March 2011 Archives

Friday, April 8 at 7pm in 100 Life Sciences, the Penn State Debate Society will hold a public debate with debaters from the William Pitt Debate Union (from the University Pittsburgh) over the question: "Should the FCC regulate privacy settings for social media websites?"

Reminder: deadlines approaching

Funding opportunities for

Penn State (University Park)

faculty and students

from the Center for Global Studies


The Center for Global Studies Thesis Prize

Penn State's Center for Global Studies will award two prizes of $500 each year to honors students in the College of the Liberal Arts who have completed commendable thesis projects that advance a global perspective. 

Deadline: Friday, April 1st, 2011

The Center for Global Studies Global Classroom Award

The Center for Global Studies will award prizes of up to $2,000 to support innovative pedagogical projects that advance global perspectives. Possibilities include teaching outside of the classroom in a global setting, establishing international institutional relationships for team-teaching, course-related travel, etc. We are interested in sponsoring creative and innovative projects that advance global perspectives.

Deadline: Monday, April 4th, 2011

The Center for Global Studies Career Development Award

The Center for Global Studies will award prizes of up to $2,000 to support the professional development of ABD doctoral students and early career faculty (having received a doctoral degree no earlier than 2008) through international research and travel.

Deadline: Monday, April 4th, 2011


For more information on eligibility and application procedures, click here or visit

Friday, March 25

Graduate Exhibition Performances

The State Theatre

7:00 pm


Sunday, March 27

Graduate Exhibition Posters and Visual Art

HUB-Robeson Center

11:00 am - Judging Begins

12:00 pm - Exhibition open to the public


Spring 2011 Colloquium Series


Douglas Kelley

Associate Professor


Arizona State University-West


Forgiveness:  Grounds for Reconciliation

"Forgiveness has been conceptualized as a form of positive communication designed to restore self or other well-being, relationship quality, and a sense of relationship moral order.  Central to much forgiveness theorizing is the notion that forgiveness is unconditional; yet, many laypersons report giving forgiveness with conditions.  In this light, I explore the nature of forgiveness, specifically as a means of pursuing interpersonal reconciliation."

Friday, April 1, 2010
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
117 Thomas Building
University Park Campus
Penn State University

In the face of a proposed state budget that would see funding for Pennsylvania's public universities cut by more than 50 percent, Penn State President Graham Spanier, along with the leaders of Temple University, Lincoln University and the University of Pittsburgh, appeared before the state Senate Appropriations Committee March 16 to make the case for continued state support for the commonwealth's state-related institutions.

Sen. Jake Corman, chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee, asked the university leaders about the effects such a broad cut would have on their institutions. Overall, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposes more than $660 million in cuts to institutions of higher education. The cuts proposed for Penn State alone represent a decrease of $182 million, or 52.4 percent, in state funding.

The proposed appropriation cut would represent a decrease of about 17 percent of Penn State's overall instructional budget; the money is largely used to help offset to cost of tuition for Pennsylvania residents. Spanier reminded the committee that state-related universities have not contributed to the current budget deficit, since state appropriations have remained stagnant for the past decade even as other areas of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania spending continued to rise.

"We're all very mindful of the state's current budget situation, and we do expect to be part of the solution," Spanier said. "I'm not sure it's fair to say, however, that we are part of the problem in this respect: our appropriations in actual dollars have been flat over the last decade. We have not contributed to the state's deficit because our appropriation has not increased since 2000."

The presidents all said that they would not turn to tuition increases to primarily deal with appropriation cuts, yet the reductions would result in some level of higher tuition for in-state students, potentially pushing the cost of education at Pennsylvania's state-related universities out of reach for some students and families already stressed by student-loan debt. At Penn State, Spanier said the proposed cut would result in program cuts, layoffs, salary freezes and other measures.

"It is not true that any of us would unduly raise tuition, even under the most dire circumstances, as the principal way of remedying a shortfall in our appropriation," Spanier said. "Of course tuition would need to increase, but we could not put that great a burden on the backs of our current and prospective students."

Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, called the scope of the proposed cuts "stunning."

"The proposed cuts are deep, they are disproportionate, and they are damaging to some of the most productive institutions in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," he said. "I do think that this proposal ought to be a concern for everybody who cares about the next generation of Pennsylvanians and for everybody who cares about the shape of Pennsylvania's economy as we move into an increasingly competitive century."

Spanier said Penn State agricultural research and Cooperative Extension would be particularly hard-hit by a $29 million cut to their appropriation. In agriculture alone, he said, the workforce would be cut by about 440 positions, or 50 percent. That would surely mean a severe cutback in the breadth of services currently provided by Cooperative Extension to the state's agriculture industry.

"These are not made-up numbers, these are not numbers designed to shock people; these are actual projections. We've had to get very specific in the last few days because if this budget goes forward as it is now on July 1, we have to operate with a balanced budget just as the commonwealth does, and the numbers are very dramatic. Agriculture is just in one of the colleges of our University. There are ripple effects that would go out across the entire institution with appropriation reductions of the sort that we are looking at."

"We are prepared to do our fair share. We have never said differently. But I don't believe that a decrease in our appropriation at this level would constitute anyone's idea of what is a fair share for some of the state's greatest resources -- our public institutions of higher education."

Sen. John Rafferty Jr. asked about the impact on the state's economy if the proposed cuts were to stand. Penn State alone generates about $17 billion in direct and indirect economic activity in Pennsylvania every year. Spanier said the cuts would affect the University's ability to continue that output. Penn State brings in about $800 million in research funding annually, much of which comes from outside of the state, through grants.

"Each $1 million of research funding creates about 30 jobs within Pennsylvania," he said. "From an economic development standpoint, we make significant contributions."

In addition to jobs created by the influx of research funding, the majority of Penn State's graduates, and the graduates of the other state-related institutions, work in Pennsylvania when they graduate, and many who leave eventually return, contributing further to the state's economic well being.

"On the programmatic side, we are the principal producers of college graduates -- 18,000 graduates a year from Penn State, the majority of them taking jobs in Pennsylvania. Our contribution to the tax base, our contribution to economic development, our research activity with 750 different companies throughout the commonwealth -- these are all things that could be affected and could really erode the investment that the state has made in Penn State and in all of our public institutions historically."

Between the four state-related institutions about 150,000 students are educated each year.

Sen. Lisa Boscola said that while she supports many of the cuts proposed by the governor's budget, the reductions proposed for higher education are unfair and disproportionate. Boscola asked the panel about the percentage of students who stay in Pennsylvania after graduating from a state-related institution. Boscola said it is her hope that the final budget will find ways to keep more graduates in Pennsylvania.

Spanier said more students would stay if employment opportunities were available. He also said many return later in life. "Many of the students who at age 22 leave Pennsylvania to work elsewhere do ultimately come back after they've gotten some experience. That number is almost completely dependent on what job opportunities are out there for them. To the extent that the Universities can contribute to the economic strength of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we will keep even more of those graduates," he said.

Corman said the March 16 hearing represents a beginning to the Senate Appropriation Committee's budget discussions. He said he expects to stay in contact with the leaders of the commonwealth's state-related universities as the June 30 budget deadline approaches.

"It isn't new for higher education to take the brunt of budgetary problems. I don't know another line item in the budget that has (remained stagnant) over the last 8 years," Corman said. "This proposal has sort of shocked the commonwealth in a lot of ways ... I think by finally elevating higher education to this level, now the public is going to get engaged and hopefully put higher education at a higher level of priority for our budget."

The legislature will continue its hearings with other recipients of state funding and will work in the coming months to finalize the state budget.
Communication Arts and Sciences graduate student Yu Lu has been awarded a Confucius Institute Grant to support her research on immigrant health. The grant will allow her to interview Chinese immigrants about their health decisions, with the goal of developing an intervention to enhance their health.
Penn State president to respond to deep funding cuts proposed

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University Park, Pa. -- Following yesterday's (March 8) budget announcement by Gov. Tom Corbett, which proposed the most severe funding cut in Penn State's 157-year history -- a devastating reduction of $182 million -- Penn State President Graham Spanier will hold a press briefing at 10:30 a.m. today (March 9), to address the issue. Anyone interested in listening to President Spanier's response to the proposed cuts can view a live video stream of the event online at beginning at 10:30 a.m.

His briefing also will be carried live on WPSU in State College and WPSX Kane and can be heard at:

90.1 in Northern Pennsylvania
91.5 - Central Pennsylvania
92.1 - DuBois
95.1 - Treasure Lake
100.9 - Bradford
102.5 - Huntingdon
104.7 - Clearfield
106.7 - Altoona

For more information about the proposed funding cut, visit online.
from Penn State Live (March 8, 2011)

Penn State and other Pennsylvania public universities are slated for the most dramatic appropriation cut in the history of American higher education, based on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's budget proposal released today (March 8) by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The budget cuts Penn State's appropriation by 52.4 percent, a devastating reduction of $182 million. This includes a 50 percent cut in Penn State's educational appropriation, a 50 percent cut in its Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension appropriations, the loss of all federal stimulus dollars, a reduction for the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and the total elimination of medical assistance funding for the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

The proposed appropriation represents the most severe funding cut in Penn State's 157-year history and suggests a redefinition of Penn State's role as Pennsylvania's land-grant institution.

"A funding gap this large is going to fundamentally change the way we operate, from the number of students we can educate, to the tuition we must charge, to the programs we offer and the services we can provide, to the number of employees and the research we undertake," said President Graham Spanier.

According to university officials, a cut of this magnitude jeopardizes the University's mission of providing access and opportunity to students at 24 campuses. It would undermine support of the Commonwealth's agricultural industry and force a complete redefinition of the state's Cooperative Extension Service and the agricultural research upon which it depends. It would affect the University's ability to sustain dozens of programs that support economic development in the Commonwealth.

The University currently receives less than 8 percent of its annual operating budget from the state, a figure that has eroded significantly over the last two decades. Under the governor's proposal, that figure will fall to 4 percent.

This budget proposal comes on the heels of a decade of stagnant state appropriations that in some years also were reduced again through mid-year rescissions.

Cuts in higher education budgets are being proposed in many states, but never has a single institution's budget been slated for a reduction of more than 50 percent in a given year. The University would have a matter of only a few weeks to manage such a catastrophic cut. 

"A reduction of this magnitude would necessitate massive budget cuts, layoffs and tuition increases, with a devastating effect on many students, employees and their families," said Al Horvath, senior vice president for Finance and Business. "While we have for many months been planning for a potential state funding cut, we could not have envisioned one so damaging to the future of the University and the Commonwealth."

University officials report that no one in state government reached out to them with any advance notice of such a possibility, nor was there any prior discussion about the potential impact of such a cut.

Penn State has mobilized a team of University leaders to look at operational cuts. "We must consider the welfare of our students and the quality of their education, not to mention our long-term funding stability," said Steve Garban, chairman of Penn State's Board of Trustees. "As we work to handle a potential funding cut, we'll be guided by our goals of quality and access, and we'll seek to avoid having our students and their families shoulder this entire burden through increased tuition -- although tuition will rise."

"We are eager to explore with elected officials whether they support this proposal and whether they see this as the first step toward the complete elimination of public higher education in Pennsylvania," said John Surma, CEO of US Steel, who serves as vice chair of Penn State's Board of Trustees and chair of its Budget Subcommittee.

Administrators plan to deal with the cuts as equitably as possible, but significant downsizing in academic and administrative units will be under consideration. Scaling back plans for critical facility needs, such as major maintenance and capital improvements, will be undertaken; changes to the University's health care programs will be revisited to create additional savings; salary increases for employees will likely again be frozen; and more across-the-board budget reductions for academic and administrative units will have to be instituted.

"We are committed to finding every possible way to reduce expenses and maintain quality," added Spanier. "We face difficult choices and this will be an extremely challenging year -- one that quite possibly will change the face of higher education in the Commonwealth."

The governor's budget proposal is the first step in the appropriation process. Penn State will continue to press its case for support with the General Assembly and the governor over the next several weeks.

"I want to thank Penn Staters for their continued support and for all of their efforts that allow Penn State to be the most student-centered research university in the nation," added Spanier. "I deeply appreciate the commitment we feel from our 96,000 students, our 47,000 faculty and staff, and our 514,000 alumni. I vow to challenge the level of this reduction aggressively and welcome the support that is already pouring in."


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