Energy - August 11, 2017

PA State System of Higher Education names interim Chancellor

Karen Whitney, Clarion University President, has been named the interim chancellor of the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). She will take over on September 12. Whitney has been with Clarion University for seven years and will serve until a permanent successor is chosen. She had previously announced that she would retire from Clarion next year.

Current Chancellor, Frank Brogan, announced his retirement, effective September 1, last month. PASSHE has recently faced budget shortfalls and declining enrollment. Brogan’s announcement coincided with a report from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems that said PASSHE was “plagued by weak leadership and dysfunctional management.”

Reactions to Whitney being named interim chancellor saw mixed reviews. The State College and University Professional Association President, Sheleta Camarda-Webb praised Whitney; saying she was the “best choice” for the job; the association represents about 700 mid-level managers at the state schools. The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, which represents about 5,500 faculty members and coaches, had concerns. President Ken Mash said that “morale was low” under Whitney at Clarion. They also felt that are issues with her “leadership style, priorities, lack of support for the academic enterprise, and her defensiveness in the wake of criticism.” While that’s a heavy list of concerns, Mash did not that the faculty union hoped to foster a good relationship with Whitney moving forward.