PASSHE’s interim chancellor praises Millersville University, talks about system priorities at visit | Local News

The interim chancellor of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education spoke highly of Millersville University’s leadership in a visit to campus Friday.

“I think the presidential leadership and executive leadership (at MU) is some of the best in the country,” said Karen Whitney.

Her visit to the university was the second-to-last stop on her monthlong tour of the 14 state schools since starting as interim chancellor Sept. 12.

PASSHE’s board of governors continues a nationwide search for former chancellor Frank Brogan’s replacement with hopes to have the position filled by July 2018.

As interim chancellor — she’s not a candidate for the permanent role — Whitney wants to ensure the success each university and lay groundwork for the next chancellor, she said.

With seven years of experience as president of Clarion University, Whitney understand what it’s like to lead a college, MU president John Anderson said Friday.

“I think it was a courageous and appropriate move to put her in the interim chancellor position,” Anderson said. “She has our support as presidents.”

On Millersville University

In an interview with LNP Friday, Whitney spoke of the system as a whole with a few comments specific to MU.

“Millersville has benefited from extraordinarily strong leadership. Dr. Anderson is an outstanding president,” she said. After being president since 2013, Anderson announced this spring he will retire March 2018.

Whitney gave approval of the school’s per-credit tuition model, a change made in 2014 in which in-state undergraduates who previously paid flat rates for a full course instead began paying by credit.

“It was developed by the leadership of this university with a lot of great research on how it would advance Millersville’s mission,” Whitney said.

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At the time, the university was the only state school to use the per-credit tuition model, but it has since been introduced at three other state schools. It could work at more schools, but each institution needs to develop its own model, she said.

Whitney also said MU has led the country on sustainability and environmental issues.

“Different universities take on different social priorities and champion certain things that are part of their mission and culture. That’s important,” she said.

On the system

The board of governors will approve three priorities at a meeting next week as it continues to discuss the results of the system’s review this summer, she said.

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The first priority is student success, which Whitney defined as students graduating with a plan.

The second priority is to leverage each university’s strength.

“Each institution is its own institution, and it needs to continue to find itself,” Whitney said.

The third priority is to transform the leadership of the system. Whitney wants to give more authority and autonomy to each university.

“My goal as interim is to provide greater authority for the presidents to be the presidents we would like them to be,” she said.