Redefining the Educational Landscape

March 13th, 2017 by Don Birx

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” former president John F. Kennedy once commented. This trenchant observation could easily be the rallying cry for Plymouth State President Donald Birx….

Creating the Future Together

March 13th, 2017 by Don Birx

Walking into the third-floor office suite of Plymouth State University’s newly appointed president, the impression is immediate: this is a place of creativity and vision. Beautiful artwork by Plymouth State students occupies places of pride on virtually every surface…

The Four Tools of Clusters

November 18th, 2016 by Don Birx

As I see it there are four tools currently available that we could adapt to build the clusters: 1. First-Year Seminar 2. Open Laboratories 3. Gen Ed Direction Courses (if themed and possibly with certificates) 4. Integrated Capstone Experience (Junior or Senior Year) Together these tools would provide a pathway for students from introduction through […]

The Impact of Clusters on PSU’s Academic and Administrative Structure, Gen Ed, and First Year Seminars

September 12th, 2016 by Don Birx

One of the points that came out of the University Days’ discussions and questions involved the academic and administrative structure that would be built around clusters. As several have remarked, academically clusters are different from traditional academic structures in that programs and faculty, while anchored to a cluster for administrative purposes, will overlap and engage […]

Why Clusters: A Holistic and Integrative Education that Links Research, Education, and Service in a Way that Builds a New PSU Culture and Creates a Lasting Legacy for our Children

August 17th, 2016 by Don Birx

This last “why” of clusters pulls all the previous elements together. Most of us went into education because we wanted to equip students with the knowledge and skills to create a better world, to be life-long learners, to constantly re-invent themselves, to experience the thrill of discovery and to live lives of innovation and impact. […]

Why Clusters: A Streamlined and Empowered Administrative Structure

August 17th, 2016 by Don Birx

One of the things our change consultant said that he learned from us was the importance of structure in supporting the changes that an organization is contemplating. In fact, he has now included it in his recommendations and advice to other universities. He also noted that many organizations do not achieve their goals because they […]

Why Clusters: Enhanced Opportunity for Partnerships

August 16th, 2016 by Don Birx

One of the things that so impressed me about the origin of public higher education was that it was built on the idea of partnership with its local community.  In fact, whole segments of universities were given over to this idea of “extension services” or working collaboratively on the various challenges they faced in the […]

Why Clusters: Exploration, Discovery, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

August 15th, 2016 by Don Birx

Other than the idea of clusters themselves, the cluster I receive the most comments and concerns about is Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In particular, this is with regard to its current depiction at the center of the cluster diagram and secondarily the idea of entrepreneurship as a business concept. First let me quickly address what I […]

Why Clusters: Branding, Uniqueness, Identity and Reputation

August 10th, 2016 by Don Birx

We dealt tangentially with branding, uniqueness, identity, and reputation in the last blog post on student success and its role in attracting and retaining students who want to come to Plymouth State. But creating a unique identity has importance in many domains. Plymouth State used to be known as a teachers college and somewhat later […]

Why Clusters: Student Success

August 7th, 2016 by Don Birx

My first blog post took the perspective of reintegrating the liberal arts. This second post is a follow up to that topic and focuses on student success. There are three parts to student success: (1) recruiting of students who resonate with what we are teaching – who come here because of what we have to […]

In Plymouth Magazine

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Mary Lyon: Stunning at a Century

Mary Lyon Hall, the beloved grande dame of the Plymouth State campus, is celebrating her centennial this year. Over the past century, she’s been renovated, remodeled, updated, and made energy efficient, all while retaining her stately elegance. More than a campus icon, Mary Lyon has been home to generations of students, many of whom have […]

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Next Steps

Grant-funded Program Prepares Special Education Teachers » Looking over a classroom of a dozen junior high school students at Plymouth Elementary School, special education intern Jennifer Kay ’99 worries what the future holds for the class of kids with mental and physical challenges. “I have doubts about where some of my students will be in […]

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And Justice for All

Alisha Medeiros ’15 wants to help troubled youth make better choices and live fulfilling lives. This desire, influenced by a family tragedy, led her to pursue a career in criminal justice.