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Board OKs Loan Consolidation, Easement for Sewer Project

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday authorized the consolidation of two existing loans for the Community Arts Center and approved an easement through the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center property for a regional sewer project.

Action taken by the board allows Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour and Suzanne T. Stopper, vice president for finance/chief financial officer, to execute consolidated loan documents for amounts due to the college from the Arts Center.

A request from the West Branch Regional Sewer Authority for an easement through the Earth Science Center property was approved to accommodate a sewer project along U.S. Route 15.

“It does not impair us in any way,” Gilmour said.

In a routine action taken annually at this time, the board also provided authorization for the college to continue operations after June 30 at budgeted levels approved for Fiscal 2015-16 in case a 2016-17 state budget is not passed by June 30.

Tom Gregory, associate vice president for instruction, updated the board on two new academic majors – brewing and fermentation science and physical therapist assistant – as well as a new innovation leadership minor.

He noted a boom in the craft-beer brewing industry was the impetus for the brewing and fermentation science major, the curriculum of which would also be beneficial to students considering careers in winemaking and related fields.

Thursday's board meeting recapped
Thursday’s board meeting recapped

Gregory said classes for the physical therapist assistant major could start in Spring 2017; the brewing and fermentation science major would launch in Fall 2017, at the earliest.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, spoke to the board about faculty sabbaticals and promotions. There were three applications in the initial call for sabbatical proposals. Two were approved, both for advanced doctoral work. One applicant subsequently opted not to accept the sabbatical.

There were 11 faculty applications for promotions; nine were approved. They include three faculty being promoted from the rank of instructor to assistant professor and six being promoted from assistant professor to associate professor.

Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost, updated the board on the college’s activities at the recent USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

The board was treated to “A Taste of Technology” culinary demonstrations by culinary students (Robert E. Wood and Keegan D. Sonney) and faculty (Chef Frank M. Suchwala and Chef Todd Keeley), as well as Brian M. McKeon, assistant professor of biology, who described the science behind the processes used. Their presentations were similar to those that wowed crowds at this year’s festival, held April 15-17.

Like the festival-goers, board members also had an opportunity to sample a variety of unique foods created by spherification (shaping liquids into spheres), reverse spherification and liquid nitrogen (freezing food products to explore effects on taste and texture).

Joseph S. Yoder, associate vice president for public relations and marketing, showed the board two television commercials that have aired for the college’s branding campaign. The 30-second spots were derived from marketing videos developed by the college’s national media consultant, Klein Curry Communications, in conjunction with Guggenheim Productions.

The next Penn College Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for June 23.