August 28, 2013 8:30AM
A large group of PSU faculty and staff spent some time Tuesday thinking about the future. Specifically, the group was asked to consider PSU’s long partnership with Fort Scott Community College and ways in which that relationship might be enhanced.
“We’ve been talking about this at a senior administrative level for a number of months and felt it was time to have the discussion at the campus and community level,” said Pitt State President Steve Scott.
Fort Scott Community College President Clayton Tatro said he brought the idea of a closer relationship between the community college and the university to President Scott last year.
“Pittsburg State’s academic offerings, facilities and location make it a great partner,” Tatro said. “We think there’s a real opportunity here to do even more for our students, which is why we approached Pittsburg State earlier this year with the idea of bringing our two colleges closer together.”
Both leaders said the next step is to listen to faculty and staff on both campuses and to citizens in each community.
“It’s really about us listening, hearing the conversation and getting a sense of what the community thinks is important,” Tatro said.
To facilitate the public discussions, PSU and FSCC enlisted the aid of Dr. Jackie Vietti, former Butler Community College president.
To begin the discussion, President Scott presented a PowerPoint that listed criteria for any successful partnership enhancement. Those criteria included positive outcomes for both PSU and FSCC, an increased capacity to serve students and communities, increased efficiencies and benefits and acceptance by citizens as well as local and state officials.
Vietti noted that in preparation for the discussion, leaders had studied similar models across the U.S. and narrowed in on a handful of successful partnerships between institutions much like PSU and FSCC.
Following Scott’s presentation, those in attendance discussed several key questions in small groups. The questions touched on issues of governance, administrative services, institutional and community identity, and potential benefits for and/or negative effects on students and communities.
After the meeting at PSU, Scott, Tatro and Vietti conducted a similar forum on the Fort Scott Community College campus. Additional meetings in Fort Scott and Pittsburg are scheduled.
“The point we’re trying to make is, we’ve had a great partnership. We can take that to the next level. The people who are going to benefit the most are the students,” Scott said. “Yes, there are some risks, but it is very, very exciting what this could become.”