The report to the University Senate’s Budget Policies committee by Executive Vice Provost David DeJong contained an error, according to University officials. A statement from Pitt said: "While we have been working with Manchester Bidwell on the educational hub initiative since announcing our transition plan, it is still premature to name additional partners, since Pitt–Titusville is still in discussions to finalize details. We hope to be able to share more news on this front very soon.”
By DONOVAN HARRELL
Pitt–Titusville will partner with Manchester Bidwell Corp. and Butler Community College for its transition to “The Hub,” David DeJong, executive vice provost, told members of the University Senate’s Budget Policies committee at its April meeting.
The new system will start in August 2020, DeJong said. Renovations will begin this December or January 2020 on the Broadhurst Science Center and are expected to be finished by July for the August start time. These renovations, DeJong said, will allow for easier coordination between Pitt and its community partners.
Pitt’s Board of Trustees originally approved of the campus’ transition into an Education and Training Campus Hub in March 2018. The goal is lower operating costs while offering new services and partnerships.
The campus and Pitt–Bradford will fall under Catherine Koverola’s leadership. She will begin her new position as president of both campuses in June.
Toward the end of last year, Pitt–Titusville faculty and staff were told they would face reductions following this change. The University offered full-time faculty and staff severance packages in November, however, this was met with some complaints.
It’s still unclear how many faculty and staff will remain at the Pitt–Titusville campus. Each faculty member was given the opportunity to stay on board until the transition finishes in August 2020. Some faculty have been given an opportunity to transfer to other regional campuses.
"So, it’s just a little fuzzy right now, but we’ll continue to give you updates. By the fall we’ll know who’ll return and what the status is," DeJong said.
So far, former Senate Council President Frank Wilson said one faculty member has interviewed for a position at Pitt–Greensburg, where he’s an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice. He said there are plans to interview another Pitt–Titusville faculty member.
DeJong also said the portion of staff asked to stay at the campus was larger than the percentage of faculty.
According to the University fact book, in the fall 2018 semester, there were 202 students enrolled in the campus. DeJong said these students will have the University’s full support as they finish their two-year programs.
It’s also unclear what specific courses will be available once the transition is complete, but it’s expected that there will be more trade-oriented classes offered through a “shared services model” between Pitt, Manchester Bidwell and Butler Community College.
Manchester Bidwell is a nonprofit center based on Pittsburgh’s North Side that offers training for careers in health care, horticulture, laboratories, restaurants, pharmacies, hotels and private clubs.
The partnership agreement between the schools includes staff, instructors and shared facilities support, DeJong said.
Committee Chair Wesley Rohrer asked DeJong what the student enrollment goal is for the new model. DeJong said the University is hoping to sustain at least 50 students for its programs.
“I think in my own view, the plan is really exciting,” Rohrer said. “It has some real potential ... to serve the region.”
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at email@example.com or 412-383-9905.