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PENN PRESIDENT HACKNEY CALLS FOR DIRECT ROLE OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN SCHOOL REFORM

 PENN PRESIDENT HACKNEY CALLS FOR DIRECT ROLE
 OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN SCHOOL REFORM
 PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- University of Pennsylvania President Sheldon Hackney told a gathering of more than 1,000 private college and university presidents today that higher education must "act to regain credibility, and a sense of lost leadership," by redefining its mission to include public service and a direct role in improving elementary and secondary schools.
 In calling for greater involvement in the nation's school reform efforts, Hackney challenged colleges and universities to reallocate their resources, including students, faculty and curriculums to address critical social problems. Hackney called this a "virtually cost-free mechanism for fostering university-school collaboration."
 "Each of us must respond to our nation's educational crisis in terms of the unique problems of our local community schools, the values embedded in our own institutional missions, and with the resources and creativity that happen to lie ready-to-hand," Hackney said.
 Hackney made his remarks as a panel member at the National Summit of Independent Higher Education in Washington Feb. 5-6. The principal theme of the summit is defining the role of higher education in implementing the national education goals as outlined by President George Bush. The meeting -- the largest gathering of college and university presidents ever -- is sponsored by the Washington-based National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
 The summit comes at a critical time for the nation's higher education institutions as they confront changing public perceptions of their role in society.
 "The private institutions that survive in the next decade and the next century will be those that are and appear to be active contributors to the local communities (they inhabit). Like any living organism, a college or university cannot thrive in a sick environment. It must contribute to the improvement of its sociological niche or perish," he said.
 Hackney offered Penn's long-standing efforts with the surrounding West Philadelphia community as an example of successful university/ school partnership. Those partnership programs include the Collaborative for West Philadelphia Public Schools, a consortium of colleges, agencies and community organizations to build support for schools in this section of the city. Among the collaborative's projects is a school improvement program called Bridging the Gap which has helped increase passing rates for students as they progress from elementary, middle and high school. Penn has established a College Advising and Scholarship Fund and has committed more than $1 million for financial support to graduates of West Philadelphia public high schools. In addition, Penn Trustee George Weiss and his wife Diane offered to pay post-secondary tuition for 112 sixth graders from Belmont Elementary School. He also cited a recent national conference hosted by Penn in December, "Tomorrow's Schools: A Conference on Cities and Higher Education," that involved senior school district and college officials from 10 cities that represent the best collaborative efforts between urban schools and colleges.
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 /Editors: For a complete text of Hackney's remarks, contact the Office of News & Public Affairs, 215-898-8721./
 /CONTACT: Carol Farnsworth of the University of Pennsylvania, 215-898-8721/ CO: University of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MP-KA -- PH027 -- 7839 02/06/92 15:17 EST
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