We will officially welcome new people and celebrate promotions and other honors at our August State of the University gathering, so I will simply note that several important areas of campus will welcome some talented new (or already familiar) individuals to replace good colleagues who have assumed other duties or moved on professionally.
Our national search for a new Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid brought us Stacey Adams Perry, who last served as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Miami University of Ohio’s Middletown campus. The School of Graduate and Continuing Studies has been strengthened with the addition of two familiar faces, Daria LaTorre and Susan Rehhausser along with the arrival of Stephanie Tremble, who joins us from Georgetown University’s Law Center. One of our own “best and brightest,” Christopher Fake ’10 has joined the Holleran Center staff as the South Reading Youth Initiative Program Manager, a position funded through the U.S. Department of Justice grant received in 2009. Christopher majored in psychology and spent three years in the HCCE as a work study student.
Spence Stober has assumed duties as Director of the Center for Ethics and Leadership, where he will coordinate all leadership programs as well as develop new initiatives. His fine work as our first Ph.D. Director will be the foundation for his successor, Tufan Tiglioglu. So too, Robert Gannon of our business faculty will build on Tufan’s prior efforts, as Bob has been tapped to succeed him as the Graduate Program Coordinator for the MBA program.
A special welcome to Dr. James C. Foster, who joins Alvernia as the new Interim Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences on a two-year appointment through the Registry for College and University Presidents. Dr. Foster earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University in History with a Minor in Industrial and Labor Relations. He has also completed postdoctoral research with the Institute on Quantification through the Newberry Library and the Institute on Cliometrics through the National Science Foundation. Dr. Foster served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at University of Michigan, Dearborn Campus and served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at several institutions, including Mount Marty College (SD) from which he retired in July 2009. His knowledge of national accreditation standards, particularly related to assessment, and his work with faculty helped ensure an effective system of external program review and facilitated the development of new niche programs such as Forensic Science and Graphic Design. His knowledge of distance education, general education, and information literacy will be especially helpful as Alvernia moves forward with program growth and other quality initiatives. James’ home is in Yankton, South Dakota with his wife, Mary Louise, a professional librarian.
This summer we have gained hundreds of new alumni, including twenty-two graduates of the Leadership Berks (LB) program, the first class since Leadership Berks became an Alvernia program. With this foundation, director Toni Eckert will now be expanding related leadership programs, coordinated with our Center for Leadership and Ethics. By the way, the class president of this LB group was our own Zane Gizzi, director of planned giving.
Some promising future alums are getting closer to their goal! Among our 63 active Ph.D. students, the members of the 2006 cohort group are currently working on dissertation proposals, with the first graduates anticipated in December 2011.
Nine Alvernians participated in the 2010 AFCU Franciscan Symposium hosted by the University of St. Francis (IN). Kevin Godfrey was introduced as the new Executive Director of AFCU, with the main office now at Alvernia. Sister Rosemary Stets and Susan Rehhausser were presenters, with Sister Rosemary sharing a summary of her sabbatical research titled “Can You Speak Franciscan – A Lexicon for Franciscan Learners,” and Susan providing an overview of an ongoing blog project developed with Jon King on the “Ecology of Franciscan Values: Educating Those Who Don’t Know.” Also attending the symposium were Sister Paula Marie Nowak, OSF, Steve Campion, Kevin Queally, T.O.R., and Judy Bohler. Hard to believe it is already two years since we hosted this national conference at the then-new Conference Center!
Our student-athletes were well represented in post-season competition this spring, with some impressive individual accomplishments. In its first year, under Coach Laura Gingrich, the Track and Field program sent two student-athletes to participate in the ECAC championships. Brian Nerney finished fourth in the high jump and Brennon Ferrizzi placed 18th in the 400 meter dash – the same event he won at the MAC Championships. The softball team (22-15), coached by Lindsay Burger and led by its first ever All-American, junior third baseman Rhiannon Sorrentino, played in the ECAC championships. Although it had an early departure from the tournament, the team still enjoyed one of its best seasons in recent history.
The women’s lacrosse team (12-6), coached by Kelly McCloskey, also finished the season in the ECAC championships, soundly defeating Frostburg State at home before falling to the eventual champion FDU. The Alvernia baseball team was once again selected to participate in the NCAA D-III Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament. The team ended its season with an overall record of 32-12 with head coach Yogi Lutz picking up his 600th career win in the middle game of a three-game sweep of Albright College. All-American senior Shane Zellers recently got signed to play in the minor leagues for the Washington National’s affiliate Vermont Lake Monsters. (He joins Anthony Recker ‘05 and Zach Lutz ’08 who are already in the minors.) Senior Brian Longo, an Elementary Ed/Special Education major and a relief pitcher for the baseball team, was a fine representative of the institution, completing his second term as the President of our conference’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
While no single summer project matches the scope of last summer’s transformation of the entire South Campus, there are countless important efforts, mostly directed at improved teaching, learning, and performing spaces. Here are some details:
Francis Hall - The first phase of work in Francis Hall, due to open in August, includes a complete renovation of the auditorium into a theater/recital hall. New seating, air conditioning, and a rebuilt stage are among the key features. Handicap-accessible restrooms are being installed, along with an elevator providing access to all occupied levels of the building.
Bernardine Hall – As part of the five-year Teaching and Learning Plan, work is well underway on the first phase of construction of an Educational Technology Center, made possible by a major federal grant.
During the first phase, the large lecture hall is receiving all new seating with 39 seminar table seats and 135 theater-style seats. Infrastructure work will also be completed in preparation for the addition of interactive video equipment in the lecture hall and the completion of the Educational Technology Center next summer. Video, sound, editing, and production equipment will allow for student productions and instruction.
Renovation and expansion of the popular BH lounge will soon be completed, creating contemporary space for informal learning and socialization. And some complimentary improvements of the main entrance will provide a more welcoming environment for our main academic building. The outside work began in mid-summer but should still be completed by October 1.
Townhouses - A two-year project has begun to renovate Assisi and Sienna Hall Townhouses completely. New HVAC units will be installed, and all units will now feature complete kitchens. Living rooms, first floor bedrooms and bathrooms will also be refurbished with new paint, carpet and furniture. Next summer, second floor bedrooms and bathrooms will be refurbished.
New Signage – By mid-August, Alvernia will be easier to find! A new grand entrance at Rt. 10 leading through Angelica Park will be completed, consistent with our Campus Master Plan, and anticipating the future main campus entrance through the Bernardine Franciscan Sister’s property to Francis Hall. A large directional sign will be added at the corner of Greenway Terrace and St. Bernardine Street, and a campus kiosk (with campus map and interactive video display) outside the Student Center will help orient visitors to the campus.
Cedar Hill – Good progress has been made on renovations to Cedar Hill Farm, the historic 15-acre property donated last year by Jerry and Carolyn Holleran. As you will recall, the property will be used as a university resource for conferences and retreats as well as the president’s residence. Work is almost complete to create appropriate handicap access and to address health, safety, and building code requirements necessary for the property to be used for institutional purposes. Look for the announcement of an opening all-university reception in early September.
Teaching, Scholarship and Service . . . the secular trinity of faculty responsibilities throughout American higher education. This spring four programs were launched to support and strengthen the faculty’s work as “teacher-scholars.” Funded both by a permanent allocation from the annual budget and campaign gifts from committed donors, such as Carole and Ray Neag, are the following opportunities: Faculty Excellence Summer Grants, Faculty Excellence Academic Year Grants, Carpenter Scholars, and the Neag Professorships.
The following awards were recommended by the Development and Research Committee and approved by the Provost for Summer 2010. Unless otherwise noted, the project involves research and writing an article for publication.
• Scott Ballantyne: Planning In Reverse (Book);
• Beth Berrett: Planning In Reverse (Book);
• Karen Cameron: Community Based Service Learning in Occupational Therapy through Collaboration with the Diocese of Allentown Catholic Social Services Agency (Teaching-Service Project)
• Joseph Kremer: Negative Poisson’s Ration Liquid Crystal Polymers;
• Elizabeth Matteo: Examining Student Perceptions’ of Individuals Diagnosed with Mental Illness;
• Susan McDonald: Economically Distressed City (Reading, PA): A Qualitative Study of the Sociological and Psychological Impact in Community Members;
• Kathleen Muzevich: Establishing Inter-rater Reliability on an Assessment Rubric for Emergent Writing of Kindergarten and First Grade Student;
• Ana Ruiz: Long Term Impact of Multiple Undergraduate Service Options on Alumni;
• David Silbey: The Third China War: America, Britain, and the Boxers, 1990 (Book);
• Judith Warchal: Long Term Impact of Multiple Undergraduate Service Options on Alumni;
• Mary Ellen Wells: Planning In Reverse (Book);
• Donna Yarri: The Sopranos: Exploring Ethics in TV’s Most Infamous “Family.” (book)
Congratulations to one and all!
This year’s Rabbi Alan Weitzman Award was presented to a dedicated community leader, Rev. Luther H. Routte, the Associate Pastor of Robeson Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plowville. He has dedicated his life to fighting racism and other forms of injustice and to fostering inter-faith dialog and understanding. Luther continues to be a familiar presence at inter-faith services on campus.
More than 326 people participated in three University Days of Service during 2009-2010, donating 774 hours on those days to the community. The Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Office of Campus Ministry have already begun planning for the next day of service held during the new student orientation on Friday, Aug. 20. Over 200 community partners have been invited to host incoming Alvernia students at their non-profit organizations for this service activity.
Service was an important component of another successful Spring Fling, led by student leaders and Student Activities. In collaboration with the Student Government Association and Campus Ministry, the Alvernia Helping Haiti project raised nearly $10,000, including proceeds from the BJ Novak comedy show.
The Holleran Center for Community Engagement conducted its fifth annual Creativity Camp this summer, led by Mike Nerino. This year’s digital media theme was called “Pod Squad: Going for the Goal,” with participants using digital media and various hi-tech tools to create podcasts and blogs. The participants experimented with mixing boards, recording tools and video production equipment. All activities were flavored with a World Cup soccer theme and participants reported on game statistics and predictions for the Cup win.
Beginning in the fall of 2010, the Holleran Center will begin a “Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania" program with Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development. The pilot group, consisting of five Alvernia students, will spend 300 hours in the community during the 2010-2011 academic year and will receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,100 after they have completed their term of service. Students will be working with the South Reading Youth Initiative and Olivet’s Boys & Girls Club.