Matthew J. Sliwa, Ballot Position No. 72
Read Sliwa’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?
The first thing we need to do is restore the reputation of the University. The press coverage has been bad to say the least. Penn State University has so many incredible stories to tell. Those are being lost in one issue. A strong media campaign to show the world the greatness that is Penn State will start to help the financial issues because donors will return when they have a reason to return. Outside of that, all topics need to be open for discussion. That includes privitazation of the University, greater revenue from research, cost cutting measures, and any other idea that seems feasible. They must all be researched and the best ones be implemented.
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.
Campaigns for endowed scholarships can have a dramatic effect for the students that qualify. I think a greater effort to create more endowed scholarship funds can help defray the costs for some students. When the University contacts the average donor, it is usually a student calling to update the donor on what is new at the University. I get these calls all the time. We need to shift that focus to why the University needs you, the donor, this year. Specific campaigns targeting X number of scholarships and showing the benefits can go a long way. A $100 donoation by each Penn State Family can create many many endowed scholarships. Make them partial scholarships and that can allow many students a more affordable option to just loans and aid.
3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?
One of the pledges of land-grant universities was that it had to keep costs within reach for the average American family. The other is that the university focus on teaching, research, and public service. The main goal has to be the students. We have to make sure that we have the best talent possible to teach our students. With the best teachers, we can also increase the research component. An increase in research can increase the revenue to the university and thus assist in keeping a higher education more affordable for our students. Public service will continue to heal the image of the University. We are in tough times and will continue for some time. However, focusing on all the good the University does will help counteract the negative perception of the place we hold so dear.