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Common Ground - President's Podcast

Common Ground is a podcast hosted by Commonwealth University President, Bashar W. Hanna, PH.D.

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Welcome to Common Ground, a higher education podcast that brings leaders from across Pennsylvania together to engage in meaningful conversations. I am Dr. Bashar Hanna, President of Commonwealth University. Together, we’re exploring the issues our institutions, our communities, our students and their families are facing on their path to earning a degree. From institutional transformation to workforce development, college affordability, and career trends, I hope you’ll join me to learn more about the future of higher ed and hear compelling stories from some of our Commonwealth’s most transformational leaders.




Latest Episode

In this episode of Common Ground, President Hanna talks with former Bloomsburg Huskies Head Football Coach, Danny Hale, who was recently selected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Hale is one of the winningest coaches in all of NCAA Division II. He was at Bloomsburg from 1993 until 2012. During that time, he posted a record of 173-56-1. He still holds the school record for most coaching victories.

Along with his success on the field, Hale was known for the phenomenal work he did in mentoring student-athletes and making a true difference in their lives.

Episode Directory

Listen to the Common Ground Podcast on Spotify! Visit our directory below to explore our most recent episodes.

Commonwealth University President, Dr. Bashar Hanna is joined by Chair of the Council of Trustees, Former PA Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel. Together, they discuss former Secretary Wetzel's education journey, the road that led to the formation of Commonwealth U, and how education can transform the lives of students.

Jennifer Wakeman, Executive Director of DRIVE and Hope Lineman, PASSHE Executive Director of Workforce Development joins Commonwealth University President Bashar Hanna for a conversation about fostering partnerships across industries and employers, breaking down traditional barriers to education, and looking outside the box to reach students and set the region up for success long into the future.

President Hanna is joined by Commonwealth University Deans Dr. Leo-Felix Jurado from the College of Health Professions and Dr. Ann E. Larson from the College of Education and Human Studies to talk about industry shortages in both healthcare and education and how CU is using innovative strategies to prepare our next generation of healthcare professionals and educators.

Chad Lassiter, executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission joins President Hanna for a candid conversation about the work he does to support social work, social justice and race relations in Pennsylvania.  Through his own powerful education story, they unpack the ways that education exists as the passport for the future, and why many urban and rural students have more in common than they realize.

Commonwealth University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Diana Rogers-Adkinson joins Dr. Hanna to talk about the process for bringing about wide-scale strategic change to the academic curriculum through integration in one of the fastest timelines ever seen in higher education.

Dr. Hanna is joined by Pennsylvania State Senator and Bloomsburg Alumna Lynda Schlegel Culver. Together, they talk about Senator Culver's move from the PA House of Representatives to the Senate, why building community is so important for today's college students, and how a strong sense of community leads to confidence.

Senator Culver talks about the impact enrolling in college early had on her son, and shares her advice for students and parents contemplating dual enrollment programs.

President Hanna and Senator Culver also unpack the impact that growing up in a multigenerational family had on their lives and the benefits of college graduates remaining in Pennsylvania after graduation.

For more information about Commonwealth University's Early College Program visit,

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity joins President Hanna for a special Veteran's Day episode of The Common Ground Podcast. Treasurer Garrity serves as the 78th Treasurer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She is a former businesswoman and retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel.

During her service as a Colonel in the Army Reserves, Garrity received national attention for her decorated service on the Iraq battlefields. She served three remarkable deployments in service to our country and was twice awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional service and received the Legion of Merit before retiring from the Army Reserve.

Together, President Hanna and Treasurer Garrity talk about her journey from rural Pennsylvania to Bloomsburg University where she earned a degree in finance and economics while enrolled in the Army ROTC program. From there Garrity went on to an impressive career in the military through the Army Reserves while also working her way to the top of the corporate ladder as one of the first female vice presidents at Global Tungsten & Powders Corp.

Their conversation covers important topics from college affordability to lessons in leadership and why it's possible for young women and girls to change the world. Plus, Treasurer Garrity shares several heartwarming stories about the work she's doing to return lost military decorations to Pennsylvania families.

For more information about initiatives within the Pennsylvania Treasury, including unclaimed property, the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, and searching for lost military decorations, visit

Freddie Coleman shares memories from his early days at Mansfield and how his experiences at the small, rural university helped to shape the person he is today, while also leading him to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a radio personality.

President Hanna and Coleman talk about the importance of learning from experience and adversity and dig in to how it's possible to grow from failure without allowing it to define who you are.

Coleman also takes us on his journey from his first job in radio to where is today as host of one of ESPN's most popular radio programs.

Join President Hanna for this uplifting and motivational conversation that delves into the importance of transforming setbacks into opportunities and why time is on your side when you decide to passionately pursue your dreams.

Visit Freddie Coleman's radio show for more information!

Chancellor of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, Daniel Greenstein serves as chief executive officer of the state's system of public universities. Serving more than 80,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate programs, Chancellor Greenstein has led a system-wide redesign effort focused on increasing opportunities for students.

In this episode of Common Ground, President Hanna and Chancellor Greenstein talk about Greenstein's journey through education and how his passion for change agency and social justice influenced his career trajectory.

Their candid conversation delves into the challenges ahead for colleges and university, but also identifies, as Greenstein puts it, the bright points of light that motivate him to advocate and continue working toward a strong future for public higher education in Pennsylvania.

Join us for an inspiring and insightful episode that digs deep into the current issues facing higher education while highlighting the successes taking place across state system universities that are making a real difference in the lives of students.

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If you are enjoying the Common Ground podcast and have an idea for a special guest or would like to see a certain topic discussed, use our feedback form to share your thoughts!