College Undertakes "Most Ambitious" Building Project
Stage X, a plan to construct additional student housing and extensively renovate several main campus facilities, was approved by the Board of Directors in November. Before the academic year concluded, schematic and design-document phases of the project were completed. A $125 million bond was issued to refinance previous bond issues ($71.7 million) and fund the renovation of three major facilities, as well as the construction of a new student housing facility ($53 million).
William J. Martin, senior vice president, called the project "the college's most ambitious undertaking in terms of complexity, cost and scope." He said that the multi-year project, with final stages to be completed in 2011, "should position the college in terms of major physical-plant needs well into the 21st century."
Benedict H. Dubbs, of Murray Associates Architects, P.C., said the Stage X construction and renovation will "knit together" with existing facilities. A new residence hall, which will house 250 students, will be located at the west end of campus with other residence halls; renovations to the Hager Lifelong Education Center, Parkes Automotive Technology Center and Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center-Machining Technologies Center will be designed to blend with surrounding buildings. [press release]
North Campus 25th Anniversary
Marking a quarter-century of providing workforce and industry training and education to businesses and individuals in the Northern Tier, the North Campus held a 25th anniversary celebration in April. Current and former students joined Penn College officials and community leaders, including Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga, at the celebration. [press release]
Center for Business & Workforce Development
Penn College celebrated the opening of its Center for Business & Workforce Development in 2007. The facility houses Workforce Development & Continuing Education, as well as laboratories for electronics and computer engineering technology. It also hosts the Industrial Modernization Center, the Williamsport/Lycoming Keystone Innovation Zone and Penn State Continuing Education at Williamsport. [press release]
National Research Center for College & University Admissions
Penn College was the highest-rated school in the North and second among the top 10 rated schools in the nation in the National Research Center for College & University Admissions annual rankings of admissions websites. In a research-based analysis of 3,087 postsecondary institutions, NRCCUA rates functionality and design to determine how well the websites provide information to potential students.
James Everett Logue Dedication
The James Everett Logue Popular Reading Room in Madigan Library was dedicated in October in memory of a veteran faculty member. The room was created using 169 gifts from colleagues, students and friends of the associate professor of English and Master Teacher who died in 2004, following a 39-year teaching career. Joining the president in dedicating the room was Logue's wife, Darla, a former associate professor of dental hygiene. [press release]
Richard J. Weilminster Arboretum
The legacy of a horticulture professor who inspired thousands of students over more than three decades was honored with the dedication of the Richard J. Weilminster Arboretum at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center. The president helped the retired professor unveil the new arboretum in May. Surrounded by former students, colleagues, family and friends, he said: "I'm blessed to have had my career here. ... This is not just a collection of plants. What we really have here is an outdoor classroom." [press release]
2008 Governor's Awards for the Arts
Pennsylvania's first lady, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, announced in April that the Community Arts Center was selected to host the 2008 Governor's Awards for the Arts. The state ceremony is held in a different city each year; this is the first time a northcentral Pennsylvania city will host the event, scheduled for Nov. 12.
For the first time in its history, the college held three commencement ceremonies in May to confer degrees upon more than 1,000 graduates.
Professor emeritus/emerita status
Professor emeritus/emerita status was conferred upon two longtime faculty and administrators in 2008. The esteemed honor was bestowed upon professor Veronica M. Muzic, retired vice president for academic affairs/provost who continues to work as special assistant to the president for academic affairs, and Robert G. Bowers, retired professor of mathematics and recipient of the 2007 Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award. [press release]
Contract with Faculty Extended
Penn College and its Education Association, representing full-time faculty, librarians and counselors, extended a work agreement, first approved in 2000, through 2011-12. Previous extensions were approved in 2002, 2004 and 2006. The most recent extension called for 4-percent annual increases in the salary-system pool in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and a 4.5-percent increase the final year.
President Davie Jane Gilmour said mutual respect and cooperation characterized negotiations. She said the agreement "demonstrates that the members of PCEA share our goal of holding down educational costs for students. It enables the college administration and faculty to move forward and advance our shared mission."
PCEA President James E. Temple added, "I believe this agreement is fair to all parties involved and reflects the commitment and dedication of the Penn College faculty. This agreement provides continuing stability and will allow for both the faculty and the college to plan for the next four years."
The question "What do I want to be when I grow up?" has been asked for ages, but advancing technologies have made the question more difficult to answer in the 21st century.
Penn College and public-television station WVIA have partnered to help students, parents and educators learn more about modern career opportunities through a new "degrees that work." television series.
The first episode, featuring careers in nanotechnology, premiered in Fall 2007 and earned a bronze Telly Award; a second episode, featuring welding careers and supported by the American Welding Society, followed in summer 2008. Among the faculty and alumni featured in the series in 2007-08:
- Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing
- Mark A. Atwater, Penn College alumnus
- Jennifer Brinkley-Cruz, Penn College alumna
- David R. Cotner, instructor of welding
- Mike Patterson, Williamsport Area Community College alumnus
- Jeffrey L. Rankinen, associate professor of electronics
Episodes may be viewed online at www.pct.edu/degreesthatwork.
Efficiency was the objective when the college implemented new processes in 2007-08 including base budgeting for all cost centers and electronic billing and refunding for students.
PCT Alerts emergency cell phone/e-mail messaging system was implemented to offer student and employee subscribers early warnings of campus closings or other emergency notifications. [press release]
An employee intranet portal was integrated into institutional communication in 2007; a student portal would follow in 2008.
Pre-employment background checks for all full-time faculty and staff positions were implemented in Fall 2007. The president said the checks should be viewed as a "proactive way to reduce turnover and build a high-quality work force." [press release]
Penn College received a bronze award in the outdoor transit/billboard category of the 23rd Annual Admissions Advertising Awards sponsored by Admissions Marketing Report for a series of "degrees that work" billboards. [press release]
College-owned housing units were upgraded to provide 100 percent wireless network coverage.
Penn College received a silver award in the magazine advertising category of the 23rd Annual Admissions Advertising Awards, sponsored by Admissions Marketing Report, for this ad, which appeared in the U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges issue.
ANGEL Learning Management Suite, recognized for innovations in e-learning, was adopted in 2007-08 to support teaching and learning.