Video by: Matt Martin-Video Director
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 6, 2012 13:04
On Wed., Mar. 28, President Sara Jayne Steen welcomed members of the Plymouth State University community to her fifth annual State of the University Address, where she versed the audience on the current state of PSU, focusing on achievements, challenges, and future goals.
“What do we count on?” Steen asked the audience.
“Our students.” President Steen stressed PSU’s excellence as a unique and vibrant place that “attracts students who care about education,” and works unceasingly to uncover “what will make the University even more distinctive in the future.”
A focal point of Steen’s address was the University’s increasing development as an institution that merges technology and internationalization with a personal and intimate learning atmosphere and a sense of loyalty to community.
What these aspects share, Steen said, “is and must be a core educational mission, a certainty of what PSU offers students, of our commitment to them.”
To illustrate PSU’s mission of increasing access and learning opportunities to students, Steen referenced the University’s ever-expanding online initiatives and global presence.
“I tell students, ‘Bring a laptop and a passport,’” said Steen.
“The laptop is to indicate that technology is one of PSU’s initiatives and strengths.
“500 of PSU’s 4000 courses last year were offered online or in hybrid format. Next year, several undergraduate programs will be available fully online, as well as taught on the residential campus, increasing access for students, and the online courses will be taught by the same excellent faculty members that students respect on campus.”
Steen also confirmed that, “within months, the Plymouth campus will be completely wireless.”
“The passport I mentioned refers to internationalization, as students have prepared to live and work in a diverse world and global economy,” said Steen.
“PSU is innovative, vibrant, and focused on student success,” said Steen. “All of you know, however, that PSU has faced and does face challenges.”
Steen mentioned the severe loss of state appropriation that the University System of New Hampshire suffered last year, a 48.6 percent cut, which she said was “one of the highest single-year percentage reductions in the history of US public higher education.”
Though the cuts equated to a $6.7 million loss for PSU, the University was able to “avoid mandatory furloughs or layoffs” and balanced the budget through “reduced expenditures and increased revenues through higher enrollments from new programs such as Nursing and a supplemental tuition increase.”
Other challenges Steen touched on were those involving demographics, including the need to other states and countries for prospective students, and meteorological challenges, particularly the difficulties caused by and in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
Still, Steen said that, despite burdens and challenges, “the campus has accomplished much and has much on the agenda for next year.” Steen concluded her address by expressing her pride and gratitude for the University, leaving the audience with a simple “Thank you, Plymouth.”
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