Thursday, February 23, 2017

Health Information Administration program now CAHIIM Accredited!

Health Information Administration CAHIIM AccreditedIt’s official – Peirce College’s Health Information Administration (HIA) bachelor’s degree is now CAHIIM accredited! There are only two accredited HIA bachelor’s degrees in the Philadelphia region and we are proud to be one of them.

Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education qualifies Peirce’s HIA graduates to sit for the RHIA exam, which is a highly valued certification by regional and national employers. It’s often listed on job postings as a requirement, so the program’s accreditation will open more opportunities for our students.

This accreditation is not easy to acquire. Members of the CAHIIM review team rigorously reviewed our curriculum requirements and met extensively with our administration, faculty, staff, students, and members of the advisory board during a site visit. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this monumental effort. If you’re interested in learning how the CAHIIM accreditation can help your career, please feel free to reach out to me at or 215.670.9255.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Napkins, Leftovers and Etiquette - Oh My!

Peirce College Career Development Services Business Etiquette LuncheonIf you’re like me, just hearing or seeing the word "etiquette" makes you nervous. It conjures images of Downtown Abbey, books balanced on girls' heads, and a world of unspoken rules I'm not quite sure of. On the other hand, business etiquette can make or break your next promotion, job interview, or networking opportunity.

Knowing we could all use at least a refresher course of what fork to use and why, Career Development Services coordinated a group meal at The Capital Grille on Friday, February 17th. Located at Broad and Chestnut Streets in Center City, the Capital Grille is a popular upscale restaurant known as a place to make business deals. Alexis Lundeen, Managing Partner of the Capital Grille Philadelphia, facilitated our workshop, answering all of our silly and not-so-silly questions.

During our luncheon, we cross-checked etiquette tips we had heard from friends, family, even online. For instance, did you know that if you don't finish your meal, it is now appropriate to ask for the leftovers to be boxed up? However, make sure the ranking member of the table -- your boss or interviewer -- is the first to eat.

Our most important lesson learned is that the purpose of a networking or business meal, as Alexis explained it, is not really about eating! It's really about demonstrating respect and making a positive impression. Knowing where to place your napkin and to indicate that you are returning to the table (on your chair) or you have left the meal (on the table) will help the wait staff wordlessly anticipate your next moves, leaving your focus on your important business transaction.

Finally, as a group, we decided that etiquette is like a muscle -- if you stop exercising it, it is harder to use it once you need to. With all this in mind, I know I will be using this as an excuse to go out for a fancy dinner in the near future and practice my etiquette moves!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Meet the New Assistant Dean for Student Support Services - Tracey Thomas!

Last month, Peirce College gained another new team member – Tracey Thomas, the new Assistant Dean for Student Support Services, joins us from a long history of higher education and student services. We took some time to get to know her a little better.

Assistant Student Services Dean Tracey ThomasTracey, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Absolutely! I have a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Ohio Wesleyan University & an Ed.M. from Temple University in Counseling Psychology. I have worked my entire professional life in higher education starting as a mental health counselor in a college counseling center then moving to various administrative positions. I have worked for various opportunity programs including the Act 101 Program in PA and the Educational Opportunity Fund Program in New Jersey. In my most recent position, I was the Associate Dean of Academic Advising and Student Programs at a community college in New Jersey.

What made you interested in working for Peirce, specifically the Walker Center for Academic Excellence?
Peirce College offers a unique educational experience through an accelerated curriculum. The Walker Center is a place that can assist students address many of the challenges they may experience meeting their academic goals. We offer tutoring, assistance for students with disabilities, academic advising for specific first year students as well as have a computer lab for students use. We also host a variety of workshops and events!

What has been your experience thus far working with adult learners and the Peirce community?
Although I have only been at Peirce a few weeks, I have enjoyed working with the students I have met so far. Peirce students have been very friendly and have made me feel welcome in my new role. The staff has extended to me every imaginable kindness. I am very happy to be a member of the Peirce family!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is getting ready to head back to school, what would it be?
Create a plan. The desire to go (or come back) to school is great, but it requires more than desire. Have you thought about how you will fit your classes around your work schedule? When will you study? Do you have a plan for your children while you study or work on class projects? These issues also need to be considered and resolved before registering for class.

Thank you, Tracey! You can visit her in Peirce’s Walker Center for Academic Excellence or reach out at or 215.670.9251.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Peirce College Facilitates Self-Improvement Learning Bursts at Beneficial Bank

Maximum impact in minimal time. That’s the goal of Peirce College’s latest collaboration with corporate partner Beneficial Bank.

Under the guidance of in-house experts Cathy Littlefield, EdD, Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services, Peirce College is proudly delivering a four-part series on self-improvement to Beneficial employees. These ‘Learning Bursts’ will cover practical yet powerful topics and provide attendees with the skills needed to continue their professional growth.

Beneficial Bank Corporate Partnership
The series began on Wednesday, February 8th with a topic every member of the workforce encounters: accountability. Whether you’re referencing personal accountability or holding others accountable, the concept can be somewhat daunting. Through group discussions and guided activities, our expert facilitators helped attendees understand the importance of both.

Thompsonowak began the discussion by explaining the close relationship between personal accountability and perception. To illustrate her point, she asked a poignant question, “Do things happen TO you or do things happen BECAUSE of you?” Being willing to ask yourself this question helps you identify your own role in the challenges or difficulties you may have, which can help you avoid those problems in the future. As Thompsonowak went on to explain, the more we evaluate our own role in every situation, the more we build our accountability “muscle.” Subsequently, the more we hold ourselves accountable, the more we can take action to solve problems.

Littlefield then led a dynamic discussion on the challenges we face when holding others accountable and the consequences we’re likely to experience if we avoid the process altogether. How do we overcome these challenges and avoid negative consequences? As the attendees discovered, the key is clarity.

How do you achieve clarity? Simple. Be clear and direct about every step of the process.
  •          Set clear expectations from the start
  •          Share clear measurements and indicators of success
  •          State clear consequences if expectations are not met
  •          Provide clear and direct feedback after the project is complete
When you provide clarity, you strengthen your ability to hold others accountable and empower everyone involved to be successful.

Although the concepts involved with both personal accountability and holding others accountable are somewhat straightforward, the ability to internalize them and apply them in the workplace is extremely powerful.

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

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Balance of It All - Work, School, and Life

A wise man once said, “You have as many hours in a day as BeyoncĂ©.” And while this statement rings true, the fact of the matter is, life’s elements of prioritizing and time management are true art forms in themselves. Managing the professional, scholastic, and extracurricular pillars of life require much more than Starbucks, a trustworthy alarm clock or a glam squad.

Nyidera Edwards' Student Life Advice
To be a thriving student and an exemplary employee, it takes more than long hours on the clock and late-night study sessions. Take it from me: I’m Nyidera Edwards, a Peirce student who balances work, school, and life every day. I’ve found that to be successful in these avenues, you must be functioning as the best version of yourself – mentally, physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, with pending deadlines, personal crises and life’s general stress, this can sometimes seem easier said than done. Luckily, I have been able to find a way to balance it all without allowing myself to get too overwhelmed and worn out. Let me share with you some of my advice on how I’ve been able to make it work.

One of the most vital factors in living a balanced student life may resonate as the timeless, maternal advice that we’ve loathed since we were children: “you must sleep.” Sleep is imperative in the healthy maintenance of a busy schedule because you simply cannot run on Dunkin™ your entire life. Your body and your mind need efficient rest for superior function and focus. But, bear in mind, sleep schedules are not a one-size-fits-all arrangement. The key is to listen to your body and pay attention to the amount of rest that it requires. Your thinking will be much clearer and your brain will absorb information much better!

The next element of balance is to take control of the hustle; but, never let the hustle take control of YOU. With that being said, remember to make time for the things that bring you happiness and peace of mind. Spend time with loved ones, plan a night out or maybe even a night-in to relax and decompress. Becoming stressed and overwhelmed with life’s daily hurdles can be detrimental to your overall well-being. Remember, your overall energy and state of mind are directly correlated with your relationships, your work ethic and your ability to focus.

Finally, you must remain conscious of your mental and physical wellness. In order to truly maximize your full potential in a day’s work, you must properly fuel your body. Have a little avocado with your eggs; toss some blueberries into your oatmeal; treat yourself to a rich bar of dark chocolate – these “brain” foods and so many more can be greatly beneficial in keeping your brain and body going all day long.

As a last piece of advice – for every morning that you want to just stay in bed and hibernate or those Saturday evenings that you spend with your nose in your textbooks, remind yourself of the why. “Why do I make these sacrifices?” “Why are these moments so pivotal to my life?” The answer is simple: it’s because you have dreams, goals and ambitions. But the truth of the matter is – every story of success will have pitfalls and hard times. Just remember, there is a silver-lining in every cloud and you can do this!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ready to Start or Advance Your Career? Meet Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services!

“Adult learners are among my favorite people: I love working with individuals who are figuring out their career paths – especially when they are ready to add a new degree to their resumes or transition from one career to another – and I am always eager to develop resources that support adults in taking steps toward success. “ –Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services

Director of Peirce College Career Development ServicesPeirce’s Career Development Services (CDS) Center is your go-to place for starting your job search process and the career that best fits you. CDS offers many opportunities for students to prep for interviews, build their resumes and cover letters, cultivate work-related skills, and so much more.

Our Director of Career Development Services, Sharon Thompsonowak, recently joined the Peirce team in November 2016 after spending many years working in education, fundraising, nonprofit management, economic development and workforce development. We spoke with Sharon a bit about her inspiration and her advice for utilizing CDS to further your future career.

What inspired you to want to be involved in career services?
Research shows that college degree holders still earn more money over their lifetimes than people with only a high school diploma. This coupled with the fact that many hiring managers list soft skills (like communication, time management, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution) as the qualifications they value most in their candidates, made me want to get involved with career services.  In CDS, we create programs and resources that help Peirce students and alumni not only build these essential skills but also learn how to leverage them along with their college credentials. Your career should provide a return on your educational investment, and CDS provides support in making sure that you have the tools you need to maximize this return.

Do you have any advice for people who are ready to move their careers to the next level?
Whether you are looking for a new job or a promotion, get started now. It’s never too early to update your resume, inventory your workplace accomplishments, or get the word out that you are ready for your next opportunity.  CDS can help you practice telling your professional story so that you feel confident in presenting your skills and accomplishments as the best fit for a potential employer. And if you’re ready for a change but you’re not sure exactly what’s next, CDS has many resources that will help you identify options.

Additionally, spring is a great time to look for a new job! Many hiring managers post job openings starting in January, and the applicant pools generally become less competitive starting in February. Upcoming CDS workshops will help you take advantage of these opportunities: we’re offering webinars about online interviewing and the federal job application process, as well as sessions on emotional intelligence and the etiquette of business lunches. Our 7th annual Women in Leadership panel event on March 15 is open to all students and alumni, and provides a great opportunity to network with executives and other women from across the region.

Thank you, Sharon! The first CDS workshop is tomorrow, January 25th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Join the CDS Team for Part 1 of a two-part series called, Emotional Intelligence, where you can learn how to recognize feelings, motivate yourself, and manage emotions in yourself and your relationships to make all the difference in your professional life. To learn more and to RSVP, go to

Thursday, January 19, 2017

MLK Day of Service

“Service,” Marian Wright Edelman once said, “is the rent we pay for being.” On Monday, January 16, more than 30 Peirce volunteers—students, alumni, family and friends of the College—met at our sister school, Thomas May Peirce Elementary, to render our service in honor of the Martin Luther King Day of Service. 

Now in its 23rd year, MLK Day is a national, annual event where volunteers lend their time, talent, and treasure, to organizations in need of additional supports. This year, our energetic group rolled up its proverbial sleeves and helped TMP by decluttering spaces, relocating the nurse’s office to the first floor for easier student access, and painting motivational words and pictures on the walls to create an even more welcoming learning environment.

Our Peirce volunteers were not alone! Community members including Greg Thomas (pictured) joined in the action! This was Greg’s very first time participating in the MLK Day of Service. He shared with us that he was pleasantly surprised with the turnout of volunteers: “I expected more adults than children, but I am impressed that so many children are here to participate. I am encouraged to continue doing this next year.”

In addition to his deep connection with Peirce Elementary, Greg also has a deep tie to Peirce! More than thirty-five years ago – in 1981, his high school coach, a former Peirce employee, afforded him the opportunity to take on a short-term custodian job at Peirce so that Greg could raise enough funds to apply to college. Thomas is now a 3rd grade teacher at TMP and inspires students with his energy, passion, and an incredible work ethic.

One of Peirce College’s priorities is to ensure we are lifting and supporting our communities. This is part of an evolving social responsibility platform aligned with our mission. Look out for future announcements about this work as well as other opportunities to support us with your own time, talent and treasure. Can’t wait? Join us now by investing in our mission!