As we reflect on the past year, 2013 has given us much for which to be grateful. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends in the community, Pitt-Johnstown completed its New Dimension of Excellence strategic plan with significant and lasting transformations taking place throughout the institution.
Today our campus enjoys greater visibility and a higher profile. At the end of the summer we were honored with a Proclamation from the Mayor of Johnstown, Mr. Trigona, who gave voice to the highly positive impressions of Pitt Johnstown from around our community. More recently, we were also presented with a similar commendation from the Cambria County Commissioners who were unanimous in their praise of the transformation that has occurred at Pitt Johnstown as well as our positive impact on the economic and cultural life of the region. Meanwhile, last weekend, we received a laurel from the Tribune Democrat whose editors stated, “We’re proud to have Pitt Johnstown in our backyard!” These and other accolades from community members, employers, alumni attest to the growing recognition of our quality and impact on many levels (http://www.pitt-johnstown.pitt.edu/35093/).
Of note, our faculty are increasingly recognized for praiseworthy teaching, scholarship and research. Consistent with our vision of education for the RealWorld, many faculty members involve students in research, mentoring them to develop projects, produce publishable papers and deliver invited and or juried presentations. Dr. Jill Henning, along with student co-authors Stephen Bart, Timothy Johnson, Dylan DeGol, published an article in the journal Advances in Tumor Virology. Dr. John Mullennix and his students, Chi Chan, Zach Mickey, and Lisa Polaski, presented their research at this year’s Association for Psychological Science meeting in Washington, DC, and at the Eastern Psychological Association Meeting in New York City. By such up close and personal interaction with faculty through engagement in research, scholarship and creative activity, our students are acquiring a competitive edge in their preparation for success in the RealWorld.
The tremendous changes ushered in by our New Dimension plan also included 12 new academic programs that responded to students and community needs and that increased our attractiveness to prospective students. For example, responding to surveys that showed that criminal justice was one of the most requested majors from callers inquiring about our programs, the campus developed a leading-edge justice administration/criminology program that is growing rapidly. And of course, there’s nursing and our BSN program that has graduated nurses into our community.
There is hardly a more palpable way to describe the transformation of campus than in the sweeping changes to our campus facilities, infrastructure and technology. Extensive facilities projects have upgraded and redesigned a broad swath of campus including our newly built facilities, to wit, the state of the art Wellness Center and the recently opened Nursing and Health Sciences Building.
These changes were all made possible through the efforts and goodwill of people who support Pitt Johnstown in myriad ways. Our faculty who give their talents and energies to cultivating minds and unleashing potential. Our dedicated staff whose efforts continue to enhance a supportive living-learning environment, offering personalized assistance to facilitate success from admission to graduation. Our students whose motivation, participation and sheer grit simply inspires. Our community members, especially the Advisory Board whose support and involvement paves the path to many of our successes. And last, but definitely not least, our donors, whose generosity over the years is reflected in several transformative gifts, bequests and grants.
While these accomplishments give us even more reason to celebrate this season, we know that we cannot rest on our laurels. Work is already underway on the development of a new strategic plan that will take Pitt-Johnstown to the next level, distinctive excellence.
I want to personally thank all of you who have taken the time to participate in this important process by completing our strategic plan survey. In total, more than 800 surveys have been completed. This high response rate speaks to the deep commitment shared by all of you to ensure that Pitt-Johnstown retains its position as the regional leader in educating for the real world.
Extensive progress has already been made by the task forces that have been charged with exploring and analyzing opportunities to assess the efficacy of our institutional endeavors, redouble our efforts toward optimizing educational quality, pursue untapped opportunities, and lay the groundwork for future success. The overall strategic planning effort is being coordinated by the strategic plan steering committee, under the leadership of Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Shawn Brooks. The steering committee is working closely with five task forces that have been established: Institutional Performance Task Force, Distinctive Programs Task Force, Recruitment and Marketing Task Force, Pride of Place Task Force, and People First: Our People, Our Practices, and the Pitt-Johnstown Way Task Force.
As you read through this Community Report, I hope that you take pride in the role that you have played in the successes of our beloved Pitt-Johnstown. It is my hope the Report captures just a few glittering examples of what our people are doing every day, why Pitt Johnstown is a very special place.
Please accept my sincerest wishes for a joyful and restful holiday.
Please click here to view Pitt-Johnstown's Winter 2013 Community Report.