Letter to the Editor: A Message from CUP President Karen Whitney
CLARION, Pa. – The following message was sent to the Clarion University community on August 22, 2014, by Clarion University President Karen M. Whitney:
I hope you enjoyed the summer and are geared up for the fall semester. The days leading into this semester have been filled with the energy and excitement of meeting new students and catching up with current students on our campuses. It has also been rewarding to talk with colleagues about work accomplished, and vacations enjoyed over the summer.
While I know we will soon be engrossed in the details of our academic year, I say thank you for making Clarion University the very special place it is for our students and the community.
As with any year, this year will be one of great challenges and great opportunities, and we will engage them together. This year in particular is a year of building and rebuilding, literally and metaphorically we are a university under construction. We are building and rebuilding our campus facilities with the new student housing on Main Street, the renovation of Becht Hall into a facility dedicated to supporting the many services and programs for our students, and the renovation of Tippin into a modern complex that will support our health and physical education activities and intercollegiate sports.
We are also looking beyond our immediate campus community. We have partnered with Clarion Borough on the Blueprint Communities initiative designed to revitalize Main Street, Clarion. Over the next several years, the initiative’s core team will engage local residents and businesses in developing a clear vision and strategic plan for change in Clarion; work to develop stronger local leadership; and attract investments to build a healthier, sustainable community.
We are building and rebuilding our academic programs by introducing new academic programs this year such as the BSN program at the Clarion campus. The Doctorate in Nursing Practice (with Edinboro) which is recruiting for the 2015 summer class. In addition, the School of Education is now offering students and teachers an “endorsement” to teach online courses, the first in PASSHE history. On top of that, our criminal justice program is in Harrisburg for review and a proposal for a degree in nutrition and fitness is close to the submission stage.
We are rebuilding academic programs throughout the university to even better respond to the needs of our society and the interests of our students. An important example of this is the effort by education faculty to be more intentional about our educational offerings that can lead to dual certifications upon graduation. Superintendents throughout western PA have consistently said dual-certified teachers are what they are most seeking in their districts.
We are building and rebuilding how we tell our compelling “Clarion University” story. We will be launching a new university website and brand – both are designed to reposition us with our most important audiences: current and potential students. These two projects are evidenced-based, intended to enhance our ability to tell stories of our student achievements, the accomplishments of our outstanding faculty and the impact our alumni are making within their communities and ours.
I am writing to let you know that my two top priorities this year are: 1) growing our enrollment; and 2) building upon our strong fundraising initiatives.
As president, please let me know how I can support you and your priorities.
I look forward to seeing you around campus.
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