Amy L. Williams, Ballot Position No. 14

Amy L. Williams ’80 H&HD
Founder and Managing Director, SageWorks Rx
Wayne, Pa.

Read Williams’ official bio and position statement here (PDF download).

Answers to Questions

1. In view of sharply declining state appropriations, what steps should Penn State be taking to secure its financial future?

As the percentage of Penn States General  Funds Budget supported by state appropriations have grossly eroded over the last four decades, the University will need to work with the state to increase the overall percentage or re-evaluate  level of control the state has over PSU. This includes, but is not limited to, re-evaluating  the number of BoT seats so they  reflect the percentage of Penn States overall budget covered by state appropriatons.   Current percentage of overall budget covered by the state is ~ 5%.  This translates into 2-3 board seats vs. the current 11 which are State controlled.

Look to new channels of revenue vs. the derivative approach of returning to the same channels for income.  The strategy of increasing tuition and fees is pedestrian, needs to evolve and should be used only as a last resort.

Evaluate all cost centers for efficiencies.  On a yearly basis grade and rank all cost centers based on Return on Investment and cost effectiveness.  Publish results

2. The rising cost of tuition nationally is making college less affordable for many students. Outline the steps you believe Penn State should be taking to address the issue.

As this question is an extension of the first,  the below recommendations are  meant to be complimentary to the above:

Evaluate expenses  by college, branch campus  and develop an ROI approach of  investing.

Change the paradigm from one of a strictly Higher Education “business” model to adopting characteristics of a business/ free market model within the University.

Ensure healthy competition among our colleges and majors to ensure we are offering majors which are valued in the work place and which are covering their costs.   Re-evaluate offering  those majors which are not meeting these metrics.  Redirect these funds to colleges and majors which have met prescribed ROIs and metrics.

Rank colleges and majors by the % of students with job offers after graduating.

3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?

Identify where the nations needs are today and a rolling 5-10 years moving forward

Develop majors which support the future and where there are jobs.   Have the corporate and academic fortitude to walk away from those which will be obsolete.

Develop outreach programs for children in grade, middle and high school which emphasize the importance of math and science and disciplines which support the needs of our Nation 10-15 years moving forward.

Develop metrics for the above and publish results on a yearly basis.  Ensure everyone, regardless of gender, race, income, religion or upbringing has the opportunity to have access to a quality education where they can be valuable members of society and meet the economic needs of our Nation.

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