A new partnership between Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University has the potential to alter the face of higher education in eastern and north central Pennsylvania for years to come.
As part of the ongoing system redesign plans within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System), the universities will explore opportunities to collaborate and build on their existing strengths, create greater efficiencies, and expand affordable, high-quality educational opportunities for students throughout the region and beyond.
When the State System began reviewing the potential for university integrations, it did so with the understanding that data and analysis would drive the process and could point toward pairings/combinations that provide a greater probability for success. One of the pairings that was originally identified was an integration between Lock Haven and Mansfield. An initial financial review suggests that the addition of Bloomsburg to this pairing provides the needed support, stability, and scalability to increase the probability of success for the State System’s regional landscape. Together the three institutions would expand educational opportunities for all students and leverage the talents of its faculty and staff.
“I look forward to continuing our existing collaborations with Mansfield and building on those partnerships, and expanding these collaborations to include Lock Haven. This potential integration would allow us to leverage our collective strengths for the benefit of our students and their success, and would create a synergy whose impact will be greater than the sum of its parts,” said Bashar Hanna, president of Bloomsburg University.
“Our institutions combined have over 480 years of commitment and success in helping students and families achieve their dreams and goals and improve their lives through degree attainment. Leveraging our combined strengths would allow us to expand and improve that access to those affordable, life-changing opportunities,” said Robert Pignatello, president of Lock Haven University.
“University integration presents an incredible opportunity for Mansfield University to build upon existing collaborations with Bloomsburg and Lock Haven,” said Charles Patterson, president of Mansfield University. “Creating a combined vision would allow the universities to align new and current degree programs, meet regional economic and workforce needs, and transform the delivery of higher education to better serve the students of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The addition of Bloomsburg would provide greater opportunity and scale for the budding partnership between Lock Haven and Mansfield to meet regional workforce needs, and expanded higher education opportunities for Commonwealth students and beyond. Collectively, the three universities serve nearly 14,000 students. The existing partnership between Lock Haven and Mansfield will add non-degree and stackable credentials in selected high demand occupations to the program array, all in partnership with regional employers.
Any integration would also continue the shared services arrangement currently in place between Bloomsburg and Mansfield for human resources, accounts payable, and procurement services, and the partnership would be expanded to include Lock Haven.
In addition, an integration would provide an opportunity to shape the universities for decades to come, meet demand where it exists, increase access to new markets, and foster enrollment growth.
As part of this process, the brand and identities of each institution would be respected.
These initial findings are only the beginning of an ongoing analysis and financial review that will continue through the Board of Governors meeting in October, when the Board will be updated on the progress of the review. The process will be broadly consultative and will require the input of many stakeholders, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, donors, supporters, community members, and other State System institutions.
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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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