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March 2010


Less than two-thirds of students who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania will earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Among students pursuing an associate degree, only one in three will graduate within three years. To tackle the preparedness problem at the college level, IUP, California University of Pennsylvania and many other public colleges have opened ‘student success’ centers in the past several years. The centers provide peer tutors, workshops and counselors to help students with study skills, time management and course scheduling. ‘We’re trying to raise our retention rate,’ explained Richard DiStanislao, director of IUP’s new center. IUP’s six-year graduation rate is just 50 percent, according to Complete College America. California University’s is 48 percent. College officials say half of students who drop out do so during their freshman year.

—“Pennsylvania’s College Drop-Out Rate Traced to High Schools,”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 14, 2010

Citations are arranged in descending chronological order, most recent at top. Dorothy Snyder is the kind of teacher you never forget. As she nears her 100th birthday, former students write her letters, send gifts and come to visit her at Seneca Manor Assisted Living in Verona, where she now lives. Dr. Snyder earned her elementary teaching certificate at the Indiana Normal School and taught third grade at West Jeannette School for nine years. At Indiana State Teachers College, she received a bachelor’s degree in education and at Columbia University, she earned a master’s degree and doctorate in guidance and counseling. She also was certified as a reading specialist. Dr. Snyder taught educational psychology at Geneseo State College in New York and was the Cumberland County reading specialist in Carlyle, Pa. At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she taught educational psychology and was director of a reading clinic for college students who couldn’t read. She retired from Indiana in 1970 after 13 years and taught for two years at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, where she retired as professor of education emeritus.

—“Century Club: Teacher to Mark 100th With a Party,”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 16, 2010

Among the show vendors tapping into that trend is Indiana resident Joe Ferraro, owner and operator of Ecologic, LLC. In business for less than a year, Ferraro is convinced there will be an escalation in demand for the type of services he offers — including home energy audits. Originally from Punxsutawney, Ferraro went into the Army for five years, then returned to further his education, earning degrees in management and economics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

—“Indiana Firm Tackles Home Energy Issues Through Efficiency Audits,”
Blairsville Dispatch, March 12, 2010

‘Poppy Field,’ by Indiana University of Pennsylvania faculty member Kyle Houser, comprises small white ceramic forms sporting red poppy decals and gold luster trim set upon a green flocking field. Superficially cheery, the piece also calls to mind the illicit fields of Afghanistan, or Latin America, that make headlines, or, from an earlier era, the poppies of the great World War I poem by Canadian Army physician John McCrae, ‘In Flanders Fields.’

—“Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Curator Adam Welch Offers Engaging ‘Cluster’,”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 10, 2010

Composer Jack Stamp was hesitant to take on the piece when Johnson came calling. ‘I really don’t enjoy writing memorial pieces,’ said Stamp, the chairman of music and bands director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Memorial pieces are usually slow, filled with an emotion that is impossible for a stranger to accurately articulate. ‘You can encapsulate emotion, but it's secondhand,’ Stamp said. ‘Though you empathize, you’re not grieving like they are.’ But the professor listened because he knows that losing a student is the worst thing that can happen as a teacher. Johnson explained Jake. ‘Typically these commissions, when you’re writing something in memory of people, it’s a slow ballad. It’s a tear-jerker,’ the Lansing teacher acknowledged. ‘I didn’t want that. Jake wouldn’t have liked that.’ Jake wanted music to be exciting, not slow and boring. He wanted lively music, definitely not the typical concert band arrangement. He only tolerated formal concert music. Jake’s piece should bring back the energy that Jake brought into the classroom daily. Stamp got it. The seasoned composer created a jazz piece that allows the baritone saxophone to interrupt and transform the concert band into music that eventually sounds more like a rock ’n’ roll tune. ‘He would like playing this piece,’ Stamp said. ‘I figure that’s how I do the tribute to him . Let it be his instrument that transforms the band from its stuffiness.’

—“Student’s Spirit Lives in Song,”
Kansas City Star, March 1, 2010