Thursday, May 25, 2017

Peirce College welcomes three new full-time faculty members

Peirce College is yet again growing in its family through the addition of three new full-time faculty members: Professor Christopher Nosal, Assistant Professor, English and General Education, Professor Erin Rybicki, Associate Professor, Legal Studies, and Professor John-Patrick Schultz, Associate Professor, General Studies. We asked each of them a few questions, so we can all get to know our newest educators at Peirce College.

Welcome to Peirce! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Professor Nosal: I have my BA in English and an MA in Creating Writing/English from Temple University. I began my career in higher education working with both Dr. Charlene Glenn and Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts in the Walker Center back before it was even called the Walker Center. After working at Peirce, I worked at Saint Joseph’s University for 13 years running and teaching in the University’s Passport Program for conditionally admitted freshmen. Most recently, I was the Director of the Learning Assessment and Support Center at Valley Forge Military College, where I taught first year seminars, supervised tutoring and other academic support programs, provided testing and disabilities support, and even administered placement testing. I have taught courses as a part-time faculty member at Peirce College for 20 years and I am excited to now be a Peirce College full-time faculty member continuing to teach English, Communications and Humanities.

Professor Rybicki: I am a lawyer licensed in New Jersey, and a life-long New Jersey resident. For more than a decade I have taught and managed Legal Studies programs, and I really enjoy focusing on teaching excellence and managing the American Bar Association approval standards. I am an active member of AAfPE (American Association for Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies) and I enjoy writing and researching on topics pertaining to Legal Studies. I especially enjoy teaching courses in Career Development and Legal Ethics. I have a Juris Doctor degree from Delaware Law School and a bachelor's degree from Rowan University. In addition, I have my Master’s in Education Foundations from Widener University. I plan to continue my education towards my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) with a focus on Teaching and Leadership in the fall. Now, you can find me teaching Legal Studies courses at Peirce College.

Professor Schultz: Before graduate school, I went to La Salle University -- I graduated in 2006 with a BA in philosophy and religion. Then, I served as a Lasallian Volunteer high school teacher in Yakima, Washington for a year, coming back to earn my Master's and PhD in philosophy at Villanova University. Now, as a full-time faculty member at Peirce College, I teach (among other things) all the courses in philosophy: HUM 102, "Introduction to Philosophy," HUM 275, "Ethics and Leadership," HUM 300, "Great Thinkers," and COM 312, "Critical Reasoning.”

What inspired you to become a professor?

Professor Nosal: My professors during my undergraduate inspired me to teach. I respected their lives outside of work and their creative and intellectual pursuits too. They were just interesting people, and as a first generation college student from a working class family, they opened up a new way of thinking to me. I could be a blue collar scholar and a writer! During my first teaching experience at Peirce, I was lucky to work with some great, seasoned instructors and some young professionals who were full of enthusiasm and creativity. I continuously try to make the classroom fun because it makes me happy, but it also makes students feel comfortable and valued as people.

Professor Rybicki:
In the sixth grade, I was asked to write what I wanted to be when I grow up. I am not quite sure that I knew what it meant to be a professor at the time, but I wrote that I wanted to be a lawyer and a teacher. Oddly enough, that is exactly what I am today. I absolutely love being a professor, and I consider myself so very lucky to be able to do my dream job.

Professor Schultz: Before I went to college, I had this idea that education was more or less boring. It always seemed like the goal was to cram our heads with facts and figures so that we can perform well on tests. But then in college, it became really clear to me that education can be something completely different. I remember so clearly now that after a few of my classes I walked away thinking, "Wait, I never thought about that. Now I'm not sure what I believe!" I started to see that teaching, specifically teaching philosophy, can be a way to not just go through the motions of our lives like well-oiled machines; it can actually be like a wrench thrown into the machines that stops them for a minute, so we can start asking why we're doing what we're doing, why the world is the way it is. Once I figured this out I knew I needed to be a philosophy professor.

What advice would you give to potential students who are thinking of coming back to school, but may be intimidated by the idea of doing homework, schoolwork, tests, etc. again?

Professor Nosal:
Having seen my wife return to school and do an MA when she was close to 40 years old, I would say that it is important to communicate with your family and get the support of everyone who cares about you. They will help you make time to get your work done if they know this goal is important to you. Also, find a workspace and a time of day where you know you can be productive. Communicate to your family and peers that you will need this space and time to be successful. Don’t forget to keep in mind that the piece of paper, the diploma, comes at the end of a long journey, so you have to get in the mindset to enjoy process, even English 103 or Statistics!

Professor Rybicki: I always encourage my students and potential students to work with their academic advisors to formulate a plan that works best for their lives. Each student is different. Many students have family and work obligations, so working with their advisor will allow them to select the right course load for them. I, also, encourage potential students to explore the many resources offered by the Walker Center at Peirce College. The Walker Center offers training and tutoring that allow students to excel in their courses through targeted academic support. By carefully planning a course of study, students will find that completing their degree is much more manageable and can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Professor Schultz: A big task like going back to college is really scary. But I think a lot of people sell themselves short. They can sometimes forget how smart and powerful they are. So I hope folks can start to see the ability and potential they have. And that's something that we want to help with. I hope people know just how much the faculty and staff want to help students bring out all their inner brilliance. It's not as scary when you remember all the support system you have here and when you remember just how powerful you can be.

Thank you, professors! Keep an eye out for Professor Nosal, Professor Rybicki and Professor Schultz in the classroom and around campus.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Congratulations to Professor Kate Watson on her most recent accomplishment!

I am proud to announce that Professor Kate Watson has written and published a chapter for the SAGE Encyclopedia of Clinical and Abnormal Psychology. Along with her co-author, Scott Glassman, Professor Watson contributed a piece about Motivational Interviewing, an internationally-recognized counseling technique which emphasizes evidence-base strategies for helping people change their habits. Although Motivational Interviewing is a set of skills commonly utilized by social workers, psychologists, physicians and nurses, this technique is gaining traction among correctional officers, probation officers, police officers, and victim advocates. These skills can be useful for anyone who is aiming to help others behave in healthy ways, make good decisions, or live a happy life.

Do you know someone who is battling a bad habit, or who struggles to make changes? Communicating with that person in a MI-consistent manner is likely to uncover their intrinsic motivations to improve their behaviors. The key is: you have to help the person make their own arguments in favor of change, rather than asking him or her to explain reasons not to change.

Here is an example: Rather than asking, “Why do you think you struggle so much to quit smoking?” you might ask a person, “What do you think you stand to gain, if you quit smoking?” Motivational Interviewing emphasizes that a person must be motivated by their own intrinsic values to resolve uncertainty about changing habits. Using skills like open ended questions, reflective listening, and affirmative statements, people who use Motivational Interviewing are likely to find that their clients, patients, students, or loved-ones are more likely to feel motivated to make changes in their lives (quitting smoking, studying harder, paying down debt, eating healthy foods, taking medication, etc.).

Professor Watson has grown her own skills in Motivational Interviewing by participating in the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Every year, she meets with MI practitioners from all around the world at an annual forum. If you are interested in learning more about Motivational Interviewing, I encourage you to visit

Please join me in congratulating Professor Watson on her accomplishments!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Learning Burst Part Four: Positive Outlook

Partners since 2008, Beneficial Bank and Peirce College collaborated to bring a series of self-improvement Learning Bursts to Beneficial employees. The final topic, Positive Outlook, was presented on May 9th by expert facilitators Cathy Littlefield, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services.

Thompsonowak began by sharing the helpful effects a positive outlook can have in the workplace such as a reduction in work-related stress and an increase in work productivity. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, researchers have found a positive outlook directly benefits your health and makes you less vulnerable to life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Sounds great, but how do you maintain a positive outlook?

According to Littlefield, one approach is to consciously and consistently turn negatives into positives. Her suggestions on how to do this included:
  • Do good things for other people
  • Appreciate the world around you
  • Develop and bolster relationships
  • Learn something new
  • Establish goals that can be accomplished
  • Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all
  • Practice resilience
  • Practice mindfulness
Littlefield went on to share ten ways to create a positive outlook, including:
  1. Smile and laugh 
  2. Help others unselfishly
  3. Eliminate your ego
  4. Show gratitude
  5. Set goals
  6. Train your mind to focus on more positive thoughts
  7. Surround yourself with positive people
  8. Be persistent and find the positive in all situations
  9. Work out and eat right
  10. Listen to your favorite music
Although these suggestions may seem straightforward, when practiced consistently they can have practical and significant results.

Thompsonowak concluded the session by emphasizing the direct correlation between outlook and perception. How you perceive the world around you directly impacts your overall outlook and attitude. If you choose to see the opportunity in every problem and the lesson in every setback, you’ll create a positive outlook for yourself moving forward. In time, your conscious decisions to remain positive will become your natural, default reactions when confronted with stressful situations.

Peirce College was thrilled to provide this self-improvement Learning Burst series to Beneficial employees and looks forward to opportunities to collaborate and expand our growing partnership in the future.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008. Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Announcing the 2017 Commencement Speaker – Monica Malpass

It’s our favorite time of year - Commencement 2017 is only a month away. And to kick off this time of celebration, today I am happy to announce Peirce’s 2017 Commencement Speaker:

Monica Malpass, co-anchor of Action News at 5 p.m.!

For more than three decades, Monica has worked as an anchor and reporter for television networks in Philadelphia and throughout North Carolina. She has covered every U.S. Presidential election since 1988, as well as high profile events, such as: the Inaugurations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; the plane crash of John F. Kennedy, Jr.; the funeral of Princess Diana in London; and the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance in 2005. Monica has also conducted interviews with such high profile figures as Hillary Clinton; Vice Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman; Governors Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge; Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum; UPI White House Correspondent Helen Thomas; political analyst George Stephanopoulos; and numerous other state and national representatives.

Throughout her career, Monica has won numerous awards, including Best Female Newscaster by Main Line Today and Broadcaster of the Year by Women in Communications.

Monica received a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Villanova University; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; was a Rotary Scholar to the University of Puerto Rico; and has an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Neumann College.

Please join me in welcoming Monica Malpass to our 152nd Commencement Ceremony on June 8th!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Congratulations to our 2017 Peirce Voice Winner – Natasha Moore!

The votes are in! The people have spoken! We are proud to announce this year’s Peirce Voice Winner: Natasha Moore. As the winner, Natasha will be singing the National Anthem at this year’s 152nd Commencement Ceremony on June 8th at the Kimmel Center.

Want to know more about our winner? Read below to learn a little about Natasha’s educational journey, life experiences and her passion for singing!

“I am a North Philadelphia native who grew up in the Philadelphia Parochial School System. I attended J. W. Hallahan High School and immediately moved on to LaSalle University where I completed my freshman year of college. Due to personal finances and needing to take care of my mother on a more full-time basis, I took a hiatus from school and entered the workforce. I landed a position as a temp for the Philadelphia Gas Works as an Administrative Assistant within the Human Resources Department.

I grew a love for Human Resources while working for PGW within their HR Department; so much that I decided to return to school and complete the pursuit of my Bachelor`s Degree in Human Resource Management. Peirce College has a great partnership with PGW so of course Peirce was my school of choice. I enrolled and was honored to be the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship! In 2015, I was offered a full-time position with PGW as the HR Coordinator while continuing my studies with Peirce College. My anticipated graduation year is 2018.

My passion for singing has been strong ever since I was a 5-year-old little girl. I have recently decided to take my talent more seriously, which led me to audition for Peirce Voice. I am so appreciative of The Peirce Voice Committee for providing an opportunity for me to take my talent to the stage. I look forward to growing in my singing experience by performing the National Anthem at Peirce College’s Commencement Ceremony.”

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Join us to Celebrate, Inspire, Network and Honor!

When I arrived at Peirce College over seven years ago, I felt the unexpected pull of something intangible, palpable, and welcoming. I felt it when I entered the lobby and watched students interact with faculty and staff as I waited for my interview to begin. I felt it in the invitation I would eventually receive to join the Peirce team. Over time, I found it evergreen, ever present--showing itself in the daily encounters I would have with my colleagues.

Today, I still feel that same something, that warmth and energy, and I try to ensure that those I work with-- students, alumni, colleagues and partners, feel it as well. Only now, I have learned its proper name. It is a deeply-seeded Peirce connectedness.

Peirce College prides itself on the wonderful relationships built between all members of the Peirce community: alumni, students, corporate partners, trustees, friends of Peirce, and more! To celebrate this culture of connectedness, we’re introducing a new event this year called Peirce Talks – a celebration of connections, people, purpose and possibility.

We will celebrate the connections that define who we are and the mission we have embraced for more than 151 years – serving the education and workforce needs of non-traditional learners, communities, and employers.

We will be inspired by the personal stories of the women and men whose professional and personal lives have been transformed by their Peirce College experience and the relationships they’ve built within and beyond Peirce College walls.

We will network, socialize and, maybe even dance if we are so inclined during the festive reception with members of the Peirce community at the home of one of our neighbors and partners, The University of the Arts.

We will honor the choice for change that our students, alumni, friends and employers have made by partnering with Peirce.

Join us for the event of the year on Monday, May 15th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the University of the Arts, Dorrance Hamilton Hall, Broad and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.

Tickets are limited so visit now to reserve your spot!

Friday, April 28, 2017

CBE is right for Sam Rennix, is it right for you?

Sam Rennix, an IT professional with Penn Medicine, knew it was time to return to college when Penn began requiring bachelor’s degrees for employees wanting to move into more advanced positions. That’s when Sam discovered Peirce College’s competency-based education (CBE) program – the most direct path to a college degree.
Competency-based-education student Sam Rennix
Peirce’s competency-based education degree allows Sam to leverage the IT skills and knowledge he already has by taking final exams to prove his competencies and earn credits as soon as he’s ready. As a CBE student, he can also receive credit for previous industry certifications earned and/or college courses he completed before coming to Peirce. So instead of spending a lot of time on ancillary and lower-level courses, CBE students like Sam focus on the skills they actually need to succeed in their career.

“It’s all been very oriented around the degree I’m going for and what I do professionally. All the knowledge I’ve acquired has been helpful in my day-to-day job and helped me understand how things work in the background and the infrastructure of our system on top of just working toward my degree.

“So, I would say the classes themselves are high-quality [and relevant]. They’re very specific to what I need to learn, and that’s what I like about that. I didn’t like when I [previously] went to regular college you had to do basket weaving and stuff just to take credits.”

On top of avoiding basket weaving and focusing on learning career-related IT competencies, Sam is able to move through the program at his own pace. That’s because CBE students can earn as many college credits as they’re able to per session for one flat fee. For that reason, Sam’s advice to anyone thinking about earning their IT degree through Peirce’s competency-based education program is not to procrastinate.

“You have 12 weeks in your course. Don’t wait until week nine to get going because you have the freedom to do that,” he says. “You’ll end up stressed out and fall behind.”

To that end, Sam is hoping to spend 2017 earning extra college credits toward his degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking, Administration and Information Security. He’s off to a good start after knocking out seven credits during the first semester in the program.

Going forward, Sam hopes to earn 15 credits per 12-week session while still working full time at Penn. And not a single one of those credits will have anything to do with weaving baskets.

If you’re interested in learning more about Peirce’s competency-based education program, visit or reach out to Heather DeRitis, CBE Enrollment Specialist, at 215.670.9124 or

Monday, April 24, 2017

Peirce Voice voting is now open!

The time is now! Your vote matters! Help us choose the winner for the First Annual Peirce Voice.

Three amazing contestants auditioned on Tuesday, April 18th and now we need your help. Click here to head to the survey where you will find all three auditions and the place to cast your vote. Please listen to all three auditions and pick the one who you believe will best represent the Peirce student body at this year’s Commencement Ceremony on June 8th.

Keep in mind – no faces will be seen! It was a BLIND audition. You can see their names and hear their voices, but that’s it! Voting is open to everyone – so please feel free to share the link with anyone who is interested in hearing some incredible voices sing the National Anthem.

Voting will close on Wednesday, May 3rd, so no time to waste. The winner will be announced on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter on Tuesday, May 9th, so be sure to check back to see if you selected the winner!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's time to finally earn your degree - it's time for Peirce Night!

“College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66% more than those with only a high school diploma; and are also far less likely to face unemployment.” – U.S. Department of Education

Did that catch your attention? Are you ready to be a college graduate who is earning 66% more than you were before? Then join us for Peirce Night!

Peirce Night is your one-stop shop for starting the process to finally earning the degree you have always wanted. This is your chance to meet Peirce faculty and staff, learn about our programs and opportunities, and take advantage of some exclusive offers.

Peirce College has been providing working adults with affordable education, flexible classes and personalized support for more than 150 years. Let us help you! We have programs such as Peirce Fit™, where you can choose week-to-week whether to attend class online or on campus. This allows you the flexibility you need for your education to fit your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Interested in IT? Then we have an additional opportunity for you! Competency-based education (CBE) is an option for seasoned IT professionals interested in completing their Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. It’s the most flexible and convenient way to earn the degree you need to continue to move up in the industry you love.

Ready to take the next step? Peirce Night will be held on Thursday, April 20th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on our campus at 1420 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA. We are here the entire time – so stop in whenever you are able! Enrollment Specialists will be ready to talk you through your future degree program, assist you with the application process, walk you through financial aid and filing the FAFSA, and even get you registered for classes.

RSVP now – There are no excuses for missing out on this event made just for you. Come out and grab a bite to eat, a Peirce swag bag, get your application fee waived, and start the process to your new future. Your time is now! RSVP here today:

To learn more about Peirce Fit, visit To learn more about competency-based education, visit

Friday, April 14, 2017

The benefits of participating in the Annual Job Fair

The Annual Job Fair is beneficial to the entire community: employers and future employees. As an employer, the job fair is an opportunity to recruit eager and fresh talent in a face-to-face environment. As a future employee, it’s an opportunity for you to show off your best self and meet multiple companies who are looking to hire, all while growing your network.

Benefits for the employer:

You will have the chance to meet Peirce College students and alumni who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. Our students are obtaining practical associate and bachelor's degrees in fields such as healthcare administration, information technology, paralegal studies, criminal justice, and business administration. Peirce’s students and alumni are ready to show off their hard work and capability to bring what they’ve learned in the classroom to your company or industry. If you are looking to fill your front-line positions with a diverse, non-traditional talent pool, join us for the Annual Job Fair. RSVP today at

Benefits for future employees:

It’s time to take your talent into the workplace of your choice! You’ve studied hard, you’ve learned the material, and you’ve given a lot of time and energy in and out of the classroom. Let’s make it all worth it. At the Annual Job Fair, you’ll be able to meet directly with companies and industries who are looking to hire candidates for positions at:
    Philadelphia Undergraduate degree students
  • Vanguard
  • Comcast
  • United Healthcare
  • Santander
  • Einstein Health Network
  • The City of Philadelphia
  • PNC Bank
  • Marine Corps Officer Program
And more!

Bring multiple copies of your resume, dress professionally, and connect with Career Development Services on the companies that will be in attendance, so you can do your research prior to attending. Some companies may even do on-the-spot interviews, so be ready to tell them why they should hire you! Bring your most professional self to this event, so you can leave knowing you are one step closer to obtaining your dream career. To RSVP, please visit

The Annual Job Fair will be held on Thursday, April 27th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Peirce College’s campus at 1420 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Career Development Services at 215.670.9202 or

We appreciate the continuous support of our sponsors who are helping to make this upcoming event successful: Campus Philly and Career Wardrobe.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Meet Elizabeth Barr - a current Peirce College at Harcum student!

Like a lot of high school students, Elizabeth Barr wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue on to college or head straight into the workforce. Elizabeth had the passion to work, but knew she should gain some sort of degree to start off. She decided on a two-year program at Harcum College where she earned her associate’s degree in Fashion Design in 2011. Once she graduated from Harcum, she had a job lined up in retail and off to work she went.

Integrated Leadership Degree student Elizabeth Barr
After working for several years, Elizabeth realized the only way to move up would be to acquire another degree. The problem she was facing – she couldn’t find a program that would fit her work life and accept her current credits.

Fortunately, in fall of 2016, Harcum College sent her a letter about their new partnership with Peirce College. This partnership would allow for her to take classes at the campus she knew, at a time that would work with her schedule, and through a program that would accept her current credits. This was her ideal situation!

Now, Elizabeth is a current Peirce College at Harcum student where she is on track to earning her bachelor’s degree in Integrated Leadership. According to Elizabeth, one of the best advantages about this partnership is the convenience of being on Harcum’s campus. She said she started on the campus with just the associate’s degree in mind, which didn’t make her feel as permanent. Now that she is pursuing the long-term goal of a bachelor’s degree, she feels as if she is “home” when she is at Harcum rather than wondering where she will need to go next.

Elizabeth, also, has loved the class environment where she has been able to get to know her classmates due to the smaller class sizes. They all work together on projects, course work, and self-improvement. Elizabeth explained how the class’s confidence, overall, has increased as the comfort between them has grown. She feels as if they are all one cohesive group now, including the professor, which helps make the classes and work more enjoyable.

When asked about going back to school as a full-time employee, Elizabeth only had positive remarks to make. She said, “I, myself, don’t feel like it’s been too difficult to balance. I feel like this has been the best arrangement I could have come up with because the class is only once or twice a week, all assignments are submitted electronically, and you submit things at your leisure.” Elizabeth explained how taking advantage of this opportunity as a working adult was not as challenging as she thought it would be because with Peirce College, she never feels rushed or unable to give assignments her full attention. Elizabeth said, “I feel like I am actually learning something rather than cranking out material for a grade.”

Finally, Elizabeth wanted to give some advice to working adults with associate’s degrees who are considering coming back to school to finish what they started. She said, “Timing is everything. Don’t feel like you need to judge yourself based on others’ opinions on when you should go back. Know what timing is best for YOU. Don’t let someone else tell you when the time is right.”

If you’d like to learn more about our Peirce College at Harcum partnership, visit

Friday, April 7, 2017

Learning Bursts Part Three: Resilience

We all know someone who we would describe as resilient. A family member who has overcome a challenge, a friend who consistently pushes through difficult situations, or that coworker who always seems to focus on the positives. Although resilience is easy to recognize, it’s not always easy to put into practice. In the third Learning Burst in our four-part series at Peirce College, Beneficial Bank, we discussed exactly that: how to be resilient in the workplace.

Career Development Services Lesson on Staying Resilient
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Finding practical and effective ways to “bounce back” from stressful situations is critical to your professional success and your overall health. So how do you do it?

To help Beneficial employees build their resiliency muscle, Peirce College brought in expert facilitators Cathy Littlefield, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services.

Littlefield began by defining resiliency as the ability to deal with adverse situations in positive and creative ways. She emphasized the importance of transforming challenges into opportunities and absorbing the reality of a setback with minimal mental and physical cost to yourself.

According to Littlefield, each time a stressor arises you can use “The Resilience Pump” as a tool to get you through.

The Resilience P.U.M.P.
  • P = Pause (detachment breaks)
  • U = Understand (remain fact-based)
  • M = Manage (emotional and mental agility)
  • P = Perspective (think big picture; cultivate compassion)
The more you utilize the techniques above, the more natural these responses will become and the stronger your resiliency muscle will be.

To help illustrate this point, Thompsonowak asked the participants to put these tools to work. Through group activities, personal stories and honest discussions, the attendees discovered the practical uses of these methods and the positive effect they can have on their overall work experience.

Thompsonowak ended by explaining the dangers of deflating thoughts and how they can negatively impact our ability to be resilient. The five most common deflating thoughts that can derail our resiliency are highlighted below.

Deflating Thoughts
  • Focus on Self – “It’s all my fault”
  • Focus on Others – “It’s all his/her fault”
  • Inadequacy – “I’m a terrible, inferior person”
  • Catastrophizing – “It the end of the world. I can’t handle this.”
  • Helplessness – “This is going to ruin my whole life.”
Avoiding the deflating thoughts above gives us the opportunity to be resilient and move past situations in positive, healthy ways.

Littlefield and Thompsonowak will conclude their Learning Burst series next month with a session on Positive Outlook.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008. Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Peirce College proudly hosted the 4th Annual Criminal Justice Debate

Peirce College was honored to be the first college in Pennsylvania to host the Intercollegiate Criminal Justice Debate on Saturday, April 1, 2017. The intercollegiate competition included debate teams from West Chester University, Rowan University, Neumann University, Drexel University, Wilmington University, Peirce College, Camden County College, and Cumberland County College. Two outstanding debaters, Gloria Thomas and Candice Jabbar, proudly represented Peirce College.

Criminal Justice Studies Degrees Debate teams
There were three rounds of competition, where each team got the chance to verse another school in hopes of making it to the finals. Each round resulted in points awarded to the winning teams. After three rounds of debate, the two teams with the highest points moved on to the finals.

In front of a crowded room of spectators, the top-scoring teams, Rowan University and Cumberland County College, presented their best arguments on whether police should be required to wear body cameras. While both sides presented exceptional arguments, Peirce College’s Debate Chairperson Prof. Robert Brzenchek announced Rowan University as the top-scoring team, with Cumberland County College taking second place for the overall debate competition. Third place was awarded to West Chester University. A special award went to Teheran Habersham of Wilmington University for Best Orator.

Congratulations to all debate teams for a job well done!

Criminal Justice Debate Winners

Friday, March 31, 2017

Register now to audition for The First Annual Peirce Voice

Are you ready to bring your singing talent to the big stage? Now’s your chance! Peirce College will be hosting The First Annual Peirce Voice with auditions being held on Tuesday, April 18th from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. right here on campus. Wondering what I’m talking about? Let me explain a little further:

What happens at the audition? You will be singing the National Anthem for a panel of judges, which consists of Peirce faculty and staff, who will record your performance. Don’t worry – we will provide the lyrics for the audition!

What makes it Peirce Voice? The auditions are blind to the voters! Once you audition, the performance of just your voice will be uploaded to our YouTube channel, so the public can listen and help decide who will be the next Peirce Voice.

How do people vote?
Once auditions happen, there will be an email, blog and social posts sent out with a link to a survey where anyone can go on and vote! Voting is open to the public, so tell your family and friends.

What do I get if I win?
You not only win a Peirce FitBit™, but, also, you will be singing the National Anthem at this year’s 152nd Commencement ceremony!

How do I sign up? It’s easy! All you have to do is email with your name, telephone number, and your availability for April 18th between 4:00 and 7:00 pm (in 15-minute intervals) no later than April 17th at 12 noon.

Sound like something you’re interested in? No time to waste – email to schedule your audition today!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Meet Peirce's future Health Information Professionals

Peirce Offers Four Degrees in HealthcareThis week, we are taking time to celebrate current and future Health Information Professionals. Michele Green, Eunice Jones, Lilaila Villafane-Nolan, and Elvia Frederic-Williams are current seniors at Peirce College in the Health Information Technology and Health Information Administration programs. They will be leading this year’s Health Information Professionals Week at Peirce College, which will run from March 26th through April 1st. Learn a little about our future leaders’ educational journeys and why they think you should join them for HIP Week:

“My name is Michele Green. I started my journey here at Peirce College in 2011. In May of 2014, I received my Associates Degree in Healthcare Information Technology. I am in my final classes for my Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Information Administration and I am so excited to graduate this June. I am currently working in the Healthcare Industry as a Pharmacy Services Technician. However, I plan on taking the RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator) Certification to change my career to a Health Information Management position. Health Information Professionals week is a great way for me to enhance my knowledge on how health information management professionals are the best equipped to understand health data and turn information into knowledge that powers better decision making.”

“I am Eunice Jones and being a mother, my motto is education, education, and education. In my household, once you finish high school, you move on and attend college, no excuses! Unfortunately, I had a secret my children were unware of; fear. I had personal fears about going to college; a fear of failure, a fear of assignments and tests, and my biggest fear of not setting a good example. I decided to face my fears and I enrolled at the College in 2013. Peirce College is everything I needed; the College fit my schedule, my age group, helped me conquer all of my fears by giving me the support I needed to keep going. I received my associate’s degree in 18 months and in June of 2017 I will receive my bachelor’s degree. I plan to continue my educational journey by receiving a CTR (cancer tumor registrar) Certification. Health Information Professionals week, to me, is so important with the theme of “Leading the way to quality data” because it is a great resource for teaching and demonstrating the volumes of health data and information being generated, and how to manage it.”

“My name is Lilaila Villafane-Nolan and this has been one heck of a journey for the last four years at Peirce College. It all started when one day someone told me I wouldn't be able to move up in the world because I didn't have a college degree. Being who I am, I didn't like to hear those words. Despite many struggles of working full time, raising a family, all while being a student, I still kept going. I wasn’t just doing this for myself; I wanted to show my children they can do anything they put their mind to. My next step on my career path is to complete my certification and Master’s Degree. My goal is to get my dream job as a Physician Reimbursement Specialist. This journey all started because of one person and I don't think I would change anything about it now that I'm finally finishing. Health Information Professionals week is important to future leaders like me because it provides me with the knowledge I need in my new career when it comes to improving cost, quality, and population health with the ability to turn data into knowledge.”

“I am Elvia Frederic-Williams and the day I decided to continue my education was the day when I realized my daughter copied everything I did. It was the day when I decided to make a change in my life and pursue a career. Peirce College made my learning transition comfortable, easy, and convenient. From the stress-free enrollment process, to the always available and helpful advisors, and the flexibility offered with the on campus and online options, Peirce College was the right choice for me. I started my journey with the determination to complete an Associate Degree in Health Information Technology. However, now on top of completing my associate’s degree, today I find myself on the finish line to the completion of my Bachelor Degree of Science in Health Information Administration. I’m now not only the first in my family to be a college graduate, but I am also able to show my children that I did it and they can too! Health Information Professionals week gives me the knowledge and guidance on the importance of being a health information professional that I need to keep going with my future career endeavors.”

If you’re interested in learning more about any Health Information Professional degree, check out our degrees in healthcare. If you want to take part in the HIP Week, please stop by the lobby of our main campus to meet the amazing students above.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Learning Bursts Part Two: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Coworkers

Whether you’re providing constructive feedback, discussing sensitive issues like dress or hygiene or simply setting the record straight on a disputed topic, difficult conversations with coworkers can be stressful!

Cathy Littlefield presents to corporate partner, Beneficial BankOn Tuesday, March 21st Peirce College equipped employees of one of its corporate partners, Beneficial Bank, with the tools needed to successfully navigate these discussions. Hosted by Peirce College’s expert facilitator, Cathy Littlefield, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs, this session represented the second topic in a four-part “Learning Bursts” series on self-improvement.

Littlefield opened the session by making a playful, yet relatable comparison between having a difficult conversation and having a meal. Just like eating requires you to set the table, have the meal and clean up, difficult conversations also have three distinct steps.

Preparing for the Conversation – “Setting the Table”
  • Check yourself – make sure you are calm and collected
  • Hold yourself accountable – acknowledge your role in the situation
  • Clarify your goals – know what you want as an outcome
  • Choose an appropriate time and place – timing and privacy matter
During a Difficult Conversation – “The Meal”
  • Focus on the facts – not gossip or perception
  • Only discuss things relevant to this specific situation
  • Be aware of your emotions; continuously "check in" with yourself
  • Make it a two way conversation – don’t dominate the conversation
After the Conversation – “Clean Up”
  • What happens in the office should stay in the office
  • Let it go – don't repeatedly have the same conversation with the same person
  • Where appropriate, document the conversation including date, situation and agreed upon outcome
Littlefield ended by noting difficult conversations break down when either participant resorts to verbal “flight” or “fight” responses. To help each participant understand his or her own unique style under stress, Littlefield provided a self-assessment. Through their responses, attendees discovered their natural tendencies and ways to counteract them in the future.

Be sure to join Littlefield and other Peirce staff members next month for the third topic of this four-part series.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008. Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at

Monday, March 20, 2017

Celebrating Women in Leadership at Peirce College

Despite the blowing snow, howling winds, and icy roadways, Career Development Services’ 7th annual Women in Leadership panel discussion was a roaring success!

The night started off with Uva Coles, Vice President of Institutional Advancement & Strategic Partnerships, who welcomed the crowd with rousing remarks about Peirce’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. President Jim Mergiotti followed by reminding everyone of Peirce’s long history of commitment to women’s education. Peirce College was the second college in Pennsylvania to admit women as students, along with the first school to treat women and men equally by allowing all genders to use the same doorway to enter. That legacy and commitment to equality endures as Peirce continually celebrates the accomplishments of women across all industries.

Our all-star cast of panelists included:
·  Dina Galeotafiore, Senior Vice President, Executive Search, Comcast Corporation
·  Nicole Pullen Ross, Managing Director, Investment Management at Goldman Sachs
·  Jane Slusser, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, City of Philadelphia
·  Susan V. Van Buren, Former Assistant General Manager, Human Resources Division, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
·  Eloise Young, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning & Information Services at Philadelphia Gas Works

The panel was expertly moderated by Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts, Vice President of Academic Advancement, who kicked off the conversation with a question about the number of women executives in corporate leadership. The panelists were lively and engaging when answering this question and more, and the crowd rose to the occasion, matching the panelists’ energy with questions about counteracting discrimination in the workplace, achieving work-life balance, decision-making, and other topics. 

Much of the conversation revolved around pivoting when necessary and building yourself along with your team.  When looking to find your place in the world, Nicole Pullen Ross reminded us that “if you can bring out the best in people, the view of many outweighs the view of a few.” Along that same line, Jane Slusser assured the room that “you don’t win by beating your opponent when governing, you win by working together.”

Susan Van Buren provided a pearl of wisdom about team building and goal attainment: “in order to satisfy the external customers, you must first satisfy the internal customers: your employees.” When asked about specializing or being a jack-of-all-trades, Eloise Young explained how this will vary from person to person, but no matter who you are, where you are or what you're doing, “it’s very important to be very good at where you are on the ladder.”

One of my favorite quotes of the night was from Dina Galeotafiore: “Don’t give up. Be patient. Be strategic and be thoughtful how you can drive toward that outcome.”

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Women in Leadership 2017. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts on 20 years of Peirce College employment

At Peirce College, we not only like to celebrate our students' successes, but also our employees' successes. Dr. Rita Toliver-Roberts, Vice President of Academic Advancement, recently celebrated her 20th year with Peirce College. She has held multiple positions during her time at the College and has been an essential component of the growth, development, and achievement of students, faculty, and staff. We asked Dr. Toliver-Roberts a few questions about her time so far at Peirce:

Dr. Toliver-Roberts, please tell us about your personal Peirce College history.

I came to Peirce as an opportunity to give back. As a first-generation undergraduate student, I was successful because of the dedicated staff and faculty who were invested in students’ success and so, I wanted to be part of a community that wanted to make a difference. 

I started at Peirce as an academic counselor/advisor in the Success Center. This center supported at risk students and was supported (in addition to the College) by two grant programs, Act 101 and Student Support Services. During my tenure, I have held the position of Act101 Counselor (academic advisor); Manager, WCAE; Assistant Dean of Students; Dean of Students; and Vice President of Academic Advancement. 

What has kept you at the College for all these years?

There are three points that come immediately to mind,
  1. I genuinely appreciate the people I work with. Peirce employees are hardworking, dedicated individuals who are committed to achieving the mission.
  2. Peirce’s work-life balance culture – as a young professional and for a time, a new parent, Peirce made it possible for me to balance my priorities at work and home without compromise.
  3. Peirce’s work hard/play hard environment. The community pulls together to achieve goals but then takes pause to celebrate achievements and one another.
What are you most proud of during your time here at Peirce College?

Offering graduate education—this was such a wonderful milestone and historic moment for Peirce College. Furthermore, witnessing our first students graduates from our Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management (MSOLM) program [in 2015]. 

Additionally, I am proud that I worked under the leadership of great leaders and mentors, Dr. Patricia Rucker and James Mergiotti.

What advice do you have for students who are looking to find a career, not just a job?

The importance of having a strong work ethic should not be underrated. Your work ethic is basically your professional character and it tells the story about what you will do (or not do) with your skills, experience, and abilities. Let your professional story be positive and promotable and speak for you. 

Congratulations, Dr. Toliver-Roberts, on this memorable landmark in your career! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the College each and every day.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Spring is right around the corner - so are Peirce College events!

March and April are full of excitement as the springtime weather starts rolling in, the flowers begin to bloom, and Peirce College offers a variety of events! There are many opportunities available for Peirce students and the community throughout the next month. Below is a list of a few of the events being held on campus –

  1. Women in Leadership Panel Discussion – This event is open to Peirce students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the entire community! Five of the region’s renowned executive women will speak about their experience with leadership in all facets of their lives. This event will be held on Wednesday, March 15th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the College in Room 51. Spots are limited for this event, so RSVP today at
  2.  Leadership Symposium – The Walker Center for Academic Excellence is proud to host the Leadership Symposium for all Peirce students. This is a day full of learning and developing different leadership skills to use in your personal and professional life. There will be guest speakers, workshops, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. If you are looking to continue growing in your leadership abilities then this is an event for you! It will be held on Saturday, March 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the College. To RSVP, visit
  3. Business Conference – All Peirce students are invited to the 5th Annual Business Conference. This year’s conference is titled, “Facing Forward: Creating Your Career Identity.” This day-long event will include different vendors, a panel discussion, and keynote speakers on a variety of topics. This is open to ALL Peirce students, so you do not need to be a business major to find value in this opportunity. The Business Conference will be held on Saturday, April 8th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the College. To RSVP, visit

Each of these events offers many valuable lessons, growth opportunities and unbeatable experiences. To learn more, below are the contacts for each event along with the link to the Peirce Community Calendar for even more upcoming opportunities.

WIL – Career Development Services: 215.670.9202 or

Leadership Symposim – WCAE: 215.670.9251 or

Business Conference – Professor Brooke Quigg: 215.670.9317 or

Peirce Community Calendar –

See you there!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Peirce College President Jim Mergiotti to retire in June 2018

For nearly 30 years, it has been my honor and privilege to witness the outstanding achievements of our students and graduates as they earn their degrees. I have also had the extraordinary opportunity to work with an exceptional group of faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, partners, and volunteers, all in support of Peirce’s wonderful mission. Now, after careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to retire from Peirce College as of June 30, 2018.

This announcement does not mean my work here at the College is finished – quite the opposite! Careful execution of the College’s strategic plan will continue for the next 16 months, and I look forward to achieving these goals. At that point, the timing will be perfect for me to transition to the next phase of my life and for Peirce to move forward with new leadership and the rejuvenation that change will bring.

The Board of Trustees is currently forming a search committee that will be responsible for finding Peirce’s next leader. Details regarding the search process will be forthcoming, and we will share the plan on Peirce’s website.

Being a part of the Peirce community has been a great honor, as I’ve been fortunate enough to work side-by-side with a tremendous group of faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and partners. We accomplished great things for Philadelphia's adult learners together, and the future for them – and for Peirce – is bright.

If you have questions about this transition, I encourage you to reach out via email at Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and I look forward to what the next year and half have in store.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Health Information Administration program now CAHIIM Accredited!

Health Information Administration CAHIIM AccreditedIt’s official – Peirce College’s Health Information Administration (HIA) bachelor’s degree is now CAHIIM accredited! There are only two accredited HIA bachelor’s degrees in the Philadelphia region and we are proud to be one of them.

Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education qualifies Peirce’s HIA graduates to sit for the RHIA exam, which is a highly valued certification by regional and national employers. It’s often listed on job postings as a requirement, so the program’s accreditation will open more opportunities for our students.

This accreditation is not easy to acquire. Members of the CAHIIM review team rigorously reviewed our curriculum requirements and met extensively with our administration, faculty, staff, students, and members of the advisory board during a site visit. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this monumental effort. If you’re interested in learning how the CAHIIM accreditation can help your career, please feel free to reach out to me at or 215.670.9255.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Napkins, Leftovers and Etiquette - Oh My!

Peirce College Career Development Services Business Etiquette LuncheonIf you’re like me, just hearing or seeing the word "etiquette" makes you nervous. It conjures images of Downtown Abbey, books balanced on girls' heads, and a world of unspoken rules I'm not quite sure of. On the other hand, business etiquette can make or break your next promotion, job interview, or networking opportunity.

Knowing we could all use at least a refresher course of what fork to use and why, Career Development Services coordinated a group meal at The Capital Grille on Friday, February 17th. Located at Broad and Chestnut Streets in Center City, the Capital Grille is a popular upscale restaurant known as a place to make business deals. Alexis Lundeen, Managing Partner of the Capital Grille Philadelphia, facilitated our workshop, answering all of our silly and not-so-silly questions.

During our luncheon, we cross-checked etiquette tips we had heard from friends, family, even online. For instance, did you know that if you don't finish your meal, it is now appropriate to ask for the leftovers to be boxed up? However, make sure the ranking member of the table -- your boss or interviewer -- is the first to eat.

Our most important lesson learned is that the purpose of a networking or business meal, as Alexis explained it, is not really about eating! It's really about demonstrating respect and making a positive impression. Knowing where to place your napkin and to indicate that you are returning to the table (on your chair) or you have left the meal (on the table) will help the wait staff wordlessly anticipate your next moves, leaving your focus on your important business transaction.

Finally, as a group, we decided that etiquette is like a muscle -- if you stop exercising it, it is harder to use it once you need to. With all this in mind, I know I will be using this as an excuse to go out for a fancy dinner in the near future and practice my etiquette moves!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Meet the New Assistant Dean for Student Support Services - Tracey Thomas!

Last month, Peirce College gained another new team member – Tracey Thomas, the new Assistant Dean for Student Support Services, joins us from a long history of higher education and student services. We took some time to get to know her a little better.

Assistant Student Services Dean Tracey ThomasTracey, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Absolutely! I have a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Ohio Wesleyan University & an Ed.M. from Temple University in Counseling Psychology. I have worked my entire professional life in higher education starting as a mental health counselor in a college counseling center then moving to various administrative positions. I have worked for various opportunity programs including the Act 101 Program in PA and the Educational Opportunity Fund Program in New Jersey. In my most recent position, I was the Associate Dean of Academic Advising and Student Programs at a community college in New Jersey.

What made you interested in working for Peirce, specifically the Walker Center for Academic Excellence?
Peirce College offers a unique educational experience through an accelerated curriculum. The Walker Center is a place that can assist students address many of the challenges they may experience meeting their academic goals. We offer tutoring, assistance for students with disabilities, academic advising for specific first year students as well as have a computer lab for students use. We also host a variety of workshops and events!

What has been your experience thus far working with adult learners and the Peirce community?
Although I have only been at Peirce a few weeks, I have enjoyed working with the students I have met so far. Peirce students have been very friendly and have made me feel welcome in my new role. The staff has extended to me every imaginable kindness. I am very happy to be a member of the Peirce family!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is getting ready to head back to school, what would it be?
Create a plan. The desire to go (or come back) to school is great, but it requires more than desire. Have you thought about how you will fit your classes around your work schedule? When will you study? Do you have a plan for your children while you study or work on class projects? These issues also need to be considered and resolved before registering for class.

Thank you, Tracey! You can visit her in Peirce’s Walker Center for Academic Excellence or reach out at or 215.670.9251.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Peirce College Facilitates Self-Improvement Learning Bursts at Beneficial Bank

Maximum impact in minimal time. That’s the goal of Peirce College’s latest collaboration with corporate partner Beneficial Bank.

Under the guidance of in-house experts Cathy Littlefield, EdD, Associate Professor and Chair of Business Programs and Sharon Thompsonowak, Director of Career Development Services, Peirce College is proudly delivering a four-part series on self-improvement to Beneficial employees. These ‘Learning Bursts’ will cover practical yet powerful topics and provide attendees with the skills needed to continue their professional growth.

Beneficial Bank Corporate Partnership
The series began on Wednesday, February 8th with a topic every member of the workforce encounters: accountability. Whether you’re referencing personal accountability or holding others accountable, the concept can be somewhat daunting. Through group discussions and guided activities, our expert facilitators helped attendees understand the importance of both.

Thompsonowak began the discussion by explaining the close relationship between personal accountability and perception. To illustrate her point, she asked a poignant question, “Do things happen TO you or do things happen BECAUSE of you?” Being willing to ask yourself this question helps you identify your own role in the challenges or difficulties you may have, which can help you avoid those problems in the future. As Thompsonowak went on to explain, the more we evaluate our own role in every situation, the more we build our accountability “muscle.” Subsequently, the more we hold ourselves accountable, the more we can take action to solve problems.

Littlefield then led a dynamic discussion on the challenges we face when holding others accountable and the consequences we’re likely to experience if we avoid the process altogether. How do we overcome these challenges and avoid negative consequences? As the attendees discovered, the key is clarity.

How do you achieve clarity? Simple. Be clear and direct about every step of the process.
  •          Set clear expectations from the start
  •          Share clear measurements and indicators of success
  •          State clear consequences if expectations are not met
  •          Provide clear and direct feedback after the project is complete
When you provide clarity, you strengthen your ability to hold others accountable and empower everyone involved to be successful.

Although the concepts involved with both personal accountability and holding others accountable are somewhat straightforward, the ability to internalize them and apply them in the workplace is extremely powerful.

Peirce College and Beneficial Bank have been valued partners since 2008.  Beneficial employees, spouses and dependents are eligible for a 25% tuition discount at Peirce College. To learn more about enrolling at Peirce, please visit

For a complete list of all corporate partners, please visit If your company is not listed and you would like to be considered for partnership, please contact Amy Holvey, Manager of Corporate Enrollment at