President's Updates

October 2020

As the days grow shorter, temperatures get colder, and fall arrives with the changing colors of leaves, we have made it to the halfway point of the semester. I want to thank everyone for helping to get us to this point safely. We have been fortunate to have a manageable number of COVID-19 positive cases in our community, which has limited the spread of the virus. With the recent uptick in the number of positive cases across the Commonwealth, we must remain vigilant in the weeks ahead and continue to support each other.

October brings opportunities for awareness and action. We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Breast-a-Ville, which educates our community about the importance of breast health, cancer awareness and prevention. We are also participating in National Cyber Security Awareness Month by partnering with KnowBe4.com to offer cyber security awareness training, helping us become more cyber aware. Because faculty, staff and students are the frontlines of campus cyber security, staying cyber aware is necessary to keep the network safe and reliable.

This month, we broke ground for the Divine Nine and Cultural Greek Council Unity Plots and walkway along the grounds adjacent to the Student Memorial Center and Shenks Lane. This installation will honor the long-established history and service of Black Greek lettered organizations and Lantinx fraternities and sororities. When the work is complete, MU will become the first predominantly white institution in PASSHE to dedicate Divine Nine plots.

We are also looking ahead to the national election that will occur in just a few weeks. As a reminder, we are a signatory to the “All In, Campus Democracy Challenge,” which is a non-partisan initiative designed to increase student voting rates. I hope that each of you will practice our EPPIIC value of public mission and participate in the election process by registering (October 19 deadline), engaging in productive conversations about the candidates and most importantly by voting. Regardless of our political affiliations, we are all Marauders. Let us be a model of civic responsibility, civic engagement and civility.

As I often say, our people are the most important asset of our University. Two of the newest members of our community are Dr. Rachel Finley-Bowman, Associate Provost and Dean of Student Success, and Dr. Marc Tomljanovich, Dean for the Lombardo College of Business, and they have shared their thoughts on a few issues in this month’s issue.

This month’s newsletter also covers an important change that occurred over the summer, which is the transition from our former strategic plan, Our Bold Path, to the new plan, Tradition and Transformation. In addition, an update is provided on the new academic programs that were approved by the Office of the Chancellor during the last academic year. Finally, we close with a look at our alumni and their participation in a unique homecoming as well as activities in the surrounding Millersville Borough community during these uncertain times.

Let me close by reminding you of the Chancellor’s virtual site visit to MU and open forum on Wednesday, October 21, from 2:15-3:45 p.m. I hope you will be able to attend, hear from Chancellor Greenstein and participate in the discussion.

Be kind, be safe and stay healthy.

Welcome Drs. Finley-Bowman and Tomljanovich

In addition to welcoming new students this fall, it was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Rachel Finley-Bowman as the new dean of Student Success and associate provost for Academic Support Services and Dr. Marc Tomljanovich (pronounced Tom-yan-o-vich) to Millersville University as our new dean of the Lombardo College of Business. Both deans started on July 1, 2020 and they helped to kick off the fall semester.

Below are their thoughts on a few questions that were posed to them as part of their acculturation to our campus.

Dr. Rachel Finley-Bowman

Q. What does student success look like to you?
A. Actualized through our EPPIIC values, student success is a holistic enterprise in which every stakeholder on campus plays a role in championing a learning community dedicated to intellectual, personal, purposeful and professional growth.

Q. What areas do you oversee?
A. Many of the student support programs including the Department of Academic Advisement and Student Development, the Offices of Experiential Learning and Career Management, Learning Services, and Civic and Community Engagement, and the McNairy Library and Learning Forum.

Q. What advice do you have for setting goals?
A. When striving to set and achieve goals, two pieces of advice immediately come to mind: (1) think small and (2) ask for and accept support. The first suggestion doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reach for your greatest dreams but recognize instead that any large goal is a sum of smaller parts. Prioritize and focus upon how you can achieve each part along the way. This helps to lessen anxiety about the overall task and gives you victories to celebrate as you progress in your journey.

Q. Do you have words of wisdom for students this semester?
A. Teamwork and collaboration promote achievement, so don’t be afraid to ask for support or accept it when it is offered. Every faculty and staff member in the MU learning community are stakeholders in your success. Leverage our expertise and guidance to help you achieve your goals.

Dr. Marc Tomljanovich

Q. How do you feel about starting at Millersville?
A. I can’t stress to you how excited I am. This is an amazing opportunity to be able to guide a brand-new college. Faculty, staff, and students get to work collectively to figure out what we want this college to become at a time with so much uncertainty about the future of business and the skills our graduates will need to be successful in their careers.

Q. What are your plans for the Lombardo College of Business?
A. My initial goal is to discover what’s done really well here at Millersville and enhance it. We will expand the Lombardo College of Business into new programs and experiences that don’t require us to reinvent the wheel, but that play to our academic strengths.

Q. How do you plan to infuse new ideas into an already strong program?
A. Business isn’t as cut and dry as a discipline like, say, physics. Business is multi-faceted and inherently interdisciplinary. Business problems are human problems. To understand these issues well, we must pull in ideas from sociology, from psychology and in some cases, music or art. Our alumni and the surrounding community are also central to giving our students opportunities to network and explore outlets for their creativity and inquisitiveness.

Q. Do you have plans for cross-discipline programs?
A. As we look at crafting new programs and marketing who we are as a college, we don’t want to silo ourselves. I welcome the opportunity to work with both the other colleges across the University and local organizations to devise concrete ways to help our students thrive at Millersville and in life.

Tradition and Transformation

Strategic plans, while living documents, are designed to cover a finite time period. “Our Bold Path,” the university’s strategic plan for the past five years, served us well. This plan sunset on June 30, 2020, and we are excited about the transition to our new strategic plan, “Tradition and Transformation.” This new plan will serve as a blueprint that will guide us through 2025.

“Tradition and Transformation” is also a living document and will be refined and revised by the existing Strategic Advisory Council (SAC), the President's Council (PC), and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (cabinet). A special thanks to the All University Council (AUC) for their work to craft a dynamic document.

With the new strategic plan, we have a new mission statement, “We are a community dedicated to high quality education at an exceptional value” and a new vision statement, “We will inspire learners to change the world.” Those statements, together with our EPPIIC values, form the key messages that provide direction and purpose for our university. They will also help us focus on what we are collectively trying to achieve. Our EPPIIC values -- Exploration, Public Mission, Professionalism, Integrity, Inclusion and Compassion – remain unchanged as the pillars upon which conduct our daily operations.

Within the new plan are four strategic directions that form the framework for our goals and objectives:

  • Ensure Access, Affordability and Completion
  • Transform Student Experiences and Foster Innovation
  • Invest Strategically in People and Place
  • Communicate Our Value

Work is underway to establish specific strategies and key performance indicators within each direction. As I said in the State of the ’Ville video last month, this plan will serve as our guideposts for the next five years to move our institution to higher heights.

New Academic Programs

Our academic programs at Millersville University continue to attract and educate talented students and bright minds from around the region and across the world. I’m excited to highlight some of our newest academic programs that began this year. Each of these academic offerings give our graduates a competitive edge in their professional fields, connects us more closely to workforce demands and showcases our university’s ability to embrace and enhance an ever-changing world.

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences now welcomes students in new areas of study that focus on the entertainment industry like media arts production, entertainment technology and music business technology.

The College of Education and Human Services now offers a major in sport administration, and an educational specialist graduate credential in school psychology. The College of Science and Technology is welcoming students in new majors such as information technology, population health, environmental and spatial sciences, and emergency management. Within this college, the Applied Engineering Safety and Technology program now offers a new degree program in packing engineering technology, in addition to concentrations in manufacturing engineering technology and automation and intelligent robotics engineering technology.

These programs were developed in partnership with our local industries. Looking into the future, our new Office of Community Engagement, Governmental and Economic Development (CEGED) provides us a platform upon which we can build closer ties with our local business community. I am excited to welcome students to each of these new programs and look forward to seeing their success.

Mentoring Pays Dividends

According to Greek mythology, the concept of mentoring began in ancient times when King Odysseus entrusted his son to his friend, Mentor, to raise him while he was away fighting the Trojans. Subsequently, the name became synonymous with a trusted guide or counselor to someone with less experience. Often, the best liberal arts education includes an element of mentoring because it pays dividends for students as well as the mentors. As we strive to provide holistic liberal arts and sciences education to our students, I am glad to highlight some of our mentoring programs.

Last year, we piloted a program for juniors, whereby they were mentored by our alumni. We matched Marauder graduates with currently enrolled students. Alumni shared their hard-earned wisdom from their experience in the field, and our students developed relationships with ’Ville grads working in a wide range of industries. Overall, our juniors benefited from this program and we received positive feedback.

This semester, we launched a new peer mentorship program for first-year students through a partnership with Mentor Collective. The program matched 300 students to peer mentors in just three days after its July launch and is now supporting over 460 first-year students.

Through this program, first-year students can learn from a peer mentor who helps them navigate the challenges of starting college. Peer mentoring is a high-impact practice shown to increase students’ sense of belonging and enhance student success. Mentors receive training on how to give useful guidance to new students. Students can use Mentor Collective’s discussion guides and goal-setting activities to foster meaningful conversations with their mentors throughout the year.

Both of those programs are offered online. We also offer a wide range of on-campus mentoring programs, ranging from our Millersville Concerned Men and Concerned Women groups to the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE Super).

Whether you are a student in need of a mentor or a student who would like to help your fellow Marauders, MU has a place for you. For more information about joining either program visit the Mentorship Office website.

Homecoming Goes Virtual for 2020

Homecoming is an annual celebration for alumni, faculty, students, staff and our entire community. Because of the pandemic, this year’s celebration is a little different. While prioritizing health and safety, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and connect with MU through our virtual Homecoming Program.

Events this year include a selfie scavenger hunt, a purchasable Homecoming from Home kits, a digital scrapbook, Miles for Marauders virtual walk/run, a virtual golf tournament and commemorative t-shirts.

Virtual Homecoming events take place the weekend of October 23 and 24 as we continue to celebrate our Marauder Pride. I applaud our staff, students and faculty for their hard work in putting these virtual events together despite the challenges caused by the pandemic. While our Homecoming may look different this year, it is still a way for the University to come together, even at a distance.

Click here to learn more about this year’s Homecoming.

We’ll have to wait until next year for the popular Millersville Parade, but the good news is that the date has already been set so mark your calendars for Saturday, October 16, 2021.

MILLERSVILLE BOROUGH UPDATES

Our University has long enjoyed an excellent relationship with the surrounding borough of Millersville. In fact, our very own Dr. Carrie Lee Smith, associate professor of sociology, was elected as the president of Millersville’s Borough Council earlier this year. I encourage you to attend the borough council meetings in person or virtually on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

Through continuous collaboration and open communication, we intend to maintain our excellent relationship with the borough. One approach has been a monthly meeting that we initiated this summer. The Executive Director of CEGED, Dr. Victor DeSantis, and I have been meeting with the Millersville mayor, the borough manager and the Penn Manor School District Superintendent. We discuss, among many things, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how to keep our community safe.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, it gives me great pleasure to welcome several new businesses into our community and offer our support to those already established here. Phantom Power, a new music venue and microbrewery, recently opened and is already finding creative ways to bring world-class performers to town. Of course, our Marauders have long loved the Sugar Bowl, a fixture of the Millersville community, and we are so glad to continue to share our neighborhood with them. We also welcome Raney Cellars Brewing Company and the Cactus Café to our neck of the woods and wish them nothing but success.

And, on October 30 from 6-8 p.m., keep your eyes peeled for costumed children (and adults) as the borough practices safe trick-or-treating. If you’d like to participate, please turn your porch lights on and only pass out packaged candy. Of course, wear a mask–even if it’s not a part of your costume. You can see a calendar of all the borough’s upcoming events by visiting its website.