PITTSBURGH TECHNICAL COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES DECLARES UNWAVERING SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT AFTER FIVE MONTHS OF ATTACKS, ENCOURAGES OPEN DIALOGUE AS COLLEGE MOVES FORWARD
- Briefed national and local media, providing timeline of events beginning in 2018
- Hosted open discussion with faculty, staff and students
- Welcomed legislators to campus to highlight PTC’s regional workforce programs
OAKDALE, Pa., October 27, 2023 – The Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC) Board of Trustees today reaffirmed its support for the College and President Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith through meetings with students, faculty and staff, as well as the media and government officials, to answer questions and discuss the College’s path forward. They also held a press conference with Pittsburgh and education media.
Setting the Record Straight
“There are two sides to every story, and we felt it was important to share additional context that, until now, we have not had the opportunity to provide. We are confident that after hearing the whole story and timeline, the community and region will come to the same conclusion as we did… no laws, regulations or policies were broken and Dr. Harvey-Smith acted within her rights and power as president to do what she felt was best for PTC,” said PTC Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Patricia Grey and Carla Ryba.
New Board Pens Support for President
The entire Board, the most diverse in the College’s 75-year history, yesterday shared a memo declaring its support for Dr. Harvey-Smith. Read it here.
“Amidst an aggressive, public attack from a disgruntled group, Dr. Harvey-Smith remains a brave and committed leader for PTC,” said new PTC Board Member Dr. Beverly Moore.
In its memo, the Board expressed significant concern over the efforts of a group of individuals – some employed by the College and some who were previously affiliated – who are actively trying to harm the College and its students by making egregious, inaccurate claims and spreading lies and misinformation about PTC.
“They have been contacting media, financial institutions, and higher education commissions with incomplete, misleading information about a college that our region so direly needs. These efforts are in fact harming and placing every employee and student at risk,” the Board said in its memo.
“Dr. Harvey-Smith has our full support in her actions, and our full support to move forward in transforming the school into a College that our community needs as we work to train the next generation of professionals and help fill the regional workforce pipeline.
Listening & Taking Action
Dr. Harvey-Smith is taking action to encourage open dialogue and communication in an effort to move forward and align.
- The President is hosting weekly Open Office hours to engage with students, faculty and staff. There is no agenda, just an opportunity for an open discussion. They will continue indefinitely.
- Four members of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Harvey-Smith hosted a Community Meeting for students, faculty and staff on October 26, 2023. They provided initial comments and fielded a lively Q&A for 95 minutes with nearly 100 attendees.
“During our community meeting yesterday, our great faculty and staff raised a lot of concerns, some of which I hadn’t previously known about. For example, some systems aren’t working properly, and we need to fix that. They feel some departments need more team members. They agreed that we need to create and modify some of our processes and procedures. The list goes on, and it will grow as we continue to engage in open, collaborative dialogue,” said Dr. Harvey-Smith. “They are hard-working, incredible people who want to be heard, and we are working to do more listening and taking more action to help them be successful in their roles… so ultimately they can provide our students with the best possible education and experience at PTC.”
Moving Forward: Increasing Awareness & Value of PTC
PTC hosted a Pittsburgh Technical College campus tour with Pennsylvania Labor & Industry Deputy Secretary William “Bill” Trusky on the afternoon of October 26, 2023 to further establish relationships with key leaders and to showcase PTC’s strong regional workforce programs.
Across the U.S., manufacturers are one group concerned about the future pipeline of talent and being able to hire workers. According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ Q3 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, workforce challenges continue to dominate, as more than 72 percent of manufacturers say their top challenge is the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce. Schools like PTC play a key role in addressing these needs.
“Meeting with Pennsylvania leaders and engaging with the community is a key element of College reputation building, and ultimately fundraising and support,” said Grey and Ryba. “The success of the school over the past four years is undeniable. From reducing the debt by $10 million, to securing grants totaling $25 million, and launching innovative partnerships and new programs. The President’s focus now is repairing – both internally and externally – and moving forward.”
About Pittsburgh Technical College
Pittsburgh Technical College is a private, two-year college that is critical to the regional workforce. It has a 96% field placement rate and 80% of its graduates remain within the Western Pennsylvania region. Learn more about Pittsburgh Technical College at www.ptcollege.edu.