Thursday, October 20, 2011

Peirce invests in students with 8 new faculty members

Peirce College continues to increase the number of career-focused degrees we offer, and we’ve been bringing on more faculty members whose expertise matches our academic programs. That meant eight new hires in the past year that each bring something unique to the table. These new faces keep us current and bring more real-world experience to every department. Some come from teaching or research backgrounds, others from the corporate world, and some from both.

Beyond teaching, our new faculty members are charged with leading advisory boards, establishing student associations, and managing the accreditation process. Some of the new hires featured below might already be familiar to you, but it’s important to me that our students know the caliber of the professionals and educators walking our halls. Without further ado, meet our new faculty!



  • Bonnie Sermons, Program Manager and Assistant Professor, Healthcare Administration. Bonnie is responsible for accreditation and growth of our bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration, which prepares students to become part of the growing healthcare industry in management and administration roles. Bonnie has been using her industry knowledge, connections, and real-world experience from her years as a healthcare administration executive to continue to expand and strengthen the fast-growing program.
    Bonnie has most recently worked in the healthcare industry as an Independent Business Consultant. Prior to that, she served in a variety of leadership roles at AETNA as Head of the Business Planning and Management Office, where she was an Informatics Portfolio Manager, National Accounts Solution Management Executive Sponsor, and National Medical Services Portfolio Manager. She gained additional experience and connections working at CIGNA Healthcare as Assistant Vice President for Information Management. Bonnie discovered her passion for developing and coaching successful healthcare managers at Kaiser Permanente as a Senior Director. Throughout her career, she has developed and delivered training in financial management, systems, and procedures. Bonnie has an MBA in Health Services Administration from Howard University School of Business in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Accounting from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
  • Michael Schirmer, D.B.A. (candidate, Wilmington University), Assistant Professor, Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business management. Peirce currently offers an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management concentration under our Business Administration degree, a program we aim to continue to grow in the future. Mike comes from an entrepreneur background with diverse technical, managerial, and program administration experience, so he is an ideal instructor for students with entrepreneurial goals. He is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Wilmington University with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business development. Most recently, he served as Supplier Diversity Manager for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.
    Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University and an MBA from University of North Carolina -- Wilmington. He has experience managing education and training programs at a variety of organizations, including the Maryland Center for Arts & Technology, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, and Corning Incorporated. He is a member of the American Society for Training and Development, the Transportation Research Board, and the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
  • Alicia Huppman, Program Manager and Assistant Professor, Human Resource Management. Early in 2011, we launched our new Human Resource Management program. Alicia has been responsible for building up the program with strong, relevant curriculum that is tied to Society for Human Resource Management competencies. Her past experience in both corporate settings and the classroom allows her to contribute a unique point of view to educating students for roles in human resource management.
    Alicia comes to Peirce with 15 years of strategic and hands-on HR experience, having held a variety of senior human resources roles and also serving as a human resources consultant. She also has over two years of university teaching experience at Immaculata University. Alicia earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Performance Management from Immaculata University, and an MBA in Management from Rosemont College. She holds an HRCI Certificate in Human Resource Management from Villanova University and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. She is a member of the Greater Valley Forge Human Resources Association and the Society for Human Resource Management. She is also an advisory board member for the Innovation Technology Action Group.
  • Brandi J. Brice, Esq., Assistant Professor, Legal Studies. In addition to teaching in our Legal Studies program and Business Law concentration, Brandi will be taking a lead role in launching a Criminal Justice associate degree program for Peirce College, which was introduced this fall. She comes to Peirce with significant practical experience in her industry, having worked extensively with the Philadelphia legal community as an Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia Law Department, an Assistant District Attorney for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and an adjunct faculty member at a local university teaching criminal justice and business law courses. She is also extremely active with the Philadelphia Bar Association, currently serving as a Board of Governors member.
    Brandi holds a Juris Doctorate degree and an LLM in Taxation from Temple University Beasley School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Temple University.
  • Ahmed Omar, D.B.A. (candidate, Argosy University), Program Manager and Assistant Professor, Accounting. Ahmed joined us in June 2011 to support our new Accounting degree program. Ahmed happens to be a Peirce alum and has taken charge of developing the Accounting Advisory Board to further develop the program.
    After completing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Peirce College, Ahmed earned a master’s degree from LaSalle University and is currently working on a doctorate at Argosy University. He previously worked at Burlington County College, where he served as chairperson for the research curriculum development of the business retail technology program. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Quality Matters Peer Reviewer for online courses. Earlier in his career, Ahmed spent time teaching math in Palestine.
We also welcomed two new members to the General Education faculty:
  • Emily Basile, Ph.D.; Associate Professor; Science. Emily comes to Peirce with research and teaching experience in many different areas of science including biology, ecology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. She recently earned her Ph.D. from Drexel University in Environmental Science and has a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology from Millersville University. Emily’s role as a science professor in the General Education department is to provide students with science electives that will encourage them to view the world around them through the eyes of science. In doing so, it will help build upon the well-rounded education offered to them at Peirce.
  • Gayle Dixon, Ed.D.; Associate Professor; Mathematics. Gayle brings to the table over 25 years of instructional and program management experience in the areas of mathematical and computing sciences within both academia and the private sector. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at various academic institutions, serving as chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Talladega College. She is also directing a summer workshop for the Center of Educational Outreach and Innovation at Columbia University. Her experience extends to teaching systems engineers at IBM and Hewlett Packard.
    Gayle earned a doctorate in College Teaching of Mathematics from Columbia University, and holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics from Loyola University of Chicago. At Peirce, Gayle seeks to promote relevancy of interdisciplinary mathematics by working with fellow faculty to determine specific programmatic needs, which may be serviced by allied mathematics courses.
Please join me in extending a warm welcome to all of our new faculty members! They are here to prepare the next generation of Peirce graduates for better careers and brighter futures, and we are thrilled to have them.