Campus News 2010-11

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Employers Increase On-Campus Recruitment

Prepared with resumes in hand, a student talks with a potential employer during Career Fair. Photo by Jennifer A. Cline.Forty employers visited campus in 2010-11 to recruit students for full-time jobs and internships, a 29 percent increase from the previous year. Five hundred seventy students participated, up 16 percent from the prior year. In other recruitment venues, the Penn College Career Hub, where employers seeking to hire Penn College alumni post job openings, most recently had 1,454 job postings, 475 active employer accounts and 1,064 active student accounts, while Career Fairs hosted 2,013 students and 257 employers.

Career Services offered the first-ever Part-Time Job Fair, which was designed for students to talk with employers interested in hiring for part-time or seasonal positions. Three hundred students attended; 18 employers participated, and more than 100 jobs were offered.

New Masonry Building Opens

The Construction Masonry Buiilding was dedicated Aug. 16. Photo by Cindy Davis Meixel.The Construction Masonry Building, on the northwest side of campus at Vine Avenue and Grier Street, was designed, and construction was completed, for Fall 2011 use. The building includes needed amenities and additional square footage to provide exceptional masonry education. The new building incorporates air cleaners and filters, level floors, tool-storage lockers, a mortar mixing area, and more student work stations.

The former masonry labs, located in the Carl Building Technologies Center, were reconfigured and reconstructed for use as renewable energy labs. The rededicated space will house a solar thermal lab, a wind turbine lab, a solar photovoltaic lab and a renewable energy control and monitoring lab. In addition, the building automation and heating, ventilation and air conditioning majors will also use lab space due to increased enrollment opportunities.

Out-of-State & Transfer Enrollment Increases

In Fall 2010, Penn College expanded its out-of-state enrollment to 11 percent of the total population, representing more than 650 students from 36 states. The college has increased the number of students transferring from other colleges and universities by 13.3 percent since 2008-09.

College Makes Top 10 in U.S. News Ranking

The Roger and Peggy Madigan Library. Photo by Whitnie-rae Mays.Penn College achieved Top 10 status among the best public, four-year colleges in the northern region of the United States. In the “America’s Best Colleges” rankings by the U.S. News Media Group, Penn College ranked ninth (tied with University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and Vermont Technical College) in the category of “Top Public Schools: Regional Colleges (North).”

College Prepares Future Employees for Natural Gas Jobs

In addition to training more than 2,600 nondegree students in various natural gas-related topics in 2010-11, the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center broke ground for a Natural Gas Applied Technology and Safety Training Center on the Schneebeli Earth Science Center campus. MSETC, a partnership between Penn College and Penn State Cooperative Extension, also published natural gas workforce needs assessments for both southwestern Pennsylvania and the state as a whole.

In year one of a three-year National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant – titled “Natural Gas Technician Education Partnership” – the college modified five credit courses, developed three elective courses and delivered dual-enrollment courses in Penn College majors associated with Marcellus Shale natural gas careers to 12 secondary schools in 14 counties, with an enrollment of 188 high school students.

More about industry connections

Penn College and the Plastics SourceNET hosted a two-day Plastics Symposium, which included sessions on sustainability, industry and university collaboration, advances in plastics processing, as well as industry and educational exhibits.

Penn College is taking the lead on conducting an economic impact study for Little League International.

Veterans Recognized

Donald R. Zerbe, receiving a bachelor's degree in technology management, is among 36 veterans who petitioned to graduate in Spring 2011. He is congratulated by college President Davie Jane Gilmour and Board of Directors Chairman Robert Dunham, right. Photo by Joseph S. Yoder.In recognition of their service, red-white-and-blue honor cords were added to the caps, gowns, stoles and other academic regalia worn by veterans at commencement, beginning with the Class of 2011. Penn College was selected for inclusion in the 2011 list of “Military Friendly Schools,” issued by G.I. Jobs.

The designation is reserved for the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to “embrace America’s veterans as students,” according to the publication.

In 2010-11, 344 Penn College students identified themselves as veterans, compared with 281 in 2009-10. Nearly one-third of those students (101 individuals) earned medals for their service. They include three recipients of the Purple Heart, five Bronze Star recipients, 76 who earned the Iraq Service Medal and 17 who earned the Afghanistan Service Medal.

Archer Gets Ink in SI

Archer Danny Wido. Photo by Jami L. Hughes, coordinator of intercollegiate athletics/sports information.Penn College archer Danny Wido was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.” The magazine’s April 4 issue included a short biography of Wido after he won his fourth men’s compound title at the U.S. Collegiate Archery national indoor championships. The magazine also mentioned Wido’s September 2010 individual silver and team gold medal wins at the World University Archery Championships in China.

More sports news:

  • Penn College teams had a .734 conference winning percentage and .570 overall winning percentage.
  • The Wildcats had three Penn State University Athletic Conference championships in men's soccer, tennis and men's cross country and two Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championships (bowling men's team and bowling men's individual, Paul Bouchard).
  • PSUAC Chancellor's Cup Award Winner for the third year in a row.
  • 25 athletes named to PSUAC All-Conference teams.
  • 71 athletes named to PSUAC Academic All-Conference teams.
  • Seven athletes named United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-Americans.
  • 24 athletes named USCAA Academic All-Americans.
  • Five archers named U.S. Collegiate Archery Association All-Americans.
  • Two archers named U.S. Collegiate Archery Association Academic All-Americans.
  • Two Individual U.S. Collegiate Archery Association championships (Danny Wido, men's compound, and Joe Dowdrick, bowhunter).
  • Mike Paulhaumus, cross country, was named PSUAC Coach of the Year.
  • Leroy Joiner, men's basketball, was named PSUAC Player of the Year.
  • Chris Brennan, men's soccer, was named PSUAC Newcomer of the Year.
  • Jacob Shedden, cross country, was named PSUAC Runner of the Year.
  • Four members of the Penn College power lifting club team medaled in Jujitsu Gi Grappling at a martial-arts tournament held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Staff Extend the ‘Welcome’

"Toby," a dog owned by Dale Jaenke, center, assistant professor of automotive, makes a friend during "Hot Dog, You're Here." Photo by Michael S. Fischer.In Fall 2010, Counseling Services initiated a new program, “Hot Dog, You’re Here,” inviting faculty and staff to bring their dogs to an all-student cookout to help ease homesickness and transitional issues. Meanwhile, Off-Campus Living conducted the first “Walk Around” event. Community Assistants, Penn College Police, President’s Council members and Student Affairs staff went door-to-door during the first week of classes to welcome off-campus students to the neighborhood.

More new services to students

Student Health Services developed a "Healthy Wildcats" initiative by building a coalition of health-conscious members from the Penn College community and a group of student peer educators who collaborate to assess, develop and implement health-promotion programs.
The Advisement Center increased the number of prospective students completing placement testing offsite to 281 (up from 184 the previous year), including a group of 36 students at SUN Area Technical Institute in New Berlin. Testing at SUN was followed up with an information session involving representatives from the Advisement Center and the School of Integrated Studies.
The first group of participants in The Presidential Leadership Program graduated from Year 2 of the program. More than 50 student participants entered Year 1, with improved retention of those students to graduation.
The first survey results using the National Survey of Student Engagement and comparing the “average” Penn College student to those who participated in the Presidential Leadership Program or Greek Life demonstrated that involved students were statistically significantly more engaged. In related news, Resident Assistants’ grade-point averages for the Spring 2011 semester averaged 3.26, with 10 RAs earning a 4.0 GPA.
Student Affairs initiated “short courses” for students during the Spring 2011 semester. Short Courses are 60- to 90-minute how-to classes that give students the opportunity to learn something new with their friends in a relaxed setting. Courses have included Zumba, tarot card reading and financial management.
The hiring of a Commuter Assistant was added to the student leadership selection process to provide a student voice for commuters.
Student Affairs implemented many high-profile diversity-related events, including a free viewing of the film “The End of America,” a showing of the production “N*W*C,” and an inspiring lecture on tolerance by Marc Elliott, who has Tourette’s syndrome.
Student Activities worked with Country Ski & Sports in Montoursville to provide a kayaking program on the Susquehanna River. Forty students were broken into two four-hour sessions.
Disability Services established a support/social group for students with Asperger's Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorders and, as a result of a faculty survey, presented professional development sessions on learning disabilities and Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Disability Services had 377 registered students in Fall 2010 and 345 in Spring 2011 (335 and 315 in 2008-2009 and 389 and 349 in 2009-2010).
Disability Services chaired the Accessibility in Information Technology & Media Focus Group to focus on accessibility issues in information technology and media. It involved campus-wide collaboration from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Information Technology Services. The group collaborated with Robert Garrett, president/CEO of North Central Sight Services, to enter into an agreement to test the accessibility of the college's information technology, media and electronic processes.
Dining Services added nutritional information for menu items served in its facilities to its website, allowing customers to make informed decisions with their food selection. In addition, due to an increased number of students with food allergies, Dining Services added a “Recipe Ingredient Guide” on its website.
Health Services and Counseling Services initiated a student case management process to improve holistic care.
Information Technology Services installed and conducted a spring and fall semester trial of a lecture capture classroom. The system records a classroom session, integrating audio, video and screen capture and making it accessible from anywhere in the world.

Students Make Impact in Local, National Community

Rachel Davis, Allison Hain and Adam Yoder secure a roof layer during an Alternative Spring Break trip to Florida to work with the Greater Miami chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Photo by Whitnie-rae Mays.Students from more than 50 student organizations contributed 3,413 hours of community service to the Williamsport area and 3,110 hours of service to the college. In a wider outreach, 17 students traveled to Miami and worked alongside 200 other college students to benefit the Habitat for Humanity Build for Alternative Spring Break in March 2011, and four students worked with Habitat in White Plains, N.Y., during an Alternative Winter Break.

At left, Rachel Davis, Allison Hain and Adam Yoder secure a roof layer during an Alternative Spring Break trip to Florida to work with the Greater Miami chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

More student impact on the community:

Students Making a Contribution, a student organization founded in the spring of 2010, sponsored its first year of community service programs, including Alternative Winter Break, assisting with a community soup kitchen, a Susquehanna River Walk clean-up cosponsored with Greek Life, and a visit to the West House, a personal-care home in Williamsport.
In its first year, and in conjunction with North Penn Legal Services, Kevin R. Derr, legal assistant professor, operated a legal-service clinic on campus during the spring semester, providing a community-service learning opportunity for paralegal students. Under faculty supervision, students met with clients referred by North Penn Legal Services to assist with some preliminary legal matters.
Residence Life sponsored a TLC Drive for Saving Grace Homeless Shelter in Williamsport, collecting towels, linens and pillows.
Resident Assistants and their residents handmade and delivered Easter baskets for kids who were sick in the hospital.
The Student Athletic Advisory Council held a canned-food drive to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank – Williamsport branch.
At the Woodward Township Volunteer Fire Co., students in Masonry Principles worked on a sign base and memorial project. The students built a footer and constructed a block foundation to mount the sign. A flagpole and brass bell were also mounted in the structure.
Masonry students completed a service project for New Tribes Mission in Piatt Township. Photo by Sarah K. Mariano. At New Tribes Mission in Piatt Township, Stone Masonry students installed stone veneer on the face of the lower level of a building, using natural stone that is supplied on-site. The students had to match existing stone work in order to keep the aesthetic flavor of the facility. The total surface area students covered was 543 square feet.
At St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Williamsport, students in the Interior Finish course installed a suspended ceiling in a first-floor office.
The Concrete Construction classes, under the direction of building construction technology instructor Franklin H. Reber, stained concrete floors at the Crossroads Community Church in Jersey Shore. Concrete Construction classes also built two 6-foot by 21-foot by 4.5-foot concrete block dugouts with wood-frame roofs for the Newberry Little League. The working drawings, specifications and job schedule were completed by the class.
The Mechanical Systems Lab Practices class installed a sink and water heater at Loyalsock Little League’s minor field. The class also installed a water line at the major field.
Work was completed at the Lions Club by several classes.
The Home Remodeling/Practical class removed four sets of garage doors and laid block in those openings to size for vinyl windows. Students installed the vinyl windows. This class also installed framing around the perimeter, hung and finished drywall, hung doors, installed extension jambs, and installed casing and base trim in the structure. The class also designed and installed a protective shutter system for the window exteriors.
The Mechanical Systems-Lab Practice class completed plumbing work at the Lions Club. The students excavated the floor and installed new drain lines and water supply lines for a handicapped bathroom. This included the installation of the water closet, urinal, vanity and accompanying water heater. In addition, a 6-foot stainless-steel work sink was installed in the kitchen.
The Construction Lab IV-Practical Experience class performed the electrical work at the Lions Club. Students removed old circuits and designed and installed new circuits to accommodate receptacles and lighting for the kitchen, bathroom and serving areas. They also installed can lights in the suspended ceiling and an emergency lighting system for the structure.
Emergency medical services, paramedic technician, physician assistant and nursing students participated in the annual Lycoming County Flu Clinic offered in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition.
Through prior fundraising efforts, dental hygiene students prepared and served 203 meals for less fortunate individuals in the Williamsport area.
The Advanced Digital Media Production class produced public-service announcements and video promotions for nonprofit organizations in Lycoming County, including a production for Lycoming County's recycling efforts.
The Technology and Human Services class organized the Assistive Technology Expo, held on the Penn College campus on April 29. The goal of the expo is to showcase adaptive equipment vendors and service providers specializing in the areas of recreation, education, employment, mobility and communication.
Students in Human Services Internship I provided 250 hours of service to each of the following agencies: Jersey Shore YMCA, Williamsport YMCA, Transitional Living Center, Lycoming County Juvenile Probation, Clear Vision, Genesis House, Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action, Crossroads Counseling, Community Services Group Clubhouse, Lycoming County Probation, Lycoming/Clinton Head Start, Clear Vision, Genesis House and Manor Care South
Students in Human Services Internship II completed 560 hours of service to each of the following agencies: Lycoming/Clinton County Joinder, Susquehanna Health Family Center for Reproductive Health, The Academia, Lycoming/Clinton Head Start, Northumberland Head Start, Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, White Deer Run and Elder Care Solutions.
Landscape Construction students completed a hardscaping project at the Picture Rocks Veterans Memorial.
Automotive and collision repair faculty and students participated as technical inspectors at the American Red Cross Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy fundraiser at Brandon Park.
During Spring Break, five dental hygiene students (and Rhonda J. Seebold, part-time instructor of dental hygiene) provided free dental care and education to students attending La Escuelita (The Little School) in Managua, Nicaragua. Penn College dental hygiene students have been visiting the school annually since 2008.

Restaurant Renovations Highlight ‘Fresh, Local’ Perspective

Le Jeune Chef Restaurant premieres its new look at the Spring 2011 Visiting Chef dinner. The event featured alumni. Photo by Cindy Davis Meixel.New décor in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, a hands-on learning laboratory for School of Hospitality students, echoes the school’s re-energized focus on preparing food with sustainable, local ingredients, which further prepares students for the trends they will encounter in the restaurants and hotels where they will find employment. Inspired by the restaurant’s nearby vegetable garden, the new, lighter atmosphere reflects earth tones and organic elements. Renovations were also completed in Bardo Gym, which received new signage and paint, as well as floor refurbishment, and the Athletic Field, which received new bleacher sections and fencing.

College Works to Support First-Year Students

Kathy S. Wurster, assistant director of Counseling, chats with a student. Photo by Cindy Davis Meixel.The college made significant progress in strengthening the first-year experience for Penn College students, an exciting but daunting time of transition for most freshmen. Activities drew from the results of a “Foundations of Excellence” self-study the college engaged in during 2009-10.

The college:

  • Revised its mission and values statements to highlight its commitment to diversity.
  • Reorganized the Academic Success Center, adding such services as academic mentoring, a Writing Center and one-on-one tutoring. Focusing on providing access to all services for all students, the Academic Success Center provided direct academic support to more than 30 percent of the college’s students in 2010-11.
  • Introduced SupportNET, an online early-alert referral program. Through SupportNET, faculty and staff can report information about students at the earliest sign they may need extra help. Nearly 800 referrals were submitted throughout 2010-11.
  • Inaugurated a professional development day focusing on strategies for ensuring first-year student success. More than 50 full- and part-time faculty attended.

College Receives ‘A’ Rating, Seeks Bond Refinancing

Main entrance. Photo by Whitnie-rae Mays.Standard & Poor’s issued an “A” public rating to the college on March 23. It was the first public rating assigned to Penn College and provided the institution with an opportunity to restructure its current debt in order to save money at a crucial time.

The college Board of Directors authorized the administration to request that the Lycoming County Authority issue tax-exempt bonds on the college’s behalf. Proceeds from the bonds will be used to refinance a series of fixed-rate bonds, issued in 2000, in order to secure a lower interest payment. The projected savings from refinancing the bond series was approximately $2 million.

Dual-Enrollment Courses Reach 343 High School Students

High school students take Penn College information technology courses - as well as courses from several other majors - at their high school through Penn College NOW. Photo by Cindy Davis Meixel.In its sixth year, Penn College NOW, the college’s dual-enrollment program, provided freshman-level courses to 343 students enrolled in 18 high schools and career and technical schools. The students earned 1,390 credits in 11 Penn College majors.

Penn College NOW was accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships on April 15. NACEP accreditation distinguishes Penn College NOW as one of the nation’s leading concurrent-enrollment programs. It is the first accredited program in Pennsylvania.

More outreach efforts to schools:

Outreach for K-12 provided leadership for the Third Annual Pennsylvania Welding Summit sponsored by the National Center for Welding Education and Training (Weld-Ed).
As part of a focus on careers that are nontraditional by gender, two “Careers Never Imagined” trainings, focused on the five-step process developed by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, were held for 17 participants from four partnering sites. Partner sites include three secondary schools (SUN Area Technical Institute, Jersey Shore Area High School and Williamsport Area High School) and the Penn College School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies.
The Career Development Leaders Network, under the leadership of Outreach for K-12, serves as the statewide advisory committee for the Pennsylvania Department of Education on career development and the Academic Standards for Career Education and Work. Outreach for K-12 coordinated 15 events focusing on implementation of the CEW Standards, including a series of seven sessions at the Bureau of Career and Technical Education’s Integrated Learning Conference at State College, which provided 646 educators with career-development education resources and best practices.
Penn College surgical technology students demonstrate some of the skills of the career during a Career Day for middle school students. Photo by Jennifer A. Cline. Outreach for K-12 hosted “Career Pathways in Marcellus Shale” as part of the natural gas industry partnership’s educational outreach initiatives. The 42 attendees included secondary educators and counselors, postsecondary faculty and industry representatives. All participants toured the labs of Penn College majors related to natural gas, and secondary and postsecondary educators attended one of five industry tours.
Outreach for K-12 hosted “Made in Central Pennsylvania” as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership’s educational outreach initiatives. 30 attendees included secondary educators and counselors, postsecondary faculty, and industry representatives. Participants attended seven roundtable presentations by manufacturing companies from the Central Region, as well as the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Council. All participants toured majors related to advanced manufacturing at Penn College.
Fall and Spring Career Days brought nearly 2,200 students in grades seven to 12 to campus for hands-on and demonstration sessions hosted by Penn College faculty.
More than 120 secondary educators, counselors and administrators attended College and Career Readiness Conferences. Participants toured college majors for two of three sessions and sat in on a “hot-topic” session. The fall hot topic was green careers and spotlighted Penn College green majors, the college’s “degrees that work.” television series, and a local company expanding into the green industry, K.C. Larson Inc. The spring hot topic was a panel discussion on the First Year Experience and focused on what secondary educators can do to prepare students for their first year, before they enter postsecondary schooling.

Two New Majors Introduced for 2011-12

Students gather for an "LAN (local-area networking) Party" to play multiplayer computer games. Video-game development is among skills taught in a new gaming and simulation major. Photo by Whitnie-rae Mays.The Curriculum Committee approved two new bachelor-degree offerings for Fall 2011: information technology sciences: gaming and simulation and Web and interactive media. The gaming and simulation major will include hands-on experience and coursework in console- and mobile-game design, programming, simulation, artificial intelligence, and three-dimensional modeling.

The Web and interactive media major will integrate animation, e-commerce, website development, and audio and video production for a variety of interactive platforms, from tablet PCs and cell phones to multimedia kiosks and “enhanced TV” programming.

The committee also approved new minors in photography and web technology.

PA House Committee Tours College Avenue Labs

William E. Mack leads a tour that includes state legislators through the automated manufacturing lab. Photo by Tom Wilson.William E. Mack, assistant dean of industrial and engineering technologies, leads a contingent of Pennsylvania House Commerce Committee members through the Haas Manufacturing Center in College Avenue Labs. The Commerce Committee members, joined by state and regional business leaders, toured Penn College on Sept. 16, 2010, to see firsthand how industry-responsive technical education can drive the engine of economic development in the commonwealth and beyond.

Violations Drop

For the fourth straight year, College Police liquor law violations dropped (206 in 2007-2008, 193 in 2008-2009, 177 in 2009-2010, and 172 in 2010-2011). In addition, police calls in general dropped (1,916 in 2009-2010 and 1,828 in 2010-2011).

More Penn College Police accomplishments:

  • Officer Jen Bowers received a Distinguished Service Award for her investigation and apprehension of a suspect who entered more than 100 vehicles and stole items from 60 in the neighborhoods around the college.
  • Officer Jeffrey E. Kriner received a Distinguished Service Award for his involvement in locating a man accused of abducting his child in South Williamsport.
  • 5,851 (6,035 in 2009-2010) parking permits were issued, and $35,910 in revenue was earned for the Student Scholarship Fund.
  • The department created a "Police Activity Blotter" on the college Portal to provide the college community a snapshot of police activity on campus (The "Blotter" quickly became the No. 1 visited site on the Portal.)

Three Bring Home National SkillUSA Medals

Ten Penn College students won the right to compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skill Conference in June, based on their winning performances in state competition during the spring. Three of the 10 returned home from competition with medals:

  • Aaron Dressler, Mount Pleasant Mills, in Automotive Refinishing
  • Micah Hoover, Souderton, in Welding
  • Lewis Robinson, Bellefonte, in Culinary Arts

In addition, Owen Boyle, of Bloomsbury, N.J., received a fourth-place finish in Collision Repair.

Read more at PCToday

Stage X Building Projects Completed, in Full Use

Children’s Learning Center. Photo by Larry D. Kauffman.

The Children’s Learning Center and new early childhood education facilities make their home in the Hager Lifelong Education Center, in space that once housed the college library. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools Early Age Education since 2007, the Children’s Learning Center was visited in May by the Middle States Agent of Responsibility assigned to conduct its Mid Point Review. The design and functionality of the new facility received high praise, as did the quality of the center’s curriculum and strength of the relationship between the center and the early childhood education degree program. The center is also accredited by Keystone Stars and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center. Photo by Larry D. Kauffman.Renovation and expansion in the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center allows the college to accept more applicants pursuing certificates and degrees in welding, welding technology, and welding and fabrication engineering technology. The facility has also hosted noncredit courses through the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center for natural gas industry employees.

Parkes Automotive Technology Center. Photo by Cindy Davis Meixel.Students in the Parkes Automotive Technology Center benefit from larger laboratory spaces for the popular Honda PACT and Ford ASSET programs.