LHU adding 3rd college

From a new science building under construction to a restructuring of its majors, Lock Haven University is changing.

And, it’s ready for it.

“We do see a potential for growth and we can handle growth,” LHU President Dr. Michael Fiorentino Jr. told the Sun-Gazette editorial board this week.

The university now enrolls 5,700 students, which Fiorentino called “level” enrollment. And, he added that with the new science building and a new residence hall, which houses about 686 beds, he would like to see the university grow “a little larger.”

But it could not be a sudden growth. Fiorentino said the growth would be done “very carefully.”

“It’s a strategic and very careful approach,” he said.

Some change science and resident buildings are easy to see, while others restructuring of the university’s colleges are not as noticeable.

LHU will go from two colleges to three in July.

No longer will students be enrolled in either the College of Arts and Sciences or College of Education and Human Services.

Starting in July, majors will be issued to either the College of Business Information Systems and Human Services; College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences; or College of Liberal Arts and Education.

The university is searching for the founding deans of the three new colleges.

Dr. Donna F. Wilson, university provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said LHU consulted with faculty members as part of the process of going to a three-college structure.

“It was consulting, it was data and looking at what the future holds,” she said.

Wilson said the university looked at where the major programs were heading. For example, psychology was considered a social science but, under the new structure, it will be a part of the College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences because of its focus on STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We did some close looking at data and we also looked at where the disciplines were going,” she said.

LHU also will introduce two new graduate programs in July and continues to work with community and business partners to give students experiential learning through internships.

And with so many changes, Rodney Jenkins, executive assistant to the president for external relations and communications, continues to find ways to market the university to appeal to today’s students. From a website redesign to mobile applications, LHU is looking to reach students.

The university’s transformation, Fiorentino said, is a “balancing act” between creating opportunities for students, while dealing with “limited resources.” But he added that the university cannot continue to rely only on state funding and is looking at boosting its own fundraising efforts.

The ultimate goal, Wilson said, is not only to attract students to LHU but have them graduate.

“We want to welcome students into the university but we want them to graduate,” she said.

The university believes the changes will enhance student education and move LHU toward the future.

“(LHU) has a long history in Clinton County and the region. And what we’re trying to do is take the success and history of the university and move it forward,” Fiorentino said. “Lock Haven University is not a sleepy little university in Lock Haven. It’s a major university.”