Matthew W. Schuyler, Ballot Position No. 21
Chief HR officer
Read Schuyler’s official bio and position statement here. (PDF download.)
1. Describe how you think the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the university president should function.
The basis of the relationship follows a general rule of thumb: Day-to-day management of the University is delegated to the President. The Board provides counsel and governs. But as we discuss the overall relationship, it is important to differentiate between the Board as a whole and the Board as individuals. The value of the Board is that each member brings unique skills, perspectives and insight into the University. If done correctly, important decisions should be made after differing opinions are expressed, evaluated and reconciled. Unanimous votes should not be the goal. Tough questions, rich debate, and sound solutions for our beloved University should be the goal. As we know all too clearly, it is critical that the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the President is transparent, respectful and filled with a deep commitment to uphold the honor of our institution. Together, the President and the Board should prioritize students first and all subsequent decision-making should generate from that position.
2. What would you do to help heal the university community and to assist the university as it continues to recover from the Sandusky scandal?
When the football team takes the field this fall, only the seniors will know what it was like to have Joe Paterno as a coach. A full three-quarters of the student section will be filled with students who came to Penn State after the scandal. Before we know it, we won’t be able ask current students what it was like for them when the scandal broke; we will only hear their reasons for choosing this great institution after it. While many of today’s students lived through the scandal in a very personal and painful way, most don’t think about it frequently. They are future-focused. Clearly, it is more complicated for our alumni. While we have learned a great deal about our strength and fortitude through this crisis, there is still more to learn and more to do. Many alums cannot have a conversation about the future until acknowledgements about past mistakes are stated and the course is—in some way—corrected. It is important that the Board address this straight on, with vision, humility and respect. Joe Paterno was one of the reasons I came to Penn State. Success with honor is real to me, and we cannot ignore the past. If elected, I look forward to finding appropriate and meaningful ways to honor Joe Paterno’s remarkable legacy. Still, our recovery in the university community is strong and palpable. I will help celebrate and advance our remarkable forward progress at every opportunity.
3. What, in your view, are the major fiscal challenges Penn State will face over the next three years—and how should the university address them?
The major fiscal challenges we will face over the next three years are: attracting and retaining top faculty and staff; maintaining the physical plant (facilities at all campuses); and funding strategic initiatives that will propel us forward academically. The biggest single expense in the Penn State budget is human resources. The salaries and benefits for over 17,000 talented faculty and staff at all locations continue to represent the biggest slice of the budget pie. For 2013-14, the cost of the University’s benefits program alone increased by $28.8 million in health care costs and mandated employer contributions for retirement and social security. As the Chief Human Resource Officer for a company with over 320,000 employees, I have been personally charged with understanding the full range of benefit options nationally and globally. I believe my experience and areas of expertise can be of value to the University as we address these national and local budget issues. As a University, we must balance the desire to invest in infrastructure for our students with grants and scholarships so that those who worked and dreamed of going to college get that opportunity. We must also create new ways for these students to receive their education through online courses and educational programs. Penn State must continue to attract the best and brightest while making it affordable. We will do this by managing costs and increasing revenue through strategic adjustments and relationships.