Rudolph K. Glocker, Ballot Position No. 45

Rudolph K. Glocker ’91, ’93g Lib
Managing Partner, Pediped Footwear
Henderson, Nev.

Read Glocker’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?

To secure its financial future, Penn State needs to embrace technological change, examine and adapt its current offerings, demonstrate its value to the Pennsylvania economy and use its alumni base to enact legislative change. Technology offers the ability to teach students more quickly, more cheaply (with less costly infrastructure) and most importantly, better than many current methods. Penn State should focus on the success of its World Campus and use these tools to evolve and adapt its teachings methods as appropriate for its current offerings. Penn State should focus on value added programs. All Penn State programs – educational and extra-curricular – should be examined and measured by their impact on the educational experience of students. Programs delivering the most value should be continued or expanded. Programs that perform poorly should be improved, adapted, or eliminated. Penn State needs to prove to the Legislature that a $1.00 to Penn State is $1.50 in additional tax revenue to Pennsylvania over time. There are some great programs at Penn State that contribute to Pennsylvania’s economy. These case studies need to be sold as a way to increase the tax base. Penn State needs to rally its considerable alumni base to gain additional political support for its educational mission. Just as it is important to vote for the best candidates in this Trustee election, it is important for alumni to vote for Legislators who support 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.

Penn State should take three major steps to combat the rising cost of tuition. These are defining an affordable cost, cutting expenses and focusing on value creation. Penn State should determine an affordable cost for a Pennsylvania resident to obtain a Penn State degree. A starting point for this discussion would be a cost a middle class Pennsylvania family can afford (without taking on massive debt), assuming they have two children. The University needs to recognize this cost and ensure that in-state tuition does not rise above this level. By using this cost as a ceiling, it will force the Board and the Administration to make difficult decisions in the near future as opposed to filling the budget gap by raising tuition. Cutting costs is critical. With a +$4,000,000,000 annual budget, however, a 2% ($80,000,000 or more than $1500 per full time student) cut is feasible. Private enterprise does this all the time. Penn State needs to evaluate and adapt its cost structure for the 21st century. Finally, Penn State needs to make sure it increases the value of a Penn State education, “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” The University needs to make sure that a student is getting back far more than $1 in value for the $1 they pay in terms of tuition, fees, housing, food and opportunity cost. If the University provides outstanding value, students and their families will find Penn State more affordable.

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

I believe that Penn State’s mission in the 21st century should be: “To provide a world class education at an attainable price for the citizens of Pennsylvania and the world.” A world class education means that any Penn State graduate would be able to compete academically with a graduate of any other institution in the same academic discipline. This is true whether it is Engineering, Mathematics, English, Business, Political Science, or the Arts. Penn State should continue to be one of the finest academic institutions in the world and enhance its lead in Fulbright Scholars, distance education and its #1 ranking with recruiters. A world class education also means that Penn State ensures its graduates are not only great students, but can relate to all types of people from different walks of life, as well as people and cultures from around the world. One of Penn State’s greatest assets is the diversity of its students. It is important to enhance this aspect of Penn State by attracting top students and facility from around the world. This will help give Penn State students a competitive advantage in their careers. An attainable price means an education that a middle class family with two children can afford to send both children to Penn State without incurring unreasonable amounts of debt. Education is a long term investment that pays off over time. Penn State should not unnecessarily burden our graduates and/or their families with debts they cannot afford.

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