Dear Mansfield University Colleagues and Friends:
I wanted to take just a moment this morning and provide our campus community with an update on fall 2020 enrollment and the status of university integrations across the State System.
Fall 2020 Enrollment
As announced on Thursday, Mansfield University celebrated the second year of consecutive enrollment growth with a 7.8% increase in total headcount enrollment for fall 2020 compared to Fall 2019. Our overall headcount has grown 9.5% since fall 2018, marking the largest two-year increase for Mansfield University. The total number of returning students also increased by 10% over the fall of 2019.
Thank you for your efforts to ensure the success of our students and our university. Every single person at Mansfield University has an important role to serve in the recruitment, enrollment, retention, success, and graduation of our Mountie students.
State System University Integrations
As you may recall, the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education passed a resolution in July authorizing the Chancellor to review the financial impacts of integrating operations at select universities.
Integration seeks to use combined multi-university scale to improve superior academic options for students and achieve cost efficiencies to ensure State System institutions continue serving their regions for years to come. Integrations also allow for expansion into adjacent markets to better meet regional education and workforce needs by combining the capacities and scholarly expertise at institutions. Finally, integration allows for anchor institutions that support economic development and regional stability - especially historically significant institutions like Mansfield University (founded 1857) and Lock Haven University (founded 1870) - to preserve their important institutional identities.
The July resolution of the Board of Governors directed the Chancellor to examine three potential university integrations focused on meeting current and emerging regional and statewide needs in the Commonwealth:
- California University and Clarion University
- Edinboro University and Slippery Rock University
- Mansfield University and Lock Haven University
The July resolution of the Board of Governors also directed that the State System be open to analysis leading to different integration models and approaches and/or allow for different university alignments, as informed by the ongoing financial stability review. To this end, one of the outcomes of this ongoing review involves a shift in the university alignments for integration that will be announced today:
- California University, Clarion University, and Edinboro University
- Mansfield University, Bloomsburg University, and Lock Haven University
Operational efficiency and resource sharing between institutions has been financially advantageous for Mansfield University for many years. Mansfield has beneficial partnerships with Bloomsburg University that realize operational efficiencies for human resources, benefits, and procurement services. Mansfield has been actively and openly speaking with our university governance teams about the integration of additional operations and sharing of resources with other PASSHE institutions as part of the State System's Redesign efforts, including a focus on Lock Haven University. The discussion of alignments with Lock Haven University began in 2019 and have continued throughout the past year.
The assessment process for the aforementioned university integrations will continue leading up to the October Board of Governor's meeting, after which we will engage in the development of an integration plan for the candidate integrations that relies on the continued transparency that you have come to expect from Mansfield University's administration. We will engage with stakeholders throughout the process to keep everyone informed and to inform important decisions. The integration plan development process will be broadly consultative and will require the strong support of all of our many stakeholders, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, supporters, community members, our university affiliate entities, and other State System institutions.
Please allow me to reiterate my July comments regarding the important impacts of university integrations across our many stakeholders:
For our students enrolled at Mansfield University, and for students still considering Mansfield University as their destination of choice, your prospects have never been brighter. It is expected that this process of integration will provide even greater educational opportunities. In the future, you will have access to a broader range of programs while maintaining a campus experience that makes each institution unique at the local level.
For our faculty and staff, this is an opportunity to continue to help shape Mansfield University's future in service to our students and the Commonwealth. The nation will be watching as we help shape the future of public higher education. The collective talent of our faculty and staff will be critical in our effort to reconceive, rebuild, refresh and expand the opportunities we offer to all our students.
For our organizations, businesses, and our local communities, you will continue to find a great partner in Mansfield University and, through integration, we will become more responsive to the ever-changing needs of Pennsylvania's workforce by leveraging greater scale, reach and expansion of partnership opportunities.
For our alumni, donors, and supporters of Mansfield University, the integrations approach is an opportunity to define a path toward continued vibrancy for Mansfield University, while honoring our historic identity and more than a century of rich traditions.
I look forward to working with all of our stakeholders as we build on Mansfield University's institutional strengths, position the university for continued growth, and expand high-quality educational opportunities for students throughout the region and beyond.
Charles E. Patterson, PhD