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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Congratulations to the Class of 2016

PSU President Donald L. Birx at the 145th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2016, his first as president, and the first to be held in ALLWell North. Nearly 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees were awarded before a crowd of 4,500 guests. Photo highlights>> Watch the video>>

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First in the (New) Nation

A Young Man’s Journey from a Nepalese Refugee Camp to the New Hampshire Polls » Southern Bhutan. Early 1990s. Members of an ethnic minority population, the Hindu Lhotshampas, began fleeing rising levels of persecution by the Bhutanese government. Denied their citizenship rights because of religious and cultural differences, the group—more than 100,000 strong—eventually sought protection […]

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Panther Pride: Ski Hard, Smile Big

Freydis Holla Einarsdottir ’19 came this close to competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since coming to PSU, she’s been posting top finishes for the women’s ski team, and in March she became the first woman in Plymouth State history to compete in the NCAA Championships, the biggest race in collegiate ski racing. […]