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Fayette chancellor shares history, successes, and contributions of campus

Francis K. Achampong, chancellor of the Fayette campus
7/15/2013 —

Leaders of Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, had the opportunity on July 12 to share campus history and accomplishments with the University Board of Trustees as part of the board's regular summer meeting, which traditionally meets at one of the 24 Penn State campuses across the state.

Francis K. Achampong, chancellor of the Fayette campus, recounted for Trustees how Penn State established an Undergraduate Center in Uniontown in 1934, closed it in 1940 as the nation turned its attention to the looming war, and returned to southwestern Pennsylvania with undergraduate educational programming in 1965, when it opened the Fayette campus.

Currently, Penn State Fayette offers four baccalaureate degrees, nine associate degrees and the first two years of the 160-plus degrees offered at Penn State. At Fayette, students have the opportunity to experience hands-on learning through a hi-tech simulation lab in nursing, a trading lab in business, and a cutting-edge physical therapy lab. In addition, Penn State Fayette faculty members have received national and University awards for teaching, research, community engagement and the performing arts.

The Fayette campus is also home to the only ABET-accredited mining technology program at Penn State, which has close affiliations with and is well supported by the mining industry.

“That the Fayette campus is a valuable access point to higher education in this region is seen in the fact that half of the students are the first in their families to attend college, half are low-income and Pell-eligible, and 90 percent receive some form of financial aid,” Achampong said.

“The campus portion of the For the Future capital campaign has raised more than $3 million, mostly to support student scholarships, a testament to the campus’ commitment to providing access to an affordable world-class education.”

The campus student/faculty ratio of 13 to 1 allows for personal interaction among instructors and students, and the campus community is a diverse mix of adult and traditional students, with some coming from as far away as China. Achampong told Trustees that the campus seeks to grow its adult population, including veterans, to capture more of the thousands of adults in the area with some college but no degree. The campus is at the forefront of the digital revolution in higher education by offering online and blended or hybrid learning opportunities to students.

The chancellor noted that Penn State Fayette serves as a vital community resource with faculty and staff serving on boards and committees throughout the region, bringing a high level of intellectual capital to bear on the economic development of the region. The campus is a training center for the community’s businesses and professionals, offering various programs to help local professionals meet certification requirements. It has partnered to train high school math teachers in innovative math techniques and through its Continuing Education unit also offers numerous training programs for organizations like Head Start and businesses such as Chevron, Consol Energy, Range Resources and the Williams Corporation.

The campus recently partnered with Penn College’s Marcellus Shale Training and Education Center (ShaleTec) to offer training to meet the needs of the shale gas industry. In addition, the Center for Community and Public Safety, housed in Fayette's Continuing Education unit, has brought in millions of dollars in grant funds over the years to develop statewide curricula to train deputy sheriffs and constables for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Achampong concluded that all of these accomplishments point to Penn State Fayette's vision of being the finest student-centered university in the region, with a focus on academic excellence as well as the cultural and economic development of the communities it serves.

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