State of the University 2011: Partnership in Action

March 11th, 2011 by Adam

Plymouth State University continues to thrive despite many challenges, said President Sara Jayne Steen in her fourth annual State of the University address March 9. Steen thanked faculty, staff and students for their collaboration and steadfast support of the University’s mission, despite the uncertain economic realities that face the entire USNH system. Steen noted the spirit of community and mission will be needed if PSU is to continue to respond effectively to rapidly changing needs and opportunities.

PSU President Sara Jayne Steen
PSU President Sara Jayne Steen delivers her fourth annual State of the University speech March 9 at the Silver Center for the Arts.

“This year has been and will continue to be a challenging one, as we manage the effects of global, national, and state economic issues and face the uncertainty of potential reductions in state support and in federal financial aid for our neediest students,” said Steen. That strong spirit also is why, despite the financial realities, Plymouth State University continues to thrive.

Steen outlined the circumstances of the financial pressure the institution faces, including declining state revenues and the resulting need to cut costs, as well as federal action that could mean reductions to student aid programs, which would impact a majority of PSU students.
She noted there is contingency planning underway to examine cost-cutting options, though she pledged to maintain and enhance PSU’s academic excellence.

“As always at PSU, we will put people first, students and employees,” Steen said. Students succeed because of the extraordinary commitment of faculty and staff, including PSU’s excellent adjunct faculty and staff. What binds us is a belief that people matter, that education can transform lives, that collaboration and service are active verbs, and that the value of education is well beyond the cost.

Steen noted the future of higher education, particularly in New Hampshire, is linked to developing and maintaining partnerships, collaboration and alliances across the region.To illustrate PSU’s commitment to this regional, comprehensive model, she highlighted a variety of significant achievements met in the past year by the University.

  • The opening of the Eugene and Joan Savage Welcome Center and Hanaway Rink at the PSU Ice Arena, which is the first phase of the Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) Center. The $16 million facility is considered one of the most environmentally sustainable ice rinks in the world and is enjoying enormous popularity with skating enthusiasts from around the region.

  • PSU was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation with its Community Engagement Classification, making PSU one of only 311 institutions nationwide that have received this prestigious designation. The classification confirms teaching, learning, and research at PSU are done in collaboration with local, regional/state, national and global partners for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. Last year, PSU students contributed more than 220,000 hours to volunteer service.

  • The creation of White Mountains Institute, an interdisciplinary project involving ecology, history, tourism, art, and culture that is being developed by people across campus, with support from across the region. The Institute will also include the Museum of the White Mountains and a summer White Mountains Hostel program which is especially appropriate for a campus at the gates of the White Mountains.

  • PSU has been approved to add a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which will be a significant contribution to health care in the region, with encouragement and collaboration from area hospitals and medical centers whose professionals will support clinical training for students.

  • Business New Hampshire magazine chose Plymouth State University as one of the five best large companies to work for in the New Hampshire. PSU is the first educational institution to be included in the “Best Large Companies” ranking. The criteria included employee satisfaction within the workplace, innovative workplace programs and benefits.

“We face challenges, but I am confident that we can continue to achieve success and emerge an even stronger institution serving our students, community, and region,” Steen said. “Thank you for being part of this community, for sharing that belief, and for allowing me to be part of the enterprise with you.”

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