Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peirce College welcomes three new full-time faculty members

Peirce College is yet again growing in its family through the addition of three new full-time faculty members: Professor Christopher Nosal, Assistant Professor, English and General Education, Professor Erin Rybicki, Associate Professor, Legal Studies, and Professor John-Patrick Schultz, Associate Professor, General Studies. We asked each of them a few questions, so we can all get to know our newest educators at Peirce College.

Welcome to Peirce! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Professor Nosal: I have my BA in English and an MA in Creating Writing/English from Temple University. I began my career in higher education working with both Dr. Charlene Glenn and Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts in the Walker Center back before it was even called the Walker Center. After working at Peirce, I worked at Saint Joseph’s University for 13 years running and teaching in the University’s Passport Program for conditionally admitted freshmen. Most recently, I was the Director of the Learning Assessment and Support Center at Valley Forge Military College, where I taught first year seminars, supervised tutoring and other academic support programs, provided testing and disabilities support, and even administered placement testing. I have taught courses as a part-time faculty member at Peirce College for 20 years and I am excited to now be a Peirce College full-time faculty member continuing to teach English, Communications and Humanities.

Professor Rybicki: I am a lawyer licensed in New Jersey, and a life-long New Jersey resident. For more than a decade I have taught and managed Legal Studies programs, and I really enjoy focusing on teaching excellence and managing the American Bar Association approval standards. I am an active member of AAfPE (American Association for Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies) and I enjoy writing and researching on topics pertaining to Legal Studies. I especially enjoy teaching courses in Career Development and Legal Ethics. I have a Juris Doctor degree from Delaware Law School and a bachelor's degree from Rowan University. In addition, I have my Master’s in Education Foundations from Widener University. I plan to continue my education towards my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) with a focus on Teaching and Leadership in the fall. Now, you can find me teaching Legal Studies courses at Peirce College.

Professor Schultz: Before graduate school, I went to La Salle University -- I graduated in 2006 with a BA in philosophy and religion. Then, I served as a Lasallian Volunteer high school teacher in Yakima, Washington for a year, coming back to earn my Master's and PhD in philosophy at Villanova University. Now, as a full-time faculty member at Peirce College, I teach (among other things) all the courses in philosophy: HUM 102, "Introduction to Philosophy," HUM 275, "Ethics and Leadership," HUM 300, "Great Thinkers," and COM 312, "Critical Reasoning.”

What inspired you to become a professor?

Professor Nosal: My professors during my undergraduate inspired me to teach. I respected their lives outside of work and their creative and intellectual pursuits too. They were just interesting people, and as a first generation college student from a working class family, they opened up a new way of thinking to me. I could be a blue collar scholar and a writer! During my first teaching experience at Peirce, I was lucky to work with some great, seasoned instructors and some young professionals who were full of enthusiasm and creativity. I continuously try to make the classroom fun because it makes me happy, but it also makes students feel comfortable and valued as people.

Professor Rybicki:
In the sixth grade, I was asked to write what I wanted to be when I grow up. I am not quite sure that I knew what it meant to be a professor at the time, but I wrote that I wanted to be a lawyer and a teacher. Oddly enough, that is exactly what I am today. I absolutely love being a professor, and I consider myself so very lucky to be able to do my dream job.

Professor Schultz: Before I went to college, I had this idea that education was more or less boring. It always seemed like the goal was to cram our heads with facts and figures so that we can perform well on tests. But then in college, it became really clear to me that education can be something completely different. I remember so clearly now that after a few of my classes I walked away thinking, "Wait, I never thought about that. Now I'm not sure what I believe!" I started to see that teaching, specifically teaching philosophy, can be a way to not just go through the motions of our lives like well-oiled machines; it can actually be like a wrench thrown into the machines that stops them for a minute, so we can start asking why we're doing what we're doing, why the world is the way it is. Once I figured this out I knew I needed to be a philosophy professor.

What advice would you give to potential students who are thinking of coming back to school, but may be intimidated by the idea of doing homework, schoolwork, tests, etc. again?


Professor Nosal:
Having seen my wife return to school and do an MA when she was close to 40 years old, I would say that it is important to communicate with your family and get the support of everyone who cares about you. They will help you make time to get your work done if they know this goal is important to you. Also, find a workspace and a time of day where you know you can be productive. Communicate to your family and peers that you will need this space and time to be successful. Don’t forget to keep in mind that the piece of paper, the diploma, comes at the end of a long journey, so you have to get in the mindset to enjoy process, even English 103 or Statistics!

Professor Rybicki: I always encourage my students and potential students to work with their academic advisors to formulate a plan that works best for their lives. Each student is different. Many students have family and work obligations, so working with their advisor will allow them to select the right course load for them. I, also, encourage potential students to explore the many resources offered by the Walker Center at Peirce College. The Walker Center offers training and tutoring that allow students to excel in their courses through targeted academic support. By carefully planning a course of study, students will find that completing their degree is much more manageable and can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Professor Schultz: A big task like going back to college is really scary. But I think a lot of people sell themselves short. They can sometimes forget how smart and powerful they are. So I hope folks can start to see the ability and potential they have. And that's something that we want to help with. I hope people know just how much the faculty and staff want to help students bring out all their inner brilliance. It's not as scary when you remember all the support system you have here and when you remember just how powerful you can be.

Thank you, professors! Keep an eye out for Professor Nosal, Professor Rybicki and Professor Schultz in the classroom and around campus.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congratulations to Professor Kate Watson on her most recent accomplishment!

I am proud to announce that Professor Kate Watson has written and published a chapter for the SAGE Encyclopedia of Clinical and Abnormal Psychology. Along with her co-author, Scott Glassman, Professor Watson contributed a piece about Motivational Interviewing, an internationally-recognized counseling technique which emphasizes evidence-base strategies for helping people change their habits. Although Motivational Interviewing is a set of skills commonly utilized by social workers, psychologists, physicians and nurses, this technique is gaining traction among correctional officers, probation officers, police officers, and victim advocates. These skills can be useful for anyone who is aiming to help others behave in healthy ways, make good decisions, or live a happy life.

Do you know someone who is battling a bad habit, or who struggles to make changes? Communicating with that person in a MI-consistent manner is likely to uncover their intrinsic motivations to improve their behaviors. The key is: you have to help the person make their own arguments in favor of change, rather than asking him or her to explain reasons not to change.

Here is an example: Rather than asking, “Why do you think you struggle so much to quit smoking?” you might ask a person, “What do you think you stand to gain, if you quit smoking?” Motivational Interviewing emphasizes that a person must be motivated by their own intrinsic values to resolve uncertainty about changing habits. Using skills like open ended questions, reflective listening, and affirmative statements, people who use Motivational Interviewing are likely to find that their clients, patients, students, or loved-ones are more likely to feel motivated to make changes in their lives (quitting smoking, studying harder, paying down debt, eating healthy foods, taking medication, etc.).

Professor Watson has grown her own skills in Motivational Interviewing by participating in the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Every year, she meets with MI practitioners from all around the world at an annual forum. If you are interested in learning more about Motivational Interviewing, I encourage you to visit www.motivationalinterviewing.org.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Watson on her accomplishments!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Learning Burst Part Four: Positive Outlook

Partners since 2008, Beneficial Bank and Peirce College collaborated to bring a series of self-improvement Learning Bursts to Beneficial employees. The final topic, Positive Outlook, was presented on May 9th by expert facilitators Cathy Littlefield, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services.

Thompsonowak began by sharing the helpful effects a positive outlook can have in the workplace such as a reduction in work-related stress and an increase in work productivity. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, researchers have found a positive outlook directly benefits your health and makes you less vulnerable to life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Sounds great, but how do you maintain a positive outlook?

According to Littlefield, one approach is to consciously and consistently turn negatives into positives. Her suggestions on how to do this included:
  • Do good things for other people
  • Appreciate the world around you
  • Develop and bolster relationships
  • Learn something new
  • Establish goals that can be accomplished
  • Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all
  • Practice resilience
  • Practice mindfulness
Littlefield went on to share ten ways to create a positive outlook, including:
  1. Smile and laugh 
  2. Help others unselfishly
  3. Eliminate your ego
  4. Show gratitude
  5. Set goals
  6. Train your mind to focus on more positive thoughts
  7. Surround yourself with positive people
  8. Be persistent and find the positive in all situations
  9. Work out and eat right
  10. Listen to your favorite music
Although these suggestions may seem straightforward, when practiced consistently they can have practical and significant results.

Thompsonowak concluded the session by emphasizing the direct correlation between outlook and perception. How you perceive the world around you directly impacts your overall outlook and attitude. If you choose to see the opportunity in every problem and the lesson in every setback, you’ll create a positive outlook for yourself moving forward. In time, your conscious decisions to remain positive will become your natural, default reactions when confronted with stressful situations.

Peirce College was thrilled to provide this self-improvement Learning Burst series to Beneficial employees and looks forward to opportunities to collaborate and expand our growing partnership in the future.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008. Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit www.peirce.edu/apply.

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit www.peirce.edu/corporate-partners. If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at alholvey@peirce.edu.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Announcing the 2017 Commencement Speaker – Monica Malpass

It’s our favorite time of year - Commencement 2017 is only a month away. And to kick off this time of celebration, today I am happy to announce Peirce’s 2017 Commencement Speaker:

Monica Malpass, co-anchor of Action News at 5 p.m.!

For more than three decades, Monica has worked as an anchor and reporter for television networks in Philadelphia and throughout North Carolina. She has covered every U.S. Presidential election since 1988, as well as high profile events, such as: the Inaugurations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; the plane crash of John F. Kennedy, Jr.; the funeral of Princess Diana in London; and the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance in 2005. Monica has also conducted interviews with such high profile figures as Hillary Clinton; Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman; Governors Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge; Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum; UPI White House Correspondent Helen Thomas; political analyst George Stephanopoulos; and numerous other state and national representatives.

Throughout her career, Monica has won numerous awards, including Best Female Newscaster by Main Line Today and Broadcaster of the Year by Women in Communications.

Monica received a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Villanova University; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; was a Rotary Scholar to the University of Puerto Rico; and has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Neumann College.

Please join me in welcoming Monica Malpass to our 152nd Commencement Ceremony on June 8th!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Congratulations to our 2017 Peirce Voice Winner – Natasha Moore!

The votes are in! The people have spoken! We are proud to announce this year’s Peirce Voice Winner: Natasha Moore. As the winner, Natasha will be singing the National Anthem at this year’s 152nd Commencement Ceremony on June 8th at the Kimmel Center.

Want to know more about our winner? Read below to learn a little about Natasha’s educational journey, life experiences and her passion for singing!

“I am a North Philadelphia native who grew up in the Philadelphia Parochial School System. I attended J. W. Hallahan High School and immediately moved on to LaSalle University where I completed my freshman year of college. Due to personal finances and needing to take care of my mother on a more full-time basis, I took a hiatus from school and entered the workforce. I landed a position as a temp for the Philadelphia Gas Works as an Administrative Assistant within the Human Resources Department.

I grew a love for Human Resources while working for PGW within their HR Department; so much that I decided to return to school and complete the pursuit of my Bachelor`s Degree in Human Resource Management. Peirce College has a great partnership with PGW so of course Peirce was my school of choice. I enrolled and was honored to be the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship! In 2015, I was offered a full-time position with PGW as the HR Coordinator while continuing my studies with Peirce College. My anticipated graduation year is 2018.

My passion for singing has been strong ever since I was a 5-year-old little girl. I have recently decided to take my talent more seriously, which led me to audition for Peirce Voice. I am so appreciative of The Peirce Voice Committee for providing an opportunity for me to take my talent to the stage. I look forward to growing in my singing experience by performing the National Anthem at Peirce College’s Commencement Ceremony.”

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Join us to Celebrate, Inspire, Network and Honor!

When I arrived at Peirce College over seven years ago, I felt the unexpected pull of something intangible, palpable, and welcoming. I felt it when I entered the lobby and watched students interact with faculty and staff as I waited for my interview to begin. I felt it in the invitation I would eventually receive to join the Peirce team. Over time, I found it evergreen, ever present--showing itself in the daily encounters I would have with my colleagues.

Today, I still feel that same something, that warmth and energy, and I try to ensure that those I work with-- students, alumni, colleagues and partners, feel it as well. Only now, I have learned its proper name. It is a deeply-seeded Peirce connectedness.

Peirce College prides itself on the wonderful relationships built between all members of the Peirce community: alumni, students, corporate partners, trustees, friends of Peirce, and more! To celebrate this culture of connectedness, we’re introducing a new event this year called Peirce Talks – a celebration of connections, people, purpose and possibility.

We will celebrate the connections that define who we are and the mission we have embraced for more than 151 years – serving the education and workforce needs of non-traditional learners, communities, and employers.

We will be inspired by the personal stories of the women and men whose professional and personal lives have been transformed by their Peirce College experience and the relationships they’ve built within and beyond Peirce College walls.

We will network, socialize and, maybe even dance if we are so inclined during the festive reception with members of the Peirce community at the home of one of our neighbors and partners, The University of the Arts.

We will honor the choice for change that our students, alumni, friends and employers have made by partnering with Peirce.

Join us for the event of the year on Monday, May 15th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the University of the Arts, Dorrance Hamilton Hall, Broad and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.

Tickets are limited so visit peirce.edu/PeirceTalks now to reserve your spot!

Friday, April 28, 2017

CBE is right for Sam Rennix, is it right for you?

Sam Rennix, an IT professional with Penn Medicine, knew it was time to return to college when Penn began requiring bachelor’s degrees for employees wanting to move into more advanced positions. That’s when Sam discovered Peirce College’s competency-based education (CBE) program – the most direct path to a college degree.
Competency-based-education student Sam Rennix
Peirce’s competency-based education degree allows Sam to leverage the IT skills and knowledge he already has by taking final exams to prove his competencies and earn credits as soon as he’s ready. As a CBE student, he can also receive credit for previous industry certifications earned and/or college courses he completed before coming to Peirce. So instead of spending a lot of time on ancillary and lower-level courses, CBE students like Sam focus on the skills they actually need to succeed in their career.

“It’s all been very oriented around the degree I’m going for and what I do professionally. All the knowledge I’ve acquired has been helpful in my day-to-day job and helped me understand how things work in the background and the infrastructure of our system on top of just working toward my degree.

“So, I would say the classes themselves are high-quality [and relevant]. They’re very specific to what I need to learn, and that’s what I like about that. I didn’t like when I [previously] went to regular college you had to do basket weaving and stuff just to take credits.”

On top of avoiding basket weaving and focusing on learning career-related IT competencies, Sam is able to move through the program at his own pace. That’s because CBE students can earn as many college credits as they’re able to per session for one flat fee. For that reason, Sam’s advice to anyone thinking about earning their IT degree through Peirce’s competency-based education program is not to procrastinate.

“You have 12 weeks in your course. Don’t wait until week nine to get going because you have the freedom to do that,” he says. “You’ll end up stressed out and fall behind.”

To that end, Sam is hoping to spend 2017 earning extra college credits toward his degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security. He’s off to a good start after knocking out seven credits during the first semester in the program.

Going forward, Sam hopes to earn 15 credits per 12-week session while still working full time at Penn. And not a single one of those credits will have anything to do with weaving baskets.

If you’re interested in learning more about Peirce’s competency-based education program, visit peirce.edu/CBE or reach out to Heather DeRitis, CBE Enrollment Specialist, at 215.670.9124 or hmderitis@peirce.edu.