“Get off my case!”

The other day, I went to hear President Driscoll participate in a 6:00 O’Clock Series.  There were students, a few faculty and administrators in attendance.

President Driscoll is IUP’s 26 official president.  He agreed to have an open forum on an abundance of topics from his personal life, to academics and the budget and student affairs to changes/improvements for IUP.

This was a chance to hear how the new president views IUP after weeks of hearing what others thought.

President Driscoll begun by explaining his leadership style as “collaborative.”  I couldn’t agree more.

With his help, we have been able to speak with community members, administrators, alumni, students and faculty.  He has put so much trust in our class and has given us a chance to collaborate in a new way.

The president also mentioned the need to ensure student success.  There was an emphasis on research and encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship.

“As a father of two college students, what we are doing here is not bad,” said President Driscoll.  And then jokingly adds, “Get off my case.”

He really did seem to believe in the university and what we can accomplish.  Hearing that may have been just the thing the students need to hear.

We are doing good things here.

President Driscoll seemed to not only want to make a difference for IUP, but also to make a difference for the community of Indiana.  He mentioned the high domestic violence in rural Pennsylvania.  He hopes to help create a safe and healthy environment for the students of IUP and community as well.  The university is, after all, a part of the community, and President Driscoll recognizes this and wants to work to build a better relationship.  He is hoping to be more proactive and hopes to help mend broken relationships of the past.  A big picture impact is important, he said.

He expressed the need for diversity on campus.  IUP has a few partnerships with international universities and many abroad opportunities for students and faculty.  This is an aspect of learning that brings diversity and new opportunities for our students.  There are many opportunities of this kind in Eberly College of Business, but the president hopes to make it even more prevalent in other colleges.  He promised, “There will be more.”  President Driscoll is looking for an assistant to focus on student equity.  He hopes this position will increase diversity on campus, focusing on the Latino community in particular.

The president also gave us a few words of advice.

“There are some things you can do and experience now that you won’t be able to do again.  Take advantage in a safe, legal way.”

Be engaged in classwork.  There are classes he wishes he didn’t sleep through and things he wishes he knew now.  Make new friends, experience the community.  Expand your horizons and explore a little.  Do your work, but then go and try new things!

And what really struck me is the fact that the president has given so many opportunities for the students of our class in particular to do all of these things.  This Strategic Visioning Project has given us all the chances in the world to become more engaged in our classwork. We have a hand in helping our university in a way that is unheard of for undergraduates (according to Michele).  And we have taken full advantage of this opportunity.  Because of this class, I have learned so much.  In one year, President Driscoll has helped to shape my entire college education.

-Rita Kennedy

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