Cadets Graduate From MCCC Municipal Police Academy

Blue Bell, Pa.—“This is not a one-time process,” said Municipal Police Academy Director Frank Williar, welcoming cadets and their families to the graduation of Class 1402 on Nov. 12 in the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Science Center Theater. “We have an obligation to assist each other…to provide resources to each other. People who leave here come back.

Moments before, after 19 cadets filed on stage with military precision, Horsham Township Police Officer Kate Ryan came back to the academy from which she graduated with Class 1304 to introduce Williar, who in turn introduced the evening’s special guests: Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor Jr.; Dr. Aaron Shatzman, MCCC dean of Social Sciences; Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, MCCC vice president of academic affairs and provost; Jesse Stemple, first deputy director Montgomery County Department of Public Safety; East Norriton Police Chief Karyl Kates; East Norriton Police Lt. Brandon Pasquale; Lower Merion Police Superintendent Michael McGrath; North Coventry Police Chief Robert Schurr, Officers Andrew Thiel and Igor Parfeniouk, and Sgt. Rob Malason; and Springfield Police Chief Michael Pitkow.

Cadet SSgt. Anastasios Apostolidis called for a moment of silence for those in uniform, both military and law enforcement, who gave their lives in the line of duty.

North Coventry Police Officer Andrew Thiel, commander of Class 1302, came back to introduce Keynote speaker Whitemarsh Township Police Lt. Francis “Fran” Wheatley, who congratulated the cadets on enduring a long and demanding course of studies.

“As a police officer, you will be constantly under intense scrutiny, both on and off duty,” Wheatley warned. “You have chosen a career and will take an oath to lead by example for the rest of your lives.” He urged the cadets never to forget the discipline they learned at the academy. “You should embrace every opportunity to be the counselor, the social worker, the help desk  . . . the life-saver” roles beyond merely catching the bad guys that make the world a better place. “We are the peacekeepers who make sure that our communities are safe.”

Class Valedictorian Cadet Cpl. Sean Maguire of Jeffersonville told his classmates that “we step out of our secular lives into a life of service. We are the next generation of law enforcement, and we are strong.”

Upper Darby Township Police Officer Laina Stevens, commander of Class 1304 and the winner of the 2012-2014 Outstanding Academy Cadet award, introduced Castor, who returns to address the graduating classes every chance he gets. Police officers, he told the cadets “are not just people. They are symbols of a free society. If you attack one of them, you are attacking all of us. You cannot enjoy any of the things you love to do if you are afraid. And that is not the promise of America.”

Class 1402 Cadet Lt. Brett Burns was honored for his leadership. “Brett stamped his personality on the class,” Williar said. “You left some big shoes to fill.”

Burns presented the Director’s Spirit of Distinction Award to Cadet Cpl. Ryan Cifelli of Chalfont, and congratulated Cadet Joseph “Joey” Metzinger on his acceptance to the Pennsylvania State Police Academy.

Cadet David Arredondo of Stockton, Calif., won the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award in memory of the Upper Dublin police sergeant who died in a motor vehicle accident in the line of duty in 2004.

Robin Pritchett introduced the second annual Charles O. “Chip” Pritchett Exceptional Police Academy Instructor of the Year Award, named in honor of her husband, an East Norriton police officer and Municipal Police Academy deputy director who died in October 2013, and read the name of the second recipient: North Coventry Police Chief Robert A. Schurr.

“We miss him every day,” Schurr said, of Pritchett. “I’m humbled. And thank you.”

Dr. Bastecki-Perez conferred diplomas on Cadets Lt. Brett Burns, Abington; SSgt. Anastasio Apostolidis, Abington; Sgt. Joseph Metzinger, Rockledge; Sgt. Dylan Royce, Schwenksville; Cpl. Kelly Adams, Newtown; Cpl. Josué Gerena, Philadelphia; Cpl. Sean Maguire, Jeffersonville; Cpl. Branden Sisca, Trappe; David Arredondo, Stockton, Calif.; Ryan Cifelli, Chalfont; John Davis, Douglassville; Colleen Harner, Glenside; Marc Laing, Trappe; Christopher Miller, Gilbertsville; Aamir Raza, Warrington; Kevin Siebert, Oreland; John Smart, Bensalem; Steffy Shane, Perkiomenville; Cadet Kyle Williamson, Montgomeryville.

No doubt, many of the graduates will return to speak at future graduations and to assist their successors.

Lt. Burns passed the torch to his own successor, Lt. Brian Manion, Class 1404, completing the continuity inherent in the ceremony. Manion’s classmates provided an honor guard throughout the graduation.

Cadets from class 1402 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday, for 22 weeks, alternating studies with physical conditioning, as Maguire put it, “running and more running.”

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

The academy has been the training ground for approximately 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

MCCC Students Inducted Into Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society

Blue Bell/Pottstown Pa.—A total of 167 students were inducted into Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Alpha Kappa Zeta (Central Campus) and Beta Tau Lambda (West Campus) chapters of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society of two-year colleges, during the fall 2014 semester.  To be eligible for PTK membership, students must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 and must have completed at least 12 credits. 

The fall 2014 inductees are listed below by area of residence:

Ambler: William Cagney, Renee Campanell, Amanda Ciammetti, Bradley Collings, Anna Colins, Christina Mascuilli, Carlo Pipitone, Kyree Sullivan

Ardmore: Joshua Clair

Audubon: Jenna Gaasche

Bala Cynwyd: Catherine Morroney

Bellmawr, N.J.: Nicole Hacking

Bensalem: Barbara Schick

Blue Bell: Alexander Booth, Johnna Corson, Theresa Jun, Steven Mitchell, Nicole Ragusa

Bridgeport: Irving Galvan, Ronald Quay

Chalfont: Morgan Ewart, MacKenzie Mazak

Cheltenham: Nam Dangvy

Collegeville: Antonio Aloia, Julie Clark

Colmar: Holly Figueiredo

Conshohocken: Jonathan Drozd, Madison Eichert

Douglassville: Adriana Giotti

Doylestown: Christine Bradley

Eagleville: Daniel Buttorff, Lindley Yarnall

East Norriton: Kathryn Hall, Angela Mertz

Elkins Park: Michele Gravel, Eitan Laurence, Bruno Saint-Louis

Flourtown: John Berger

Fort Washington: Nathanael Plaster

Gilbertsville: Brittany Benson, Donna Braner, Kathryn Brown, Robert Brown, Marion Bucci, Maryalice Enright, Glendon Liggett, James Pederson

Glenside: Crystal Nieman

Green Lane: Angelina Sirak, Stephanie Sirak

Harleysville: Michael Covel, Justin Eppley, Virginia Hoffman, Mehdi Hooshmand, Abigail Landis, Jennifer Solomon, Hollie Southard, Amanda Zacharias

Hatboro: Loriann Greger, Chun-Te Li

Hatfield: Rebecca Goodolf, Taylor Jordan, Farad Zaman

Horsham: Stefanie Barszowski, Maria Boggi, Jennifer Goodwin, Ryan Marinelli

Huntingdon Valley: Samantha Smyth

Jeffersonville: Morgan Kerper, Justin Mitchell

Jenkintown: Kelli Dietrich, Sunghee Lee

King of Prussia: Hayme Mikael Morelos

Lansdale: Rabbil Ahmed, Rebecca Booz, Jarrett Faulk, Rachael Grallnick, Teresa Gruber, Mis Kulsum, Ashley Lepera, Jennifer Lieu, Lee Miletich, Doreen Panico, Gregory Regan, Gabrielle Scotti, Ashley Sheely

Limerick: Alexandra Barnes, Lindsey Ridenour

Malvern: Jacob Robertson

Mullica Hill, N.J.: Donna Sulvetta-Student

Norristown: Samantha Barnaik, Mattie Hargrove, Heidi Hunsberger, Joseph Kent, Diahann McIntyre, Caroline Moman, Tarah Organtini, Joanne Ratteree, Sima Seddighi, Eric Shope, Sarina Wang

North Wales: Angelina Barton, Kathleen Cronin, Rebecca Cronin, Robert Pritchard

Oreland: Kelly Maguire, Alexander McDermott, Matthew Will

Pennsburg: Michaela Buckwalter, Autumn Detweiler

Perkasie: Sandra Deiley

Philadelphia: Jillian Rogers, Sheena Santos, Max Woessner

Phoenixville: Brittany Fuller, Kemarie Kurtz, Jessica Loughery, Philip Zhu

Plymouth Meeting: Scott Lukens

Pottstown: Molly Adams, Hector Astacio, Megan Bealer, Michael Carbo, Nick Centofanti, Kristyn Fetterman, Brandi Haas, Tory Hudgins, Leif Hums, Deborah Jackson, Bridget McLaughlin, Christina Miles, Kelly Moorman, Meghan Oberholtzer, Emily Staab

Roslyn: Amy Tassone

Royersford: Kelley Burris, Michele Taluc-Chance, Aadil Esmail, Gabrielle Fisher, Joanne McDowell-Henderson, Tammy Moyer, Abigail Rutkowski

Sanatoga: Tyler Musser

Schwenksville: Erin Duvinski, Elizabeth James, Jena Polvino, Melissa Rufe, Drew Smyth, Tara Veve, Kathryn Warren

Sellersville: Donna Gastner

Souderton: Myles Menardi, Carly Plawa, Dennis Stone

Spring City:

Stowe: Victor Hall

Telford: Jessica Minguez, Keara Snyder

Warrington: Matthew Shetzline

Willow Grove: Chelsea Baranowski, Dana Fornicola, Perry Jones, Margaret Thompson, Randy Willis

Worcester: Michael Gawbill

Wyncote: Tatianna Devaughn

Zieglerville: James Cox

MCCC Medical Billing And Coding Class Opens Door To Rewarding Career‏

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell, Pa.— Holly Gately, Audubon, found a new career—one that she’s “excited” about—in the growing field of medical billing and coding thanks to Montgomery County Community College.

“I was a 30-something year old mother whose children were all in school for the first time. I had no career or post-secondary education,” shared Gately, who, like many adult students, was nervous about going back to school.

“I talked about it with my family and decided to try this new career. I registered for class and got my books. My life was changed. This was a path I could get excited about,” she said.

MCCC’s Medical Billing and Coding course—funded in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and offered through the Commonwealth’s JobTrakPA program—is designed for those who want to begin medical billing and coding careers or prepare for certification examinations. The course teaches students the principles of medical coding using the health industry coding manuals of CPT, ICD-9 and ICD-10 and HCPCS.

“It wasn’t always easy to get all the homework and studying done with family [obligations], but I thrived. I excelled in the course and was given the opportunity to extern for a billing company,” said Gately, who completed the course among the top in her class.

Gately went on to pass the rigorous Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam on her first try, and she is currently employed in a billing and coding position with an ophthalmology practice.

“I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on a new path. I have a new career, self confidence, amazing people that I now call friends, and, most of all, I have pride in knowing that I accomplished something big and wonderful,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook cites that careers in medical records and health information technology are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2022—11 percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

Registration is going on now for the next Medical Building and Coding cohort at MCCC. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (with a one hour break for lunch) starting Dec. 2 and running through Feb. 17 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tuition is $1,350.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit http://www.mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

EDMC Loses $664M; Executives Receive Six-Figure Bonuses

Education Management Corp. lost $664 million during a difficult year in which the operator of for-profit colleges struggled with declining enrollment and intense regulatory pressure.

Compensation for CEO Edward West and CFO Mick Beekhuizen plummeted, mostly on the lower value of stock options. But two executives hired last year to handle legal and compliance matters, issues that have dogged the company, received six-figure bonuses that were guaranteed by their contracts.

The year was a difficult one for EDMC, marked by ongoing lawsuits over its recruiting practices and pressure from lenders to collect on $1.5 billion in debt. The lawsuits could prompt potentially hefty financial penalties and add to the company’s financial troubles.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6981929-74/compensation-total-executives#ixzz3GVevqNX1
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Pittsburgh-Area Colleges Produce Nearly $9 Billion Economic Impact

The 10 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education produced an economic impact of $8.99 billion and supported more than 70,000 jobs in the Pittsburgh area during fiscal year 2012-13, according to a report the council prepared in collaboration with Fourth Economy, a national economic development consulting firm.

Their collective economic impact represents approximately 32 percent of the city’s gross domestic product, the report said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6936623-74/university-pittsburgh-council#ixzz3FfiHRLmm
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Wolf Maintains Large Lead Over Corbett With Month Left In Governor’s Campaign

The latest sample of voter opinions in the Pennsylvania governor’s race tested for lingering effects of Gov. Tom Corbett’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation.

It shows the struggling Republican incumbent still trailing Democratic challenger Tom Wolf by double digits.

Robert Morris University Polling Institute found 54.6 percent of voters say the Sandusky case would not affect their vote, according to an online survey sponsored by Trib Total Media. Almost 27 percent say Corbett’s handling of the investigation makes them less likely to support his re-election, and 12 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for Corbett.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6892975-74/voters-percent-corbett#ixzz3F6TB4qOv
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Enrollment Drops In State System Schools, Including Millersville University

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Millersville University’s enrollment slipped 2.8 percent from last year to this year — a decline that’s slightly higher than the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s anticipated drop of 1.5 percent.

But the trend at MU is expected to start moving in the opposite direction, as Millersville — one of PASSHE’s 14 member institutions —announced an ambitious plan last month to boost enrollment to 10,000 students by 2020.

The university’s undergraduate and graduate enrollment is 8,047 this fall, down from 8,279 students in fall 2013.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/enrollment-drops-in-state-system-schools-including-mu/article_965c8ae2-4a47-11e4-a41d-001a4bcf6878.html

Registration Open For MCCC’s 20th Annual Technology & Learning Conference

Blue Bell, Pa.— Registration is going on now for Montgomery County Community College’s 20th Annual Technology and Learning Conference, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, in Blue Bell, Pa.

The cost of attending the conference is $25 and includes all conference materials, parking, continental breakfast and lunch. For registration information, including step-by-step directions to guide you through the registration process, visit http://www.mc3.edu/campus-life/techconf.

To help celebrate Montgomery County Community College’s 50th anniversary, this year’s keynote address will be given by MCCC alumnus Kwan Morrow. Morrow has been involved with Internet marketing and communication since 2001. He currently owns KM Digital Relations, which provides consulting, training and other services to businesses and educators who wish to engage their digital communities and achieve specific objectives.

During the keynote, Morrow will address the impact that digital and social technologies have on students and education. He’ll discuss best practices for using digital technology to promote student success and preparing students to thrive in the quickly evolving digital world.

MCCC’s Technology and Learning Conference provides a forum for participants to share state-of-the-art information technologies, to contribute to a vision of the future of information technology in the academic enterprise, and to exchange ideas and best practices for incorporating technology, security and learning.

Designed for higher education and K-12 faculty and administrators, the conference is divided into several threads, which include Teaching and Learning; Metrics and Measurement; Technologies to Leverage Student Success; Security and Identity Management; Emerging Technologies; Sharing Resources; and e-Learning. Session types include forums, hands-on labs, poster sessions and panel discussions.

To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/campus-life/techconf or email techday@mc3.edu.

Focus On Student Learning Earns MCCC Recertification As Achieving The Dream Leader College

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) continues to position itself at the forefront of student learning with recertification as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed.

Even before joining ATD in 2006, MCCC was hard at work improving student learning outcomes by placing student access and success as top priorities in its strategic planning.

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.  “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

As part of its overarching Student Success Initiative, MCCC faculty and staff systematically examine all aspects of its students’ educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom—from enhancing student services, like advising and mentoring; to identifying and developing interventions for at-risk cohorts; to redesigning developmental curriculum and placement; to strengthening its focus on completion and increasing transfer opportunities.

Several of the College’s student success projects have national appeal. For example, Barbara Lontz, assistant professor of mathematics at MCCC, developed a new way of teaching basic developmental math by conceptual units rather than topics. Her curriculum, “Concepts of Numbers,” encourages active learning by starting with a problem, solving it as a group, and then learning the applicable algorithms. The method has increased basic math success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20-35 percent at MCCC, and institutions are adopting Lontz’s curriculum and textbook across the U.S. “Concepts of Numbers” was honored as a national 2010 “Innovation of the Year” recipient by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Another example of a project with broad appeal is “Montco Money Matters” a multimedia financial literacy prototype that helps students understand how to pay for college. The 30-minute, self-guided pilot program, funded through a Next Generation Learning Challenges EDUCAUSE grant, introduces students to the concept of paying for college through topics such as financial aid, loans, grants, scholarships and the long-term implications of current and future debt. The project’s next steps are to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

In addition to its work with Achieving the Dream and EDUCAUSE, MCCC’s student access and success efforts continue to gain momentum with President Stout’s participation in White House Summit for College Opportunity. First held in December 2013 and continuing through next year, the Summit has enabled MCCC to further develop initiatives around student advising and planning, financial literacy and mentoring—specifically designed to improve college access and completion for at-risk students.

MCCC is one of 16 institutions in the country to be recertified as Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges in 2014. ATD also welcomed 16 new Leader College institutions to its ranks, bringing the total number of active Leader Colleges to 79. Other Pennsylvania institutions earning recertification this year include Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, and Delaware County Community College.

According to Achieving the Dream, Leader Colleges demonstrate the way in which data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com. To learn more about the work of Achieving the Dream, visit www,achievingthedream.org.

Learn About Programs & More At MCCC Fall Open Houses

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College will hold three open houses this fall to provide prospective students and the community with information about the College’s programs, campuses and activities. The open houses are free of charge and are open to the public. For more information and to pre-register, visit mc3.edu/open house or call 215-641-6551.

The College’s West Campus, located at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room.

The College’s Central Campus, located at 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell, will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m.-noon in Parkhouse Hall.

Both open houses will provide prospective students and their families with information about MCCC’s credit and non-credit programs. Admissions representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process, transfer opportunities, e-learning, financial aid and intercollegiate athletics, among other topics, and members of the College’s faculty will share information on the 100+ associate degree and certificate programs that are part of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College will also host an open house on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-noon at its new facility located at 1400 Forty Foot Road in Lansdale, Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the kitchens and classrooms while learning about MCCC’s Culinary Arts and Pastry and Baking Arts associate degree programs, as well as its Culinary Enthusiast classes. Student Success Center advisors will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process and financial aid, among other topics.

To learn more about all the Montgomery County Community College has to offer, visit http://www.mc3.edu online.

Montgomery County Community College Announces Summer 2014 Dean’s List

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.—Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez is pleased to announce the summer 2014 Dean’s List at Montgomery County Community College. The Dean’s List recognizes full-time students who have earned at least 12 cumulative credits at the College and who have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher.

Dean’s List honorees are listed by area of residence.

Abington: Chad Davenport, David Robbins

Ambler: Brian Bailey

Audubon: Neil Ahern, Collin Bomgardner

Bala Cynwyd: Anthony Klaumenzer

Birdsboro: Tanesha Killgore

Blue Bell: Sarah Frank

Bryn Mawr: Eliel Ytterberg

Collegeville: Lindsay Bly, Salvatore Natale

Conshohocken: Kye Ho Kim, Ali Mohammed

Doylestown: Kenneth Stephon

Dresher: Peter Vernacchio

Eagleville: Daniel Buttorff

East Greenville: Rebecca Levengood

Fleetwood: Vivian Wentzel

Fort Washington: Tony Vernacchio

Glenside: Simba Allen-Martin, Crystal Nieman

Green Lane: James Cox

Harleysville: Zachary Boccella

Hatfield: Kasey Dietrich

Huntingdon Valley: Hryhory Yakymiv

Jenkintown: Sunghee Lee

King of Prussia: Joshua Differ

Lansdale: Thomas Catagnus, Tram Hoang, Matthew Prestifilippo, Brian Sirocka, Nicole Troy

Norristown: Wesley Hamilton

North Wales: Yoon Kim, Christopher Mills, Daniel O’Connell

Oreland: Matthew Will

Pennsburg: Kyle Fairchild

Philadelphia: Elizabeth Bergland, Katelyn Kallas

Phoenixville: Darlene Cornelison, Kaley Wohlgemuth

Plymouth Meeting: Brian Leahy, Scott Lukens

Pottstown: Brian Brown, Nick Centofanti, Kathleen Galligan, Leif Hums, Luke Moser, Meghan Oberholtzer, Victoria Smurthwaite, Sean White

Roslyn: Angela Tate

Royersford: Kelley Burris, Heather Holmes

Schwenksville: Christopher Wood

Souderton: Frank VanDerBogart-Maiorana

Spring City: Jonathan Carville, Daniel Samanen

Trappe: Brian O’Donnell

Willow Grove: Robert Wiley, Molly Wyman

MCCC Earns GVF Platinum Sustainability Award For Transportation Initiatives

MCCC

GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell (far right) and Action News Anchor Matt O’Donnell (far left) present (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, MCCC executive director of government relations, and Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for information technology and college services, with a platinum level sustainability award.

King of Prussia, Pa.— For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.

MCCC partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.

On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, MCCC’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.

In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, MCCC’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.

At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.

Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award.  To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

GIS Certificate Of Completion: Cross-Industry Appeal In Competitive Job Market

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, has applications far beyond maps and geography.

Law enforcement, health care, urban planning, economics, environmental science, history, business, real estate and information technology—these are just some of the growing number of industries that incorporate GIS into their daily work.

In fact, according to Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace, virtually every field of study today uses some form of GIS, making knowledge of its use critical for students and employees across all disciplines.

“GIS requires people who have basic understanding of spatial relationships, along with the system software,” said Wallace.

MCCC offers a nine-credit Certificate of Completion program in GIS that provides students with valuable skills that can lead to immediate employment in a GIS-related field. The program is ideal for current students, as well as for working individuals who want to add a GIS credential to their resume.

The College’s GIS program prepares students to operate industry leader ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.2 software. The Certificate of Completion is comprised of three courses: Introduction to Geographic Information, Map Design in GIS and GIS Applications. Courses are offered evenings to accommodate working adults, and the entire certificate can be completed in under a year.

The intro course, GEO 210, is being offered Thursday evenings this fall at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The next course, GEO 220, is tentatively scheduled to run at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, in spring 2015.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, GIS-related occupations are expected to grow by 20 percent overall through 2022—nine percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

To learn more about GIS at MCCC, email Assistant Professor Samuel Wallace at swallace@mc3.edu.

Fall semester classes at Montgomery County Community College begin on Aug. 27. Visit http://www.mc3.edu/fall2014 for registration information.

MCCC President Returns To White House For College Opportunity Working Session

Karen Stout 2013Washington D.C.Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Dr. Karen A. Stout returns to the White House Aug. 12 to continue the national dialog on college readiness that began on Jan. 16, 2014 during a summit convened by U.S. President Barack Obama. That summit saw approximately 140 leaders from higher education, philanthropic organizations, businesses and local and state governments launch a plan of action for increasing college opportunity for low-income and disadvantaged students.

Summit participants are reconvening Aug. 12 to provide updates on their institutional commitments made in January and to discuss challenges and next steps. MCCC’s commitments include three specific initiatives aimed improving access for low-income and disadvantaged students. These include redesigning student entry and advising processes, developing a multi-platform model for student engagement, and expanding its minority student mentoring initiative.

First, to improve student entry and advising processes, MCCC launched a pilot Student Success Network in March.  The network includes college-wide mid-term reporting, which garnered a 96 percent faculty participation rate and positive student and faculty feedback. The network also employs Starfish Retention and Connect software, through which students are able to see and connect with members of their student success team—advisors, faculty and staff from other support programs, like veterans’ resources and disability services. Faculty can refer students to tutoring and can address concerns and reinforce positive academic behaviors throughout the semester. These tools will be brought to scale this fall.

In September, MCCC will also launch student educational planning, which requires advisors to meet with all first-time college students prior to spring registration to map out their educational plans for their entire degree programs. In addition, analytical tools, including student and advisor dashboards, will be available by end of 2014.

MCCC also made significant progress on its second commitment—developing a multi-platform model for student engagement—by creating a “Montco Money Matters” financial literacy prototype. The module introduces students to the concept of paying for college. The 30-minute, self-guided program introduces students to concepts of financial aid, loans and grants; highlights the long-term implications of loans and future debt; and makes them aware of other resources, like scholarships, to help pay for college.

A total of 425 students actively engaged in the pilot program during a seven-week period. Of those, 95 percent of students who provided feedback indicated they will recommend the online resources to others, and 80 percent said the course will influence future academic decisions. MCCC’s next step is to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

Finally, MCCC delivered on its third commitment to transition its Minority Male Mentoring Program (MMMP) into a Minority Student Mentoring Initiative (MSMI). Twenty-five African-American and Latina female students joined MSMI in spring 2014, comprising almost 27 percent of all participants. The program connects students with caring mentors for guidance and support while providing opportunities for civic engagement, academic advisement, personal development and leadership development. The participants’ cumulative GPA is currently 2.45, up from 2.15 three years ago.

All three programs are part of MCCC’s overarching Student Success Initiative, which works to expand access to higher education and increase student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education. In 2011, MCCC was designed as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, an elite group of 73 community colleges across the country that have demonstrated committed leadership, use of evidence to improve programs and services, broad engagement, and systematic institutional improvement. In February, MCCC earned the prestigious Leah Meyer Austin Award from Achieving the Dream for its continued improvement of student access and success.

During her 13-year tenure as MCCC President, Dr. Stout’s unwavering commitment to student access and success has impacted thousands of students, their families, and the community. In addition to laying the groundwork for MCCC’s selection as an Achieving the Dream Leader College, Dr. Stout helped to design and launch the College’s first comprehensive Honors Program and Minority Student Mentoring Program; expand support services for student veterans; re-introduce MCCC’s intercollegiate athletics program; collaborate with the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board to deliver GED instruction to more than 800 community residents; and re-energize the College’s facilities to enhance teaching and learning, among many other accomplishments.

The impact of Dr. Stout’s leadership extends nationally, evidenced by her selection to participate in the White House’s College Opportunity initiatives. A passionate advocate for community colleges, Dr. Stout serves as Chair of the President’s Advisory Board to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University Teacher’s College and is a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She previously served as a member of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors and as co-chair of the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) 21st-Century Initiative Steering Committee.

Dr. Stout holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in English from University of Delaware, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Baltimore.

Dr. José Alicea Named Dean Of Academic And Student Affairs For MCCC’s West Campus

Jose-AliceaPottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) welcomes Dr. José Alicea as dean of academic and student affairs at its West Campus in Pottstown. In his new role, Dr. Alicea will provide strategic leadership in the delivery of academic credit and non-credit programs and student services that lead to increased student progression, retention and completion.

Dr. Alicea comes to MCCC from Roxbury Community College (RCC) in Massachusetts, where he served in various roles since 2003. He began his work as dean of continuing education and community services. After one year, he became assistant to the vice president of academic affairs for programs and student services, and later the dean for institutional effectiveness, during which time he led the President’s Institutional Effectiveness Initiative. He also served as interim dean for RCC’s Division of Business and Technology from 2008-2010.

Most recently, Dr. Alicea served RCC as associate dean of academic affairs, where he was responsible for special academic programs, projects and partnerships; reviewing and formulating academic policies; providing leadership within the major division of the college; and representing the institution in the wider community.

Dr. Alicea holds a Doctor of Education degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy and a Master of Education degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, as well as a Master in City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Advocacy and Human Services from University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Ursinus College Graduate Wins Fellowship For 12-Month Global Travel

POTTSTOWN, PA — Codey Young has been awarded a fellowship award that comes with a 12-month trip around the world.

Young, 22, graduated this spring from Ursinus College, and was recently accepted into the master’s program at Harvard Divinity School.

Young is now a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, one of only 43 students from selected colleges across the country.

Sponsored by the Watson Foundation, those students chosen are given $28,000 to travel the world for 12 months in pursuit of their thesis.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20140725/ursinus-college-graduate-wins-fellowship-for-12-month-global-travel

Moon Schools Eager To Talk Merger With Cornell

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Moon Area School board voted recently to reach out to its much smaller neighbor, the Cornell School District, to discuss a possible merger, it resurrected an issue that had been explored at least twice before.

In 1992 and 1998, the districts studied the idea of a merger or of Cornell students attending Moon on a tuition basis. It died both times because of opposition in the communities and the lack of state financial incentives, but the voluntary merger of the Center Area and Monaca districts, to form Central Valley School District, in recent years has some Moon board members taking a new look at the prospect of sharing resources.

The Central Valley merger, initiated with board votes in 2007 and finalized in 2010, was the first since the court-ordered formation of the Woodland Hills School District in 1981 and the only district in Pennsylvania to be formed through a voluntary merger.

“I just think it’s something we should take a look at,” said Moon school director Laura Schisler, who raised the idea at a May 25 board meeting to vote on the closing of an elementary school.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/07/07/Moon-schools-eager-to-talk-merger-with-Cornell/stories/201407070045#ixzz36o7qTuSO

Tax Increase Set For State College Area School District Residents

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — Taxpayers in the State College Area School District will see a 1.95 percent tax increase after the district school board adopted its final general fund budget Monday.

Board members unanimously approved, with no discussion, a real estate tax increase from 38.75 mills to 39.5056 mills, with each mill representing $3.95 per $100 of assessed value.

Under the budget of $126,791,664 for the fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2015, the median district homeowner will pay an additional $54, according to the district.

The district projects that the tax increase will add $1.56 million in revenue, while assessed value growth will provide another $1.2 million.

45 Graduates Complete MCCC’s Accelerated GED Program

Pottstown, Pa.— Forty-five students earned their General Education Diplomas (GED) during Montgomery County Community College’s annual graduation ceremony on June 5 at the West Campus in Pottstown.

The graduates were part of MCCC’s rigorous five-week program that is among the most accelerated in the state. According to GED Program Coordinator/Instructor Raymond Ricketts, 860 students have completed the program since its inception in 2006–an 84 percent graduation rate.

The Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) funds the program, which is free to Montgomery County residents. The fee for out-of-county students is $100 and includes the course and GED exam.

John Vestri, vice president of operations and finance for Video Ray in Pottstown, provided the keynote address. He commended graduates for taking ownership of their education, and encouraged them to take advantage of all future educational opportunities that arise.

“Every single you chance you have to improve yourself through education, please take advantage of it. It will pay off in some way in the long run,” said Vestri. He added that there is “no such thing as a traditional education,” sharing “we all pursue what works for us; everyone is on some non-traditional path.”

Providing the student address, graduate Jamie Gehman, Lower Pottsgrove, said the program “allowed me to focus on my problem area—math—and pass the GED with flying colors.”

Gehman described how it became more and more difficult to return to school as time passed. However, as her youngest of four children started kindergarten this year, she realized it was time to continue her own education as well.

“It’s never too late to give yourself or your loved ones a brighter future through education,” she shared.

Gehman recently completed her first semester at the College, during which she earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA). She ultimately hopes to work with children who have learning challenges and brain trauma.

Marisol Lezcano, executive director of the Montgomery County WIB and deputy director of commerce, presented the graduates with their diplomas, and Peggy Schmidt, chair, WIB Youth Council, provided closing remarks.

“I’m sure, as you have gone through this journey, people told you that you couldn’t do it. But your hard work paid off,”  she said, just before asking attendees to join her in reciting the lyrics to “High Hopes.”

To learn more about the GED program or GED testing services, visit http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/ged.

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