President's Newsletter March 2017

News Flashes


This spring begins the 10th anniversary year of our nationally acclaimed Holleran Center. And it has a new name and expanded scope as the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement, serving as the first home of “Real World Learning” opportunities at Alvernia. The center now includes staff from the Offices of Inclusive Engagement and Career Development as well as five recent college graduates who are participating in a year of service though either the AmeriCorps VISTA program or our own Holleran Center Post Graduate Year of Service program.

Also celebrating a significant milestone this year is our well-respected nursing program. An alumni event celebrating 40 years of over 1,000 nursing graduates is set for May 11 at the Inn at Reading. We will honor Carole Neag on that occasion and remember fondly many who helped build this program.

A primary focus for the O’Pake Institute over the past several months has been on enhanced coordination and definition of the university’s leadership education programs. Both academic and community based leadership programs have been integrated into the O’Pake Institute. Leadership Berks, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and the Expert in Residence program now have been incorporated into Institute. The Institute’s most important component is the Department of Leadership Studies (DLS), which will house all current and future academic leadership programs into a single department and coordinate our several co-curricular and community-based efforts. A university-wide undergraduate leadership program, involving diverse faculty, is being developed, led by faculty in the Humanities. > Learn more about integrated leadership programs

The Berks County Community Foundation awarded Alvernia an $8,000 grant to hold a Summer Nursing Workshop for incoming freshmen. In order to close the ever-increasing gap in education between high school and college, this one-week workshop is intended to provide a foundation in analytics, anatomy and physiology and other skills that will be critical to nursing education success.

A $5,000 grant was awarded as part of the national “Bringing Theory to Practice” initiative to support campus dialogues about the greater purposes of higher education. Alvernia was one of only 31 awardees chosen from nearly 300 applicants.

“E Pluribus Unum” lectures — meaning “out of many, one” (taken from the motto on the Great Seal of the U.S.A.), are campus discussions scheduled alongside selected campus, regional and national events to help students, faculty and staff exchange differing viewpoints on important topics, both to discuss disagreements constructively and to seek shared perspectives. Discussions have centered on the presidential inauguration and interfaith responses to suffering, and upcoming discussions will focus on the challenges associated with the prevention of sexual violence.

A new faculty-led round table discussion series, coordinated by Multicultural Engagement, is examining how we value human dignity and promote social justice in today’s world. Topics have included "Why is it so Hard to Let Others Speak? Silencing Diversity," led by Janae Sholtz (philosophy); “Talking Reparations: How Alvernia Students Want (and Dot Not Want) to Atone for Slavery and Racism in America,” led by Kevin Donnelly (history); “Solidarity and the Preferential Option for the Poor,” led by Corey Harris (theology); and “Race, Crime and the Police,” led by Barry Harvey (criminal justice). “Sex, Sexy, Sexist: Muslim Women’s Bodies and Cultural Negotiations of Religious Modesty Requirements,” led by one of our newest doctors, Danielle Saad (Academic Success Center) is slated for March 22.

Alvernia’s protocols for 24/7 access to counseling/crisis response have been revised, including collaboration with Berks County mental health resources partners. The county’s rebranded suicide prevention hotline “ruOK?” has been added to our resources and promoted on campus.

Following the development of new campus maps, a campus-wide Accessibility Committee, led by Joe Cicala, is currently working on a new “barrier-free” route map and shuttle schedule. Initial committee goals include inventories of current accessibility to physical facilities, services, personnel and electronic resources, along with all related policies and procedures, to identify and develop plans to meet remaining challenges.

Institutional Advancement has successfully launched its Raiser’s Edge database, which is now the repository for tracking, processing and analyzing all types of information including alumni, donors, gifts, events and campaigns. The project took 11 months to complete, and involved integration with other divisions and systems on campus, including PowerCampus (academic) and Great Plains (finance). User training sessions will be offered for staff members across all Alvernia divisions who are interested in utilizing the database. Advancement will also offer Alvernia Raiser’s Edge user group meetings to discuss system enhancements, user issues and policies/procedures.

Alvernia will soon be home to a beautiful and consecrated Memorial Prayer Garden and Columbarium. Located just down the hill from historic Francis Hall and just above St. Joseph Villa, the tranquil location offers a spiritual setting to families of all denominations. Each niche can contain two urns. Space is limited, and niches are quickly being claimed. Contact Institutional Advancement at 610-796-8259 to learn more.


> Continue to COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT section




president's newsletter march 2017

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