Michael J. Carroll, Ballot Position No. 51

Michael J. Carroll ’04 Eng
Engineer, Black & Veatch
Fairfax, Va.

Read Carroll’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?

It is a scary thought, but the idea of privatizing the University will likely be upon us before we would expect it.  It is the job of the Trustees to be prepared with the answers about privatization when that time comes.  I am sure that many advocacy and lobbying groups have worked with their networks to raise every penny they can, but it’s time to start looking towards other grant campaigns and corporate sponsors. The following steps could be considered to address securing Penn State’s financial future:

  • Reevaluate our current corporate agreements to see if we can restructure them for additional funding.
  • Appeal to new advocacy groups and highlight the great steps the University is making among its research and development components.
  • Send more lobbyists to Harrisburg and Washington.

The dollar-per-student ratio that Penn State receives compared to Pitt and Temple is demeaning.  In order to stay atop the academic echelon, Pennsylvania legislators need to provide more financial support to Penn State.

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.

The economy has affected everyone in this country in various ways.  Everyone has been forced to cut corners, students and parents of students alike.  This drop in higher education financing should not force the University to decrease entrance standards; rather we should be steering our academic standards to recruit top-tier professors and students.

Pursuing the endeavors listed above to help keep the cost of tuition affordable, but now is not the time to cut corners on academic standards. The University should seek to increase endowments to provide scholarship opportunities for students who seek the excellent education opportunities at Penn State. Striving to secure Penn State’s financial future includes the need to focus on supporting excellent students of all economic levels in their pursuit of higher education.

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

The current strategic plan outlines the mission of the University and how to carry it out until 2014.  In only a few months, that mission will need to be addressed to push Penn State into the next decade and the Board and faculty alike need to break down the present strategic plan point-by-point and rewrite the plan for 2020.  In doing so, Penn State will be able to remain in the forefront of the nation’s education and research institutions.  A quick review of the present plan, with ideas facing forward:

  • Recruit academically successful students from across the country and the world to enhance student success.
  • Employ world-class faculty to further advance academic and research excellence.
  • Increase research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to realize Penn State’s place as a Global University.
  • Promote Schreyer’s Honor’s College as an affordable Ivy League alternative and endorse other top-tier academic colleges and programs to maintain access, affordability and enhance diversity.
  • Expand four-year degree offerings at Commonwealth campuses to serve the People of the Commonwealth and beyond.
  • Continue to reach out to large technological companies to provide technology to expand access and opportunities for students and faculty.
  • Appeal to benefactors, legislators, research grants and donors in order to control costs and generate more efficient ways of earning and spending revenue.

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