SRU President reflects on state of university amidst state system financial crisis

Published by adviser, Author: Daniel DiFabio - News Editor , Date: February 9, 2017
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With many schools in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education experiencing declining enrollment and financial issues, SRU is different in that it saw an enrollment increase for the spring semester.

“The last that I saw in terms of enrollment for the spring is we were up 1.1 percent,” Norton said. “To the best of my knowledge we are the only state system school on the western side that has shown an increase in enrollment, not just this semester or last semester, but for the last three years. So we’re pleased that students continue to find SRU as their university of choice.”

Norton said that SRU is a strong university financially and programmatically.

“We are by all financial analysis in what the state system deems a ‘green zone’, which means a strong financial presence,” Norton said.

Norton said that in the university’s most recent assessment, the university came out with an outstanding review.

“We had no recommendations, meaning no corrective factors identified or suggestions for improvement,” Norton said. “That’s not to say that we aren’t constantly looking to improve, but the outside accreditation agency came up with a clean report and hopefully, despite all the talk about system review of educational review in the PASSHE system, people will recognize that SR is one of the bedrock institutions of this system.”

Norton said that the university is committed to its students, and that the university wants to make that that when students graduate they are set up with the skills they need for careers. This includes offering programs to attract new students as well.

“We’ve done a lot of data analysis to define what it is that western PA and our students need,” Norton said. “In addition to that, I think we also have a very aggressive enrollment management group that really looks to meet the needs of the students who are trying to make those decisions about schools.”

Norton also commented on President Trump’s executive order on immigration, after sending an email to students that said the university was making sure no students or faculty were affected. Norton said she sent the email because she wanted people to know that SRU cares about the health and safety of students.

“At this point in time what we know about our institution is we have one student and one faculty member who, had they been out of the United States, which they were not, would have been caught up in the executive order,” Norton said. “Now that the courts are challenging that executive order and it’s going through a legal process of review, it’s hard to know what might happen at this point and time. I think everybody in the United States is waiting to see what that outcome is. I did not want anybody to assume that what was happening nationally was infiltrating what we are doing locally.”

Norton said that she wants people to remember that as much as students have accepted SRU as an institution, the university has accepted them as well.

“With that acceptance goes an¬†obligation to do everything we can to help you be successful, regardless of where you’re from,” Norton said.

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