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Board OKs faculty emeritus status, updates to bylaws

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved faculty emeritus status for a longtime nursing faculty member and signed off on minor updates to the college’s bylaws.

The board approved Dorothy M. “Dottie” Mathers for faculty emeritus designation. Mathers retired in December after 27 years of full-time teaching service – and 30 years of service overall – to the college.

Mathers was a recipient of the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award in 2014, the highest honor accorded to a faculty member at Penn College. She also earned an Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009.

During her long career with the college, Mathers was instrumental in curricular development for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing major, developed the preceptorship for senior students in their final medical-surgical course, and served as clinical adviser for the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.

The board also sanctioned minor changes to the college’s bylaws to include more contemporary language and better align with operations.

Thursday's Board of Directors meeting summarizedIn the lone presentation to the board, students and faculty in electronics and automation majors provided highlights of recent activities.

The presentation featured robotics and automation students Kayla M. Figuereo, Angelica J. Parrocho and Ava A. Birotte; electronics faculty member and department head Ken J. Kinley; and Stacey C. Hampton, assistant dean of industrial and computer technologies. They spoke about the electronics and computer engineering technology and automation engineering technology academic majors.

Electronics and computer engineering technology was responsible for visits by more than 60 unique employers at Career Fairs and 16 more for on-campus events between Fall 2019 and Spring 2022. For Employer Recruitment Days – targeted recruitment by division during the 2021-22 academic year, the first year for the event – there have been 27 unique employers on campus for all majors in the Electronics Department.

Automation Engineering Technology started in Fall 2020 with industry support. Key skills and opportunities include advanced PLC (programmable logic controller), robotics and vision systems, commissioning, automation software, and internships. In the past academic year, the industry response included 50 unique employers at Career Fair; since Fall 2020, there have been 19 unique employers here for other on-campus recruitment activities.

The presenters also addressed the development and installation of the new automation lab in the Center for Business & Workforce Development.

In the information portion of the agenda, Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost, updated the board about new academic majors:

Master’s Degree
Physician assistant studies (Fall 2023)

Bachelor’s Degree
Architecture (B. Arch) (Fall 2022)
Biomedical sciences (Fall 2023)

Associate Degree
Apprenticeship technology (Fall 2022)
Non-destructive testing (Fall 2022)

Software development (Fall 2022)

He also noted that the surveying technology associate degree major stopped accepting new students in Spring 2022.

Reed provided a list of faculty promotions to the board, explaining there is a rigorous process involved to gain approval for such requests. While there is no increase in salary related to faculty promotions, President Davie Jane Gilmour said faculty earning them are provided with a one-time stipend.

Promoted to professor
Sandra Gorka, computer information technology

Promoted to associate professor
Jason W. Killinger, HVAC technology

Promoted to assistant professor
Karen L. Avery, biology
David A. Becker, computer information technology
Evonne W. Haines, mathematics
Allen Heimbach, computer information technology
Howard W. Troup, automated manufacturing/machine tool technology

Suzanne T. Stopper, senior vice president for finance/CFO, updated the board on policies that must to go before the board on an annual basis.

In her comments to the board, Gilmour said the state Department of Labor & Industry has awarded the college a $649,960 grant for apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, $500,000 of which is reserved for programs in the health-care field; the remainder will be for automated manufacturing. The project will serve about 200 apprentices and 88 pre-apprentices.

Gilmour said 747 students have petitioned to graduate in May, with 637 set to march in three ceremonies May 13-14.

Addressing industry interest in Penn College students, the president said the college’s 2021-22 Career Fairs attracted 383 distinct employers to campus, and 256 more unique employers participated in pop-up recruiting activities.

The college’s expanded Open House events have had very respectable show rates of 72-73% of registrants, she told the board, with most participants hailing from the states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maryland.

In his comments, Board Chair Sen. Gene Yaw noted the state budget season is impending but has “not reached the real critical-mass stage yet.”

The next regularly scheduled Penn College Board of Directors meeting is June 9.

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