Integrated Universities Centered on Student Success

Jul 14, 2021

In an email to the Cal U community, leadership affirms the commitment to building 'a strong, secure future for public higher education in Pennsylvania.' Read the message from Robert J. Thorn, interim president of Cal U, below.

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Today’s Board of Governors vote to approve the Northeast and West Integrations is a vote of confidence in the 1,000+ people who developed the first phase of the plan and are poised to usher it into the implementation phase.

Centered always on student success, our shared vision is to expand affordable, high-quality educational opportunities for our students, to grow as we serve new student populations, and to meet economic and workforce needs across the Commonwealth. This vote in support of integration will ensure that our campuses remain open, vibrant, and focused on student success long into the future. 

Continuing our collaborative and comprehensive approach to implementation will allow us to build a more nimble, sustainable and student-centered university. ​At California, Clarion and Edinboro, we remain committed to our students, our faculty and staff, our alumni and our communities. Together we will build a strong, secure future for public higher education in Pennsylvania. 

To our Cal U students: Rest assured that your current academic options remain the same, with exciting new opportunities on the horizon. You will be able to complete the program you’ve begun, and we’ve made it our mission to build even stronger pathways to support your timely graduation. The campus experience you’ve chosen will remain vibrant, complete with on-campus student services and supports designed to meet your academic and personal needs. As new options become available, we'll let you know so that you can remain passionate Vulcans, as you are today. 

What today’s vote means:

  • We are charged to move forward with the implementation process. Not everything will be accomplished at once, but we will move toward our goals, making thoughtful adjustments as needed.
  • We are working toward becoming a single university – but not every detail of our organization will be ready immediately. Faculty have provided feedback on the structure of colleges and academic departments; staff can expect a similar opportunity to review the divisional structure, likely by early August.
  • We are shaping a robust academic program array that reflects our current enrollment and looks ahead to future needs of our students, employers and the communities we serve. A phased approach to this critical task will allow for increased faculty engagement in curriculum synthesis, provide more time to  address program accreditations, and give students added reassurance regarding their path to graduation. 
  • We are taking thoughtful steps to shape a financially sustainable future for our campuses. At the same time, we will continue to advocate for increased state investment in our students, our campuses, our new university and the State System.
  • We are engaged in a complex process that requires strong leadership, as well as a commitment to shared governance. In a separate vote today, the Board appointed Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson as interim president of Cal U, effective August 1. When “Dr. Dale” assumes her new duties, I will step into a new role as Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer (COO). In this role, I will serve on the presidential cabinet for implementation and continue as an integration team lead. 

Today’s Board vote is a bold move. It will take energy, talent and commitment to make the Western Integration a success. I am counting on each of you to help build a brighter future for our students, our campus and the university we are working to become.

You can read the State System’s news release here. As always, your comments and questions are welcome. Please submit them using the feedback form at