Monday, March 14, 2011

Peirce Professor Named Director of Collegiate Engagement for Philadelphia Chapter of Black Data Processing Associates

I am proud to share the news that our own Richard Tillies, Assistant Professor of Information Technology, has been appointed Director of Collegiate Engagement for the Philadelphia Chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA).

BDPA, formed in 1975 right here in Philly, is a nonprofit organization of professionals in the Computer Science and Information Technology (IT) fields and the premier national organization for Black IT Professionals.

It was started out of founders Earl Pace and David Wimberly’s shared concern that minorities were not adequately represented in the IT industry.

Today, with more than 40 active chapters across the United States, BDPA has a diverse representation of IT professionals, including programmers, analysts, engineers, managers, instructors, and entrepreneurs.

In his nearly three years as an assistant professor of programming and application development courses at Peirce, Richard has been heavily involved in all aspects of our IT program, also serving as a faculty advisor to the Peirce Information Technology Student Association (ITSA).

It was through his work with the ITSA that he first got involved with the BDPA, working with representatives from the organization who visit annually to speak with Peirce students about how they can make their transition “from the classroom to the boardroom,” an emphasis of BDPA’s mission to help students see how their education and skills translate into the real world and getting a job in IT.

BDPA is committed to creating this “pathway from the classroom to the boardroom” through education, mentoring, business networking, and services that enhance innovation, technical skills, business savvy, and personal growth.

BDPA board members regularly speak with Peirce ITSA members about how getting involved in professional organizations plays an important role in driving your career forward and expanding your opportunities. As an institution, Peirce is closely aligned with this focus on professional and personal development to get the career you want, which made Richard a great match for this new position.

Richard is the first person to serve as Director of Collegiate Engagement, a role in which he will focus on the organization’s commitment to establishing relationships with colleges around the region, and work to drive student membership from an early stage. He will recruit like-minded educators at other regional schools to represent the BDPA on their campuses and encourage students to join.

Beyond the classroom and the boardroom, each chapter of the BDPA runs a “Black Family Technology Awareness Week,” further expanding the efforts to educate the community. Richard has hit the ground running, serving as the keynote speaker at the recent Philadelphia event.

At Peirce, we understand the importance of building a presence in your industry, which is why we are constantly encouraging our students to engage outside the classroom! Peirce’s new student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is another one of the many opportunities that Peirce students have to get involved with professional associations at an early stage. Membership in these organizations opens the door to vast networking opportunities, sets the stage for your continued professional education, and helps you launch your career once you complete your degree.

Congratulations Richard on being appointed to this new position! We look forward your continued contributions to the Peirce IT program and are proud to have you representing our students and institution in the BDPA Philadelphia Chapter.