Integration Update: Planning Document Being Finalized

Apr 19, 2021

The document, which outlines plans to integrate Cal U, Edinboro and Clarion universities, will be presented April 28 to the Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Interim University President Robert Thorn provided the update below to faculty, staff and students.

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Months of painstaking work by more than 400 students, faculty and staff have resulted in a comprehensive plan for integrating California, Clarion and Edinboro universities.

This week we’re putting the finishing touches on the document and supporting data – more than 300 pages in all – that will be presented April 28 to the Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

The document outlines a detailed plan to leverage our campuses’ individual and collective strengths to increase educational opportunities for all students, invest in new markets, and create an integrated university that will be sustainable for years to come.

Naming process: During the past month, a focus group representing a variety of stakeholders from all three campuses – undergraduate, graduate and online students, faculty and staff, trustees and community members – have engaged with a team from Carnegie Dartlet, an industry leader in reputation research and strategy, to define the integrated university’s identity and determine its name.

Next month, Carnegie Dartlet will combine this consensus-driven approach with quantitative research to deliver details of the integrated university’s “personality” and market position, as well as potential names for the new institution. In-depth market research into three of those potential names will result in a comprehensive name analysis report and market study that will guide the final selection. We expect to have exciting news to report this summer.

It is important to note that we’ll continue to identify our campuses by their location names – California, Clarion and Edinboro – as part of the overall naming convention. At Cal U, we will always be Vulcans! 

Feedback on program array: During the last week of March, faculty and staff at all three campuses had the opportunity to review a draft of the unified array of academic programs proposed for the integrated university. More than 200 individuals submitted feedback that is being used to refine the Academic Program Array before it is included in the Board of Governors report.

Organized by broad disciplinary fields, the Academic Program Array draft outlines the campus(es) – including the virtual campus – where degree programs will be offered, and whether each program will be delivered in person, through real-time remote learning or online.

Decisions regarding program location and delivery modality were determined using multiple factors, including existing campus, availability of faculty and facility resources, campus reputation in that discipline/major, program accreditation and more. Colleges and department structures have yet to be determined.

In other news: Students have begun to receive a weekly email, Integration Insights for Students, designed to reinforce basic concepts about the Western Integration. The document is being made available to faculty and staff through various media. …The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has responded to a query from Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and is expected to provide feedback on the Preliminary Substantive Change Request shortly. … We continue to await word on our request to the NCAA to pursue a path that would retain the current complement of athletics teams on each partner campus.

What’s next?

Should the Board approve our integration plans on April 28, as anticipated, the public will have 60 days to submit comments online or at one of two public hearings that will be held before a final Board vote on integration in July.

The integration plan and supporting data will be posted April 29 at, along with a form to submit your comments online. I encourage you to review the report and share your feedback.

Meanwhile, Cal U and its partners continue to look for opportunities to share services and best practices that benefit our campuses and our students. Together, we are moving toward a brighter and more sustainable future.