Thursday, March 29, 2012

Patrick Coyle: What hasn’t he done?

To an outsider, it might look like Patrick Coyle already has a significant list of accomplishments to his name. But if you ask him, he’s just getting started.

Patrick is currently an Associate Professor, Information Technology at Peirce, but his career path has taken him in many different directions, leading him to where he is today. He held various computer networking jobs, and then spent eight years in the field of physical and data security before he began teaching full-time.

Patrick also just completed his dissertation to earn his Ph.D. The topic? The experiences of older students going back to school, a subject he knows from experience. Patrick went back to school in his 40s looking for a career change.

Patrick recently sat down with us to talk about this, as well as the unique experience of teaching working adults, and why working with adult learners is such a special experience. Watch the video below to hear what he had to say.

Thanks again Patrick for taking the time to share your story -- and good luck with whatever you do next!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Networking techniques to meet your professional goals

MAKING MEMORIES: Networking techniques to build trust
and make a lasting connection
It’s never too late to expand your network. No matter what stage of your career, building relationships should be a constant thread in your professional life.

I recently attended a conference hosted by the Maryland Career Development Association titled “Connecting the Dots: Careers, Clients and Corporations.” One workshop was especially useful and I wanted to share some of the highlights.

The workshop, “How to Make Networking Connections,” tackled common challenges faced by individuals as they try to expand their professional network, make new connections, and find job opportunities. It was led by Marcia Hall, author and founder of Reputation Counts, an organization dedicated to helping students and professionals build their professional reputation and network more effectively.

During the training, Marcia directed the group to practice networking techniques that deal with real-world scenarios. She covered common challenges that we face while connecting with other professionals at conferences, workshops, or any opportunity that facilitates a networking environment. The tactics she offered are based on The Eight Competencies of Networking. Here is what you need to know to increase your chances of making professional networking connections.

Know your goals. Professional networking requires preparation and strategy. Start by focusing on your goals. Make a list of what you want to achieve from every interaction. When you walk into a room, you need to identify the person or group that will have the information you need to make a mutually meaningful connection. Asking for what you need is a good start. For example, if you are looking for a job in the paralegal field you might ask, “Is there anyone you know at this conference that works in the legal industry?” Keep in mind, you may have information that the other person needs -- it is a give-and-take relationship.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Live from Capitol Hill, keep up with the latest healthcare news shaping the world of Health Information Management

ADVOCACY: Health information management
professionals attend healthcare talks in D.C.
Greetings from Washington, D.C.! I’m here in our nation’s capitol to mark Health Information Professionals Week, a week dedicated to raising greater awareness and celebrating the evolution of health information professionals. For the second year in a row, I’m celebrating our profession and leadership through advocacy by participating in the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Winter Team Talks and Hill Day 2012.

I told you a little bit about my experiences as a first-time attendee last year, and I’m proud to again represent the Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association (PHIMA) as State Advocacy Coordinator. The Team Talks and Hill Day is a time to discuss important issues that are shaping the world of health information management.

This is a very exciting time to be in our nation’s capitol and a critical time to advocate for healthcare reform. Last night on CNN, there was live coverage of folks gathering outside of the Supreme Court in preparation for the debate over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Advice from a Paralegal Studies grad: How to achieve success

ALL-STAR: Peirce grad Babette Pace with Ed Miller, Assistant
Dean and Professor, Legal Studies
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Babette Pace is an all-star of the Peirce Paralegal Studies program. Not only does she know Peirce inside and out (she has two degrees from the College), but she is just about as involved as you can get on a professional level.

While she might have moved on from her academic career (at least for the time being), she has stayed connected as one of the co-founders of the Peirce Paralegal Student Association, as well as through her active role with the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. And just last week she was announced as the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Peirce College Alumni Association. The award recognizes outstanding volunteer service to the College by a graduate. Congratulations, Babette!

I invited her to share her story -- read on for a transcript of our conversation. You’ll get a first-hand account from the perspective of someone who went through our Paralegal Studies program, and learn about how you can translate your education into a thriving career in the legal field.

Babette is kind enough to offer words of advice to adults who are wondering if they can do it, if they can make the leap to go back to school and change their career. And if you’re going to take anyone’s advice, take it from someone who has traveled the path you’re considering!

Ed Miller: Well, Babette, it is an absolute pleasure to be able to sit with you today. We're doing a blog post so we can provide some perspective on the program experience, get a first-hand account from our alumni. And when we were looking at that, of course, your name surfaced. How did you come to Peirce College? What brought you here?

Babette Pace: You know, Ed, I actually am a double alum and I'm proud to say that. I graduated with my associate degree in data processing.

Ed: What did you know about being a paralegal before pursuing your Paralegal Studies degree?

Friday, March 16, 2012

New career development workshops coming in April

We have a lot going on in Career Development Services (CDS) this spring. With graduation just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about your career preparation! Whether you’re graduating soon, looking for an internship, or changing careers, we have sessions that can help you plan your next steps.

Check out the flyer below for information about the Spring 2012 CDS workshops. Here’s what’s on deck.
  • Learn how to make a great impression on employers at a panel discussion with human resource professionals.
  • Hear from women in leadership as they offer candid insight about being a female executive.
  • Prepare for graduate school with tips about the application process and practice entrance exams.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peirce professor Michael Schirmer talks about skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Do you have ideas for launching your own small business? If so, you should take a class with entrepreneur and Peirce professor, Michael Schirmer. He is an Assistant Professor and was recently named the faculty chair of Business.

Professor Schirmer focuses on teaching Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. He brings to the classroom his skills developed from managing a nationally recognized advocacy program that focuses on supporting disadvantaged, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses.

Professor Schirmer recently joined us for a podcast to talk about his foray from the business world into teaching.

Click play below to listen to our conversation with Michael. You can also right click on the previous link and select "save link as" to download it to your computer, and save it to your mobile device so you can listen on the go.

Whether he’s serving as a professor in a higher education institution, or a mentor in a professional environment, Michael’s passion lies in sharing knowledge and helping others find ways to grow. He believes there’s always something new to learn, and it is this belief in lifelong learning that led him to Peirce.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to create a career-ready workforce

MAKE YOUR FORTUNE: By impressing employers
Fortune contributor Anne Fisher recently reported on a study that found recent grads aren’t quite ready for the working world. In her article, she talks about the disconnect between what employers want and what recently graduated applicants are offering. This is an important issue to address, but I think the study and the article are missing crucial pieces of the puzzle, some of which I left in a comment on the article.

What it ultimately comes down to is the need for a stronger connection between employers, students, and educators in order to align the skills of graduating students with what employers require in a job candidate.

Educators are the bridge between students and employers. The gap between what one needs and the other offers can be narrowed when both groups make efforts, in concert, to work together. This is why it is crucial that employers communicate these employability issues candidly and consistently. And it is equally important that educators are receptive to the feedback and use the information to adjust academic programming.

But this is just the beginning! Here are a few resources that employers and educators can leverage (and that students should take advantage of) to close the gap:
  1. Employer surveys. Employers should consistently provide feedback. This is a great way to inform educators about any instructional gaps or needs that should be addressed in the classroom or within career services programming.
  2. Experiential opportunities. Employers and educators must work together to develop internships and co-ops that enable students with an opportunity to truly experience the workplace. This is where students can sharpen their critical thinking skills, practice teamwork and collaboration, and enhance their written communication skills.
  3. Advisory boards. Both employers and educators must boost their use of advisory boards. Educators should use them as an opportunity to better understand employer needs and employers should use them as a way to have their voice heard and to better educate (no pun intended) those responsible for shaping the academic experience.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Student loan refunds: If you’re getting one, and what you should do with it

Are you a current student relying on any form of financial aid (grants, scholarships, or student loans) to help fund your education? If the answer is yes, keep reading.

To be eligible for financial aid, you must remain compliant with a variety of requirements. If you don’t comply, you risk losing your financial aid package entirely. Attendance, participation, and withdrawing or dropping classes can jeopardize your ability to qualify for financial aid.

We want to help you stay in the know when it comes to our financial aid policies. One aspect that students are unaware of is loan refunds. Many students don’t know what they are, whether they’re due for one, or what they should do with it if they get one. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about student loan refunds and some answers to clarify them for you.

What is a refund?
A refund is the amount of excess financial aid remaining after total costs (tuition, fees, and books) are deducted from your financial aid award package for the semester. This results in a credit to your account, received in the form of a check. If your refund is a result of student loans, then you will need to repay the loan upon graduation, if you cease enrollment, or if you are enrolled on a less than six credit per semester basis.

How do I know if I should expect a refund?
You will get a refund if excess funds remain after charges are applied to your student account. You can review your student account to see if and when you’re due for a refund on the "My Finances" tab on your student portal. Refund checks are distributed on a rolling basis.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Peirce healthcare professor Stephanie Donovan named to new Council for Excellence in Education

Stephanie Donovan, Assistant Professor and Program Manager of Health Information Management at Peirce, continues to make her mark in the field. She was recently appointed as a member of the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE), an executive council of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

The new leadership group is comprised of educators and healthcare professionals who work to make sure that what is being taught in the classroom aligns with employer need.

As a member, Stephanie will share her experience leading Peirce’s Healthcare degree programs to help guide the best practices for educators in the industry. She will also offer insight on how she helps her students translate education into real-world, marketable skills that employers demand in the growing nonpatient related healthcare fields.

Check out today’s press release for more about Stephanie’s new role with the CEE, and how the group will serve as a resource to the health information management field throughout the U.S.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Business degree programs welcome new Faculty Chair, Michael Schirmer

Exciting update for our business degree programs -- Michael Schirmer has been appointed Faculty Chair of Business at Peirce College. He will oversee the College’s growing business degree programs, including Accounting, Human Resource Management, and Business Administration.

Michael will be a great contributor to our mission of developing quality degree programs that meet employer needs in the Greater Philadelphia region, building on our tradition as one of the first business schools in the United States. Please join me in extending a warm welcome!

And be sure to stay tuned here on the blog for a chance to get to know Michael. We recently interviewed him and will be sharing a podcast of our conversation in the coming days.

In the meantime, read today’s press release for more about Michael’s background and his role at Peirce.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Set yourself up for academic success with new workshops from the Walker Center

Get out your calendars! Another round of spring workshops offered through the Walker Center for Academic Excellence is now on the schedule. These workshops are a great resource, tackling topics that will improve your overall academic experience and help you succeed.

Whether you’re looking for academic support, help with technologies that are frequently used in your courses, or advice about personal finances, time management, or use of social media, check out the upcoming sessions.

More details about all of these upcoming workshops are highlighted in the flyer below.

Email the Walker Center or call 888-467-3472, ext. 9251 to register for these workshops. Be sure to reserve your spot today!

Friday, March 2, 2012

$50,000 of scholarship money is awarded to first President’s Scholarship recipients

I am excited to announce the recipients of our first President’s Scholarship competition! Peirce students with fewer than 15 Peirce College credits who are seeking their bachelor’s degree were eligible to compete and winners were recognized at a reception on March 1, hosted by Peirce President Jim Mergiotti.

You might remember that we used to offer scholarships specific to your course of study. Since we’ve been busy adding new degree programs, we decided to simplify things by combining our existing program-specific scholarships into a single competition that includes all majors. We offer just as many scholarships and just as much money as before, it’s just not broken out by program. No matter what your major, check out our many scholarship opportunities to see if you’re eligible!

Before I get to the winners, I want to give a special thank you to the volunteers who served on the interview committee, along with the efforts of Paul Ballentine, Brian Finnegan, and Heather DeRitis who played a large part in organizing the competition.

Without further adieu, here are the winners:

Christine Bergmark, Melissa Marchena, Tammy Morrison, Tasha Vazquez, Khadejah Alexander, Dana Stancil, Danielle Sandor, Rose Larbi–Morgan, Poitier Jackson, Samantha Minnig, Nicky Cuesta, Amanda Gilbert, Yolanda Wilson, Nataly Nguyen, Breanna Perry, Sam White, Sandra Cusano, Ryan McCellan, and LaToya Smith.

Left to right, winners LaToya Smith, Tasha Vazquez, Rose Larbi-Morgan, Nicky Cuesta, Dana Stancil, Breanna Perry, and Melissa Marchena pose with Peirce President Jim Mergiotti (center).

Congratulations and best of luck to our inaugural President’s Scholarship recipients as you work towards your academic goals!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Earning a bachelor’s degree as an adult sets the stage for a healthier midlife

The benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree are numerous. For example, degree-holders report higher earnings, more job opportunities, and better quality of life. Today, adult learners can add another benefit to this list: Earning a bachelor’s degree as an adult can help you have a happier and healthier midlife.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, adults who earn a bachelor’s degree after age 25 reported fewer depressive symptoms and enjoyed better overall health than adults who did not obtain a college degree by midlife. The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the study’s findings that adults who earn a college degree are healthier in midlife. Jump over to the article for more.

Many of our students have shared stories that support the findings of this study when we’ve interviewed them for the blog. The average age of our students is 35, so they fit right into this demographic. Here are some excerpts from their experiences: