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March 2009

My teacher is Mandy Falchetti, who has been working for Norman Love ever since it opened for business in 2001. A student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts she came to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples for a three-month internship and never left.

—“Better Than the Easter Bunny: Making Chocolate Eggs at Norman Love Confections,”
Naples Daily News (Naples, Fla.,), March 31, 2009

If you’re thinking about applying to selective liberal arts colleges, but shudder at the thought of paying $40+ thousand a year, there’s a great option that can both deliver the education you’re looking for and save you tens of thousands of dollars: a public university Honors College. While Honors Programs have been around for almost a hundred years, Honors Colleges are a relatively recent phenomenon: more than half were established after 1994. Honors Colleges are schools within schools, the larger institution being most often a large public university. Admissions standards are tougher, and the programs and services enjoyed by Honors College students are typically much better than those offered to regular students (think four-year Six Flags ‘fast pass’). Here are some of the specific benefits: Size: honors colleges have smaller enrollments and can provide a more personal education (at Towson University, less that 10% of the freshman calls is accepted). Forget the Intro classes with hundreds of students; honors college classes are typically much smaller. Access to professors and programs: students can work directly with some of the top educators on campus, both in the classroom and through research opportunities. Interdisciplinary studies are encouraged and much easier to work out, and when it comes time to register for classes, honors college students often get first dibs. Housing: many honors college have special (read better) housing, which allows students to create that school-within- a-school experience. At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the honors faculty have their offices in the residence building. Cost: here’s why this column is out on Monday-honors colleges have the regular university price tag. No extra charge for special speakers, better access to top faculty, smaller classes, nicer housing, and even (at the University of Alabama) first notice of scholarships, internships and ‘social opportunities’ that are available to all students.To learn more about Honors Colleges, check college search sites such as petersons.com that allow you to search specifically for honors colleges and honors programs.

College Admissions Examiner, March 2009

The 32nd annual Girl Scout dinner will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 20 at Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Beverly Roberts-Atwater. Atwater is the medical director of Indiana Regional Medical Center’s Spine and Pain Management Center and a practicing physiatrist in the Indiana area. Atwater has been involved with numerous organizations including the American Osteopathic Association, the American Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Psychological Association. She is also a member of the PA Women’s Commission. Her husband, Dr. Tony Atwater, is the president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

—“Girl Scouts to Hold Annual Dinner,”
Somerset Daily American, March 30, 2009

OCEAN CITY — Educators crowned Snow Hill Middle School’s Alison Giska as Worcester County’s top teacher at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet Friday. Giska, a seventh-grade integrated language arts teacher at SHMS, will now represent Worcester County in the state Teacher of the Year competition. ‘And so the torch of excellence will be passed on,’ 2007 Teacher of the Year Tamara Mills said before Giska was honored. Giska, a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, said that as a language arts teacher who helped children learn to love reading, she truly saw the rewarding side of the profession. ‘When I hook one more student,’ she said, ‘that’s the real joy of teaching.’ Giska, who is in her sixth year of teaching, was chosen as Teacher of the Year from a group of 14 teachers, each representing one of the county’s schools. Candidates in the Teacher of the Year program --which was implemented in Worcester County in 1988 — are judged by a panel of five educators (including college professors, as well as past Worcester County teachers of the year) on a portfolio and an interview. The candidate with the highest composite score is named as the county’s top teacher for the year and participates in the statewide Teacher of the Year competition.

—“Worcester County’s Teacher of the Year is Snow Hill Middle’s Alison Giska,” 
The Daily Times, March 28, 2009

It’s been a tough year for everything associated with state funding, from road construction projects to programs for homebound seniors. At the top of that list, of course, is public education, which is taking an $11 billion hit. Maybe it wouldn’t. But maybe it would: That was the conclusion of a 2005 study by researchers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Their comparison of big and small rural districts in Pennsylvania found higher standardized test scores in larger districts, especially at the high school level, and other more positive measureables.

—“Yes, 10 Kids Can Make One School District,”
The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, Ca.), March 28, 2009

On Thursday, Indiana University of Pennsylvania attracted at least 200 people to a free one-day conference that offered attendees information about the sagging economy and strategies for coping. The ‘IUP Cares’ seminar touched on such topics as business survival strategies, the short- and long-term outlook for jobs, financing a college education and factors to consider when investing.

—“Job Openings in Health Care, Skilled Trades
Blairsville Dispatch, March 27, 2009

Director Mark Anthony offers similar advice to IUP students at the university’s Career Development Center. He said, ‘I try to work with students to prepare to sell themselves with skill sets that employers are looking for.’ Regardless of the field, he said, ‘The one skill that is most important is good communication skills — the ability to write and speak and listen well. You can tell when people aren’t listening and attending to the business at hand.’ Technology skills also are critical, beginning with the job search itself, he said. But he added, ‘You have to show a little bit of initiative — not just sending out a resume to an employer online, but following up with a phone call.’ 

—“County Employers Still Seek New Hires,”
Blairsville Dispatch, March 27, 2009

According to Tony Palamone, director of the Small Business Development Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, any business or service offering parts and repairs for people’s possessions will do well in a bleak economic environment.

—“Recession Increases Demand for Repairs,”
Blairsville Dispatch, March 27, 2009

Millersville University has been in hot water lately over William Ayers, the Weatherman-turned-Fox News preoccupation. Ayers was back in the news because Millersville, a public university in Lancaster County, invited him to speak there last week. The university was inundated with outrage from the local community, including a letter from peeved state legislators.Millersville wasn’t alone in having a speaker-related brouhaha on its hands. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in the opposite corner of the state, got heat for booking former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill last month. Churchill was reviled nationwide for comparing the victims of 9/11 to Nazis, and he was fired after five faculty committees agreed he had committed repeated and serious plagiarism. Millersville and IUP were right not to renege on the invitations. Disinviting a controversial speaker undermines academic freedom by allowing those who dislike someone’s view to keep it from being heard. Once a guest has been invited through appropriate procedures, it is incumbent on the institution to allow him to air his views.

—“Colleges Can Handle Controversy Without Squelching Free Speech,” 
Philadelphia Inquirer, March 23, 2009

UNIVERSITY PARK - Young Republicans from around the state convened their annual convention Saturday, the smallest gathering in at least three years. ‘It’s very low this year,’ said Katie Klein, 23, a board member of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans and a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Forty Republicans showed up for the daylong series of political addresses and caucus meetings in an Osmond Laboratory lecture hall, Klein said, compared with about 70 who met last year in Pittsburgh and 200 the year before last in Philadelphia.

—“GOP Youth See Drop in Convention Attendance,”
Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), March 22, 2009

IUP Cook Honors College history major is recognized as a distinguished scholar from abroad and awarded £2,500 from King’s College, London, England. Indiana, PA — A Cook Honors College student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) was one of only five US students honored in London as a distinguished student studying from abroad, announced King’s College London on January 28, 2009. Full story. Cook Honors College junior, Laura Heiman a history major from Beaver Falls, PA received the award and a check for £2,500 from the Principal of King’s College at a January ceremony. Other student award recipients were from the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley and George Washington University; Heiman is the only student chosen from a public university. PR Newswire, March 22, 2009

But the new housing serves an educational purpose as well. Many campuses are building suites or apartment-style buildings with space for faculty, staff and students to meet, so that students can learn away from the classroom. By far the biggest project belongs to IUP. It is spending $270 million to build nine residence halls by fall 2010. Indiana and Slippery Rock allow students with similar interests to live together on the same floor in ‘living-learning communities.’ These include business, the fine arts, social justice and global awareness. Of students living on campus at Indiana, 63 percent live in any of 22 living-learning communities, said Rhonda Luckey, vice president for student affairs at IUP. Ashley Testa, 20, an IUP junior from Saltsburg, moved from a traditional dorm to one of its new residence halls last fall. ‘I have my own bedroom and share a bathroom with my roommate,’ she said. ‘It has more of an apartment-style feel to it.’ 

—“Dormitory Construction in Mini-Boom,”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 16, 2009

As workers used bulldozers to raze the remaining buildings on land that will house a new convention and athletic center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, university officials Thursday announced a $1 million gift to build the complex. Businessman Edward K. Bratton, 81, of Indiana made the donation to the university to build the $53.49 million Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex along Wayne Avenue. ‘Ed again demonstrates his selflessness and visionary stewardship,’ said Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP’s president, during Thursday’s announcement. ‘He again is involved in and contributes to the economic well-being of the region, which he loves and serves.’ Bratton, the owner of the Giant Eagle store in Indiana, was ill on Thursday and unable to attend the ceremony. In a telephone interview, Bratton said he simply wanted to do something to aid the university that is such an integral part of the Indiana community, which he has called home for 59 years. ‘IUP has a program that I think is very worthwhile. It gives a lot to our community,’ Bratton said. ‘Our community growth has been around the college.’

—“Community Leader Gives IUP $1M for Center,”
Greensburg Tribune-Review, March 13, 2009

INDIANA, Pa. — The Indiana University of Pennsylvania received a $1 million gift Thursday from an Indiana County grocery store owner. Edward Bratton, owner of the Giant Eagle store in Indiana, said he wanted to leave his legacy on the school. The university will put the money toward the construction of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, a 150,000-square-foot facility that will include and arena, conference center and auditorium.

—WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh, PA), March 12, 2009

More money is headed to the soon-to-be constructed Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Construction began recently on the nearly $54 million facility. The university announced Thursday that another $1 million in gift money is being directed towards the project. The facility will house an arena, auditorium and the John Murtha Institute for Homeland Security.

—“Indiana University of Pennsylvania Receives More Money For Sports Complex,”
WJAC-TV (Johnstown-State College), March 12, 2009, 5 p.m.

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Indiana University of Pennsylvania at Punxsutawney hosted ‘Wines Around the World’ Saturday as a fund-raising event for a recreational facility to be built on campus. The event was developed to educate guests on the art of pairing food with wines from around the world. Approximately 60 people attended the event to partake in the wine-tasting demonstrations, while contributing to the growth of IUP- Punxsutawney. ‘We’re trying to get the community involved in the campus, to learn what we have and to offer something back to the town,’ IUP-Punxsy’s Dean, Valarie Trimarchi, said. We’re also trying to begin a fund-raising effort toward getting a recreational facility built for the campus. With the culinary and West End campus, we have about 450 students, which is a lot of 18-year-old energy running around without a formal basketball court or gymnasium. Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Tony Atwater was on hand to thank those who donated the money to the building of a recreational center. He also discussed the future that IUP-Punxsy has in store for the community.

—“IUP-Punxsy Hosts Event to Raise Funds for New Facility,”
Punxsutawney Spirit, March 9, 2009