The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


PCHE program allows Chatham students to attend neighboring universities

Chatham University Seal
Chatham University
Chatham University Seal

Chatham University is one of the 11 voluntary members of The Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE). The council brings together neighboring institutions in Allegheny County to share resources, engage in collaborative projects and “offer a common voice on matters that affect all member institutions,” according to the PCHE website.

One of the benefits provided to students in the county is the opportunity to attend classes at partner schools. The PCHE cross-registration program permits students at member institutions to take a maximum of one class every term at a partner university.

This program broadens the courses available to full-time undergraduate and graduate students in the Pittsburgh area. Bill Campbell, vice president of marketing and communications at Chatham, speaks about the PCHE program on behalf of Academic Affairs.

“Primarily, the program exists as an opportunity to take advantage of specialty courses offered by other institutions. It can also be a ‘plan B’ to take a course off-sequence when a student’s plans change,” Campbell said.

The PCHE cross-registration program is also in place to support degree programs that require students to take specific classes that are not offered at their primary institution.

We have a Music Education Certification with Carnegie Mellon that requires some courses to be taken there. We are also in the final years of an agreement with CMU for physics,” Campbell said.

That being said, students in any degree program can cross-register. In the fall of 2022, Syba Ismail ‘25 took an intermediate Arabic class after her professor recommended the course to students looking to continue learning the language. This professor taught Ismail’s first Arabic class at Chatham and also instructed the intermediate level offered at Duquesne University. 

“I chose Duquesne over going to CMU or Pitt because [their classes] were at different levels than where I was, and [at Duquesne] I’d have the same professor,” Ismail said.

Ismail said that the cross-registration procedure was pretty smooth. Since the course took place in the fall, summer break provided both universities plenty of time to process Ismail’s registration. That being said, Ismail recommends students anticipate some small obstacles and register early.

“If you are cross-registering, maybe reach out to the Registrar and ask if they need any health forms or something of that nature. It’s always a good thing or else you might see something that you missed and it might affect whether you can attend the class,” she said.

Ismail adds that the PCHE rule limiting students to one course per term has presented a challenge to her academic plan. She plans to take upper-level science classes at other universities but cannot sign up for the corresponding lab sections.

In an interview with the Communiqué, Interim Chief Academic Officer Lisa Lambert shared the importance of the PCHE program to Chatham, and current difficulties with Carnegie Mellon University.

“We can’t offer physics by ourselves. We don’t have enough faculty to or equipment to cover all of the upper-level courses. So we had an agreement with CMU. CMU doesn’t want to do that anymore,” Lambert said.

Although the program permits students to supplement their academic schedules with courses from other universities, PCHE does not currently provide pathways for students to participate in extracurriculars at host institutions.

Simmone Bell, director of student success and retention initiatives at Chatham, clarifies this limitation.

“There is no current agreement with PCHE about [clubs and organizations] across the institutions. There are sometimes discounts to Pitt football games that are advertised,” she said. 

Ticket sales to University of Pittsburgh football games are not facilitated by PCHE. 

“Students that want to start new [clubs or organizations] are welcome to do so by going through the Student Organization process overseen by the Office of Student Engagement,” Bell said.

Despite Chatham undergoing university-wide reorganization, Campbells says the PCHE cross-registration program will not change.

“Chatham has long been a member and supporter of the program and we will continue to have this opportunity available for students,” he said.

However, Ismail says that attending classes at partner institutions is only possible for her because of the bus passes provided to students. 

“Without having access to the buses, I would not have been able to [cross-register].”

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Larson
Charlotte Larson, Lifestyle Editor
Charlotte Larson ‘24 is a Sustainability: Food Systems major minoring in Spanish. Coming from Chicago, she came to Chatham in search of fellow students who share her passions for farming, weird art, sustainability, and impactful conversations. Charlotte is a contributing writer for the Communiqué and loves to write about local art, campus life, and the things that make us human. Before coming to Chatham, she enjoyed writing literary analysis pieces and personal narratives surrounding the same topics. Charlotte was previously the editor of her high school’s art and literary magazine, Troubadour, and is now involved with the Minor Bird. She hopes to integrate her writing and language interests into a future career in sustainable agriculture. You can usually find her walking to pick up Noodlehead takeout, or at [email protected].

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