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Board approves Fiscal 2019 auditor, hears senior capstone presentations


Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday authorized the appointment of the college’s auditing firm, viewed senior capstone presentations by two students, and heard updates on new majors and faculty promotions and sabbaticals.

The meeting was held at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center, allowing board members to tour that campus, which hosts programs in forestry, landscape/horticulture technology, diesel technology, on-site power generation and heavy construction equipment.

In the only action item on the agenda, the board authorized the appointment of Baker Tilly to perform audit services for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Hannah G. Maize, of Riverside, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology next month, and Brandon M. Wolff, of Effort, who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design, presented their senior capstones to the board.

Maize, who was introduced by Bradley M. Webb, assistant dean for industrial, computing and engineering technologies, presented on “An Attempt to Improve the Hydrolytic Stability of PLA” (polylactic acid). Webb said Maize has already accepted a position with Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials.

Wolff, who was introduced by Brian A. Flynn, department head and assistant professor of graphic design, presented on his senior portfolio, which involved creating a marketing campaign for a fictitious, Pittsburgh-based company selling smoothies. Individual components of the campaign were a logo and business card, label designs, a truck wrap, menu design, a website, and ads.

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting encapsulated for college communityMichael J. Reed, vice president for academic operations and associate provost, updated the board on new majors and a new minor.

Reed said the curriculum changes were based on industry needs and the ability to build upon what is already offered on campus. Some of the programs will not launch until 2020, President Davie Jane Gilmour noted, because time is needed for marketing and recruiting efforts.

Majors effective for Fall 2019 are an Associate of Applied Science in electrical construction and a professional certificate in chemical dependency.

Majors launching in Fall 2020 are Bachelor of Science degrees in automation engineering technology – robotics and automation; automation engineering technology – mechatronics; and business administration: restaurant and hospitality operations. A professional baking certificate program will also launch in Fall 2020.

Approved for a Fall 2019 launch is a new academic minor in leadership.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, updated the board on the status of faculty applications for promotions in rank and sabbaticals.

In her comments, Gilmour updated the board on the Tomorrow Makers program, which seeks assistance from alumni volunteers in recruiting new students. A variety of options are available to those participating.

“Their responses have been extremely positive,” the president said.

Gilmour also updated the board on the inaugural class of inductees into Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society. Inducted recently were 21 Penn College student-athletes (11 seniors and 10 juniors) representing a variety of athletic teams and all six of Penn College’s academic schools. The Penn College honorees have an average GPA of 3.769.

Gilmour said the recent Visiting Chef Series Dinner was sold out and a great success, offering participants “a great opportunity to network.”

The president also noted that more than 950 students have petitioned to graduate in the three Spring 2019 Commencement ceremonies to be offered May 17-18 at the Community Arts Center.

Board Chairman Sen. Gene Yaw referenced Gilmour’s budget presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee in February, as well as various visits to campus by elected officials that have already taken place or are scheduled.

Noting the type of name recognition that Penn State enjoys, he said his aim is for Penn College to reach a similar level of familiarity among influencers and the general public.

The next regularly scheduled Penn College Board meeting is June 13.

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