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Bluewhiteprint Final

Bluewhiteprint Final

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Published by Kevin Horne

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Published by: Kevin Horne on Sep 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Grow old along with me the best is yet to be

—Old Main Sundial, Gift of the Class of 1915

Rarely in the history of higher education has an institution found itself in a more enviable position than the one that Penn State is currently in.
Our university is one of America’s top research institutions, ranked in the top one percent of universities in the world, with the largest dues paying alumni association and the nation’s most sought after students. Even with these accomplishments, the University faces an unprecedented public referendum to improve, with the whole nation watching. The Blue and White Print is a call to Penn State’s students, alumni, educators, and administrators to transition their focus onward to the future. The past two years have been a tremendous challenge for Penn State, but a continued focus on them will lead only to stagnation. The key to Penn State’s success will not come from retribution against the Board of Trustees or the NCAA, nor from the return of Joe Paterno’s wins and courtroom settlements. It can only come from a unified dedication to improving all aspects of the university. From administrators to students there are things we can all do to ensure that Penn State moves forward. The following pages contain a vision for Penn State’s future, written entirely by students. We do not ask that you agree with every recommendation laid out here, only that you commit yourself to focusing on the future of Penn State University.

For the future that we wait Raise the song


When the foundations of Penn State’s first building, Old Main, were torn down in 1929, with it disappeared the facade and most famous symbol of Penn State University. With Old Main reduced to ash, the community was given a choice of how to recuperate from the loss. Penn State chose to move forward and instead of rebuilding Old Main exactly as it was, seized the opportunity to improve and redesign a paradigm of Penn State tradition. From the rubble, Old Main reemerged, serving as a sign of progress and rebirth. The new building, for generations that came before and after, thus began to symbolize the new Penn State University. Old Main is a symbol that we, too, have inherited. Its image encapsulates tradition, serving as a testament to history and those who have walked past its pillars before. Yet it is those who pass through Penn State’s gates every day, and those who will walk through them next, who will define the path of tradition to come. “WE ARE…Penn State” is the phrase that will forge the path ahead. For every person, this phrase holds different meaning, yet what is clear is that this saying lives in the present. We must use the traditions that we have been handed and be sure to operate under not what we were, but what we are. Penn State’s name was not built by any single individual, but rather stems from the collective action of all those associated with the University. It does not fall upon any single group to continue its legacy, and is instead the job of all Penn Staters. And so, we must rebuild as we have done before, and move our focus to a different conversation. We must not forget our past, but rather move forward with it and learn from the lessons that have emerged amidst the fray.

Below are additional suggestions for the future of Tradition at Penn State University.

• •

Penn Staters must hold a reverence for the history of the university but a progressive viewpoint for the future. Penn Staters must carry the line “may our lives but swell thy fame” with them with wherever they go. Every Penn Stater represents our university, whether it is in State College or around the world. Penn State must be an embodiment of the land grant mission in the 21st century. It must continue to provide opportunities to those of all backgrounds, even as it advances academically. Penn Staters must be the change.


There is nothing that gives us a greater source of pride than the academic achievements of Penn State. While Penn State’s academic growth in the last six decades has been an unprecedented accomplishment, we know that Penn State is nowhere near its potential. Research universities, especially one of Penn State’s caliber, are able to provide students with opportunities that they cannot get anywhere else. We would like to encourage Penn State to become the global leader in research-based undergraduate education, as was laid out in the Boyer Report. Adopting this approach will require bold and innovative thinking, as well as some risk. We are confident, however, that Penn State can and will be the leader of 21st Century Education, and will provide a model for the future of higher education.

Below are additional suggestions for the future of Academics at Penn State University.

Adopt a research-based education model, similar to that laid out in the Boyer Report, which involves students in research as early as their freshman year. Ensure that the Board’s decisions are made with the ultimate goal of reaching Penn State’s academic potential. Penn State must avoid dangerous trends towards standardization in American higher education. The full potential of the university can be realized only when it pushes itself to be innovative, and to take on unique challenges. Replace two Governor-appointed Board of Trustee members with faculty members, immediately. Encourage students to assume a greater responsibility towards academics—committing the same passion they put towards their involvements into their own education. Continue to push forward with online education, incorporating it into on-campus learning and expanding Penn State’s mark around the globe.

• •

• •

Shared Governance
The idea of shared governance in the educational community is often discussed, and less often defined. As a result the phrase is widely considered to be an empty expression. We wish to establish upmost clarity on this topic. The usage of “shared” implies that all participating parties have a role. This role should not be limited to delegator and delegate, but instead a role in the decision-making process itself. While each constituency may not be an active participant in every stage (i.e. students helping to decide annual OPP Budgets) it is critical that the most important decisions are not made arbitrarily or unitarily. Shared governance is as much about the promotion of balanced power as it is about accountability. A lack of shared governance inevitably lends itself to neglect of principles. Shared governance provides all participants with the necessary safeguards to avoid this. Penn State has the opportunity to establish national precedent for true shared governance. This can be accomplished foundationally through frequent and open communication between all major constituencies at Penn State University. Conversation must be followed with true distributions of power, delegated down from the Board of Trustees all the way to elected student leaders. The most important key to Penn State’s success over the next ten years and the decades that follow will be an institutional embrace of the shared governance model.

Below are additional suggestions for the future of Shared Governance at Penn State University.

Create forums for dialogue between Board of Trustees members, administrators, faculty members, and students that go beyond social engagement; instead tackling vital issues and establishing trust. Provide the faculty a co-equal voice on the Board of Trustees. Reestablish true student government. • As the single most impacted group, allow student self government on issues of academic integrity (board of peers).

• •

Administration-Student relations should not be limited to “student-leaders”. The University President and Vice President of Student Affairs should conduct monthly meetings with randomly selected students. Board of Trustees-Administration relations should not be limited to the President. Penn State’s complexities should allow the Board to call on an administrator for advice and counsel. • Alter the language of Standing Order IX.

Board of Trustees

As with all elements of the Blue and White Print, our concern with the Board of Trustees is to ensure that it is prepared to move Penn State forward. Many sitting Board members have overseen tremendous growth at Penn State University, and have given much of their lives to making the university a better place. This fact should not be easily forgotten. We commend the Board moving from 32 to 30 members, and encourage even more bold actions as it continues to examine itself. The Board of Trustees must be just as committed in embracing the shared governance model, as the other responsible bodies. It is imperative that decisions about Penn State’s future include administrators, faculty, alumni and students. The Board of Trustees must look to facilitate this in every way possible. We are confident that fervent dialogue and debate within the Board and among those groups will serve to strengthen Penn State overall.

Below are additional suggestions for the future of the Board of Trustees at Penn State University.

Demand academic excellence. The Board must be willing to take risks and encourage bold thinking. This includes giving careful consideration to the academic requirements of becoming America’s premier public institution. Make long term resource commitments to improve faculty salaries, ensuring that Penn State once again becomes a salary leader in the Big Ten and among national public institutions. Alter the language of Standing Order IX to ensure proper Board oversight and independence of Board members At the end of the sitting Student Trustee’s tenure, we call on a transition of the Student Trustee into an elected position, chosen by the students. The students will be best served by an undergraduate representative who is free to vote independently. Alumni, both on the Board and involved with it, must demand a primary focus on the future of Penn State. The time to ensure Penn State’s future is now, and few things will be more valuable than the constructive input of Penn State’s alumni. Hold Trustee town halls (starting in the Spring of 2014) focusing on the future of Penn State.

• •

Student Government

It is self-evident that the existing powers granted to the University Park Undergraduate Association do not equate to properly servicing and representing the undergraduate population of Penn State University. This is the result of both deliberate actions and negligence stemming from the governmental changeover from USG to UPUA in 2006. It is critical that more decision-making power be placed in the hands of the student government. This provides both scholastic benefits and fulfills the shared governance model. We have tremendous confidence in the ability of the current assembly to move UPUA forward, and closer to an organization that can fully represent the student body. UPUA cannot expect this to come easily. It will require diligent work on the part of elected representatives to build the student self-governance that has been absent in Penn State’s recent history. Students, as the core of the university, are an integral piece of the shared governance model. We call on the administration to incorporate them as such, and for students to rise to the challenge of effective representation.

Below are additional suggestions for the future of Student Government at Penn State University.
• More than any time in several decades the position Penn State is in requires active student participation in all university matters. This must start at home with greater involvement in Student Government elections. We call on UPUA and the student body as a whole to set a goal of 10,000 Student votes in UPUA Elections by the year 2016. • The burden for accomplishing this cannot fall solely on the UPUA Election Commission. It must be embraced by individual students, and by partnerships with the student government and student organizations. This is an easily obtainable goal.

UPUA should not expect the student body to come to them. They must actively seek students, determine their needs, and seek to fill them. • One of the ways this can be accomplished is by partnering with student organizations.

UPUA must be willing to fight for student interest. Each representative must commit themself to true student representation and seek to give students a voice at the table, even when this places them at odds with members of the administration, Board of Trustees, or alumni. Develop new ways of publishing the accomplishments of student government. Twitter postings during meetings does not accomplish this goal. The student government must lean on alumni for support, and assistance. This is especially true of those involved in student government from its periods of greater strength.

It would be a naive wish to expect every aspect of our Blue and White Print to be implemented in the precise ways that we have laid out, or expediently. We recognize that change takes time and healthy deliberation. Our immediate hope is that the focus of the Penn State community will begin to shift. With so much in Penn State’s future to look forward to we hope that all will be eager to move toward it. To help facilitate the much needed dialogue we have established a website: www.blueandwhiteprint.com. There you can find all of the visions seen here and an online forum to discuss these ideas, as well as your own. We also ask that you use the website to sign our pledge to begin moving Forward to the Future. You do not have to agree with all of the ideas presented here, only that you are among the names ready to move Penn State forward.

For the glory of Old State For her founders strong and great, For the future that we wait Raise the song, raise the song. Sing our love and loyalty, Sing our hopes that bright and free Rest, O mother dear, with thee, All with thee, all with thee. When we stood at childhood’s gate, Shapeless in the hands of fate, Thou didst mold us, dear Old State, Dear old State, dear old State. May no act of ours bring shame, To one heart that loves thy name. May our lives but swell thy fame, Dear old State, dear old State.


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