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Company Notebook

AIC Named Among Fastest-growing Colleges

SPRINGFIELD — The Chronicle of Higher Education named American International College (AIC) one of the fastest-growing colleges in the U.S. for the fifth time. Among private, nonprofit master’s institutions, AIC placed among the top 20 colleges and universities in the country, ranking 16th, with a nearly 124% growth rate. AIC is the only Massachusetts college or university to place in this category and outpaced the national average growth rate of 21.7% by more than 100%. AIC has more than doubled its enrollment over a 10-year span, 2004-2014. In a categorical comparison to other colleges and universities in Massachusetts, Bay Path University ranked 17th among private baccalaureate institutions with an 82.6% growth rate, and Elms College ranked 18th in the same category with a growth rate of 78.3%. “We believe that a college education is more than academic and intellectual growth,” said AIC President Vince Maniaci. “At AIC, we are committed to the personal, spiritual, and professional development of our students. We identify trends and explore and develop programs that will provide our students with a foundation upon which they can build to reach their full potential. This is a competitive and rapidly changing world. We make every effort to help our students compete successfully in that environment and are proud to be recognized for our efforts.” Data collected for the Chronicle of Higher Education was based on fall enrollments of full-time and part-time students and included all U.S. degree-granting programs with a minimum 500-student enrollment in 2004.


Magazine Names Westside Finishing Among Top Shops

HOLYOKE — Westside Finishing has been named one of the best finishing shops in North America, according to an industry benchmarking survey conducted by Products Finishing magazine, a trade publication that has covered the industry since 1938. The magazine conducted an extensive benchmarking survey that analyzed hundreds of finishing companies in several different areas, including current finishing technology, finishing practices and performances, business strategies and performances, and training and human resources. Only the top 50 shops were given the honor of being a Products Finishing ‘Top Shop’ based on a scoring matrix in those four criteria. “Westside Finishing has established itself as one of the best finishing operations in the industry,” said Tim Pennington, editor of Products Finishing magazine. “The criteria we used was very stringent, and only the top finishing shops that excelled in all four areas made the list. Westside Finishing is in rare air when it comes to finishing operations.” Brian Bell, owner and president of Westside Finishing, said he is “extremely excited and pleased to be named one of Products Finishing magazine’s Top Shops for the second year. Our employees and management team have worked very hard to be the best in the industry, and to provide our customers with quality service.”


Skoler, Abbott & Presser Earns Tier 1 Ranking

SPRINGFIELD — Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced it has once again received a Tier 1 ranking in five different practice areas for the Springfield metropolitan area by The Best Lawyers in America. The firm was recognized for its excellence in arbitration, employment law in management, labor law in management, labor and employment litigation, and mediation. Notably, all of these practice areas received Tier 1 rankings, signifying a score within a certain percentage of the highest-scoring firms in the metropolitan area. “We do our best every day to present our clients with legal advice that reflects an understanding of each of their unique businesses,” said Partner Timothy Murphy. “I think the firm’s high degree of expertise and proficiency is demonstrated in our continued ranking as a Tier 1 law firm by Best Lawyers.” Attaining a Tier 1 ranking in so many different practice areas marks a strong combination of quality law practice and expansive legal experience, and reflects one of the highest levels of respect within the legal community, he added. The rankings are based on an evaluation process that includes both client and lawyer evaluations, peer reviews from leading attorneys in specified practice areas, and final reviews from law firms as part of the formal review process and selection. To be eligible for the rankings, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers in that particular practice area and metropolitan area. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting comprehensive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.


Springfield Museums Wins Grant to Restore Windows

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums have been awarded a Museums for America grant of $106,592 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to restore and stabilize 20 Tiffany stained-glass windows at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. These grants are awarded through competitive peer review and require at least a 100% match by the applicant. The program is an essential component of the institute’s goal of sustaining cultural heritage. The 20 Tiffany stained-glass windows are original to the main façade of the historic George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, which opened in 1896. The windows have deteriorated because of age, city pollution, and the harsh New England weather. This project includes a provision to protect the windows and their restoration through the addition of exterior tempered glass. The restoration of the Tiffany stained-glass windows will reintegrate these important decorative features with the building as well as greatly increase the effectiveness of the museum’s environmental control system. “These windows are rare and highly significant,” said Kay Simpson, president of the Springfield Museums. “They are the only Tiffany stained-glass windows in existence that were specifically commissioned for an American art museum, and they are a critical element of the overall design of the 1896 museum building. We are grateful to the IMLS for providing us with funding to stabilize and preserve these important stained-glass treasures for future generations.”


Elms College Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Earns Accreditation

CHICOPEE — The School of Nursing at Elms College has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for its doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. CCNE accreditation is a nongovernmental peer-review process that operates in accordance with nationally recognized standards established for the practice of accreditation in the U.S. “The DNP program was a vision and a dream for Elms School of Nursing and our community partners,” said Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing at Elms. The DNP degree is a clinical practice doctorate in an advanced specialty of nursing practice for the role of nurse practitioner. DNP graduates from Elms are eligible to sit for advanced certification and licensure in one of two specialty tracks: family nurse practitioner or adult-gerontology acute-care nurse practitioner. Most local programs educate advanced-practice nurses (APRNs) at the master’s level, but — in accordance with the American Assoc. of Colleges of Nursing’s evolutionary position to move the level of preparation necessary for APRN roles from the master’s degree to the doctorate level — Elms College has implemented the clinical doctorate to prepare NPs with the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise. The college has partnered with Baystate Medical System and Berkshire Health Systems, who fund cohorts of nurses to fill critical roles in their organizations now and into the future.

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