The World … Right Now
The world is really big — 200 million square miles big — and it is there for you to explore. But you also long for the security of having a place you can return to; something to call yours, somewhere to call home. Penn State Beaver can give you both. This is why, in revising our 2017 strategic plan, we retain the mission of being a Commonwealth Campus of a land grant institution: We are committed to contributing to the cultural and economic development of our region, by educating our students for success in the twenty-first century and engaging in the local community.
We are particularly focused on student success. In fact, we began our revisions by asking attendees at our fall 2019 town hall to name words that, for them, meant student success.
We followed up the town hall by asking units to identify their contributions to student success, and grouped their responses into four areas:
Access/aid (Continuing Education, Development, Enrollment)
Welcome/belong (Academic Affairs, Business/ Finance, Enrollment, Faculty, Housing and Food Services, Student Affairs)
Engage/involve (Academic Affairs, Campus Relations, Enrollment, Faculty, Information Technology, Human Resources, Student Affairs)
Prepare/manage (Academic Affairs, Business/ Finance, Campus Relations, Continuing Education, Faculty, Information Technology, Human Resources, Student Affairs)
Recognizing the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to student success and overall campus well-being, we reconsidered and renamed our three strategic goals committees from Open Doors to Diversity and Recruitment, from Transformative Academic Experiences to Inclusion and Retention, and from Impact the World to Equity and Community.
In the midst of the 2020 global pandemic, we asked each committee — which included administrators, faculty, students, and advisory board members — to generate and prioritize headlines they would like to see in the press about Penn State Beaver in 2025, and to identify action items that would lead to that headline. Each committee also considered the Penn State strategic foundations and priorities and — after specific objectives were extrapolated from the headlines — students, faculty, staff, and advisory board members then ranked each headline on a Likert scale. We believe that, in addition to contributing to the community and benefiting our students, each of the strategic initiatives in the revised strategic plan will both attract students to our campus who might not formerly have considered Penn State Beaver, and engage all of our students towards completion and later success.
Our 100-acre campus welcomes an increasingly multicultural and multi-generational student body, hailing from just down the road and across the world.
As we welcome community members from many backgrounds, we recognize that the most pressing goal of Penn State Beaver is to meet the challenge of maintaining enrollments in a region of declining college-going-aged students, with higher tuition than that of our regional competitors. For our work in Increasing Diversity and Recruitment our priority is to develop a campus Master Plan that will prioritize spaces for students to interact and learn. Having completed the Dr. Donna J. Kuga Pavilion, we can turn our attention to the library, the campus entrance, classrooms, and athletic facilities.
We expect both to increase our enrollments through such initiatives as expanding our athletic teams and launching an e-sports initiative, and to continue to diversify our entire campus community through celebrating our student diversity in our promotional materials and campus photographs, and elevating good works in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion area. Finally, we understand the importance of communicating our campus excellence by articulating a strategic communications plan that will increase engagement with our campus web site and social media.
Our academic offerings align with high-need careers in the Pittsburgh region, and our nationally recognized faculty and caring staff support your academic journey.
Our faculty invite students to join them on their groundbreaking research, like creating mobile apps for Pennsylvania farmers; seeking out new methods for diagnosing autism; and helping to eradicate white nose syndrome in the region’s little brown bats. Our faculty and staff are critical to Fostering Inclusion and Retention. We are a small campus offering various world-class degrees (and the first two years of 275 more), youth programming, and workforce development; our priority in this area is to partner with Shenango and other campuses to increase our number of bachelor’s degrees based on industry growth in the Pittsburgh in areas such as health and technology.
Because our faculty understand students learn best by doing, we will cultivate high-impact teaching and learning in these degrees, including improving our First Year Seminars, supporting undergraduate research and diversity and global learning (like our growing Experiential Digital Global Engagement program), connecting students with local industry through the Beaver Valley LaunchBox, and seeking funding for internship scholarships and outdoor learning projects. Certainly, with student success as our focus, we understand the need to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion practices on campus like offering training and cultural events, integrating content of race, power, and privilege into courses, creating a DEI team site for campus stakeholders, building DEI expectations into annual employee goals, and increase use of affirmative action practices in searches.
Finally, we commit to supporting retention through targeted student success initiatives such as defining student success, improving STEM student support, increasing academic and other student support, and increasing student employment and mentoring programs. So, whether you’re a traditional-aged student who wants to live in our recently updated residence hall or you’re looking to accelerate your career or acquire the skills to get workforce ready, you can be part of the Beaver family.
Our students care as much about the community in which they engage and live as the grades they’re making in the classroom.
Our students have nurtured a community garden, partnered with an aspiring river town, and created a water-aiming device for rural fire departments. Those are just some of the ways we’re all working together to make our communities more vibrant and welcoming. Which is why, as we address the goal of Cultivating Equity and Community our priority is to support high-impact experiential learning by connecting faculty and students with local industry. In turn, our community supports our students, as we seek internships, job opportunities, and money toward scholarships, which more than 80 percent of our students receive. And we’re working side-by-side with industry leaders on the Beaver Valley Hub for Innovation, Venture, and Entrepreneurship (B-HIVE) that will house our LaunchBox, to allow students and entrepreneurs to collaborate on forward-thinking, economy-changing ideas.
We’ll also collaborate with other higher education institutions to offer community events and infrastructure especially around equity. Partnering with the Franklin Center on a Beaver Unity event summer 2021 will be the first step towards creating a Center on Race and Social Solutions, as we refine and market our Bridges and Pathways events series. Finally, since we are conscious of our role in our local community and in the world, we commit to increasing sustainability efforts and visibility on campus through pursuing university Green Paws and LEEDs goals, and creating greener, more sustainable outdoor learning and wellness spaces, such as at our campus entrance.
Penn State Beaver strives to increase the diversity and size of our campus community, foster inclusion and retention by supporting student success, and enact our land grant mission by cultivating equity in our local community.
By 2025, we will grow degree offerings and workforce development programs that align with Pittsburgh’s high-demand jobs, improve our campus physical spaces, and further high impact learning, while celebrating our caring and supportive staff and our diverse and nationally recognized faculty. We aspire to an increasingly multicultural and multi-generational student body, hailing from just down the road and across the world. We are Penn State, and we are part of the world…right here.