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Board OKs Revised Banking Policy, Hears Reports

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved revisions to a banking-services policy and received updates on enrollment, the college’s investment portfolio, the Middle States Self-Study, new faculty and the Student Government Association.

In the lone action item, the board approved changes to the banking-services policy to more accurately reflect actual practices in the current banking environment.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour spoke to the board about the Fall 2011 enrollment. She said the total number of students, after Penn CollegeNOW enrollees are included, is expected to reach 6,326, or about 300 behind Fall 2010.

Board meeting summarized for campus communityShe noted that enrollment tends to rise when unemployment is high. While unemployment is up nationally, this area has seen employment boosted because of development of the Marcellus Shale. Potential students, she said, are opting for jobs in the natural gas industry rather than continuing their education.

“What we do know choosing employment is the No. 1 driver,” Gilmour said of the slight decline in enrollment.

She said the college will continue marketing and recruitment efforts that emphasize the value of a Penn College education and the excellent starting salaries that many graduates can earn in the workplace.

Mark Stevenson, vice president and senior portfolio manager for M&T Investment Group, reported on the college’s investments, including the main college account and accounts for the charitable remainder unitrust and the charitable gift annuity. In most instances, the performance of the college’s equity and fixed-income investments is bettering the appropriate financial-industry benchmarks, Stevenson told the board.

The report on the Middle States Self-Study was presented by co-chairs Tom F. Gregory, associate vice president for instruction, and Elizabeth L. Meyer, associate professor of human services/social science.

Meyer likened the self-evaluation process to a “spring-cleaning” and noted the college is in compliance with 14 standards related to characteristics of excellence. A preliminary meeting with the chair for the team visit (John M. Anderson, president of Alfred State College, SUNY College of Technology) will take place next week. The full team visit is scheduled for April 15-18.

Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, presented a list of new faculty and sabbaticals to the board.

The lone sabbatical approved for Spring 2012 is for Alfred M. Thomas II, associate professor of collision repair. He’ll use his sabbatical to research, study, attend training and develop an up-to-date 300-level collision repair operations course.

The new faculty are: School of Business and Computer Technologies, Robert M. Fisher, instructor of business administration/accounting, and Karen T. Stapp, instructor of legal assistant; School of Health Sciences, Dulcey J. Messersmith; instructor of nursing; School of Integrated Studies, Jan J. Henry, instructor of mathematics, Craig A. Miller, assistant professor of history, David A. Stabley, instructor of ceramics/wood sculpture, Nicholas L. Stephenson, instructor of graphic design, and Margaret M. Yohe, instructor of mathematics; School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, Jeffery P. Hollingsworth, instructor of civil engineering/surveying technology, and Matthew W. Nolan, welding lecturer; and School of Natural Resources Management, Ryan W. Peck, instructor of diesel equipment technology.

Starkey also reported on the hiring of Carolyn M. Jacobson, assistant dean of business and computer technologies; Sarah W. (Whit) Worman, director of the physician assistant program; and Scott A. Geist, director of the surgical technology program.

Student Government Association President Gregory J. Miller updated the board on recent SGA activities and goals for the remainder of the academic year. Among the organization’s aims, he said, are to fill vacant positions, focus on recruitment and retention, and plan events and activities that are relevant to students.

In her comments to the board, Gilmour said the fountain area at the north (mall) entrance to the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center will be designated the “Veterans Portico” in a ceremony to be held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, with appropriate signage to be installed at the site.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 8.

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