President Steen Upbeat about PSU’s Future in Spite of Recession

March 25th, 2009 by Adam

Plymouth State University is managing to weather the international economic storm with proactive and prudent budget measures, said President Sara Jayne Steen in her annual State of the University address March 25.

“The global economic turmoil means that this is not a normal year, not business as usual for any institution of higher education,” Steen said. “…If we make decisions wisely, and strategically, both about what we cannot fund and what we should fund, we will emerge from this a stronger and even more well-focused regional comprehensive university, serving our students and our region with distinction.”

Even in the face of uncertain economic conditions, Steen said PSU still delivers a first-class education.

“Plymouth State’s foremost strength is our people, who are innovative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and committed to student success,” Steen said. “I see the results on a daily basis in students who are succeeding beyond their dreams and who regularly credit the faculty and staff members in departments across the campus, from academics and athletics to residential life and the bursar’s office, providing guidance, support and inspiration.”

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen
PSU President Sara Jayne Steen delivering her State of the University Address March 25

Steen cited several PSU students, faculty, staff, and projects that define the essence of the University and distinguish it in the world, including these recent accomplishments: graduate student, Nick Stevenson, won a national research competition at a water quality conference in St. Louis; the PSU Panther football team won the New England Football Conference Championship, and Coach Paul Castonia was selected New England Coach of the Year for Divisions II/III; English professor Liz Ahl won the 2008 Slapering Hol Prize for Poetry; Crystal Finefrock, associate director of Financial Aid, will receive the Champion of Educational Opportunity award in recognition of her work with first generation and low-income students; and Langdon Woods Residential Complex has been recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 LEED Gold projects.

President Steen also pointed out that National Geographic Adventure magazine recently named Plymouth one of the 50 next great towns in the United States in which to live – and she added that PSU enjoys strong partnerships in our community.“This year we celebrated 1808, the date of the founding of the Holmes Plymouth Academy, the lands and buildings of which eventually became the Normal School, and thus the town of Plymouth’s 200-year commitment to education.”

• PSU is emphasizing access and affordability, investing nearly $700,000 in additional financial aid this year to discount students’ cost of attendance; and it has moved to the federal direct lending program, which offers advantages to students and their families in terms of cost, repayment, and security.

• Student recruitment is increasingly important as the number of high school graduates recedes and the cost of higher education presents challenges to those seeking a college education. PSU recruitment efforts are expanding domestically and internationally.

• PSU has transformed its advancement division, so that it incorporates alumni relations, advancement data services, development and now will add a new initiative with parental relations.

At the same time, the University’s administration is exploring revenue enhancement, looking to the best use of its facilities, expanded winterim and summer offerings, increased on-line or multimedia courses in topics areas, and other initiatives. Members of PSU’s cabinet are also gathering information about ways to reduce or postpone expenses.

“As we look especially to the next year or two, there will be hard decisions,” Steen said. “In making them, we will focus on our values, our priorities, and our mission. We will emphasize the core of what we do and who we are in our teaching, scholarship and creativity, and engagement with the region. We will work to offer a good and stable environment for the faculty and staff members whose effort advances this University and our students every day.”

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes