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University Recognized By White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Feb 8, 2012

In its report, Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates With Degrees In Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics, issued February 7, 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) singled out the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology as one of seven postsecondary institutions in the nation with “Effective Programs to Improve STEM Education.”

"This is great news for our supporters, faculty, staff,  students and philanthropic investors because it places the University and our distinctive model on the national map,” says Dr. Mel Schiavelli, President of Harrisburg University.   “Harrisburg University, from the very beginning, has been an endeavor of, by and for the citizens of the Commonwealth.  The community recognized that attracting and retaining more science, technology, engineering and math—known as STEM majors--is the lowest-cost, fastest policy option to provide the STEM professionals that the region and the nation needs for economic and societal well-being.”

This report provides a strategy for improving STEM education during the first two years of college.

PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President. PCAST makes policy recommendations in the many areas where understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening our economy and forming policy that works for the American people. PCAST is administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

In recognizing HU, PCAST made the following comments in its report to the President:

“In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a postsecondary institution is helping students who leave high school without good preparation become marketable in STEM fields.“

“The HU academic format is interdisciplinary, without departments or tenure. Courses are organized around learning objectives, and corporate partners advise on course design. Communication and teamwork are stressed throughout the curriculum.”

“All students are coached on life issues such as time management and juggling family and careers. Each student builds an “e-portfolio” that includes performance, comments from faculty, and measures of civic engagement.”

“Another striking result is that employers of 18-22 year old students say they do not have to spend 12 to 18 months teaching their new hires how to fit into corporate culture. The students were already mentored through internships and academic-year projects based on workplace needs.”

“Besides helping students and employers HU is helping to revive downtown Harrisburg, with a new build­ing and dormitory and $30 million in annual economic impact.”

Only seven institutions are recognized by name in the 130-page PCAST report: University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Massachusetts Institute of Technology;  Lorain County Community College, Ohio;  University of New Hampshire;   Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina; Foothill College, California; and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

The council's chief recommendations in the report  include giving students greater hands-on research experience at the undergraduate level, and creating new paths to a science degree through both two-year and four-year institutions.

Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania's need for increased opportunities leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University offers 24 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs. The University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 

For more information on the University's demand-driven undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in applied science and technology fields, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu