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June 26, 2014

Still no decision but Alexander confident about UPT’s future


No decision on the future of Pitt’s Titusville campus has been made two years after its administrative realignment under Pitt-Bradford President Livingston Alexander, but Alexander still is confident about its future, and says the changes have been beneficial.

“We’re moving forward and we await some decisions that will affect the future of the campus,” Alexander said, adding that no details can be divulged. “We’re considering a number of different options and no decision has been made yet about which option to move into.”

Nor is there a timetable for any decision. Ken Service, vice chancellor for Communications, said the decision remains with the provost’s office and is not dependent on the new chancellor taking office in August.

President Livingston Alexander

President Livingston Alexander

Alexander said: “We have really had no discussion with the new chancellor-elect about Titusville. That is a matter he will take up along with the provost at a time they feel is appropriate to do so.”

However, Service said, the realignment has been “successful.” During the past two years of lowered or flat state funding, he said UPT has not shed any faculty or staff since the Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VERP) ended, and has added five associate degree programs: criminal justice, biological sciences, computer technology, psychology and history. According to Service, the campus is considering adding an associate’s degree in petroleum engineering in concert with the employment opportunities in the region. Some UPT classes now are taught by UPB faculty, both remotely and on the Titusville campus.

While UPT enrollment has fallen from 501.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) students in 2007 to 325 in 2013, Alexander called enrollment levels “good for fall,” although “it’s early” to know exact figures, adding: “Many of our students make their decisions later than most colleges’ and universities’.” He believes the campus retention rate “has improved significantly” because UPT is providing more financial aid to students than in past years.

Alexander also said campus officials are “recruiting very aggressively. We are doing everything we can to provide a strong offering of courses … to enhance the experience students have on campus.

“The faculty and the staff at Pitt-Titusville are working extremely hard to achieve viability,” he said. “They are optimistic about the future of the campus.”

—Marty Levine