Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Peirce College Celebrates 150 Years as the College for Working Adults

If you’re part of the Peirce College community, then you’ve long since figured out that 2015 is a BIG year for Peirce – it’s our 150th birthday! It was September 17, 1865 when Thomas May Peirce first realized his dream of opening a school aimed explicitly at educating adult students on business principles.

A lot of things have changed over the last 150 years -- Peirce College didn’t have a blog or online classes back then, for instance. In fact, we weren’t even called Peirce College. Thomas May Peirce first called his school the Union Business College. However, from our very first day open, regardless of our name, Peirce College has been a business college for working adults. 

“The demand for the merely learned is decreasing,” Peirce himself once said of his teaching philosophy for Peirce. “That for the practical and useful is increasing.”

One hundred and fifty years later, Peirce College is still delivering Thomas May Peirce's uniquely practical, useful approach to higher education to adult learners in Philadelphia.  To celebrate Peirce's history of delivering innovative career-based educations across three different centuries, we hosted three different events during our 150th Celebration Week. 

A 3 k Fun Walk on September 12th brought together Peirce community members to visit the College's previous historic locations around Center City, Philadelphia. A few days later we celebrated with  our Legacy of Leadership Executive Breakfast kFounder's Day Party on September 17th, when Peirce College alumni, students, partners, trustees, staff, and faculty came together for our biggest-ever birthday celebration.  Alumna Anita Vogel was awarded the President's Engagement Award for her commitment to Peirce. 
eynoted by Philadelphia mayoral hopeful Jim Kenney, who received the Thomas May Peirce Legacy of Leadership award for his commitment to workforce development and education in Philadelphia.  The celebrations culminated with our

If you made it out to any of these events, thanks for joining us in the celebration! But even if you weren’t able to be with us in person, don’t worry. 2015 isn’t over yet, and we’d still love to hear from you.  Sign our birthday card today and wish Peirce College a happy 150th birthday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Peirce College Criminal Justice Studies Update with Professor Bob Brzenchek

At Peirce College, most of our faculty members are industry professionals who practice what they preach. Many have spent years working in the fields they teach which gives them keen insights into the industries where our students are finding jobs. Robert Brzenchek, Assistant Professor and Program Manager for our Criminal Justice Studies department is no exception. Professor Brzenchek has enjoyed an illustrious career as a Navy intelligence specialist, a Washington D.C. police officer, and a defense contractor for various state and federal agencies. He continues to be in high demand for criminal justice consulting and speaking engagements across the country. His most recent presentation was at the National Gang Crime Research Center’s (NGCRC) conference in Chicago. We sat down with Professor Brzenchek to learn more about his research, the mission of the NGCRC, and how this impacts Peirce College students.

Can you tell us about the mission of the NGCRC?
The NGCRC exists as a non-profit independent agency that seeks to do several things. First, they promote research on gangs, gang members, and gang problems in cooperation with federal, state, and local government agencies. They also disseminate up-to-date valid and reliable information about gangs and gang problems through the official publication of the NGCRC, the Journal of Gang Research. This connects law enforcement officers (LEOs) and government agencies across the country and ensures that everyone has access to the most up-to-date and valuable information to aid in their work against gang violence. They also provide training and consulting services about gangs at the federal, state and local levels.

Who attends this conference?
This particular conference was attended by members of Illinois law enforcement, corrections, and social services agencies who deal with gangs daily. Illinois, specifically Chicago, has been ranked behind only Los Angeles as having the highest concentration of gangs in the nation.

What information did you present?
I’ve done a significant amount of research into gang activity and how to combat the problem, so I presented on many of my findings. There has been a spike of gang-related murders in recent years and one strategy to combat that has been a prominent shift toward predictive policing. The predictive-policing vision moves law enforcement from focusing on what happened to focusing on what will happen and how to effectively deploy resources in front of crime, thereby changing outcomes.  One key aspect of my presentation was how predictive policing for gang prevention can assess criminal justice leaders’ level of readiness. Research in this area highlights a need for focused gang prevention for identified populations. Much of my research has shed light upon areas where vulnerabilities continue to exist for those of lower socio-economic communities in contrast to those of higher socio-economic communities, allowing for criminal justice policy makers and planners to address such vulnerabilities in communities when implementing gang predictive prevention programs.

What impact does this have on Peirce’s criminal justice studies students?
Philadelphia has always been on the cusp of new criminal justice initiatives. While most Peirce students may not be able to attend events such as the NGCRC, I’ve been able to incorporate much of my research into regular classes, so students are receiving the same level of information as current LEOs working in the field. Having access to this type of information allows students to stay properly informed and bridges the gap in understanding as they find careers in the criminal justice field. I find that many students have used information like this to help resist gang violence; increase their knowledge and understanding of current issues; and create solutions for a safer Philadelphia.

Thanks for your insights, Professor Brzenchek!

Editor's note:  Professor Brzenchek will also be serving as an on air security expert for NBC10 during the upcoming Philadelphia papal visit. For more information on Peirce College's real world inspired curriculums and our Legal Studies programs, click here

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let's Celebrate Peirce College's 150th Birthday!

It’s not too late to register for the Peirce 3K Fun Walk or RSVP to the Peirce 150th Birthday Party. Get into the sesquicentennial spirit and join us for these two great events as we celebrate 150 years of Peirce College!

Peirce 3K Fun Walk
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Bring your family and show your Peirce pride with a trip down our very own memory lane.  Grab a Peirce map and stroll along our planned route with special stops to visit sites that were once home to Peirce’s campus. Complete the route for a chance to win prizes! A continental breakfast and kid-friendly snacks will be served to all fun walkers at the Peirce campus from 10:00 AM – 12:00 noon. This event is open to everyone so bring your friends!
Register at 

150th Birthday Party
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Join us “under the tent” on Carlisle Street as we celebrate Peirce’s past, present and future! Connect with friends both old and new, enjoy great food and drink, and grab a fun photo in our Peirce photo booth. This party is 150 years in the making…don’t miss out on the fun! This event is open to Peirce students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and friends of the College.
RSVP at 

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Katie Taylor at or call 215.670.9150.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Why Peirce College is the City of Philadelphia’s College of Choice

For 150 years, Peirce College has been partnering with Philadelphia businesses to equip their workforces and help them evolve to meet changing needs.   With over thirty-five corporate partnerships in the Philadelphia area, Peirce has partnered  with organizations across industries, including healthcare, banking, and education.   In August,  we’ve been celebrating Peirce’s commitment to Philadelphia, including our largest corporate partner: the City of Philadelphia.

When Mayor Nutter announced his plan to double the percentage of Philadelphians with bachelor degrees over the next decade, Peirce College was the first area institution to partner with his administration.  In addition to providing a 25% tuition discount to City of Philadelphia employees,
Peirce also extends this discount and opportunity to their spouses and children.  Today, Peirce is proud to have one hundred and fifty five City of Philadelphia employees enrolled in both graduate and undergraduate programs at the College.   In fact, as we have recognized this month, City of Philadelphia employees are some of Peirce’s greatest success stories.

Peirce also offers our annual Mayor’s City of Philadelphia Scholarship, which awards two recipients with full tuition and fees for up to ten classes per academic year. Eligible applicants are either City of Philadelphia employees or residents.

As we move forward into the next 150 years, Peirce College is prepared to support Philadelphia as we continue grow one of the most skilled workforces and robust economies in the nation.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Peirce Faculty Members Weigh in on New Intensive Course Format

Last week, we told you about our new intensive course offerings, which give our students the option to complete classes and earn college credits in less than half the time as other Peirce courses.   It’s the latest of many flexible delivery options that Peirce is developing, as we outlined in our strategic plan earlier this year.

For 150 years, Peirce has been committed to providing working adults with the flexibility and support that they need to earn their degree and achieve their goals quickly, so they can get back to focusing on what really matters.  The faculty at Peirce is especially sensitive to the needs of our students.  Many Peirce faculty have experience being adult learners and juggling career, family, and other responsibilities while working to accomplish their academic goals. Maybe that’s why, when we piloted the new intensive course format, we received such positive feedback from Peirce faculty members. 

From a faculty perspective, professors saw the benefit of teaching in an intensive format; it encouraged them to lead more focused class discussions, and prioritize more time for class work.  They also recognized and appreciated the high caliber of students this format attracted; faculty members described students enrolled in intensive courses as motivated, self-reliant, organized, and serious about completing their degree.  This encouraged engaging classroom discussions and made class time pass quickly.

Does a class like this sound like the right fit for your life?  Contact your academic advisor today or visit the My Advising tab on  It could be the jump start you need to get you to graduation and degree completion more quickly. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Featured Learner Series: Kathleine Gavin Overcomes Her Fears and Inspires Her Children

22 years ago, Kathleine Gavin had just graduated high school and was thinking about going to college. Kathleine had her mind set on continuing her education at the Community College of Philadelphia, but life had other plans for her.

“I became pregnant with my first child and decided to hold off on school,” she says. “Working and raising my children kept me busy, and I kept putting it off. Now, I’m a supervisor, and I’m always telling my employees how important it is that they earn their bachelor’s degree. My oldest is a sophomore in high school and I’m constantly talking to him about college.”

Kathleine decided it was time to follow her own advice. Despite having spent more than two decades away from school and being busy raising three children, she enrolled as an adult learner in Peirce College’s Healthcare Administration degree program this summer. Raising kids, working as a Patient Access Supervisor at Nemours DuPont Pediatrics and going to school seemed “so scary” to Kathleine, but -- with a little help from Peirce -- she’s making it work.

“The customer service at Peirce is so great,” she explains, “From enrollment to financial aid; everyone was so happy and accommodating and worked around my schedule. I work during the day, but I was able to schedule my appointments in the evening.  It made the whole process of enrolling back in school easier.”

Kathleine first heard about Peirce two years ago, when one of her employees mentioned Peirce’s Mayor’s Scholarship for Philadelphia residents and municipal employees.  The scholarship offers full tuition and fees for up to ten classes per academic year.  “It sounded like a great opportunity,” says Kathleine.  As she became more serious about going back to school, Kathleine started researching Philadelphia institutions that offered bachelor’s degrees in Healthcare Administration.  Peirce College kept popping up.  “I decided that now was my time.  I had to at least try.”

To start to realize her goal, Kathleine first had to figure out how to pay for college.  Initially “terrified” at the prospect of paying for school, she decided to apply for the Mayor’s Scholarship.  She submitted her application and essay along with the required letters of recommendation and held her breath. It wasn’t long before good news came.

“When I found out I won this scholarship, I was with my kids, and I was screaming and crying. I’m so glad that they saw that real reaction, and saw me accomplish one of my dreams.”

Now, in addition to managing her Peirce course load and preparing herself for future growth opportunities at work, Kathleine has a new goal.  “I want to beat my oldest son to college graduation,” she says. “If I can do that, I’ll be the first in our family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”

As she continues her journey at Peirce, Kathleine’s not as scared as she used to be.  “At Peirce,” she says, “there’s no reason to fail.” 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrate Peirce College's 150th Birthday by Signing our Birthday Card!

By now, you’ve probably heard that 2015 is an important year at Peirce College.  We’re celebrating our 150th birthday!  Since we first opened our doors in 1865 to serve returning civil war veterans, Peirce has been committed to working adult learners, and helping them get the education they need to advance their careers.  As part of our celebration, we want to hear from the most important people that make up the Peirce story; our community.  Whether you're an alumni, current student, or a friend of Peirce, you have helped shape us into who we are today.  Tell us what the College turning 150 means to you by signing our birthday card

Remember, the festivities are just getting started!  To join the celebration, learn more about upcoming events and take a look through Peirce's rich history, visit