of ongoing outcomes assessment.Conclusion: The University appears to meet this standard.Summary of Evidence and FindingsFiscal Resources Penn State is currently fiscally sound and manages its resources well asevidenced by the following:o Between 2010 and 2014 net assets increased from 4.98B to 7.68B,unrestricted net assets increased from 1.77B to 3.18B, and endowmentincreased from 1.47B to 2.29B;o Research expenditures increased by 33M in 5 years to 813M;o Sustained bond rating of Aa2 with benchmarks above Moody’s median forAa1 institutions;o Regularly produces annual operating margins of 9.9%.9

Penn State has engaged in cost reductions and risk avoidance measures toenable the effective and efficient use of the resources it has available including:o Audits at varying levels (including institutional) which indicate effectiveinternal controls;o Borrowing to cover some costs of facilities renovation. Two independentdebt capacity studies confirmed that the proposed borrowing is prudent,with debt service projected at 2% of operating expenses, a nationallyconservative level;o Change from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans;o Saving 650,000 annually in landfill tipping fees by recycling 65% of itswasteo Consolidating or eliminating over 40 academic programs as a result of asystematic assessment;o Reducing energy use (BTU/square feet) by 26% at University Park and 18%at all campuses since 1997;o Creating over 1,000 Innovation and Improvement Teams.o Changing policy to transfer the intellectual property (with faculty approval)to the industry sponsor of the research based on an analysis that the grantsfor sponsoring research exceed projected future revenues from licensing ofintellectual property arising from the industry-sponsored research.The changes noted above came about through data-based assessments ofexisting conditions and, when combined, have released 25 million in recurringfunds for other mission related purposes.Penn State is heavily dependent for its general operating budget on tuition andfees. The number of high school graduates in the state is declining. Penn State’sstrategy for sustaining enrollments in the future is multi-faceted and includes:o Setting and monitoring Commonwealth enrollment goals;o Maintaining recruitment centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh;o Enhancing recruitment of international students;o Increasing retention of students who have enrolled;o Increasing outreach to dropouts to re-enroll (regardless of age);o Growing the World campus aggressively;o Increasing need-based financial aid;o Maintaining a Spanish-language website for prospective students.Use of Resources in Support of Educational Mission Penn State provides ample resources to faculty in support of their teaching andto enhance the learning environment for students.The institution has allocated significant resources to its academic mission10

IPEDS data –instructional expenses as a percent of total core expenses haveincreased from 38% in 2006/07 to 41% for 2011/12 – 4th among CICinstitutionsThe institution provides for the development of faculty as teachers through theSchreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and the Office of Teaching andLearning with Technology.Faculty Development Unit within the World Campus helps faculty become expertin online teaching and to support scholarly life for virtual or remote faculty.The Center for Online Innovation in Learning has grant funds for those who wishto experiment with how technology can enhance the learning environment. TheCenter distributed 450,000 to researchers from 11 colleges and 6 campuses in2013-14.The institution invests in technology at both University Park and theCommonwealth campuses as a means to enhance teaching and the learningenvironment for students:o Digital Learning Coordinating Council directs resources to support quality inonline teaching.o Penn State joined Unizin, a nonprofit technology consortium that provides a“common digital infrastructure. . .to share lesson plans, syllabi, research andmore via content sharing and storage services.”o State of the art equipment and facilities exist for students who want to createmedia product such as videos or podcasts.o All of the general-purpose classrooms at University Park and 97% of those onthe campuses have “permanently installed instructional technology” thatallow faculty to move between classrooms easily.o The institution also provides a wide range of other media/equipmentservices, including the recording of classroom presentations -- 7.5Minvestment over 10 years.o Substantial library resources including a website specifically designed andreserved for serving students at a distance.o The development of iStudy , a set of online tutorials for covering importanttopics like academic integrity, how to be a successful student (tips onstudying, effective communic

an affiliate of the University. In 2000, Penn State and the Dickinson School of Law merged. In 2015, two Penn State law schools, known as Dickinson Law (in Carlisle, Pennsylvania) and Penn State Law (on University Park campus) will be in operation. Penn State's online World Campus graduated

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