Regional college and university news roundup

Regional college and university news roundup

Regional college and university news roundup
Image by Mohamed Hassan / Pixabay.

The local colleges and universities are busy with upcoming special events, activities, executive appointments and achievements. Here is a listing of what’s on the agenda for the region’s higher learning institutions.

Bard College

The Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking’s (IWT) upcoming conference “Crafting, Composing, Conversing: The Writer’s Voice Reconsidered” will focus on the teaching practices that help students to develop their writerly voices.

This conference will welcome educators of all disciplines to Bard College’s Annandale campus on April 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Speaker Peter Elbow, the author of the bestselling books “Writing without Teachers and Writing with Power” and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will deliver the keynote address.

The conference focuses on IWT writing-based teaching practices rooted in the interplay of written and spoken voices to explore voice as concept, craft, and conversation. Voice, according to Elbow, has become a “warm fuzzy word” that people use to describe writing they like or that does something appealing they can’t quite pinpoint.

“We’re in trouble if we don’t know what we mean by the term,” Elbow said.

Housatonic Community College

Housatonic Community College will be hosting the third and final entry in the Entrepreneur Speaker Series from the Werth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on April 2 with a presentation by Valerie King, CEO of VK Realty Group in Trumbull.

King will discuss her experiences from starting out as an investor of residential and commercial properties in 2008 during a distressed market to creating and growing her business to become one of the top teams within the Keller Williams Realty network. Today, VK Realty Group averages over $20 million in annual volume sales. King individually is ranked one of the top 5% agents nationwide in sales, and in over 12 years she and her team have been proud to help over 400 families buy, sell, invest, and lease real estate.

King’s presentation begins at 8:00 a.m. in the Event Center at Housatonic Community College (Beacon Hall, second floor), and it is open to the public at no cost.

Marist College

Jeff Kinney, cartoonist best-selling author of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, will address traditional undergraduates of the Class of 2023 at Marist College’s commencement ceremony on May 20. During the commencement ceremonies, Kinney will also receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Marist.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to address the Marist College Class of 2023,” said Kinney. “My wife, Julie, was a member of the Class of 1990, and her experiences at Marist helped shape her into the wonderful person she’s become. It will be an honor to share my own perspective and experience with a motivated group of students who will become future leaders and innovators in this country.”

Marist College also announced that its adult undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students will be honored the night before with Class of 1998 Marist alumnus Jerome Pickett serving as commencement speaker. Pickett is a former U.S. Secret Service agent and a former executive vice president and chief security officer for the National Basketball Association, as well as a member of the college’s board of trustees. He will receive the Distinguished Alumni Medal, the highest award given to a Marist graduate.

“Marist College has been an important part of my life for nearly three decades, first arriving on campus as an undergraduate, then having the honor of serving on the board of trustees and now receiving my master’s degree,” said Pickett. “I am very honored to address the Class of 2023 and to receive this prestigious award.”

Rockland Community College

Rockland Community College has joined the National Micro-Pathways Initiative created by Education Design Lab, a national nonprofit that designs, implements, and scales new learning models for higher education and the future of work. Micro-pathways are defined as two or more stackable credentials, including a 21st century skill micro-credential, that are flexibly delivered to be achieved within less than a year and result in a job at or above the local median wage, and start learners on the path to an associate degree.

Within this initiative, the college will design micro-pathways in advanced manufacturing, cannabis and health care. Education Design Lab will also provide a $50,000 grant to be used to support this initiative and drive innovation at the school.

“As employers continue to call out for a more skilled workforce and as learner attitudes shift to emphasize a stronger connection to economic opportunities, higher education is experiencing a transformation we haven’t seen since the industrial revolution,” said Kevin Stump, vice president of economic mobility and workforce innovation for the college. “Fortunately, community colleges are well-positioned to create true career pathways that lead to increased economic mobility. Working with the Education Design Lab will give us the tools and resources to co-build more responsive workforce training programs with employers, faculty, and learners that can stack into a college degree, unlock the skills learners have, and help close the skills gap in the region.”

Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University has hired Lisa Dickerson to fill a new advancement position as executive director of prospect management, data analytics and pipeline optimization.

In her new role, Dickerson will work closely with senior advancement leadership and others to broaden the university’s list of financial investors and philanthropic efforts. Dickerson has more than 20 years of experience in advancement research in the higher education sector. She comes to Sacred Heart University after a distinguished research and prospect management career at Quinnipiac University. Prior to that, she worked at Yale Law School and Yale University.

“I am thrilled to join Sacred Heart University and the highly talented and ambitious advancement team. I look forward to enhancing the current funding sources at SHU with data-driven, strategic analytics, as well as essential prospect development,” said Dickerson.

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is planning to open its One Stop Student Services Office in the spring of 2024.

According to the school, the new office will be a front-facing customer service center that encompasses the Offices of the Registrar, Student Financial Aid Services and Undergraduate Admissions under the Division of Enrollment Planning & Management. Initial contact points for these areas, including the general UConn phone number that is now connected to the registrar, will be redirected to the One Stop Student Services Office.

“Rather than having to decide as a student what questions apply to which offices, we want to do that work for the student,” said Michael Ormsby, the new office’s director.

Vassar College

Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, a nationally recognized public health expert with unique ties to Vassar College, will deliver the commencement address on May 21.

Hamburg is a former president and chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as the 21st Commissioner of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration from 2009 to 2015. She is the daughter of Beatrix McCleary Hamburg (Vassar Class of 1944), the first self-identified African American woman to enroll at Vassar and the first to earn a degree from Yale University School of Medicine.

Hamburg said her own career path often led her to take risks and break new ground in public health policy, and she said she would urge members of Vassar’s Class of 2023 be bold in their own choices.

“It’s important to keep exploring and learning, and to take advantage of the broad education a place like Vassar offers,” she said. “Find your passion and take on new challenges and be willing to fall down and skin a knee and then get up and learn from what went wrong.”

Yale University

Over the border in neighboring New Haven County, the Yale School of Medicine has announced the initiation of a novel, randomized trial that will test whether receiving Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets; ritonavir tablets) for 15 days can improve the health of highly symptomatic adults with Long Covid.

The trial, led by Yale School of Medicine Professors Harlan Krumholz and Akiko Iwasaki, has a decentralized design, meaning that participants do not have to travel to study sites. It also uses a novel, participant-centric, digital approach to data collection.

Long Covid, also known as post-acute sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is estimated to affect millions of people worldwide. For some people, Long Covid has severely impaired their quality of life and even caused death. To date, there are no approved treatments for Long COVID.

The new trial will enroll 100 research participants and investigate the overall effect of Paxlovid, while also seeking clues for which people might respond best to the drug and why. Importantly, the study will assess changes in how people feel and how their immune system functions in response to the drug. The study will enroll previously healthy people with fair to poor health as a result of Long Covid. Participants will not have any contraindications to Paxlovid or recent treatment with the drug. Participation will be initially open to people in Connecticut, New York, and Florida.

The Yale Center for Infection and Immunity and the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale School of Medicine are collaborating on the study. Pfizer is funding the study and has provided scientific support in the clinical trial design and protocol development.