legislation assists Shippensburg University, PASSHE
signed by Governor Tom Corbett offers Shippensburg University and the other 13
members of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) new
competitive and cost-savings opportunities, and provides the ability to offer
advanced degree programs to meet the needs of employers in the Commonwealth.
of the series of bills, known collectively as the Higher Education
Modernization Act, was the final, important step in an 18-month long process
that capped the most productive legislative session in PASSHE’s nearly 30-year
history. All of the bills passed unanimously in both the House and Senate
before being signed by the governor.
Board of Governors Chairman Guido M. Pichini said, “The unanimous, bipartisan support in the Legislature
and the decision by Governor Corbett to sign each of these bills is a strong
indication of how important they are to PASSHE. We are extremely grateful to
everyone who was involved in getting us to this point. In the end, it will be
our students who will benefit the most.”
measure is effective in about two months.
to Shippensburg President Bill Ruud, “This important partnership with the Legislature
allows Shippensburg University to work even more closely with our faculty
members to help them use their research abilities to develop valuable and
needed products and services. These future successes will benefit the entire
campus as they combine academic and entrepreneurial opportunities with the
chance to raise much-needed additional revenue to support our programming and
operation. It continues to increase our ability to work with our foundation,
alumni, donors and friends to generate additional much needed private dollars
to support the success of our students.
“It also allows us to build on our outstanding academic programs through
the ability to offer applied doctorates in a number of high-demand fields in
our region. This gives individuals who need advanced degrees the chance to earn
them at a reasonable cost from a university nationally recognized for
excellence. I look forward to implement these and other changes as we enhance
the university and its support for the region.”
legislation will enable PASSHE faculty, staff and students to be more
entrepreneurial by providing them with greater opportunities to work directly
with businesses to develop commercial applications for any inventions they
might develop in the course of their research, something they are restricted
from doing now because of their unique status as state employees.
creates a level playing field, not only with all other institutions of higher
education in the Commonwealth, but also with other public universities
throughout the country,” said PASSHE Chancellor John C. Cavanaugh.
measure could enhance the universities’ ability to both recruit and retain
faculty and staff while providing new opportunities for students to engage in
research and to participate in internships. It also could provide new revenue
streams for the universities, as more new inventions are taken to market.
14 PASSHE universities will be able to offer applied, or professional,
doctorates. Currently, only Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) can offer
doctoral degrees independently. Under the legislation, IUP will remain the only
PASSHE university with the right to award Ph.Ds., or research doctorates.
of applied doctoral degree programs that could be offered include a doctorate
in biostatistics, which is highly sought by the pharmaceutical industry, and a
doctorate in nursing practice, which would produce much-needed nursing faculty
to train new nurses, thus addressing a critical need, not just in the
Commonwealth, but also across the United States. In some areas of healthcare, a
doctoral degree has become the entry-level certification to enter the field as
a sole practitioner.
universities will work closely with employers across Pennsylvania to identify
their specific needs and then to develop the programs necessary to address
those needs,” Cavanaugh said. “This is another way the State System can help
promote economic development in the Commonwealth, while, at the same time,
providing students even greater opportunities to ensure their success.”
two remaining pieces of the legislative package enable the universities to
generate additional revenue through private fundraising and to reduce their
purchasing costs. Under the former, university presidents, faculty and other
employees will be able to be more involved in fund-raising. With the continuing
decline in state funding support, private fund raising has become more
important as a revenue source to the universities.
universities currently engage in joint purchasing of goods and services among
themselves and utilize state contracts, which have helped contribute to more
than $220 million in overall savings across the System over the last decade.
Under the newly signed legislation, the institutions will be able to join even
larger purchasing consortia, which should result in even greater cost savings.