PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

My Dad (John Diercks) for Penn State BOT

My Dad is running for the Penn State Board of Trustees, and I’m using the website below to support his candidacy.

http://www.johnspennstatefootball.com

You can also follow me on Twitter as I support my Dad:

https://twitter.com/#!/JohnDiercks

If you have questions or would like copies of my Dad’s bio and position statement, please e-mail me at Diercksjr@aol.com

He has my vote!! Loved the position statement.

Is he privy to all the details of the scandal?

Tundra: Thank you.

GoSpikes: Regarding the scandal, he has the same details as all of us, but his time in the military prepared him to deal with all kinds of situations.

[quote=“JD, post:1, topic:3099”]My Dad is running for the Penn State Board of Trustees, and I’m using the website below to support his candidacy.

http://www.johnspennstatefootball.com

You can also follow me on Twitter as I support my Dad:

https://twitter.com/#!/JohnDiercks

If you have questions or would like copies of my Dad’s bio and position statement, please e-mail me at Diercksjr@aol.com[/quote]

He says he wants to strengthen the University in academics. This is priority #1 to me, and dwarfs everything else. Does he have anything more specific to say about that? He says a lot of good things, we’re all for an effective board and manageable tuition. But I’d like to know specifically what he plans to do to strengthen the university. If priority #1 is a “sorry” note to Sue Paterno, I’m not sure I’m on board.

Best of luck to him.

PSU needs to be affordable. Are we going to a $50,000 plus yuppie school or are we going to continue to be PA’s footprint with our huge # of students (branches included.)
I think we are presently at MAX high end tuition wise. Isn’t our out of state tuition approx. $40,000. WAY TOO MUCH. We need BOTers who will NOT increase tuition any further. I would like them to reduce tuition.
I think we are at a crossroads. We need to stop our foolish spend spend spend ways.
We need strong NEW leaders!

[quote=“tundra, post:7, topic:3099”]PSU needs to be affordable. Are we going to a $50,000 plus yuppie school or are we going to continue to be PA’s footprint with our huge # of students (branches included.)
I think we are presently at MAX high end tuition wise. Isn’t our out of state tuition approx. $40,000. WAY TOO MUCH. We need BOTers who will NOT increase tuition any further. I would like them to reduce tuition.
I think we are at a crossroads. We need to stop our foolish spend spend spend ways.
We need strong NEW leaders![/quote]

Judging by the constantly-increasing # of applications, perhaps it isn’t WAY TOO MUCH?

Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It’s a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.

[quote=“ronb89, post:9, topic:3099”]Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It’s a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.[/quote]

I agree that hard decisions will have to be made. I just guess that ways to save are very numerous.
It’s about controlling the bottom line at the top level. If spend spend spend…raise tuition, raise tuition, raise tuition is the exceptable way of doing business (which sure seems to be the PSU way) THEN the school will suffer in the long run and costs will continue to rise.
BUT, IF raising tuition raising tuition raising tuition was NOT an option BUT I believe tons of saving practices will be found very easily!!
I just think spending was more prioritized than saving at the top level.

Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It's a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.

I agree that hard decisions will have to be made. I just guess that ways to save are very numerous.
It’s about controlling the bottom line at the top level. If spend spend spend…raise tuition, raise tuition, raise tuition is the exceptable way of doing business (which sure seems to be the PSU way) THEN the school will suffer in the long run and costs will continue to rise.
BUT, IF raising tuition raising tuition raising tuition was NOT an option BUT I believe tons of saving practices will be found very easily!!
I just think spending was more prioritized than saving at the top level.

The problem is that there is massive competition. If you cut a program, then the students who want that program don’t come to PSU. Then you don’t get their tuition (even if it’s cheaper tuition). This leads to a downward spiral. The bottom line can’t be “cut tuition.” The bottom line has to be “serve the students.” Obviously, making the students pay an exorbitant amount for their education is not serving them.

I can tell you that there isn’t a whole lot of “fat” to be cut from my school. I can’t speak for PSU. Salaries at my school are lower than our peers. Academic budgets have been frozen for years with no increases. New hiring (outside of replacements) is basically frozen, and sometimes replacements aren’t hired. Facilities budgets are cut to the bone currently.

There is a real attitude in academia of “keeping up with the Joneses” that needs to be addressed. If you go into a dining hall at any college or university, the dining options are amazingly diverse compared to my day in school. This isn’t a bad thing, but it costs money. Schools are building rec centers with climbing walls and rafting rivers. More and more dorms are being built with single occupancy rooms. Schools are doing this because, if you don’t have these, then students don’t like your campus when they come to visit and they go elsewhere.

Students are demanding more and more interdisciplinary and special programs and majors. It’s not just English, math, art, biology and chemistry anymore. It’s nanotechnology, graphic design, physical therapy, and computer game theory. If you don’t offer these, but someone else does, then those students go elsewhere.

Right now, it’s still market driven. Students are still coming and paying the costs. Colleges and universities are still filling their dorms and classrooms. All those free market types and capitalists should love this and should be applauding the college and university system as an excellent example of the invisible hand at work (somehow, though, most of the criticism of the colleges and universities comes from the right). When students stop coming, costs will be cut. But I agree that the colleges and universities have to anticipate these changes and be prepared for them.

[quote=“ronb89, post:9, topic:3099”]2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.[/quote]

It sounds really great to lower costs, but what are you going to cut without weakening the university? Who on this board wants to find out that some out of touch retiree in Florida voted to eliminate the department they have a degree from? Or cut salaries and facilities to the point where one of the best professors leaves? Who wants to see that?

Find stuff that can be cut without cheapening anyone’s degree, and it sounds great. But have a plan ready to strengthen the university at the same time on the back side of that decision. Not easy. Whoever gets elected better be pretty damn smart and ready to get into tons of details.

[quote=“ronb89, post:9, topic:3099”]Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It’s a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.[/quote]

Penn State has the HIGHEST in-state tuition of ANY state school in the entire nation. If EVERY OTHER school has figured out a way to do it less expensively, I don’t see why a school with such great minds cannot come up with a way of doing it themselves.

My friend is from Nebraska and has 2 kids (with another on the way). One of his ideas for schooling is to send his kids back to Nebraska. The Nebraska out-of-state tuition is actually less expensive than our in-state tuition. They can stay with thier grandparents to establish residency, and the comparison is NOT EVEN CLOSE. That’s the case with a lot of schools, where our in-state rates are on par with surrounding school’s out-of-state rates.

Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It's a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.

Penn State has the HIGHEST in-state tuition of ANY state school in the entire nation. If EVERY OTHER school has figured out a way to do it less expensively, I don’t see why a school with such great minds cannot come up with a way of doing it themselves.

My friend is from Nebraska and has 2 kids (with another on the way). One of his ideas for schooling is to send his kids back to Nebraska. The Nebraska out-of-state tuition is actually less expensive than our in-state tuition. They can stay with thier grandparents to establish residency, and the comparison is NOT EVEN CLOSE. That’s the case with a lot of schools, where our in-state rates are on par with surrounding school’s out-of-state rates.

Nebraska’s reputation is nowhere close to ours. No thanks to becoming Nebraska. When you start saying things like that, you need to really think about the consequences.

The US News (not a perfect ranking, but one indicator) ranks us #45. They rank Nebraska #101. I want to see us higher on that list, not lower. Frankly, I think any alumni who want to risk the progress that the school has made by cutting budgets are very shortsighted, selfish, even dumb. The school gets a ton of applications. Apparently the tuition is not a deterrent.

[quote="ronb89, post:9, topic:3099"]Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It's a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.[/quote]

Penn State has the HIGHEST in-state tuition of ANY state school in the entire nation. If EVERY OTHER school has figured out a way to do it less expensively, I don’t see why a school with such great minds cannot come up with a way of doing it themselves.

My friend is from Nebraska and has 2 kids (with another on the way). One of his ideas for schooling is to send his kids back to Nebraska. The Nebraska out-of-state tuition is actually less expensive than our in-state tuition. They can stay with thier grandparents to establish residency, and the comparison is NOT EVEN CLOSE. That’s the case with a lot of schools, where our in-state rates are on par with surrounding school’s out-of-state rates.

A higher proportion of the costs is borne by government.

I remember the great days of the California and SUNY systems, when in-state kids effectively got in for free. But that was back in the days before major party candidates could call public education an anachronism and still be taken seriously.

Keeping tuition affordable is important for every school. We just had a long meeting focusing mainly on student recruitment and retention, and the single most important variable is cost. Everyone wants to make their school as affordable as possible while remaining competitive. It's a hard equation to balance. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So the key question is, HOW do we propose to control the increase in tuition? The obvious answers are:

1: More revenue: are there ways PSU can bring in more money outside of tuition? This includes private fundraising, grants awarded to faculty and staff, new ventures and institutes that can bring in donations, etc.

2: Lower costs: The biggest cost at nearly every institution is personnel. Do you cut people? From faculty, administration or staff? Do you cut or limit pay increases? In other areas, how do you manage your facilities budgets? Academic budgets? Are there ways to make significant savings in areas outside of personnel?

Saying you want to cut tuition raises is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is very different. Hard decisions will have to be made.

Penn State has the HIGHEST in-state tuition of ANY state school in the entire nation. If EVERY OTHER school has figured out a way to do it less expensively, I don’t see why a school with such great minds cannot come up with a way of doing it themselves.

My friend is from Nebraska and has 2 kids (with another on the way). One of his ideas for schooling is to send his kids back to Nebraska. The Nebraska out-of-state tuition is actually less expensive than our in-state tuition. They can stay with thier grandparents to establish residency, and the comparison is NOT EVEN CLOSE. That’s the case with a lot of schools, where our in-state rates are on par with surrounding school’s out-of-state rates.

Maybe one of the reasons the tuition is the highest is that they get the least support from the state of any state university.

Anybody been involved with HS school boards etc etc.?? it seems to me school principals LOVE to spend spend spend. They can justify it until the cows come home. If nothing else just to build a better resume. Weak/poor school boards approve and keep raising taxes.
When school boards are effective they tell the school principal “this is your budget. Don’t go over it. Or you are gone.” Guess what… the school runs fine. Still gets upgrades and taxes remain the same.

There are advantages in big school education like PSU. I had classes in the Forum. I think the class size was about 200.Maybe more. I had many other large classes. Tell me these are not money makers. What about the new internet “World Campus?” It seems like the HUGE money maker to me. We still charge the same credit fee I believe. Room/board and other fees at PSU appear VERY high. PSU should be rolling in “black ink.” It seems to me the hardest part of the presidents job is to fine ways to SPEND this outlandish amount of incoming money!

These “great minds” are spending other people’s money. They need to be budget limited.

[quote=“tundra, post:17, topic:3099”]Anybody been involved with HS school boards etc etc.?? it seems to me school principals LOVE to spend spend spend. They can justify it until the cows come home. If nothing else just to build a better resume. Weak/poor school boards approve and keep raising taxes.
When school boards are effective they tell the school principal “this is your budget. Don’t go over it. Or you are gone.” Guess what… the school runs fine. Still gets upgrades and taxes remain the same.

There are advantages in big school education like PSU. I had classes in the Forum. I think the class size was about 200.Maybe more. I had many other large classes. Tell me these are not money makers. What about the new internet “World Campus?” It seems like the HUGE money maker to me. We still charge the same credit fee I believe. Room/board and other fees at PSU appear VERY high. PSU should be rolling in “black ink.” It seems to me the hardest part of the presidents job is to fine ways to SPEND this outlandish amount of incoming money!

These “great minds” are spending other people’s money. They need to be budget limited.[/quote]

PA public schools are either in a budget crunch or are going to be in one in a year or two. The contribution rate towards PSERS went from about 8% this year to about 12% next year. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it will be somewhere around 28% in two or three more years. That is a crushing number that is and will be severely impacting what the schools can do.

Ronb89 made an important point. How competitive (excellent) do you want Penn State to be? Because competition is driving spending. Do you want the best professors and the best students? Then you better put them in state-the-art labs and classrooms with modern learning technologies and comfortable dorms with great food. Because if you don’t, some other school will and you’ll be on a downward spiral. Unless you’re a religious ascetic, no one wants to attend a college whose brand is austerity.

The problem is that the competitive dynamic in public higher education is being underwritten by public funds – state appropriations and federal financial aid. This is what happens when the free market business model is misapplied to non-profit institutions.

The alternative is also unacceptable to most of the public — have government decide which public institutions are going to offer which programs. For instance, do we need music programs at every state-supported and state-related college in PA? If you want to study Music, the state would invest its resources in Mansfield University and that would be the only (or one of two or three) places in among the 18 publicly supported institutions where you could get BA/BS and advanced degrees in Music. Rather than having those 18 institutions ratcheting up their resources to compete for Music students, pick one of those schools with strategic strengths and opportunities in that discipline, and focus public dollars on that program in that institution.

Of course, in this scenario, consumer choice is limited and government picks “winners” and “losers,” hardly an “American” approach to controlling runaway costs.

The unwritten land grant mission seems to require Penn State to be “all things to all people.” I submit that’s no longer financially tenable. Just as private institutions must do, public institutions must decide what are “core” businesses, what are the strategic strengths and strategic opportunities, and then make very painful, unpopular decisions about what to jettison. For instance, I have no problem with building the new Millennium Science Complex because Penn State is strategically positioned to sustain and extend its national leadership in that discipline. Invest more there. But why do we need to have an American Indian Leadership Program in our College of Education, hundreds of miles from population centers of Native Americans, even though the program is long standing and widely admired? Pack it up and ship it to the University of North Dakota.

Whether you’re talking about government or Penn State, it’s very easy to proclaim, “Cut costs!!” Saying it requires neither intelligence nor courage. The hard part comes in deciding what to cut. I want smart people who will do their homework and bring broad perspectives to that process. Johnny One Notes need not apply.

[quote="JD, post:1, topic:3099"]My Dad is running for the Penn State Board of Trustees, and I'm using the website below to support his candidacy.

http://www.johnspennstatefootball.com

You can also follow me on Twitter as I support my Dad:

https://twitter.com/#!/JohnDiercks

If you have questions or would like copies of my Dad’s bio and position statement, please e-mail me at Diercksjr@aol.com[/quote]

He says he wants to strengthen the University in academics. This is priority #1 to me, and dwarfs everything else. Does he have anything more specific to say about that? He says a lot of good things, we’re all for an effective board and manageable tuition. But I’d like to know specifically what he plans to do to strengthen the university. If priority #1 is a “sorry” note to Sue Paterno, I’m not sure I’m on board.

Personally, I have no interest in electing any candidate whose first and foremost priority (or any priority for that matter) is to have the BOT apologize to the Paterno family.

There are far more important issues that the BOT must address than appeasing those alumni who feel the Paternos were somehow wronged in all of this.

While I wish you father luck in his candidacy, I won’t be voting for him.