Former SRU provost Philip Way has been appointed by the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education as the university’s interim president as the search for a replacement for former SRU president Dr. Cheryl Norton continues.
Way has been SRU’s provost and vice president for academic and student affairs since 2013, serving under former president Norton the entire time. Under Norton, SRU added about 15 new undergraduate and graduate programs and was one of the few state system schools that continued to be financially stable. The university also saw record highs in enrollment and had several small cosmetic improvements throughout campus. With Norton now retired and a new president not expected to be hired until Spring 2018 it falls on Way’s shoulders to continue the recent run of success that Slippery Rock has enjoyed.
The Rocket believes that Way’s experience both at SRU and in higher education in general puts him in a favorable situation to serve the university. Way has seen firsthand what it takes for SRU to be academically and financially successful while also boasting more than 30 years of experience in higher education.
Way has spent considerable time at universities larger than SRU which is invaluable experience when understanding how to run a university. Way spent more than six years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the associate provost for undergraduate programs and more than 20 years at the University of Cincinnati as a faculty member in the economics department. UAB’s enrollment is essentially double that of SRU’s and Cincinnati’s is more than four times as big.
Way will need to serve as the bridge between Norton and the university’s next president and as such we are probably unlikely to see and big changes come to campus. Basically, as long as Way can keep SRU on its current path until a new president is found he will be a successful, albeit temporary, replacement for Norton. Nobody knows who the new president will be or what plans they will have for Slippery Rock, but for now Way is a familiar presence on campus and has extensive knowledge of both SRU and how to lead an effective university.
While Way has not always been the most popular member of administration among some of the student organizations on campus, The Rocket does believe that he is the right choice to be the bridge to SRU’s next president.