President's Newsletter July 2014

News Flashes

The O’Pake Institute is coordinating efforts with the Reading Housing Authority, Reading Community Health Clinic, Reading Health System and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center to explore a health clinic for the Oakbrook and Glenside Housing Projects. The initiative would provide opportunities for Alvernia students to gain field experience, while addressing health needs of housing development residents.

Several faculty and staff workshops/events are scheduled for 2014-2015 that will develop a deeper understanding of the Franciscan intellectual tradition. Key components include charism, poverty, community, incarnation, creation and peacemaking. Details will be available at Mission Day in August.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program continues to move toward accreditation with an on-site evaluation visit scheduled for July. The program equipped its laboratory with state of the art equipment via a $50,000 grant from the Community Hospital Healthcare Fund of Berks Community Foundation.

The BSN, RN to BSN and MSN nursing programs are undergoing the self-study process and document/evidence preparation for the Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 on-site evaluation visit.

Two new student success/retention initiatives recently launched - the Family Fusion and Crusader Connection newsletters. You can view them at and

Initial implementation of Alvernia’s new general education program is underway. A series of related faculty workshops was offered in May focusing on Enduring Questions, First-Year Experience, Co-Curriculum, Assessment and Capstone components. Carol Geary Schneider, president of AAC&U, and a distinguished national educational leader, is the keynote speaker for the August faculty workshop.

The Middle Atlantic Athletic Conference Academic Report has been released, and Alvernia fared very well indeed! Our athletes are a source of great pride for their work in the classroom.

• Alvernia ranked #1 in our conference in GPA differential of male student-athletes vs. male non-athletes and #2 for women in the same category.
• 14 of 17 sports had a combined GPA of at least 3.0; 10 of 17 sports achieved increased GPAs during the past year.
• 13 sports had freshman-to-sophomore retention rates of 100%.

The “Search” program is being used as the core of Campus Ministry retreats for the coming year. Ten students are being trained at Villanova to be retreat leaders. Retreats are for those of all faiths and include a Franciscan focus.

As part of the Vaya con Dios study abroad project nine students, led by faculty members Carrie Fitzpatrick and Adam Heinze, traveled to the Dominican Republic last spring to learn and serve in the mission of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. Water filtration and literacy were the focus of their studies.

Our Alpha Group partnership with Benedictine University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Mount Saint Mary College and University of St. Thomas is moving forward. Together our institutions are offering learning opportunities for American and Chinese students while providing partnership possibilities for Chinese institutions. Two Alvernia students traveled to China in May through the program for coursework and exposure to the culture, with expectations for Chinese students to attend Alvernia next summer.

> Continue to COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT section

president's newsletter july 2014

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