New Chancellor Daniel Greenstein Talks Revamping the PASSHE System at ESU

Photo Credit / Charlese Freeman Exercise Science Professor Chad Witmer (left) and Chancellor Greenstein participating in the focus group in SITE.

Charlese Freeman 

Student Life Editor

Chancellor Daniel Greenstein, spent his Friday, Nov. 2, discussing ways for the school system to overcome its challenges on ESU’s campus.

The chancellor’s main focus during his visit was improving the overall student success, especially for students who come from lower-income families. The chancellor proposed the realignment as the key to fixing the broken system.

As the former Director of Postsecondary Success Strategy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Programs for the University of California, Chancellor Greenstein worked with a diverse number of students before working with PASSHE.

In response to the system’s financial cutbacks, in order to stay affordable:

“I don’t see them as sacrifices,” Chancellor Greenstein said referring to PASSHE’s financial cutbacks. “I see them as re-engineering what we do, so we can, in some ways, remain the same. We have historically been the pathway into sustaining careers for lower class and middle-class students in the state.”

PASSHE’s cost of attendance remains below the national average. However, the system struggles to remain affordable for students.

The system currently faces a $44 million revenue gap.   

In a press meeting with local media and members of Student Senate, Chancellor Greenstein shared the difficulties in overcoming PASSHE’S challenges but said it’s important for the Universities to teach the material that aligns with the current and future workforce.

During an open forum in Abeloff later that day, the chancellor explained that people are not fond of change which is part of the problem.

The chancellor commented on key issues within the system such as a lack of communication among faculty and staff.

“There are not a lot of numbers. There are a lot of words,” he said. The chancellor explained that talking about the goals is not enough, but finding ways to reform the system so that they implemented strategies and reach goals.

The chancellor listened to concerns of faculty, staff and members of the community and answered their questions.

“I cannot promise that you will like all the decisions I make, but I will work tirelessly for our students regardless of their zip code or background because all our students must have an opportunity to succeed,” he said. “I will strive for equity and social justice because it is the right thing to do.”

The chancellor gave an example of students who are one course shy of graduating. In this case, other PASSHE universities should be extending a helping hand to ensure that the student graduates on time.   

While supporting the academic needs of the students, the school system wants to reduce the time it takes students to obtain a degree.

PASSHE’s 2020 Strategy Plan ensures that the school system is looking for ways to help non-traditional students.

Chancellor Greenstein, at his small focus group in SITE, asked “Why is ESU important?” The small group of faculty and staff participated in a five-round strategy building activity that allowed the faculty and student groups to stretch the University’s mission ideas.

Based on his studies from the other state colleges, the chancellor explained that all the activities ended with the same value – societal changes.

The chancellor encouraged the faculty, staff and students in the room to think about the University’s mission statement. “Do the values align with your mission statement?” asked Greenstein.   

According to the Chancellor, change within the individual schools will branch out and encourage change among student and beyond and PASSHE system.

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