PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan to Retire Sept. 1

| July 18, 2017

HARRISBURG (EYT) – Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Frank Brogan will retire Sept. 1, it was announced Monday.

(Photo courtesy of Pennsylavnia State System of Higher Education)

Brogan’s retirement announcement comes less than a week after a consultant (NCHEMS) hired to assist with the strategic review of PASSHE, which includes Clarion, Slippery Rock, IUP and Lock Haven among its 14-member schools, submitted its report, although according to a release from PASSHE, Brogan informed the Board of Governors of his intention to retire “just” prior to last week’s Board of Governors Meeting.

“While there is never a perfect time for a transition such as this, my family and I know we leave behind a system that is primed for the future led by a team that is committed to making sure our students always come first,” Brogan said. “The strategic system review is perhaps the most important effort this System has ever undertaken. I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done to better serve students today and far into the future. This is the System’s opportunity to make bold choices that will ensure our universities are here to meet the needs of our current and future students and the Commonwealth for decades to come, and beyond.”

With Brogan, who became chancellor in 2013, leaving, the Board of Governors will name interim leadership pending a national search for Mr. Brogan’s successor, a release from PASSHE said.

“We are all very sad to see Frank leave, but we can’t thank him enough for leading us through some very difficult days and creating an environment for real change,” David Maser, Board of Governors Vice Chair, said.

Brogan, who has a contract through 2019 and was making $345,758, has overseen a tumultuous time in PASSHE history with enrollment down at a number of state system schools, including Clarion, employee layoffs at some of the schools, including Clarion, the first faculty strike in the System’s 34 years and funding shortfalls which forced the Board of Governors to raise tuition July 13.

“Leadership changes often provide opportunities for constructive changes,” Kenneth Marsh, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, which represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities, said. “One of the key recommendations of the NCHEMS report was that we all have to pull together to make our System work. We are anxious to work with the System so that we can fulfill the System’s mission to provide all Pennsylvanians with access to a high-quality education at an affordable cost.”

Some of the accomplishments, according to PASSHE, during Brogan’s tenure as chancellor include:

  • The first new state funding for the System in seven years and three consecutive years of funding increases.
  • An implementation of a new general education policy that reaffirms “the significance and value” of general education by focusing on “essential student learning outcomes that ensure students acquire and demonstrate a variety of essential skills.”
  • Putting in place a transfer policy that “respects” prior learning experience and includes guaranteed admission for graduates from Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges while adopting the first system-wide reverse transfer agreement.
  • Increasing online learning opportunities available for students at the universities to better serve all students, especially adult learners.
  • Implementing a supply/demand gap analysis system to assist the universities in aligning their academic program array with the needs of students and employers in their regions, and the Commonwealth.
  • Enhancing system-wide accountability and transparency by instituting multi-year action plans that require the universities to outline their goals and aspirations, strategic priorities, challenges and opportunities.
  • Implementing a system-wide protection of minors policy that requires all System employees to obtain criminal background checks and to receive training regarding how to detect and report suspected abuse of minors.
  • Developing and instituting university financial risk dashboards that provide easy-to-use data regarding institutional financial health and financial stability.
  • Eliminating “outdated or burdensome” regulations and instituted new policies to encourage local flexibility and enhance shared governance—allowing local universities to approve new minors, certificates and letters of completion.
  • Increasing efficiency within the Office of the Chancellor by reducing the number of vice chancellors from five to two and reinvesting in front-line resources that better serve the universities.

“From the moment he arrived, Chancellor Brogan has shined a bright light on the challenges facing our universities and the State System—prompting important public dialogue about the need to do things differently,” Cynthia Shapira, Board of Governors chair, said. “Because of his leadership, we are better positioned to make important decisions about the future of our System.”

According to the PASSHE release, since Brogan’s appointment in 2013, the State System has refocused its efforts toward putting students first. Within months of his arrival, the Board of Governors adopted a new strategic plan focused on academic excellence, student success, financial stability and transparency. Nearly one-third of the objectives in “Strategic Plan 2020: Rising to the Challenge” already have been met—three years ahead of schedule—and measurable progress has been made on the vast majority of the others.

“Chancellor Brogan is a tireless champion for students, and it has been my honor to serve with him,” said Shaina Hilsey, student body president at California University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Board of Governors. “He has laid the foundation for the System’s future—one from which we, as students, will benefit for years to come.”

Prior to arriving at the State System, Brogan served as chancellor of the State University System of Florida, president of Florida Atlantic University, lieutenant governor of Florida and secretary of education of Florida. He began his career as a fifth-grade teacher, then served as assistant principal, principal and superintendent of the Martin County School District in Florida.

“We wanted a change agent when we asked Frank to come here four years ago, and we got one,” said Guido M. Pichini, chair emeritus of the Board of Governors. “While we are all deeply sad to see him leave, we all know that—because of his leadership, courage, and dedication—this System is better poised for success than when he arrived.”

PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling more than 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.

In addition to Clarion, Slippery Rock and IUP, the State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Kutztown, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.

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