Karen Rose Cercone, provost’s associate and professor of geoscience, provides an update and progress report on the transition to IUP’s new academic configuration.

All members of the IUP community are invited to take part in this discussion of our future. Please fill out this very short survey to let us know if you would like to serve on one of the new Coordination Councils or to attend upcoming open forums on these topics, and we will be in touch soon.

A few weeks ago, you heard Tim Moerland, provost, and Hilliary Creely, interim dean, tell you about the formation of our NextGen Transition Task Force. This group of administrators, faculty, staff, and students has been meeting regularly since then, and I’m pleased to report that we have already completed the first phase of our work. Over 100 initial recommendations have been made so far, and we are now ready to invite the entire university community to join us in the next phase of our integration work.

Priority 1 Recommendations Have Been Made

The initial focus of the Transition Task Force was on the critical, short-term tasks that had to be tackled for IUP to open its doors in fall 2021 as a NextGen university. No major strategic decisions were made by the Transition Steering Committee or by the larger task force during this “nuts and bolts” phase of our work. Instead, we took the academic restructuring plan laid out by the NextGen white paper last fall (with some subsequent revisions and updates) and focused on making it a reality.

The group assembled into several smaller work teams as shown below.

Work Team 1

Academic Department Mergers

Work Team 2

College Transfers of Departments and Programs

Work Team 3

New Academic Names and Websites

Work Team 4

Admissions and Freshman Orientation

Work Team 5

Internal Reporting Systems

Work Team 6

Student Advising and Teach-out

Work Team 7

Cost Center and Budget Issues

Work Team 8

Student Resources to Navigate the Transition

Each work team identified the urgent tasks that needed to be done and what deadlines should be met to allow IUP’s technical and administrative infrastructure to cope with so many simultaneous changes to our colleges, departments, and programs.

The initial recommendations of the Priority 1 work teams have been reviewed by the provost and president and are now available to the university community on the Transition Task Force website. While some of these suggestions are still under discussion with the faculty union and other stakeholders, most of the task force recommendations are logistical or technical in nature. Many of these are already in the process of being implemented by personnel in the Office of the Registrar, IT Services, Admissions, and other units of the university.

Students will see some of these changes starting right away, as departments merge and move from being part of one college to being part of another. The good news is that most of IUP’s degree programs will continue to be offered with their current curriculum requirements and faculty, using the same buildings and facilities that students are already familiar with. If our technical and administrative work continues at its current pace, we believe that most IUP students will notice only minor changes in their campus experience when they come back to school in the fall.

An additional Priority 1 work team has been charged with creating a student guide to the NextGen transition. This document will try to answer any questions current and future IUP students might have about what academic programs will be available, who their new college dean will be, and what support services will be available to them in the next academic year.

And Now Priority 2 Planning Begins

The second phase of the NextGen transition is now starting, and it will be both longer and more critical to our long-term success as a university. During this phase, the Transition Task Force will assemble into five larger groups, which will include many other members of the university community. These groups, which we are calling Coordination Councils, will consider the more strategic aspects of the NextGen restructuring. The topics these councils will address are shown below:

Coordination Council

Topics Addressed

Student Support

Re-envisioning academic support services to serve all IUP students more effectively.

NextGen Campus

What does a NextGen IUP campus look like in its physical layout and modality?

Budget Planning

Long-range budget planning to align NextGen with the new IUP strategic plan.

Core Curriculum

Refreshing our Liberal Studies core with attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Future Initiatives

Positioning IUP for long-term success in STEM, health care, and graduate education.

These larger groups will compare IUP to other universities to see where we can adopt best practices and update our organization to meet the needs of current students and employers. They will seek input from across the university, using mechanisms such as open forums, surveys, and focus groups. They will meet over the course of several months and submit detailed recommendations for long-term integration plans to the provost and president in the form of a white paper by the end of the current calendar year.

With IUP looking forward to its next university-wide Middle States accreditation, to begin in 2023, the work done by these Priority 2 coordination councils will not only complete our academic restructuring, it will also create a firm foundation for our next self-study. We therefore want to reach out to all members of our IUP community and invite them to take part in this discussion of our future. Please fill out this very short survey, let us know which of the councils you would prefer to serve on, and we will be in touch soon. While we probably can’t give everyone who volunteers a seat on a council, we will keep a roster of everyone who is interested, so we can gather your input in focus groups, in forums, or as white paper reviewers.

For more information about the Transition Task Force or to download the most recent versions of the NextGen college program charts or other documents, please visit our transition web page.