SRU expands with new building, new proposed degree program

Published by adviser, Author: Kevin Squires, Date: December 14, 2014

Slippery Rock University will be expanding its size with approval for the acquisition of the former Har-Mer Elementary School in Harrisville, Pennsylvania. The Council of Trustees voted on Dec. 5 to approve the purchase of the 33,060 square foot building for $300,000.  Located at 230 West Prairie St., the building was presented as a possible “swing space” for the campus Master Plan, a potential location to house the physician’s assistant and occupational therapy programs and serve to provide additional storage space. The Physician’s Assistant Program was also approved by the council. It will now move on to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors for approval.

“The acquisition of this space, I think, would put us in a very good light when the accreditation committee comes to review our proposal for this new, highly sought after program,” council member Mary Jo White said. The program is expected to be under review for accreditation in October 2015. However, it cannot be accredited until approved and running.

Also approved was a STEM-H fee piloting program, charging incoming students a $30-per-credit fee for 300 and 400-level STEM courses with a lab they take and $90-per-course fee for 100 and 200-level courses they take.

“It’s important to note that this would not impact current students,” White said. She also explained that science courses, specifically ones with laboratory components, were more costly than your typical degree program.

“The [finance and audit] committee did recommend that this fee proposal be reviewed annually by the board of trustees,” White said. The fees are projected to generate an annual $911,700 once fully implemented and will begin with the incoming freshman class, according to the proposal in the agenda.

A 15-percent tuition discount was approved for undergraduate online courses being taken by active military members or their spouses and the council voted to approve to change the name of the finance and audit committee to the finance and administrative affairs committee, changes to governance committee structure and to change the bylaws to reflect changes to the student affairs committee.

During her report to the council, Slippery Rock University President Cheryl J. Norton cited recent accolades received by the university.

“We are again ranked number one for performance indicators, now for the second year in a row,” Norton said. Performance indicators are examined across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions. She added that “this past week, Slippery Rock University was designated a 2015 STEM-jobs-approved college.” Victory Media awarded the distinction in their listing of universities, colleges, community colleges and trade schools, based the schools’ “responsiveness and relevance to high-demand, high-growth STEM occupations,” a press release on Victoria Media’s website said.

SRU Head Football Coach George Mihalik was recognized for the team’s win of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Association Championship and for their accomplishments both on and off the field. Mihalik accepted the recognition on behalf of the team. Wilma Caville, Robert Watson, Mihalik, Judy Silva and Laurel Dagnon were recognized for their efforts in the 125 anniversary celebration. Dr. Wayne Forbes presented to the council on his laboratory’s research on medical parasitology and a preview trailer of the “Back to the Big House” video was shown.

The next meeting will take place March 20. A copy of the meeting agenda from the Dec. 5 meeting can be found here.


Update: All items mentioned in this article forwarded to the PASSHE Board of Governors were passed on Jan. 22.


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