Monday, March 27, 2023

Women’s Leadership Initiative


Women’s Leadership Initiative


As Women’s History Month draws to a close there is much to acknowledge and celebrate.


The first women’s college in the United States, Wesleyan College was founded in Macon, Georgia in 1836. The oldest of the Seven Sisters, Mount Holyoke was founded in 1837 by Mary Lyon. She started Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts in 1834. It is now Wheaton College. In the 1960s, there were over 280 women’s colleges. That number is now 26.


Most of the former women’s colleges moved to coeducation. It’s important to note that in the 1960s, there were hundreds of men’s colleges that have also coeducated. There are now 3 secular men’s colleges.


Oberlin College was founded in 1833. It became the first college to admit African-American students in 1835, and in 1837 (the same year Mount Holyoke opened), Oberlin admitted female students, becoming the first coeducational college in the nation.


Last year, 55% of undergraduate students in America were female. In the 1980s women began to outnumber men on U.S. college campuses, and by 2014, women surpassed men in this country in overall academic achievement, and yet women are paid less than men across nearly all employment sectors. Although that gap has continued to shrink, according to the Pew Center, in 2022, the differential was still 18%.


This discrepancy is one of the principal reasons Signe S. Gates ’71 and Dawn G. Mueller ’68 (the chair and vice-chair of our board of trustees) support the creation of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Susquehanna University. This program provides leadership training, mentorship, and networking in support of all of the women enrolled at the University.


We will be hosting our annual Women’s Leadership Symposium in Washington, DC later this week. At this event, our current students will interact with alumnae in leadership roles at Healthcare Ready, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and more.


Great progress has been made toward gender equity, but we still have a long way to go. The examples and efforts of Signe and Dawn, and the support of the many alumni and friends of Susquehanna to promote these efforts provide opportunities for the next generation of SU alumnae to make gender equity in their professional lives a reality.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Higher Education Reading List


Higher Education Reading List


One of our wonderful trustees recently asked me to recommend a higher-education reading list. Here it is:


Newsletters and Magazines


I start each weekday with a review of these three:


Inside Higher Ed publishes a daily newsletter of current events in higher education. These include 3 or 4 feature stories and a daily list of briefs of related interest.


The Chronicle of Higher Education was for many years the most popular job-posting publication in higher education. The weekly newspaper format has been largely replaced by a daily e-newsletter with feature stories ranging from current news stories from the academy to annual higher-ed almanac reports, to opinion pieces from faculty, administrators, and pundits.


Peterson-Rudgers Scan is a daily anthology of links to higher-education related stories across the news media. It is a public service offered by the Peterson-Rudgers Group, a higher-ed communications consultancy. Each issue includes curated links to 2 to 4 stories on 3 to 5 timely issues including campus leaders responding to current events, trends in philanthropy, and impacts of national stories on our campuses.


I consult these publications frequently:


Higher Ed Deep Dive publishes in-depth examinations of current topics affecting higher education.


University Business publishes a variety of content in support of finance, administration, auxiliaries, and facilities management.


Educause Review is the publication of Educause, which is the principal organization supporting IT professional in higher education.


Trusteeship is a magazine published by the Association of Governing Boards. It focusses on the roles and best practices of boards of trustees and shared governance.


Liberal Education is a magazine published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) focused on the relationship of liberal education and good citizenship and preparing students for lives of purpose and meaning. It also lifts up best practices in pedagogy and curricula.



These are some texts I have found especially meaningful and helpful in thinking about the collegiate enterprise.




Kimball, Bruce A.: Orators and Philosophers: A History of the Idea of Liberal Education, expanded edition. New York: College Board, 1995.


Ricks, Thomas E.: First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How It Shaped Our Country. New York: Harper Collins, 2020.


Higher Education Identity and Purpose


Delbanco, Andrew: College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.


Bok, Derek: Higher Education in America, revised edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.


Daniels, Ronald J.: What Universities Owe Democracy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021.


Liberal Arts


Leadership and the Liberal Arts: Achieving the Promise of a Liberal Education, edited by J. Thomas Wren, Ronald E. Riggio, and Michael A. Genovese. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.


Roth, Michael: Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.


Zakaria, Fareed: In Defense of a Liberal Education. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015.


Detweiler, Richard A.: The Evidence Liberal Arts Needs: Lives of Consequence, Inquiry, and Accomplishment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021.


Diversity. Equity, and Inclusion


Williams, Damon A.: Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education. Sterling, VA: Stylus, 2013.


Givens, Jarvis R.: School Clothes: A Collective Memoir of Black Student Witness. Boston: Beacon Press, 2023.




Chait, Richard P., William Ryan, and Barbara E. Taylor: Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards. Hoboken: Board Source, 2005


Bowen, William G. and Eugene Tobin: Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education. Princeton University Press, 2015.


Demographics and Enrollment


McGee, Jon: Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.


Grawe, Nathan: Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.


____________: Agile College: How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021.


Business Model


Townsley, Michael K.: Small College Guide to Financial Health: Weather Turbulent Times. Washington, DC: NACUBO, 2009.


Soliday, Joanne and Rick Mann: Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Private Colleges and Universities. Whitsett, NC: Credo, 2013.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write


Winter Convocation Welcome

23 January 2023


The following text is my Welcome to our Winter Convocation on the first day back to campus this Monday:


Welcome to Susquehanna University’s Winter Convocation, a highpoint in our annual commemoration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and for many of you, welcome back to campus. I hope you had a restorative break. I know you join me in welcoming our speaker, Autumn Rose Miskweminanocsqua Williams, to our campus.


Let us begin by acknowledging the Susquehannock tribe whose name we bear. It means those who live in a place where water is heard grating on the shore, commonly known as the river people because they lived in unanimity and balance with the river and land. This campus rests on their un-surrendered territory, and we strive to honor their memory by being mindful stewards of this beautiful place.


I want take this opportunity to tell you about some recent experiences I have had and to share with you something that is hanging heavily on my heart. Over the past few weeks, I have been privileged to meet and learn from a number of scholars and leaders who honor Dr. King’s legacy every day in the important work they do. These have included:


Shelly Lowe, Director of the National Endowment of the Humanities, and a member of the Navajo Nation, reflected on how her own experiences and heritage are helping her to guide the NEH and thereby our nation to achieve a more inclusive scope and understanding of what our collective humanities are and how they can make our lived experience richer and our shared communities broader.

I heard an inspiring talk by Jarvis Givens, author of Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, which tells of how teachers in segregated black schools included lessons about African-American history and culture out of sight of white school boards, because they knew it was the right thing to do, even though they faced dire consequences if this work was found out. Many of these same teachers secretly conveyed information about their schools to the NAACP along with their own dollars to support the legal work that would result in Brown vs. The Board of Education, bringing a legal end to public-school segregation.

Dr. Givens kindly gave me an advance copy of his forthcoming book, School Clothes: A Collective Memoir of Black Student Witness, which provides a history of black segregated schools through the stories of the children who attended them, reminding us that their experience was the greatest cause for reform.


I heard a presentation by Eddie Cole, whose recent book, The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom, provides an historical evaluation of how college and university presidents responded to and engaged in the Civil Rights movement, for good and for bad. He said, “I wonder if they would have made different decisions if they could see how their legacies played out over the subsequent 50 to 60 years,” and he encouraged current presidents to consider that perspective in guiding the work we do today.


Last Friday, I attended a presentation given by Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, and the best-selling history, On Juneteenth.


Dr. Gordon-Reed began her remarks by sharing reflections about the work of a national panel she was on in 2010 that outlined a path forward to elevate the humanities and liberal education in the United States. Then she turned to a discussion of efforts to eliminate critical components of slavery from the teaching of Texas history in Texas public schools and the recent announcement from the Florida Department of Education that Florida public schools will not offer AP African-American Studies because, “As presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”


The Hechinger Report that same day stated: “Florida’s latest ban follows a series of steps… including imposing speech codes on university professors and pushing the so-called “Stop WOKE Act” that restricts conversations on race and prohibits instruction that might cause guilt or shame for historic wrongdoings like slavery.” [1]


This follows Florida’s recent “Don’t say gay” law.


This is wrong, intellectually, educationally, and morally. It is an afront to academic freedom and a slap in the face of humanity. How will history judge us if we don’t speak up?


Susquehanna’s mission is to educate students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world.


We achieve this by opening ourselves up to the lived experiences and perspectives of others. We honor each other through a shared pursuit of truth and understanding. We embrace difference, and we acknowledge how truly interdependent we are.


As Dr. King wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, we are all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


Earlier in her talk, Dr. Gordon-Reed averred that Thomas Jefferson’s commitment to education was rooted in his understanding that it was critical for our ability to move from subjects to citizens. When fundamental limits are placed on education, democracy is under threat.


As John Adams wrote: “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know…Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.  Let every order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate their resolution…”[2]


Let us use the inspiration from today’s convocation as fuel to rouse our attention and animate our resolution. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write to support a complete education and open discourse in defense of a just and democratic future for all.


Saturday, December 31, 2022

State of Play 2023


State of Play 2023


The state of higher education seems to live near a precipice, and as we enter a new year, many of us are clinging to the edge.


In the final weeks of 2019, I posted what I believed were the eight leading threats to higher education. At the time they were:


1.      Market Disturbance

2.     National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Changes

3.     Price Sensitivity

4.     International Student Decreases

5.     2026 “Demographic Cliff”

6.    Poor Public Understanding of What We Do

7.     Geographic Population Redistribution

8.    Limited Reputation


I many ways, most remain, but their respective scale and impact have changed dramatically over the past three years.


We had our “black swan” market disturbance with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, which set all of the other pieces caroming about.


We have reached a new stage of normal following the legal changes in recruiting practices (the dissolution of the old NACAC standards), which were fresh and untested in 2019. Most institutions were less predatory and most students and their families were less prone to peregrinate than many of us expected.


Following a couple of years of decline, international enrollments were decimated by the pandemic. Nationally, we have seen a gradual rebound, but it is a different market. Political challenges in China and the war in Ukraine have changed the balance of international students on our campuses and the destinations domestic students seek when studying away.


The “demographic cliff,” when we know the number of traditional college-age students will drop by about 1.1 million between 2026 and 2028 became foreshadowed as a consequence of the pandemic. Population data had projected a slight increase in enrollments between 2019 and 2026 when the 18-year-old population would continue to climb slightly before hitting a 6% and then 8% drop.


Overall population numbers have logically tracked, but in the past three years, 1.2 million fewer traditionally aged students dropped out of college or chose not to enroll. Higher education experienced the fall off the cliff, and the real cliff is still 3 to 4 years ahead.


Like institutions across all sectors, the pandemic created huge expenses and significantly undercut revenues for higher education, but many of us found significant savings from the cessation of costly programs (for us study away is 5% of our overall budget). Government relief also softened the blow.


Now that we have fundamentally gone back to normal operations, we are doing so with about 7% fewer students nationwide, and the remaining 93% have been redistributed. In Agile College, Nathan Grawe predicted that as the demographic cliff approached, not only would geographic redistributions affect enrollments by region, but a move toward flagship publics and elite independent institutions would exacerbate the impact on regional publics and private institutions outside of the U.S. News top 5o lists.


Independent colleges and universities in Pennsylvania have seen enrollment declines ranging from 6% to 25% since 2019. For tuition-dependent institutions, which is most of us, there has been a parallel drop in revenue. These decreases have occurred against the backdrop of 7+% inflation. As a result, many institutions have developed structural deficits.


A common trope on many independent college campuses has been that when a number of struggling sister institutions close, the remaining schools will take on the students they would have enrolled and reach a financially sustainable enrollment. The problem with that “plan” is that closings hurt the reputation of our sector, and our fundamental competitors are large publics, oddly not each other.


Of Susquehanna’s top ten cross-applicant institutions, only one is a four-year private. Our main competitors are Temple, Pitt, Rutgers, the University of Delaware, and our number one competitor is Penn State.


This is where we are the victims of a lack of understanding of what we do compounded by a limited reputation.


Recently, I put forward a comparison to prospective students: “In preparing for your future, do you want to have all of your classes led by expert faculty dedicated to teaching, have a faculty member serve as your advisor and mentor as you complete independent research and creative work, and develop hands-on expertise with state-of-the-art equipment and in field work, or do you want to be able to be able to say you attended 20 massive tailgate parties?”


For most students at Susquehanna, that truly life-changing first path comes at a considerably smaller out-of-pocket cost. The challenge is in helping enough of them to understand the benefits, financial and personal.


Small residential liberal-arts institutions offer a proven return on investment. They focus on the experiences and skills that best support student development and preparation for lives of consequence, and yet they struggle to maintain their share of a shrinking market.


One of the great unknowns about the coming few years is if traditional percentages of 18-year-olds will return to our campuses before the demographic cliff hits, or will we see another million+ drop compounding our current dilemma. In either case, the economics of small independent colleges and universities has rarely been so dynamically challenging.


We need to adjust our operations to align with our current resources while striving to capture a larger share of a smaller market. It is good business, but more importantly, it will be good for students.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup - Higher-Education Organizations


There are dozens of national, international, and regional organizations supporting higher education. The following list, which although possibly exhausting, is far from exhaustive, can serve as a decoder ring for their acronyms along with an explanation of the role each plays and a hyperlink to their respective websites.


·      AACC – American Association of Community Colleges – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; they represent almost 1,200 institutions

·      AACSB – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – This is the leading accrediting body for business schools in the U.S. It has become quite international in scope, accrediting more than 950 schools of business around the world in over 1oo countries and territories.

·      AACRAO - American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers – They establish the standards by which academic credit is recorded and transferred. In the U.S., most institutions will accept transfer credit from other regionally accredited institutions. AACRAO often serves as the objective reviewing body when institutions are asked to accept international transfer credits.

·      AAC&U – American Association of Colleges and Universities – this is the organization that focusses on liberal-arts education across higher education with an emphasis on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning and advocacy on the power of a liberal education.

·      AAHEA – American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation – Founded in 1870, this was originally the “Department of Higher Education” of the NEA (National Education Association). It later became a free-standing organization that has become focused on supporting and accrediting faith-based institutions.

·      AASCU – American Association of State Colleges and Universities – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; this began as the Association of Teacher Education and has come to represent state-supported institutions. They focus on expanding access to all students. They have over 400 member institutions.

·      AAU – Association of American Universities – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; this is the organization of leading research universities, 2 Canadian and 60 from the U.S. They work on policies and best practices for research and scholarship in higher education.

·      AAUP – American Association of University Professors – Founded by John Dewey and Arthur Lovejoy in 1915, the AAUP was initially founded to protect academic freedom and to identify and foster best practices in the academy, it has subsequently also become a labor-advocacy organization of the professoriate. Their “Red Book,” Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, has become the foundation of best practices and principles connected to academic freedom and tenure.

·      AAUW - America Association of University Women – Founded in 1881, they have advocated for equity for women and girls in higher education.

·      ACA – American Counseling Association – This is the principal organization of professional counselors in the U.S., including college and university counselors.

·      ACAD - American Conference of Academic Deans – This group, supporting academic leaders “above department chairs and below presidents” provides professional developments and the exchange of best practices for academic leadership at the dean and provost level.

·      ACBSP - Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs – This group was founded in 1988 to provide an accreditation option based on teaching and learning alone for business programs whose research commitments did not align with those required by AACSB.

·      ACCA – American College Counseling Association – This is the leading organization for collegiate mental healthcare professionals.

·      ACE – American Council on Education – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; this is the umbrella organization of higher education that represents public, private, and community colleges, it has about 1,800 member institutions and organizations.

·      ACPA - American College Personnel Association – This is one of two leading organizations for student affairs staff.

·      ACTA – American Council of Trustees and Alumni – This is a conservative group that calls on trustees to hold higher-education institutions accountable for their curricular requirements. They grade institutions each year in a report card called “What will they learn.” The idea is reasonable, but the execution is inconsistent. Some of the nation’s best colleges get failing grades for not requiring coursework in specific departments. Just because a student isn’t required to take a course in the history department doesn’t mean that they don’t learn history.

·      AGB – Association of Governing Boards – They support college and university boards of trustees, promoting best practices among boards.

·      AIR - Association of Institutional Research – This is a national association for institutional researchers and institutional effectiveness officers. They advocate for best practices and for consistent use of data across higher education.

·      Annapolis Group – Originally founded in 1984 as the Oberlin Group, the Annapolis Group constituted itself in 1993. It is a presidential group of the leading independent residential liberal arts colleges in the U.S. They confer to support best practices and to advocate for their sector. They host a joint annual meeting for presidents and chief academic officers that is traditionally held in Annapolis, MD.

·      APLU - Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; founded in 1887, it is North America’s oldest higher-education organization; they have 218 members including 76 land-grant universities and the 33 Native-American land-grants schools. Two-thirds of sponsored research in higher education occurs on their member campuses.

·      ASHE – Association for the Study of Higher Education – This group has over 2,200 members dedicated to analysis and research on higher education.

·      Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching – This organization was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie and Chartered by Congress the following year. This organization created the “Carnegie Unit” as a shared concept of the credit hour; TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Associate) the leading retirement fund in higher education; Educational Testing Service, the group that produces the SAT and GRE exams; and the Carnegie Classification System that categorizes institutions as research, regional comprehensive, baccalaureate, etc.

·      CAS – Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education – This is a consortium of 41 professional organization in higher education who work together to create shared standards and best practices across student development and student affairs operations.

·      CASE – Council for the Advancement and Support of Education – This is the national organization for advancement (fundraising), marketing, and communications professionals in higher education.

·      CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation – This is the national organization that sets standards and supports accreditation of institutions across higher education. This includes disciplinary and regional accreditors. CIQG is the CHEA International Quality Group that provides parallel services for non-U.S. institutions. They are members of INQAAHE, the International Network of Quality Assurances Associations in Higher Education, which is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.

·      CHEMA – Council of Higher Education Management Associations – This is an informal organization of many of the organizations on this page along with other organizations that provide support of services for higher education. It is coordinated by NACUBO.

·      CIC – Council of Independent Colleges – This is a national organization of about 690 private, mostly residential, teaching and comprehensive colleges. They present annual conferences for Chief Academic Officers and Presidents, a series of professional development programs to prepare the next generation of higher-education leaders, and a variety of academic initiatives, notably Legacies of American Slavery, Humanities Research for the Public Good, and NetVUE, a program exploring the role of vocation in intellectual inquiry.

·      CIEE – Council for International Educational Exchange – Founded by IIE, this organization operates over 175 study abroad programs in over 40 countries.

·      CUPRAP – College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals – This group promotes and celebrates marketing and public relations in support of higher education. It began as a Pennsylvania-based organization and has gained a national footprint,

·      EDUCAUSE – This is the information technology organization within higher education.

·      HACU - Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities – This serves as a hub organization for HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions), but it also provides advocacy and support across higher education for Hispanic students and how all institutions can better support their education and networking opportunities.

·      HEDS – Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium – This is a voluntary member organization of mostly liberal-arts colleges and smaller comprehensives who share data. The consortium is housed at Wabash College and provides its member with many sector analyses.

·      HERI – Higher Education Research Institute – Housed at UCLA, this organization conducts research across many facets of higher education. These include useful surveys of faculty and students

·      IIE – Institute of International Education – Founded in 1919, IIE promotes international student exchanges and conducts significant statistical research on international higher education, most notably in Open Doors, an annual report on study abroad. They have created NAFSA and CIEE, and they sponsor aid for international exchange and relief,

·      IPEDS – Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System – is a data collection branch of NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), which in turn is an operation of the U.S. Department of Education. This is the repository for much of the data institutions must submit to the federal government.

·      NACAC – National Association for College Admission Counseling – This organization provides standards and guidance for counselors in secondary schools who advise students about college selection, and they support those who recruit students to attend college. In 2019, the Department of Justice challenged a long-standing set of standards aimed at eliminating interinstitutional competition for students once an enrollment decision was made. They sponsor many college fairs. There are 23 regional affiliates with some truly delightful acronyms. My favorite is NYSACAC, the NY affiliate.

·      NACADA – National Academic Advising Association – This is an international organization of over 10,000 academic advisors on more than 2,400 campuses. They are housed at Kansas State University.

·      NACE – National Association of Colleges and Employers – This is the principal organization that supports career services professionals and career placement offices.

·      NACUBO - National Association of College and University Business Officers – This is the leading organization for those who lead business and finance offices on college campuses. They provide professional development, guidance on best practices, and compile and analyze valuable comparative data,

·      NADOHE – National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education – This is an organization of Diversity Officers that also partners with other national organizations to share best practices and to advocate for DEIJ across the academy.

·      NAFEO – National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education – Founded in 1969, this is the national organization that specifically support HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

·      NAFSA – founded as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers – now NAFSA: Association of International Educator – This organization supports study-abroad professionals and advises international students wishing to attend U.S. institutions. They also support English as a Second Language programs.

·      NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics – This is the athletic association for about 25o smaller higher-education institutions, most of whom offer athletic scholarships. They began as a result of the creation of the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), a basketball tournament that predates the NCAA tournament by two years. They were the first national athletic association to invite Historically Black Colleges and Universities into membership.

·      NAICU – National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities – One of “The Six” Higher-Education Organizations in Washington, DC; This is the lobbying organization for independent higher education in DC; its membership includes over 1,000 institutions; NAICUSE (National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives) is a subgroup of the state- and district-based (37 states, Puerto Rico, and DC) organizations that represent these institutions on the state level.

·      NASPA - National Association of Student Personnel Administrators – This is the principal organization for student affairs professionals.

·      NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association – This is the national athletic association for over 1,100 institutions. Founded in 1906, the NCAA moved to university and collegiate level competitions in 1957, and then to its current three-division system in 1973. Division III does not allow athletics scholarships; Division II allows athletics scholarships and is generally small to moderate-sized institutions; and Division I allows athletics scholarships and includes many large institutions. Much of the funding for the NCAA comes from the television revenue derived from the “March Madness” men’s basketball tournament.

·      NCHEMS - National Center for Higher Education Management Consulting – This organization helps institutions and systems in their strategic planning work.


Some Pennsylvania-specific bonuses:


·      AICUP – Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania – This organization supports 92 independent, non-profit higher-education institutions in the Commonwealth. They provide and foster lobbying efforts in support of the students at our respective institutions, and they coordinate over 30 shared services creating savings to each participating institution for software, insurance, cyber security, and many other programs.

·      PASSHE – Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education – This is the organization of 10 state-owned institutions. Previously comprising 14 institutions, the system recent merged two triads into unified institutions retaining 3 campuses each.

·      PHEAA – Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority – Created in 1963 by the PA General Assembly, PHEAA provides a range of financial-aid services including loan guarantee, loan servicing, and a range of other aid services. They also administer the state’s need-based higher-education grant program.


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving


Like most colleges and universities, Susquehanna has a rich set of traditions. What sets ours apart is that they are truly meaningful, not some insiders-only rituals tied to institutional arcana, but meaningful to anyone who witnesses or experiences them. These include Move In, Opening Convocation, SU Serve, SU Give, Candlelight, Senior Hike, Baccalaureate, and Commencement.


What they have in common is that they are focused on welcoming, expressing gratitude, and giving. Of all our traditions, Thanksgiving is my favorite, because it is such a wonderful combination of all three (Commencement will always be my favorite event).


We host three seatings over two days. The last of these is for the seniors. At each, I welcome the students and offer a toast, a student or staff member provides a blessing, and then volunteers from the faculty and staff, along with some of their family members, serve dinner, which is eaten family style.


It is a full, traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkeys being carved at the table, and of course, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Leftovers are sent home with any students who want them, and the rest of what remains is donated to local food banks.


What I most enjoy about this tradition is how much my colleagues enjoy serving the meal and how grateful the students are. This year, a number of housekeepers and facilities crew members who had come in at 4:00 a.m. stayed into the evening to serve. Anyone who questions the values of the next generation of adults just needs to witness the outpouring of gratitude from our students and feel their sense of community to have that faith restored.


The tradition began in 1981, and even during the height of the pandemic we kept it going. Although in 2020, it was a take-away affair, but the expressions of thanks being uttered through masks may have been the most profound of all. Tina Landis from SU Dining Services, known as “Miss Tina” and a campus celebrity, has participated in all 42 years of the tradition.


After the tables have been cleared, the servers and our Dining Services colleagues sit down for their own meal together.


During our first year at Susquehanna, there was a snow storm the evening of the senior dinner. Members of the Student Government Association offered to help cover for staff who couldn’t get back to campus. Meanwhile, dozens of facilities workers were clearing sidewalks, roads, and parking lots. When the servers’ meal was about to begin, we called the snow-removal team to the dining hall to join us for a hot meal. We were thankful for the meal, but mostly, we were gateful to be with each other.


We truly have so much for which we should be thankful. Being members of a living-learning community dedicated to each other is highest among them. Happy Thanksgiving!



Women’s Leadership Initiative