Over the past month, I have appreciated the beautiful spectacle of the seasons changing as I walk across campus and drive around our region. Judith and I recently enjoyed a glorious Homecoming weekend with hundreds of alumni and friends, and cheered on our Marauders at exciting football games, soccer matches and other sporting events. Of course, fall is also the time when we welcome thousands of prospective students and their families to our campus at Open House events. The excitement and energy of these events lifts our spirits and optimism to their highest levels.
In this issue of the monthly updates, I will share some of the new initiatives that are moving our campus forward. We are excited to add to our graduate offerings with a new credential, the Education Specialist degree. This new program joins our excellent graduate programs in psychology, which offer master’s degrees in School Psychology, School Counseling and Clinical Psychology. On December 2, Millersville will hold a historic event as we celebrate the installation of our circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), one of the nation’s premier honor societies. Under the leadership of Renardo Hall and Dr. Lisa Shibley, we will initiate our first ODK members as we launch a new chapter in our University’s history. In addition, our local chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) has been reactivated with the tireless support of Dr. Elizabeth Thyrum. Finally, I’m excited to report on the progress of our new mentorship program and the success of our fall athletic teams.
As we approach the month of December, I look forward to attending the acclaimed Glorious Sounds of the Season concert and connecting with hundreds of Millersville University friends and family members. The following weekend, we will confer degrees to over 400 students at our December Commencement.
Judith and I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday! I pray the long weekend offers you the opportunity to rest and recharge for the remainder of the fall semester.
New graduate program gives professionals another option
For more than 160 years, Millersville University has had an outstanding teaching program – and it just keeps getting better. We started with undergraduate degrees, then master’s degrees and in 2015 we enrolled our first doctoral student in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program.
Now, I am pleased to announce that we have a new option; an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in School Psychology. Both the Ed.D. and Ed.S. are advanced degrees in education. An Ed.S. is a postgraduate degree unique to the field of education. It is considered more advanced than a master’s degree but generally requires less coursework than a Ph.D. or Ed.D.
This is perfect for teachers or other educators who want to advance their career, gain new skills and qualify for higher pay levels. The program is designed for those with an undergraduate degree in psychology who wish to enter the education field in a role that emphasizes consultation, intervention and assessment towards better outcomes for students. For professionals who already have a master’s degree, an Ed.S. degree is a great way to reach the next level without the time or cost required for most doctoral degrees.
This new degree at Millersville will allow students the opportunity to earn both a master’s degree and an Educational Specialist’s degree. The Ed.S. also leads to certification from the Commonwealth as a School Psychologist. It makes our School Psychology program more competitive with other school psychology programs that currently offer the Ed.S. as their highest credential.
The Ed.S. has already been approved by PASSHE and University governance. My thanks to Drs. George Drake, Frederick Foster-Clark and Helena Tuleya-Payne, for their work to bring this new degree to fruition.
Last September during the State of the ‘Ville address, I mentioned that one of my goals for this academic year is to broaden and promote the benefits of mentoring through our newly launched Mentorship Office. I’m pleased to report that the office is up and running, under the auspices of Experiential Learning and Career Management. Audrey Bare is serving as the Interim Assistant Director of Mentorship for our campus.
Mentoring has been a top priority for me since my arrival at Millersville. Our alumni have expressed their readiness to serve as mentors for our students. While I have been impressed by the initial support from our alumni base, more mentors are needed to reach our first year goals.
Mentoring is a partnership that will pay dividends for our students who are mentored, as well as for those who do the mentoring. How wonderful for our experienced alumni to provide guidance and feedback to our students for the purpose of facilitating skill development and enhancing academic, professional and personal growth.
The mentorship office is in the process of matching alums to our students right now through a pilot partnership with Mentor Collective, an online mentoring community. Students register through Mentor Collective for the opportunity to be linked with a Millersville University alumni mentor for one-on-one guidance and career advice.
The office also serves as a centralized resource center for the Millersville University community, providing mentoring opportunities, guidance, funding support, and recognition for all of the University’s mentoring relationships and programs.
The Mentorship Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and is located in Experiential Learning and Career Management at the Bedford House.
Honors Societies at Millersville
Student academic excellence is an indicator of quality at universities; and this work is often recognized by honors societies through a merit-based and rigorous process. When I learned that our University did not have an active chapter of an honors society on campus, I tasked some of our leaders to change that. I’m happy to say that after a lot of hard work and dedication from faculty and staff including Dr. Elizabeth Thyrum, director of the Honors College; Renardo Hall, associate vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management; and Dr. Lisa Shibley, assistant vice president for Institutional Assessment and Planning, Millersville will soon have two illustrious honors societies represented on campus.
Under the direction of Dr. Thyrum, Millersville revitalized our chapter of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) in April after a few years of hiatus. PKP is the oldest, most selective multidisciplinary academic honors society and Millersville has been inducting members for 40 years. In total, we have inducted 1,402 students into PKP, and we plan to begin inducting graduate students this spring, in addition to junior and senior undergraduates.
As Dr. Thyrum says, “We would like to give as many resources and opportunities as possible to our academically talented students,” and I could not agree more. Thank you to all those who made this opportunity possible for our Marauders.
On December 2, Millersville will have a second honor society on campus, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK). Dr. Shibley and Mr. Hall have been instrumental in securing our charter and getting the organization off the ground, making us only the second PASSHE institution to have an ODK chapter. New members will be inducted into the chapter at the ceremony. Outstanding alumni, faculty and staff who were members of ODK at their alma maters will also be honored through Millersville’s chapter.
Enhancing transparency of our financial system
On October 30, the University’s Budget Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting in the Ford Atrium of McComsey Hall. Co-chaired by Drs. Nazli Hardy and Victor DeSantis, the committee is an advisory body to my office and its membership represents the breadth of our community. Because the University’s budget should reflect our institutional priorities, the committee will play a key role in linking our resources to the key issues in our strategic plan. Specifically, members will review overall budget targets and make recommendations regarding institutional one-time requests. With representatives from AFSCME, SCUPA, management, cabinet and the student body, the committee will also promote greater transparency regarding the budget process by facilitating conversations with all constitutents.
As the year progresses, I look forward to the Budget Advisory Committee’s recommendations on the budget itself along with how we can make our process more user-friendly and understood by the campus community. In the meantime, I want to thank the volunteers for their commitment to this very important initiative.
The HUB: Addressing food insecurity
Food insecurity is a nationwide problem for college students and I’m glad that our University is addressing this issue through a partnership with The HUB on our campus.
Located in the lower level of the Millersville Community United Methodist Church on George Street, The HUB serves as a place for students to connect and relax with billiards, video games, and free Wi-Fi, as well as a fully-stocked coffee station. More importantly, The HUB houses the Campus Cupboard food pantry, a judgement-free zone for students needing supplemental food assistance. The pantry offers students free food such as bread and milk, canned goods, fruit, boxed meals and protein-packed options like eggs and peanut butter.
This holiday season, the HUB will play an important role in making sure our students have a good meal. Last Thursday, The HUB held its annual Thanksgiving celebration for students. Donations came from people around this great community and from the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (SAEM) Division, who made and served the dinner for more than 100 people.
The HUB is open every weekday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the staff and volunteers offer things like game nights every Monday, live music and “French Toast Friday.” The HUB will also have free lunch available every day through the end of the fall semester.
You can help by contributing canned goods and other supplies anytime The Hub is open.
I’d like to thank the HUB and its staff for providing opportunities to our students, especially during the holiday season.
It's been another banner fall season for our Millersville Marauders! In front of our home crowd, the men's soccer team won its second-consecutive PSAC Championship! Only two other teams in the last 50 years have won back-to-back PSAC Championships, and our team also played in the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Tournament. I want to congratulate Jacob Gosselin and Coach Steve Widdowson for being named the PSAC East Athlete and Coach of the Year, respectively.
In a season filled with historic moments, the Millersville University women's soccer team added another first in the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Tournament. The fourth-seeded Marauders defeated fifth-seeded East Stroudsburg 3-1 to win the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament game. Kay Liebl, a two-sport athlete, became the team's all-time goals and points leader this year.
Women's volleyball also made history this season. They, too, have set a school record for wins with 25 while giving us plenty to cheer about at home with a 14-0 home record. The coaches of PSAC named Millersville senior Jayci Suseland the PSAC Athlete of the Year. Senior setter Katie Laughman scored All-PSAC Second Team recognition and junior Lindsey Blevins earned a third team honor. The trio helped the Marauders make back-to-back PSAC Tournament appearances for the first time since 1998-1999. On November 25, it was announced that Millersville is the No. 5 seed in the Atlantic Region for the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The tradition of success for the field hockey team continued as well, reaching the PSAC Semifinals for the eighth consecutive year. On the links, Hannah Yanoski placed third at the PSAC Championship, and cross country's Yoangelys Rijo-Cedeno recorded the best finish by a Marauder at the PSAC Championship in six years.
As the cold air moves in, it is now time to cheer our basketball, wrestling and swimming teams. Go Marauders!