Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004

Investing In Their Own Future

Faculty Support Facilitates Creation of Four Endowed Enhancement Funds


When Penn State Altoona students board a bus for a field trip in the future, they likely will be thanking their own professor for getting them on the road— literally.

In a historic act of philanthropy at Penn State Altoona, all four academic divisions have made commitments to create $25,000 endowed enhancement funds that are being funded by faculty members. Enhancement funds provide discretionary funds on a regular basis to use strategically as areas of timely need arise. These funds are used for unbudgeted academic and programmatic initiatives that, otherwise, would be foregone.

The faculty heading each of the College's four academic divisions—education, human development, and social sciences; business and engineering; arts and humanities; and mathematics and natural sciences—will be better able to fulfill requests for special funding that often could not be met in the past. The enhancement funds will provide financial resources for field trips, purchases of equipment and classroom materials, honorariums for guest speakers, and special projects, programs and events.

Dr. Valerie Stratton, division head for education, human development, and social sciences, sees the enhancement funds as a means for the divisions to have slightly more control over their financial futures, commenting that "knowing there is a certain guaranteed amount available each year creates a margin of security."

Dr. Nicholas Miskovsky, division head for mathematics and natural sciences, views the enhancement fund in his division as an immediate source of funding for research projects and collaborations, the testing of novel teaching approaches, and new courses and programs. "In other words, the fund can be used to sustain and develop the intellectual and educational life of the division and College," he said.

After listening to presentations on how enhancement funds would benefit Penn State Altoona, the four division heads immediately pledged their financial support.

Remarked Dr. Kenneth Womack, division head for arts and humanities, "I am proud to be a part of Penn State Altoona, and the establishment of this fund allows us to give back to the institution—an institution that has given so very much to its faculty and the community—in a truly substantive way."

Dr. William Engelbret, division head for business and engineering, said his philanthropic support is grounded in his belief in Penn State Altoona and the community. He views the College as "a driver of economic development in the community,"and views the enhancement funds as a means "to build a little brighter future for the community and for our ourselves."

Dr. Edward Day, assistant professor of criminal justice and sociology, was one of the first faculty members to pledge support for the enhancement fund in the division of education, human development, and social sciences.

"It's like any other contribution: a way to give back to the community in which you live and work. In this case, it's an investment as well. When we look for support off campus, we can show that the on-campus commitment was here first." — Dr. Edward Day