Friday, April 30, 2010

Peirce Idol auditions coming soon: Don’t forget to vote!

We recently put out a call for auditions to find our national anthem singer for this year’s commencement ceremony. The response was fantastic and the vocal talent is lined up for auditions.

Our potential singers will be auditioning early next week, and we’ll be posting videos of each audition so that the Peirce College community can vote for their favorite.

You’ll see a handful of posts coming from me during the first week of May in which I’ll be sharing the video auditions, so be on the lookout for those. A final recap will follow after each individual contender has been featured, and you’ll have the opportunity to vote for your favorite.

Your votes will be combined with the judging panel’s to select the winner and singer of the national anthem at this year’s commencement.

So don’t forget to check back next week and vote for the “Peirce Idol” for Commencement 2010!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Introducing the Featured Learner Series: Meet Teresa M. Wilson

Without a doubt, it is the people of Peirce College who make it such a great place to learn and work. For that reason, we feel it is important to recognize the unique individuals who contribute so much to our institution. Throughout the year, we use our Featured Learner series to highlight several special students, share their success and give the outside world some insight into what makes Peirce so great – the people, their stories, and their passion for learning and furthering their education.

On that note, let’s meet our current Featured Learner, Teresa M. Wilson.

Teresa Wilson first came into contact with Peirce through the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals, when she attended a symposium held on campus. In the days following that first introduction to a number of faculty members, she conducted some of her own research and it was only a week after the event that Teresa was enrolled in Peirce College. Today, she is working toward her bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies and plans to graduate in December 2010.

A self-proclaimed “football nut,” Teresa admits to living and dying by the Philadelphia Eagles. She also stays busy as the mother of two little girls who keep her on her toes.

Room Rental at Peirce College: Center City Proprietors hold workshops on campus

A while back we told you about the room rental program at Peirce, which has made it possible for Philadelphia-area organizations to host banquets, meetings, and conferences in spaces that are a perfect fit for their needs. One of those groups is the Center City Proprietors Association (CCPA) which came to take a look at our facility, was impressed by our classrooms, and decided to hold a hands-on interactive computer workshop here.

The CCPA needed a place where 15 to 25 people would have access to a computer and Internet in a classroom setting. We set them up with one of our computer classrooms, equipped with 24 PC workstations, Internet connections, and a podium for presenters. We also organized the catering for them -- breakfast and lunch.

Peirce also offers banquet rooms for groups of up to 120 people, meeting rooms for groups of up to 180, along with classrooms/training rooms that can hold as many as 40 people. We also have two open atriums and an outdoor courtyard for receptions.

To see the event space at Peirce, take a virtual tour of the college or download PDF diagrams of the room layouts we offer. Read more about our Room Rental program online. You can contact me, Vito Chimenti, at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 7368, or e-mail Rentals@Peirce.edu.

Learn more about the CCPA event at Peirce here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Peirce College welcomes new Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Please join me in welcoming Charles (Chuck) A. Wright, III as Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Peirce College. Today, Monday, April 26, 2010, is Mr. Wright's first official day in his new position.

He was formerly Vice President of Development with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania. A full news release with detailed information about Mr. Wright's experience is included below. It was also distributed on Business Wire.




The importance of internships in career development (and an opportunity for Peirce students)

A recent letter we received from the Office of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter regarding upcoming internship opportunities for college students has me thinking. Specifically, thinking about how important internships are to students and job seekers right now.

I’ll detail the opportunity shortly, but first a few thoughts on internships, and why any continuing education or higher education student should be considering one or more.

It’s no secret that the current job market is not only competitive, it’s also very crowded.

With the national unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, a successful job search means standing out to potential employers. Not surprisingly, degrees and certifications play a crucial role in helping job candidates appeal to employers, compete with peers, and, ultimately, secure new jobs over the course of their careers.

But one often overlooked element that stands out to an interviewer or HR department is internship experience. For a student that might be pursuing a completely new career path, an internship can help:
  • Acquire valuable experience in a new field
  • Gain insight into a chosen career field 
  • Help overcome a lack of relevant job experience
  • Stand out to a potential employer
Now, back to the opportunity!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Paradigm Scholarship for Working Women goes to Peirce’s own Michelle Buchanan

Paradigm Scholarship for Working Women 
winner and Peirce College student 
Michelle Buchanan
Some of the things you’ll hear about often on Peirce Connections are the challenges that our students face in pursuing their education. Since our students are primarily working adults, they have to balance jobs, family, money, and a number of other obstacles that can get in the way of earning a degree. Every day, we hear more inspiring stories from current students and alumni who have found ways to achieve great success while balancing their many obligations.

Today, I want to take a moment to recognize someone who’s a great example of what Peirce students are capable of: Michelle Buchanan. Michelle was recently awarded a Paradigm Scholarship for Working Women from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

A full-time employee at Firstrust Bank (a Chamber member company), Michelle is also currently enrolled in Peirce’s Information Technology Program. Working full time for a Chamber member company while also working towards her undergraduate degree, Michelle realized she met the basic scholarship criteria. She took a closer look and ended up submitting an application.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pennsylvania Convention Center Executive Joins Peirce College Board of Trustees

Please welcome Stephanie Mays Boyd to the Peirce College Board of Trustees. Ms. Boyd was elected to the board on April 9, 2010.

She is the Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Convention Services for the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. A full news release with detailed information about Ms. Boyd's experience is included below. It was also distributed on Business Wire.

The voice of Peirce College Commencement 2010: Do you have what it takes to be a Peirce Idol?

There's a lot of anticipation surrounding this year’s commencement ceremony at Peirce College. It started back in February when we announced that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter would serve as keynote speaker for the event. As the event draws closer, we’re ready to share another element in 2010.

We are going directly to Peirce College students to find the best and brightest to share their vocal talents. There is no better way to celebrate the achievements of this year’s graduates then to have one of their own lead all of us in the singing of our national anthem at Commencement on Monday, June 14.

So what do we need from you? Auditions!

If you are a Peirce College student (or graduating this year), love to sing, and are interested in sharing your talent on stage among graduating students and their families, e-mail us with your name and phone number. A member of the Peirce Idol search team will contact you to schedule an audition date and time.

Auditions will be held on campus before a panel of judges composed of Peirce faculty and staff. Please note that tryouts will be video recorded and might be shared online. We’ll share the process with everyone here on the blog, and voting will also take place via Peirce Connections, with the winning student announced in mid-May.

Now is the time to get involved! Contact us by Wednesday, April 28 for your chance to compete!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Activity and excitement among Peirce College community: Thoughts on some recent events and initiatives

Peirce students and staff at a recent College event 
This is a great time of year around campus at Peirce College. An active winter for the College has truly given way to an even busier spring, and there is much fervor among students, alumni, faculty, and staff alike.

Here is just a sample of events and initiatives taking shape right now.

-External Relations. The month of March was jam packed with external relations opportunities highlighted by two Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce events, and a meeting with Mayor Nutter among the region’s college and university presidents.

It is great to have an opportunity to tell the Peirce story to leaders throughout the area. To a person, they are highly impressed with the work we do with our students and the value we bring to the community-at-large. It is clear that our students, alumni, faculty, and staff do a stellar job of representing themselves and Peirce College to others in the community -- a point of pride for me as the College’s president.

-Strategic Planning. We have discussed our strategic planning process in the past on Peirce Connections. Currently, the College’s five-year strategic agenda and accompanying financial plan are in the final stages of development. Extensive meetings were held with the Steering Committee (which is composed of students, alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, and external partners), the Board of Trustees, and the employee community during March to obtain feedback during the drafting phase.

The final draft agenda was approved by the trustees on April 9. An Implementation Committee for the Strategic Plan has already been assembled to develop the tactical components of the plan.

-AICUP Conference. Between March 22 and 23, I attended the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania's (AICUP) annual meeting for member presidents in Hershey, Pa. Major topics this year included: managing through hard financial times, latest trends in the financial model for colleges and universities, and updates on the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election.

On the last topic, we enjoyed a panel discussion among the campaign managers for all the gubernatorial candidates. At dinner on March 22, AICUP honored former Pennsylvania first lady Michele Ridge, for her contributions to higher education in the Commonwealth.

It’s always very exhilarating for me to meet with colleagues from across the Commonwealth to discuss current developments in higher education. Most notable is that, regardless of geography, institution size or type, there is always a genuine focus on mission and student access among the leadership of Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities.

It gives me a great deal of pride to be affiliated with such an esteemed body of presidents representing the private institutions across our state. These are men and women who are charismatic, learned scholars, and great advocates for the citizens and employers of our communities. They have devoted their careers to building the minds and skills of our citizenry.

-W.W. Smith Scholars Reception. On April 1, we hosted a reception in honor of the College’s W.W. Smith Scholars. Michelle Montgomery, Grant Administrator from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, joined us in the Snyder Courtyard on a beautiful sunny afternoon as we paid tribute to award recipients from the past two years. The Trust has provided grant awards totaling over $250,000 to more than 100 Peirce students during the past six years. Our students, as always, made us extremely proud.

This is just a sample of the activity going on right now at Peirce College, with more on the way. We’re especially excited about this year’s commencement and the upcoming Spring Reception. Look for details regarding both events, including some exciting changes, to follow in the coming weeks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Philadelphia Association of Paralegals’ Professional Development Committee brings 2010 Student Forum to Peirce

Tomorrow, Friday, April 16, the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals' (PAP) Professional Development Committee will be hosting its 2010 Student Forum here at Peirce College. Our very own Babette Pace, a Peirce graduate who is an active member of the PAP, happens to be spearheading the planning and organization of this year’s event.

After an extremely successful event last year, the PAP Professional Development Committee decided to continue the momentum with a 2010 Student Forum, and extended the invitation to all paralegal programs in the tri-state area. The main goal of the forum is to help students interested in the paralegal profession learn what to expect in pursuing a paralegal career. This year’s title topic is, “What Are You Trying to Say? Business Communication Skills for the Paralegal.”

The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in rooms 51 and 52 of College Hall (1420 Pine Street). Featured speaker Erica Otto, Vice President of The Dubin Group, a staffing and executive search firm, will share some insight about the importance of business communication skills for the paralegal, and how to market yourself in all your endeavors.

The evening will include opportunities for Q & A, as well as a table with information about all of the current scholarships available to students in paralegal programs, and tips about how to write scholarship essays that put your best foot forward.

This is a major networking event that brings PAP members from all areas of practice directly to the students. It is an opportunity for potential and current students and alumni to connect with paralegals in the field and get a real-world perspective, learning about the profession in general and what it is like to have a career as a paralegal. It is an absolutely terrific event for professional development, and provides students with the chance to hone their networking skills. We are excited to be able to provide the event space and welcome the PAP to Peirce!

The pre-registration period is closed, but Babette has informed me that walk-ins are more than welcome. If you are interested in attending or have any questions about the event, please contact the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals.

Student loan reform: What it means for the every day college student

Re-formed? Students will still need to fill out a FAFSA form 
under student loan reform measures
The student loan reform measures included in the recent health care system overhaul include a number of changes in the structure and administration of Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, PLUS Loans, and more.

Whether you are for or against the changes, it's important for prospective and current college students, parents, and alumni with student loans to understand what has changed, how it impacts federal college aid, and what responsibilities they have under the new system.

What's changed?

Student loan reform includes some key structural changes to how student loans are originated and administered. It also provides additional funding for students.

Some details:
  • The fees paid to private banks to act as the middle man between students and the federal government have been eliminated. The Obama administration estimates some $68 billion in savings (over 11 years) through this measure. The savings will be routed back to students through expanded Pell Grants. The grants will now increase along with the rate of inflation, which could increase the top grant amount to $5,975 by 2017. The federal government will also increase the number of grants.
  • The elimination of bank fees is also expected to make it easier for students to repay outstanding loans. Beginning in June 2014, students will be allowed to cap the amount of their payment at 10 percent of their income (versus 15 percent). And make sure to keep up with your payments! Balances will be forgiven after 20 years (versus 25 years). If you're in public service (military, teacher, nurse), then it's only 10 years to loan forgiveness.
What are my responsibilities? 

First of all, don't worry about these changes. This won't impact you getting loans or grants, or affect the amount of money you receive in a negative way. But you will see a change in how they are administered, and you'll no longer deal with a private lender. Instead, you will be dealing directly with the federal government.

Some immediate items to be aware of:
  • One thing all students need to do is first complete a new Entrance Counseling Interview and then, student and parent borrowers will need to sign a new Master Promissory Note. Both items can be found at www.dlenote.ed.gov. This is for PLUS Loans, Stafford Loans, and all other federal student aid. Students must have their FAFSA PIN number to sign in. PIN numbers can be accessed at www.pin.ed.gov.
  • Some good news for parents: The fixed interest rate under the reform measure for PLUS Loans is reduced from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent.
Remember, Student Financial Services here at Peirce College is available to help you navigate and understand the changes. You can find us on the first floor of the College, reach us via phone at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9370, or contact us via e-mail.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Build a career as a paralegal and learn to love what you do

Hello, Ed Miller here! I’ve actually posted a few times already, but haven’t shared anything about myself as a way of introduction. So here we go.

Ed Miller: Faculty chair of Peirce College's 
Legal Studies program
I’m an assistant dean for Peirce College and the faculty chair for the Legal Studies division. I first came to Peirce as a member of the advisory committee for the Paralegal Studies program. My goal was to bring my years of legal experience and real-world perspective to the committee to help shape students for a paralegal career.

In 2000, I was given the opportunity to become a full-time faculty member. Being a part of the growth and development of the Paralegal Studies program and the Legal Studies division has been an amazing part of my own career path.

I went to law school because I felt it was the one place where I could really make a difference in people’s lives. And I came to Peirce to share what I’ve learned: Our legal system is paramount to how our nation works. Making sure that it succeeds and survives is an important mission for me. That’s what keeps my passion for law alive.

The study of law is truly a life-long journey. My journey started at Villanova University School of Law many years ago. That is where it all came together for me. I had the opportunity to learn and work with extraordinary legal scholars, and I found my passion.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Peirce College hosts the Mid-Atlantic Academy of Legal Studies in Business 2010 Annual Conference

On Friday and Saturday, March 19-20, Peirce College hosted the 2010 annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB).

A bit of background for those of you who are unfamiliar: The Mid-Atlantic branch is part of ALSB International, an association of teachers and scholars in the fields of business law, legal environment, and law-related courses outside of professional law schools. The purpose of the ALSB is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, while encouraging support and cooperation among those who teach and conduct research in the field of legal studies.

Glenn Barnes, an Associate Professor of Legal Studies here at Peirce College, spent the past year serving as the President and Program Chair of the Mid-Atlantic ALSB. I asked him to share with us some of the highlights from the event, and he kindly agreed to do so. Read on for some of Glenn’s thoughts.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ensuring quality and service in continuing education: The Peirce College Annual Customer Service Survey

Meeting and exceeding the expectations of our students has always been essential to the success of Peirce College. This takes the form of a variety of initiatives and services here at the school: financial aid counseling, registration, career services, alumni networking, academic quality, and program offerings.

What ties all of these elements together is how they serve the goals and needs of the students of Peirce College. They work together and separately to ensure that each student's time at Peirce College is productive and positive.

For those reasons, student feedback and suggestions are essential in telling us what we are doing well, areas that need improvement, and collecting new ideas for tomorrow's students.

I'm excited to announce that Peirce College is currently administering its annual Customer Service Survey. The survey is now active, and will close on Monday, April 19.

The survey is just part of our commitment to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), and our way to determine how we are doing in serving your educational needs. Please know that student feedback is critical, as it will help us enhance our service quality now and in the future.

Even better, this year we're rewarding student participation with a special reward: a plush Peirce beach towel in time for the warm weather. It’s a small but sincere token of our appreciation.

Please feel free to e-mail me or call me at 888.GO.PEIRCE, ext. 9297, with any questions.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Peirce College’s SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) team competes at Regional Competition, brings home “Rookie of the Year” award

On March 22, 2010, SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) held its Regional Competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Peirce College’s SIFE Chapter was one of 35 teams to compete at the all-day event which had over 300 people in attendance.

From left: Students Sophonie Zamor and Niché Adderly
with Program Advisor Mariesa Hinchey

I am proud to share with all of you that the Peirce team won a trophy for “Rookie of the Year” in our league. On top of that, Peirce Program Advisor Mariesa Hinchey was presented with the Sam Walton Fellowship for her role as an advisor to the chapter during an awards ceremony that concluded the event.

Part of an annual series of regional, national, and international competitions, the event served as a forum for teams to present the results of their projects, which are judged based on their ability to improve the quality of life for people in need.

These competitions and projects support SIFE’s overall mission: “Bringing together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business.”