screenshot of Provost Moerland speaking

To follow up remarks President Michael Driscoll made at his 50 Minutes event on November 6, 2019, referred to as “IUP's New Reality,” members of the university community have agreed to share their perspectives on the conditions that IUP faces moving forward and initiatives that are underway.

In this second installment, Timothy Moerland, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, discusses Inspire, an initiative to ensure IUP's academic programs are what students seek, measured against what areas will best benefit society and the world moving forward. Watch Moerland's interview in its entirety. Note, you will be required to log in using your IUP username and password.

Be Informed, Get Involved

Visit the Inspire page to learn more. You can send suggestions to the Inspire group on this page, too.

Inspire Examines Program Array

Inspire is a mindful pause—the opportunity to consider what IUP's future and the programming it offers by 2025—the university's 150th anniversary—and beyond. Higher education, in general, faces general circumstances at this moment in time. Through Inspire, IUP is conducting an academic program inventory to consider what is sustainable and what makes the most sense for students and how the university can best serve them and prepare them for the years to come.

Making Informed Decisions

The group overseeing the Inspire process consists of a chair and cochair, faculty members from each college, graduate and undergraduate students, and representatives from the School of Graduate Studies. The process will deliver important information, such as student enrollment desires—based both on IUP's own enrollment data and on what students say they would like to be able to access—what students value that may or may not serve as economic drivers, and employment trends. The group aims to bring together all those values to shape what the university community wants for IUP. The Inspire group expects to make some decisions that will translate into immediate enrollment interest and positive financial impact.

Seeking Bold Plans

Inspire entails working through the entire array of current program offerings. The campus community will learn about the results in three phases—at the end of the current semester (fall 2019), spring 2020, and fall 2020. Right now, in the first phase, the Inspire group is consulting with those involved with programs that have shown the lowest or most drastically decreasing enrollment patterns. The group started there, because if discontinuation is the conclusion, that decision should be made as soon as possible. Moerland said most programs in this first phase have remarkable plans to restructure or align and merge with other programs in a way that is very exciting. He said one of his requests to those working in those programs was to come up with a bold plan—and many have.

Moratorium the Last Resort

A step along the way may be to put some programs into moratorium, but moratorium is not an automatic decision to close a program. Inspire will look at three possible outcomes as moratorium is considered: 1) continue the program as it has been; 2) institute a mindful pause, which will permit the prinicipals to redesign the program; 3) close the program, only after full consideration of its value.

Moerland emphasized after the conclusion of the interview that if Inspire is successful, programs placed in moratorium would not necessarily translate into retrenchment or layoffs; rather, program stakeholders could be reassigned to programs that align with their knowledge base and qualifications.

Reconciling What We Offer with What Students Want

What IUP faces is common among nearly all universities—that is ensuring academic program offerings make the most sense in terms of where students wish to see themselves after graduation. The Inspire process is how IUP is going to reconcile those views. The goal is to ensure the programs IUP offers can be sustained at the highest possible quality and that the incredible talent at IUP is focused in a way that makes sense for everybody involved.