David A. Dell, Ballot Position No. 41

David A. Dell ’76 Agr
Director of Marketing, Lebanon Turf
Strasburg, Pa.

Read Dell’s 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?

Penn State leadership must communicate very well across the commonwealth insuring all citizens of Pennsylvania are familiar with positive effect Penn State has on each citizen’s standard of living. A better informed public and alumni will become the strong grassroots work force needed in supporting Penn State through their legislators, both local and state. Increased communication on the importance of Penn State fulfilling the land grand mission of “education of the industrial class” will improve understanding by all segments of the state’s citizens.

Additionally, Penn State leadership must find more efficient alternatives to deliver quality education. From facilities to personnel performance and compensation, more efficiency is needed.  Invite business leaders with experience successfully leading businesses to provide valuable input as advisors and mentors for Penn State administration and faculty.

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.

Step one; continually drive to a more efficient education process by taking steps as the College of Agriculture is taking at this time. The College of Agriculture is restructuring from twelve departments to nine. This change will improve education by focusing on core curriculum and removing processes and activities not needed for the future.

Focus the university administration and faculty on the priorities of the university, education first, research second. Determine the importance and quantity of each faculty member’s time in the classroom versus other activities they are engaged in today.  Partner with other universities, streamlining the curriculum and majors to a core offering.

Leverage the Commonwealth campus system providing greater “local” opportunities to reduce the total cost of education for more students. More classes delivered locally.

Increase the application of education technology to reach more students through the World Campus and between University Park and Commonwealth campuses to increase the teaching hours and efficiency of valuable faculty.

Increase the direct involvement of alumni and industry leaders in the classrooms improving curriculum content and the practical value of the Penn State education.

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

The Land Grant mission is the foundation of Penn State. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 was one of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of our country. In 1863 Penn State became one of the nation’s first and Pennsylvania’s only land-grant institution. Penn State remains Pennsylvania’s only land-grant institution. The Morrill Act gave Penn State a three-part mission of teaching, research and service. Fulfilling the mission is really about providing food and fiber for the citizens of Pennsylvania and for much of the world. The mission is about developing new innovative production methods and products to meet the needs of the growing population while protecting the environment. Penn State must keep the land-grand mission, an obligation really, at the forefront of the university’s long term strategies. Two areas must be prioritized. First, the core education and research functions in support of the land-grand mission by attracting and retaining leading education and research personnel, and second the long term funding which today comes from federal, state and local sources. An immediate need is to develop a more secure funding strategy to reduce the dependence on and risk of government funding.

A great way for to learn more on the land-grant mission and the opportunities for the future is to view a three minute video produced by Penn State. The link is: http://live.psu.edu/youtube/5Vh5Bim3Enw

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