Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mark your calendars: Spring 2010 Career Development Services workshops

Looking for a new job but don't know where to start? The Career Development Services department is here to help!

Through career counseling, planning, and job search support, Career Development Services aims to assist students in making informed career decisions that are consistent with their values, skills, interests, and abilities.

An important part of our program includes workshops designed to support our students' career development skills. These workshops are offered throughout the academic year.

Here is the Spring 2010 workshop schedule. The following take place on campus between Jan. 13 and Feb. 22, 2010.

Mark your calendars: Spring 2010 workshops at the Walker Center for Academic Excellence

As promised, here is Peirce College's Spring 2010 workshop schedule for the Walker Center for Academic Excellence. A reminder -- the various workshops are hosted both on campus and online, so be sure to check the location. And did I mention -- they're all free!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peirce College celebrates commitment to customer service at the 6th annual S.T.A.R. Gala

At Peirce College, we have always placed a great emphasis on customer service and dedication to our students. Every year our staff goes above and beyond, exceeding our expectations with their commitment to the Peirce community. What better way to celebrate the faculty and staff who exemplify these qualities than to praise them with awards and recognition in front of their peers.

The recent Service to Achieve Results (S.T.A.R.) Gala at Peirce College saw our biggest turnout since inception! Over 117 Peirce faculty, staff, and honored guests attended to give their support to the Peirce College employees who were nominated and who won a prestigious S.T.A.R. award for their dedication to our students and fellow employees.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peirce College Paralegal Studies scholarship winner plans for the future

We caught up with Susan Witte, our award-winning Paralegal Studies student. Needless to say, she's been quite busy with finals and wrapping up her classes at Peirce. But we are so happy to hear that she had a wonderful time at the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) "Celebrate Success" awards luncheon.

Susan spent a few days in Portland, Ore. to attend the event, where she accepted the 2009 NFPA/Thomson Reuters Scholarship. Here is Susan (right) accepting her scholarship from a Thomson Reuters representative.

Susan was able to share her thoughts on the experience and her future plans with Peirce Connections. Read on below for her update. Thanks again, Susan!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peirce Paralegal Student Association's symposium and networking event gives "view from the bench"

Thanks to the outstanding Peirce College Paralegal Student Association (PSA) leadership group and the participation of our professional guests, Peirce College's annual fall PSA symposium and networking event on Dec. 9 was a huge success! This year's theme was focused on judicial perspective, or the "view from the bench."

I'm sure you've heard it before, but I'm going to say it again -- networking is one of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for a successful career. The mission of Peirce College's PSA is to provide students the tools and encouragement to be proactive and take initiative to make their careers happen. This event went a long way to help accomplish that mission.

My colleague Carol Sherman shared some great observations from the event. Here are some highlights.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peirce College 2009 Delta Mu Delta induction

I'm happy to announce that this year, 55 Peirce Business Administration students became members of Delta Mu Delta, Kappa Nu chapter. Delta Mu Delta is the International Honor Society in Business Administration. Each fall, students who meet eligibility requirements (Business Administration majors with a minimum 3.3 GPA and 60 college-level credits) are invited for membership.

Our on-campus program was on Dec. 4, and our virtual program took place Dec. 5. Including the most recent inductees, the Peirce College Delta Mu Delta chapter now stands at 386 members!

Congratulations to Associate Professor Sheila L. Perkins, who was inducted into Delta Mu Delta as an honorary member. Sheila is a dedicated member of the Business Administration faculty, and has been instrumental in providing guidance to the program and its students. Thank you Sheila for your commitment, and welcome to Delta Mu Delta!

Freddy Flippen, April Collins, Jon Lenrow and Camille Pierre also deserve special thanks for all their hard work organizing the on-campus event (some photos included here). Fabulous job!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peirce Scholarship Competition awards $60,000 to 23 students

On behalf of Peirce College's faculty members and staff, I want to take a moment and say congratulations to the winners of Peirce College's Fall 2009 Scholarship Competition!

We do this twice a year, and in this round we awarded a total of $60,000 in scholarship funds to 23 students. The Scholarship Competition is divided among three programs: Business Administration, Paralegal Studies, and Information Technology. Each program receives $20,000 to distribute at its discretion, so the number of recipients and the amount of each individual award changes from year to year.

If you're a student interested in entering the competition, or simply curious about the scholarship programs available at Peirce, I'll be sharing more details about the Peirce Scholarship Competition in the coming days.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peirce giving: winter coat and toy drives

The holiday season is upon us, and so is the season of giving! As many of you already know, Peirce College is once again participating in the Greater Philadelphia Cares Winter Coat Drive.

Last year, your generosity allowed us to donate nearly 100 coats, making it possible for us to continue Peirce College's commitment to giving back to the Philadelphia community. We are so thankful for all of the support and generosity exhibited by the Peirce community. This year I'd like to challenge all faculty, staff, and students to exceed last year's total by donating "gently used" or new coats, now through January 4 (please note that gently used coats must be cleaned prior to being donated).

And just because I've seen how generous you all can be, and believe we can do even better, we've added a new initiative! This year, Peirce will also partner with the Youth Action Team in a holiday toy drive. From now through December 17, your donations of new, unwrapped toys (ages infants to 17 years old) will benefit children residing in local shelters.

All donations may be placed in the collection bins located in the lobby and lounge areas of College Hall. At the conclusion of the drives, all coats and toys collected will be distributed to those in need. If you have any questions about donations, please feel free to contact me directly at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9297, or vrchimenti@peirce.edu.

Please know that your contributions will go a long way to help make the holiday season a little brighter for many in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Thank you so much for your support, and happy holidays to all!

College tuition resources essential for continuing education students

My colleague Steve Bird has discussed in the past that there are usually two primary concerns that emerge when we talk with current and prospective students: time and money.

Interestingly, it seems that almost all college students share these concerns -- whether they're considering an accelerated degree program, business school, an IT degree, online accredited degree, or a traditional degree program.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alumni open house reconnects Peirce to its graduates

The Peirce College alumni open house on November 19 was very well attended. It was great to host so many graduates and hear about their Peirce and life experiences.

Although we communicate with alumni on a regular basis (including through our newsletter, Peirce Perspectives), there is nothing better than getting together face-to-face to fortify our relationships and share our Peirce pride. Fortunately, pictures were taken that captured the essence of the evening, which you can view in a slideshow below.

Here are some of my observations from the event:

  • Peirce has a diverse group of alumni that represent the College extremely well in the workplace and the community.
  • It was particularly exciting to have Virginia Hurff Gilbert '33 (pictured with me to the right) and Enus Shupp '35 attend and actively participate. Peirce has a long, great history and these two individuals personify the Peirce College spirit and drive.
  • Every decade, from the 1930s through the 2000s, was represented at the event. Everyone, regardless of graduation year, demonstrated great enthusiasm for the College.
  • While Peirce alumni live all over the country and world, by and large, our studies show that 75 percent tend to stay in the Philadelphia area after graduation.
  • Those in attendance really cherished the time they spent at Peirce. Yearbooks and photos were displayed that sparked fond memories about their college days. It wasn't uncommon to see emotions surface when former classmates recognized each other. Many spoke of how their time at Peirce helped them in both their personal and professional lives.
  • Best of all, our alumni demonstrated that they are an engaged group with a desire for even more participation in the new era. They gave meaningful insight into a number of topics, which indicated how well they understand the value in our approach, and who our students are. Most notably, they expressed appreciation for how we mix the traditional, classroom-based model with online course delivery.
  • They also shared some constructive criticism. They suggested broadening our reach to include more traditional-aged students (18-24), in addition to working adults, and a desire for Peirce College to engage its alumni on a more consistent basis. They also commented on the importance of strengthening relationships with business and community leaders, offering expanded career services, and increasing recognition for the Peirce College name.
Feedback and insight from our alumni is invaluable, and they will continue to be a major part of Peirce College in the new era. Based on their feedback, more alumni-centered activities will be held in the future.

Thanks again to all the alumni and guests that attended the open house, as well as to the staff and faculty that helped make it a great night!

To view a slide show of the pictures taken at the open house, click on the photo below.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Helpful online security tips for the holiday season

Over the years, I've been asked by students and staff about the safety of online holiday shopping. This is no surprise, considering the 24/7 convenience it offers those of us who work full-time or are focused on completing the semester and attending classes. And for those of us who are already online taking classes.

As we begin the week with "Cyber Monday," I'd like to share a few practices to keep the Pierce community "cyber safe" when shopping online.
  • Use a secure browser (SSL): This is usually either Internet Explorer or Firefox. Make sure you have a current version. If you're sharing any private information or buying online you should look for "https://" in the address bar where the Web site address is displayed (that "s" is for "secure"). Another way to determine if a Web site is secure is to look for a closed padlock displayed at the bottom right, or upper right corner of your screen. If that lock is open, you should assume that it is not a secure site.

  • Shop with companies that you know: Anyone can set up shop under any name online (even playing off a more established retailer). This is called "spoofing." To protect against it, you can download free software called SpoofStick that can help you understand if the site is real or fake. If you're not familiar with a merchant, ask for a paper catalog or brochure to get a better idea of its merchandise and services. And make sure you determine the retailer's refund and return policies before you place your order.
  • Keep your password(s) private: Remember, NEVER give any personal information in response to an email or phone call, regardless of the source. No company or business will request your password or private information. A common scam to be aware of is a notification that your account has been hacked and you should "fill out the page or form to get your account reinstated." Nope, don't do it! Be creative when creating your password. Avoid using a telephone number, birth date, or a portion of your Social Security number. Instead, use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. For example, instead of GOEAGLES you can use G0e@G1eS.
  • Pay by credit card or charge card: If you pay by credit card or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, consumers have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor is investigating them. In the case of unauthorized use of a credit or charge card, consumers are generally held liable only for the first $50 in charges. Some cards may also provide additional warranty or purchase protection benefits. I also suggest that you have a separate credit card reserved for online transactions only. This helps in tracking your purchases and reviewing your billing statement. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has some great information on this as well. Also, some credit card companies have a software download that lets you create a one time "virtual" credit card number. The Washington Post recently covered this -- check with your provider to see if it's offered.
  • Keep a record: Be sure to print a copy of your purchase order and confirmation number for your records. Also, you should know that the Federal Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule covers orders made via the Internet as well. This means that unless stated otherwise, merchandise must be delivered within 30 days, and if there are delays, the company must notify you.
Remember, these pointers are just a start. Above all else, use your head! If you don't feel comfortable with a retailer's site, don't use it. If someone on eBay makes you feel uneasy, don't purchase anything from them.

Most of all, enjoy the holidays and shop safely!

A note on career services, higher education, and creating engagement

Hello Peirce College! Uva Coles here.

Though I officially joined the Peirce College community two weeks ago as the new Dean of Career Management Services, I wanted to take this chance to introduce myself and share with you what my new role is with the college, as well as what I'll be discussing on Peirce Connections.

Let me start with the questions I have been getting from a lot of students over the past week: "So Uva, what will you be doing?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy holidays to the Peirce College community

The approaching holiday season provides a strong reminder of the great community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and administrators we have at Peirce College.

It's important at this time of year that we recognize the special bond the College provides us, and give thanks for being part of each others' lives. This is a most exciting time at Peirce, as we create a new era and design a path for future generations to fulfill their educational and career goals.

My holiday message to you is one of sincere gratitude for making Peirce an outstanding institution that is positioned for an even greater future. I wish nothing but the best to you, your families, and your friends. May the joy of the holiday season last throughout the year and beyond.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hired: Real-world benefits of continuing education

The stories and feedback we get from students are easily one of our greatest motivators as educators.

My colleague Cynthia Gentile, a professor in our Paralegal Studies program, shared with me a note she recently received from one of her students.

Cynthia is extremely excited for this student (as we all are)! Truth is, so many of the individuals that come to Peirce College are looking for new opportunities in their professional life. As far as I'm concerned, whenever we help a student achieve this goal, we've accomplished our mission.

Here's the note Cynthia received (with some names and details removed to respect the student's privacy, but otherwise verbatim). From what I understand, this student has nothing to worry about, and is ready for the task ahead of her!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

VA's Post 9/11 GI Bill video

Following my post last week regarding the tuition resources available to military service members and their families; an acquaintance shared a video with me from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Thought I'd share this as a resource for any service members that are looking into continuing education. You can also reach out to me directly at swbird@peirce.edu with any questions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mark your calendars: Upcoming workshops at the Walker Center for Academic Excellence

Hello students! One of the reasons we started this blog was to keep you in the know about all things Peirce College. As part of that, we'll be sharing details here about upcoming events on campus, and spreading the word about programs and services offered at Peirce in hopes of keeping you all fully aware of the resources available to you.

On that note, there are a number of workshops on the calendar that are quickly approaching. Over the next month, the Walker Center for Academic Excellence will be hosting the following workshops, both on campus and online - and free!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post-9/11 GI Bill and other essential tuition resources for military service members

As part of my job at Peirce, I've counseled a number of current and former military men and women over the years. This has been such a rewarding experience for me, because in many cases, they represent some of the most motivated and disciplined students that pass through our college doors.

From what I've seen, these students usually have two primary concerns that follow their decision to continue their education: time and money.

In a recent post, I talked a bit about how time concerns can be addressed by choosing a school that recognizes military service for college credit. But financial resources are essential for service members and their families in starting or going back to a college or trade school.

The good news is that helpful resources are out there for military service members and their families, both through the Federal government and through resources offered by a college or trade school.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This is Peirce Connections

Welcome to the official Peirce College blog! We've worked hard to design this blog as a source of information for you, the Peirce community. And obviously that means nothing without ... YOU. We need your help to make Peirce Connections a true window into the college -- YOU the students, YOU the faculty, and YOU the staff.

Our goal is simple: Create an online community that tells an honest and transparent story of the school and how higher and continuing education empowers people to live better lives. Now here's where you come in. First, join the community on the blog! Start talking. Share ideas. And get writing. Posts include observations about higher education, stories about students and alumni, and information about events.

They can even be as simple as your own thoughts about what's going on in Philadelphia, because if it affects you, it affects us! Septa strike making life difficult? New park benches providing a fun new study spot? Political or community events have you excited? Share your own ideas for the blog and posts with us! You can send these thoughts directly to Peirce@GregoryFCA.com.

And it's easy to share your comments at the end of a post to offer your own insight and experience. In fact, please do! You can even rate what you think of each post via a "star" system. Be honest -- and, of course, be respectful -- in your interactions. This is meant to be open and fun for all involved, but we'll also ensure that nothing is offensive or damaging. Comments will be moderated.

Share the blog with others. For those that are active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, we encourage you to share posts via those outlets. Forward links to others via e-mail and instant message. We're making our online presence known.

You can now find us on all of the above social networking sites. Become a fan of Peirce College on Facebook. And follow us on Twitter. Or, if you need help getting set up on any social networking sites, let us know! We'll be happy to show you how. I hope you'll stay tuned and stay engaged with us here, because this new blog is going to be an experience for us all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peirce student wins 2009 National Federation of Paralegal Associations/Thompson Reuters Scholarship

I received some pretty exciting news from a current Peirce student today! Susan Witte, a student in our Paralegal Studies program, has been selected to receive the 2009 National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)/Thomson Reuters Scholarship.

This is no small honor for Susan, as the NFPA is one of the largest and most influential associations in the paralegal profession. Quite simply, they work on a national and regional level to advance and promote the paralegal profession and continuing education in the field. Susan will accept the scholarship, which is the top honor awarded by the Association, at the NFPA “Celebrate Success” Awards Luncheon on October 31 in Portland, Ore.

Recipients of this year’s scholarship were asked to submit essays centered on the theme of equal access to justice. Susan’s award-winning essay was selected by a panel of NFPA professionals from an extensive number of other submissions from paralegal students across the country.

While congratulating Susan on her scholarship, we asked her to share some thoughts with us about her background, why she decided to become a paralegal, and how she came to choose Peirce College.

Honoring military service for college credit

Continuing education has always been a key resource for both active and former U.S. service members and their families. It gives them access to increased earning potential, leverages their military experience and education, and gives them a new direction once they've completed their service.

For service members in particular, pursuing a degree might mark the culmination of the time and effort they've already put into their military service. Many service members come to continuing education, colleges, and universities with far more "life experience" than the average student, and in some cases are also ahead of the game academically.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A perspective on Peirce College and its relationship-oriented approach to students

As a new era begins at Peirce College, it is extremely important that we uphold tradition while stimulating change in the best interest of the institution and the students and graduates we serve.

During the College’s 144-year history, each era has advanced the institution. From expanding our curriculum to meet the changing needs of the workforce, to providing better access, convenience, and flexibility for adult learners through online courses, new initiatives have enhanced the College’s ability to embrace more students with its practical, career-oriented programs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The future of higher education: All about access?

The Washington Post recently published an interesting article about what the future holds for education in light of an increase in online/distance learning. And apparently, I wasn't the only one who found it interesting, because The Chronicle picked up on the buzz too. Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts -- the Dean of Students here at Peirce -- and I were discussing what we thought of the article, and our conversation got me thinking about how we approach things in general here at Peirce.

First, I’m always leery of predictions -- especially considering how rapidly things change today -- so I’m skeptical of the Post's Zephyr Teachout’s conclusions about the future of education as we know it. The Chronicle's Laurie Fendrich makes several good points in her response, but there is one particular statement she makes that I take exception to:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Peirce Connections and the Peirce College community

Colleges and universities can be described as many things: institutions, learning centers, etc. But perhaps what best describes a college or university is the word “community.”

With that in mind, a common topic among recent Peirce College community feedback was interest in social media and blogs, and their rising popularity. These tools have proven effective in providing greater insight into an organization, communicating with a variety of audiences and -- most of all -- helping to bring together the “community.”

With that in mind, we asked our students, faculty, and staff to agree on the name for our new blog. With a name now selected, it's our aim to further connect our community members through the blog. That includes insight into Peirce’s goals and strategy, newly available tools and curriculum, stories of how other students and faculty help make a difference at Peirce College, and more!

So here it is -- with thanks and appreciation to the members of the Peirce College community, our new blog -- Peirce Connections.

We invite you to read, comment, and become part of the community!