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BoT Committee Discusses Record-Setting Enrollment, Full Transition To LionPATH

The Board of Trustees kicked off its full slate of committee meetings this morning with the committee on academic affairs and student life at the beautiful (albeit remote) Wilkes-Barre campus. Right off the bat the trustees discussed two of the biggest student trends the university will face going into the semester: a large enrollment and LionPATH.

Rob Pangborn, Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Education, rattled off some impressive numbers to start the meeting. Pangborn reported that Penn State received a record 132,000 applications for the 2016-17 cycle, which is 2,700 more than last year and the most ever. Ultimately, just more than 18,000 students accepted offers and University Park will see an also record-breaking 8,900 freshmen start classes in the fall.

“This is the largest class ever to enter University Park,” Pangborn said. “We’ll be full.”

Though Penn State anticipated a general upward trend in enrollments, it will barely have enough room to house all of the students. The university offered a unique 1+3 program to incentivize incoming freshmen to spend a year at a branch campus and take some of the weight off University Park. Pangborn said the effort was necessary to free up enough beds, and though a number of students took advantage of the scholarship, it’s going to be a little tight in the fall.

Part of the reason there will be so many students attending is because of a LionPATH glitch that accidentally admitted 1,000 students. Speaking of LionPATH, brace yourself. There’s no turning back now.

Pangborn said the university will make the full transition from eLion to LionPATH during the first week of classes in the fall. The systems will be synched and the university will be completely weened off eLion during that week. If previous LionPATH affairs are any indication, it’s going to be one giant headache, one Pangborn acknowledges.

“We’re going to be holding our breath during that particular sequence,” he said.

Penn State will also place a considerable amount of effort into the transition from ANGEL to Canvas over the next year. With 28,000 active courses, 8,500 faculty, and 90,000 students, the transition to the new learning management system will be a significant task.

Administrators from Penn State Wilkes-Barre also gave presentations about their branch on the 100-year anniversary of the campus. Committee meetings will continue throughout the day and the full Board will meet tomorrow afternoon.

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About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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