Institutions and systems are proactively thinking about how to confront a turbulent mix of demographic changes, stagnant revenue streams, and growing demands to simultaneously boost productivity while cutting costs. Recently, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) became the latest example of these looming realities.
Frank Brogan, chancellor of PASSHE, announced that the system will hire a consultant to perform a system-wide review. A slew of matters, ranging from academic program alignment with local and state needs, the impact of price on enrollment, shared resources, and the role of campus trustee councils will be reviewed in an effort to reconfigure the 14-campus system in ways that meet contemporary demands.
Such are the realities facing many college, universities, and systems across the country. Presidents and chancellors should be applauded for these efforts, but they should also proceed with caution. Tensions can flare because much is at stake for the students, faculty, and staff who make up the campus community, as well as the people, communities, and economies that benefit from the local presence of a robust college or university.