Family Fusion Newsletter

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Staying Connected

Dear Parents and Families,

As you may know, in mid-September, President Flynn and I announced my retirement as Vice President for University Life and Dean of Students, effective December 31, 2017.

It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve the mission of higher education for the past 37-plus years and, in particular, the mission of Alvernia University for the past nine.  As I retire from full-time executive work, I look forward to a bit of consulting, perhaps some teaching, and likely some writing, as I don’t think I ever could fully retire from what truly has been – and remains – my vocation as educator and counselor.  (Though I must admit I also look forward to some relaxation and family time, as well.)

In fact, as also was announced, my first part-time stint will be with Alvernia.  I will serve during the spring, 2018 semester in a continuance of my role as Title IX and Clery Act Officer, with an additional small portfolio of relationship-based projects on which I’ve worked over the years, including neighbor relations, parent and family relations with my good colleagues in Advancement, and our partnerships with Caron Treatment Centers, the Highlands, and our dear Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, continuing the good work and student learning made possible by those partnerships and preparing them for transition after this academic year.  I am honored to continue my valued relationship with the Alvernia University community.

So, I’ll remain available to and in contact with you throughout the academic year and, along with my current Executive Assistant Tracy Hine and Dr. John McCloskey, who will assume new duties as Vice President for Enrollment Management and University Life, ready to help you help your students to succeed whenever needed.


Joseph J. Cicala, Ph.D.
Vice President for University Life and Dean of Students // 610.796.8211


It’s that time of the year again – October 1st is right around the corner and the 2018-19 FAFSA form will be available to complete.  The Office of Student Financial Planning recommends completing the FAFSA as soon as possible.  You will be using your 2016 tax information to complete the FAFSA, so no reason to wait.  The data retrieval process will be available to link and enter your income information right on the FAFSA.  This information this year will be encrypted, so you will not see figures but be assured the information is correct since you have linked with your IRS return.  For more information and questions go to the Early FAFSA page of the website, come to the FAFSA workshop October 14th or stop in the Office of Student Financial Planning.


Administered by the Academic Success Center (ASC), academic alert notices are a way for faculty, staff, and advisors to communicate information about a student who may need extra academic assistance in order to succeed.  Alerts are generated when professors express concerns about a student’s performance in class or about course performance overall. The academic alert initiative provides students with ample time to improve their academic performance.  Faculty members are encouraged to fill out an academic alert notice when students have:

  • Late or missing homework
  • Excessive absences
  • Low grades on exams or tests
  • Classroom or behavioral issues
  • Other issues related to academic progress in a course

A new process this semester allows students and advisors to receive notification by email instantly.  Academic alert submissions are collected mid-semester for day courses and by the end of the third week of each MOD for Graduate and Adult courses. The Academic Success Center makes the determination of what specific set of support services or intervention would best work for the student. Students should be sure to meet with individual professors to discuss ways to bring up their grades and improve performance. Any student who receives alerts in three or more classes will be asked to meet with someone in the ASC to create a plan with specific steps the student must take to address course performance. For more information, contact the ASC at 610.796.8263.

Advising and Registration

Registration for spring semester will start on October 30.  Academic advisors will begin meeting students in early October and continue through advising week, which is October 30- November 2. The advising meeting is essential, as students cannot be "cleared" to register online until they meet face to face with their advisors. For freshmen, this is their First Year Seminar instructor; for upperclassmen, this is the advisor whose name appears at the bottom of their schedule in our Self-Service System. If there is a “hold” of some kind for financial or other reasons, please encourage your student to work closely with her/his advisor or the ASC to learn what needs to be done to remove the hold and then to register.  If your student has questions, he or she should go to the ASC in Bernardine Hall or call 610.796.8263.  ASC staff will either have the answers or will help identify and reach the correct university personnel to assist your student

Get a Jump on Your Academics- Sign Up for Winterim

Does your student need to earn some additional credits or improve her/his GPA? The perfect solution for both is to take a class or two during our Winterim session - December 18 - January 12

Online Undergraduate Courses:
ART 122 - Intro to Digital Photogrphy
BIO 109 - Human Biology
BIO 203 - Biosphere
BUS 342 - Business Law
COM 247 - Fantasy, Folklore & Mythology
ENG 103 - Introduction to Poetry
ENG 247 - Fantasy, Folklore & Mythology
HIS 112 - The Study of American History
MAT 110 - Business Mathematics
PED 304 - Wellness for Life
PHI 105 - Introduction to Philosophy
PHI 210 - Professional Ethics
PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
PSY 208 - Human Development across the Life Span
PSY 215 - Multicultural Issues
SOC 111 - Principles of Sociology
THE 105 - Foundations of Theology
THE 210 - Medical Moral Theology
THE 225 - Global Issues: Gospel Perspectives

Online Graduate Courses:
COR 520 - Ethics & Moral Leadership
MBA 510 - Managerical Accounting
MBA 518 - Corpora

te Communication
MED 535 - Issues Conc

erning Special Education Programs

Please incourage your student to vist MyAlvernia/SelfService for the most recently updated information.

Veterans Day Observances

November 9, 2017

  • Mid-day ceremony on the Quad.

  • 5:00 pm – Bernardine Lecture Hall – Screening the family-friendly movie Max. Max, a military dog, serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan alongside his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. When things go wrong, Kyle is mortally wounded and Max is unable to remain in service. Shipped stateside, the only human he is willing to connect with is Kyle's teenage brother, Justin, who isn't interested in taking care of Max. But Max may be Justin's only chance to discover what really happened to his brother, and Justin begins to appreciate his canine companion.

  • 7:00 pm – Bernardine Lecture Hall – Screening the movie Dunkirk.  Panel discussion with students, alumni, and faculty/staff veterans afterwards. In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Dunkirk, under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.



Alvernia Theatre

The Wolves
November 2, November 9, and  November 11  at 8:00 pm
November 5 at 2:00 pm
Francis Hall Theatre

Cost: $5.00
Free to Alvernia students, faculty and staff
The Christians
November 4, November 8 and November 10 at 8:00 pm
November 12 at 2:00 pm
Francis Hall Theatre

Cost: $5.00
Free to Alvernia students, faculty and staff

First Year Seminar Lecture

November 1, 2017 - 6:00 p.m.
Physical Education Center
Event is free and open to the public

Author Regina Calcaterra’s memoir Etched in Sand tells her difficult yet inspiring tale of a childhood filled with abuse, foster care and homelessness in the city of New York. The New York Times Best Seller is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, people can rise above their past if they have the desire and determination to succeed.


Flu vaccine clinics were held on 9/20, 9/26, and 10/19, and one more is scheduled for 10/27.  Please encourage your student to get this important vaccine.  It is required for many majors, and prevents illness as well as missed class days.  We are partnering with Flying Hills Pharmacy to provide flu shots and they will bill your student’s prescription/health insurance directly.  If it is not covered by insurance the out of pocket cost is $28.  Students should call 610.568.1467 or stop by the Health and Wellness Center at Veronica Hall to schedule an appointment. 

If your student received a letter from the Health and Wellness Center regarding the need to complete health requirements and has not updated his/her record with those requirements a registration hold has been or will be placed on the student’s account.  This hold will prevent your student from registering for spring classes.  Students should contact Health and Wellness in person as soon as possible to complete the requirements


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