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Board Approves Associate-VP Hiring, Welcomes New Member

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved the appointment of Tom F. Gregory as associate vice president for instruction, welcomed a new member (state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport) and authorized the college to operate at the current budget levels if a state budget for the next fiscal year is not adopted in timely fashion.

As a precautionary measure, the board authorized the college to continue operating at the 2008-09 budgeted levels if a 2009-10 state budget has not been passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor by June 30.

Board of Directors' meeting summarized for campus communityPenn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said the college is close to completing its budget process for 2009-10 and has cut $885,000 in personnel costs through attrition/retirements and the sharing of administrative positions. She said the cuts have helped the college avoid layoffs and will have no effect on the delivery of instruction and services to students.

The college is budgeting for an enrollment decrease “to be safe,” she added. Board Chairman Robert E. Dunham said it’s important to keep any tuition increases low while remaining responsive to any curriculum-related needs that may arise. Gilmour said that is the administration’s goal, and the budget won’t be so lean as to preclude flexibility.

“We think we are being extremely responsible,” she said.

Gilmour noted the college is considering changing to a flat tuition rate instead of charging students by the credit hour. If the change is made, it won’t be implemented until the Fall 2010 semester. Advantages to the flat tuition rate include helping students and parents plan better for their college expenses and facilitating billing.

“It’s not a decision we will make lightly,” she said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Gregory, who had been serving as interim associate vice president for instruction. Previously, he served as dean of construction and design technologies, a faculty development specialist, director of instructional technology and an instructor in the electrical technology department.

Dunham welcomed new member Mirabito, who represents the 83rd District in the state House of Representatives, which includes Williamsport and surrounding municipalities in Lycoming County. Mirabito was elected to his first term in November. The local businessman and attorney is a graduate of Cornell University and Boston College School of Law.

Larry L. Michael, executive director of workforce and economic development, offered a presentation on WEDnetPA, the statewide worker training program administered by Penn College, and the new Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center, a joint venture between the college and Penn State Cooperative Extension that serves the natural-gas industry.

WEDnetPA was recognized at the state capital this week for its 10th anniversary. It provides basic skills training and/or information technology training for businesses statewide. Michael noted it’s the largest grant program administered by Penn College. In 2007-08, training funds totaled $19.6 million, serving 108,690 employees and 1,626 companies. Small- (fewer than 100 employees) and medium-size (101-250 employees) businesses account for 79 percent of the training.

Of the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center, Michael said, “I think there is a significant upside opportunity.” The center is conducting a workforce-needs assessment and expects to issue a final report in late June. Training could begin in late summer/early fall. It is anticipated that 100 occupations will be needed for development of the industry within Pennsylvania.

“The industry has started to come to our center for services,” Michael said, noting the center wants to become “a central repository” for information and resources.

Barry R. Stiger, vice president for institutional advancement, provided an update on fundraising efforts for the college and the Penn College Foundation.

While in-kind donations (which are highly variable from year to year) are down this year, donations of cash and securities are up 42 percent over the same time last year, Stiger said. Annual Fund gifts are up 8 percent (year-to-date vs. all of last year), and the number of donors is up 12 percent. Employee giving is up 16 percent, and the number of employee donors is up 14 percent, he added.

William J. Martin, senior vice president, updated the board on the progress of Stage X Building Program projects taking place on campus.

Martin said he expects workers will begin erecting steel at the site of the new student housing by the end of June. He said the work being done at the Parkes Automotive Technology Center is the most complicated, since construction is taking place simultaneously with the ongoing use of the building for instruction.

He said the welding program will be moving to the former Eureka Paper Box Co. facility in Williamsport in mid-May and will be off campus for 14 months while the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center is extensively renovated.

Work in the Hager Lifelong Education Center will require some creative accommodations, including the use of modular classrooms and relocation to other sites on campus for science labs, Martin said. While the Stage X work has proven “to be a real challenge,” he noted it has prompted “an absolutely extraordinary team effort” from obliging faculty and staff members.

Brian D. Walton, outgoing president of the Student Government Association, provided an update on SGA activities, noting the organization had nearly doubled its $2,500 fundraising goal for 2008-09. He introduced the incoming SGA executive board: Scott M. Elicker, president; Kyle M. Pfueller, executive vice president; Zachary E. Litchert, vice president of finance; and Ashlyn M. Hershberger, vice president of public relations.

The board approved eight faculty members for promotion; effective at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year,and two for sabbaticals.

Promotions

  • Tracey Amey, faculty, librarian (Madigan Library) from instructor to assistant professor
  • Brady L. Breon, faculty, paramedic program (School of Health Sciences) from instructor to assistant professor
  • Tina M. Evans, faculty, dental hygiene/applied health studies (School of Health Sciences) from assistant professor to associate professor
  • Sandra Gorka, faculty, computer science (School of Business and Computer Technologies) from assistant professor to associate professor
  • LeAnn M. Henry, faculty, mathematics (School of Integrated Studies) from instructor to assistant professor
  • Stephen D. Manbeck, faculty, HVAC technology (School of Construction and Design Technologies) from instructor to assistant professor
  • Scott D. Neuhard, faculty, electronics (School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies) from instructor to assistant professor
  • Judy Quinti, faculty, fitness/lifetime sports, physical fitness specialty (School of Health Sciences) from instructor to assistant professor

Sabbaticals

Thomas E. Ask, associate professor of HVAC technology/mechanical refrigeration, School of Construction and Design Technologies, was approved for sabbatical for the Fall 2009 semester.

Ask will complete the required field work for his dissertation for a doctorate in professional studies, with emphasis on industrial design, at Middlesex University in London, England. His field work includes an ethnographic study exploring the methodology, technical and nontechnical factors influencing Malaysian boat design. Completion of the program will enhance Ask’s ability to instruct in commercial design and to participate in curriculum development in industrial design. Ask has been at the college for eight years; this is his first sabbatical.

Dr. William Ma, professor of mathematics, School of Integrated Studies, was approved for sabbatical for the Spring 2010 semester. His multiple objectives include:

  • Create promotional material to market Penn College in China
  • Develop a manual for Minitab to increase students’ understanding of concepts and applications of statistics
  • Explore technology developments at the University of Cincinnati for teaching upper-level mathematics courses, particularly differential equations
  • Complete two papers for publication

Completion of the sabbatical will potentially increase the number of international students at Penn College, increase students’ understanding and application of statistics, expand curriculum development in mathematics, and provide professional development in mathematics. Ma has been with the college for 16 years. This is his second sabbatical.