March 2, 2009 marked the beginning of Dr. Greg Weisenstein’s term as president of West Chester University, and just under two months in, he is already beginning to bring progress and new ideas to the campus. When asked what drew him to West Chester to begin with, Weisenstein said that the main reason is that at WCU, “the values are in the right place.”
When he decided to begin to find where the next phase of his life would take him, he was very impressed by the fact that West Chester is extremely committed to the welfare of the students, which he says is important regardless of the overall mission. He called the focus on students “terribly important.”
He then went on to comment on the history of accomplishments that West Chester has to boast about. “It isn’t just good,” Weisenstein began. “It’s spectacular.” He found the combination of teachers, research and service to be impressive.
“I was delighted to find that students provide over 2000 hours of community service,” he said. “West Chester is easy to talk about, because there are a lot of accomplishments to brag about. This institution has a fine reputation.
Weisenstein also pointed out that West Chester keeps a strong balance between research and scholarship, maintaining a focus on education while also developing the whole person.
He said that he is currently in the “listening process” of finding new things that he would like to bring to the campus.
“I’m trying to ask a lot of questions, to see what people are proud of and interested in,” he said. “What are their dreams and aspirations?” He said he will then begin to form a collective vision, after he has heard from students carefully what they would like to see the university become.
One thing that Weisenstein knows he would like to help change on campus is expanding our reputation both cross country and internationally. He feels that marketing the university will increase the international population and also be beneficial to alumni.
“This university has a nice story,” he said. “We need to tell that story more aggressively.”
Weisenstein also wants students to “rub shoulders” with students from other countries. “I would love for all students to be able to have an international experience.”
He notes that maintaining the university’s high standards of diversity is very important to him as well. Social equity is something that needs to be consistently maintained.
“All students should be welcomed and feel comfortable on campus. Everyone should have the opportunity to succeed, and should enjoy their time here, without any bias or intimidation. That will not be tolerated on this campus.”
He went on to say that he has found a “deep appreciation of individual differences on campus, which will serve well here and extremely well to families, communities, and workplaces in the future.”
The quality of people at West Chester is yet another thing that drew him here from the Midwest. They are highly qualified, and topnotch, he said. The support of the borough to the university and the students adds to the value.
One thing that Weisenstein has begun to work on in his short time here so far has been the safety issue on campus. Areas are beginning to be more well lit, and signage is being developed to increase traffic safety.
“The findings of the walking tour were moved into projects pretty quickly, and are in progress. Equipment is being ordered, things are happening. We need to do this periodically to stay up to date.”
Oh, and to those of you who requested to know his favorite color, “it used to be green, but it’s now purple and gold.”
Jenn Rothstein is a second-year student majoring in English and minoring in education. She can be reached at JR649299@wcupa.edu.