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SPRINGFIELD — The American International College (AIC) Office of Admissions offers weekly virtual information sessions for undergraduate and graduate degree program applicants. Sessions will run through Dec. 18.

Information sessions are available Monday through Friday and provide an opportunity for attendees to speak with admissions counselors virtually to learn more about the admissions process, available programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, financial aid, and more. The School of Business, Arts, and Sciences and the School of Health Sciences will each have targeted information sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 9 and 10, respectively, at 7 p.m.

In addition, there will be special graduate and undergraduate virtual information sessions for the School of Education on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The graduate session begins at 5 p.m., undergraduate at 6:30 p.m. Attendees at the undergraduate session will have the chance to speak with students, faculty, and staff to gain insight to pathways that will lead to a successful career in education. Both undergraduate- and graduate-session participants will have the opportunity to speak in-depth with admissions counselors.

Learn.org ranked AIC 17th among colleges and universities for teaching and education degrees for academic year 2020-21. Learn.org provides free resources for students and working professionals to research potential schools and degrees by providing information on career opportunities and institutions of higher education that help individuals reach their goals. The organization called attention to AIC students’ ability to take part in a practicum or field-based research to ensure preparedness for future careers. It also credited the School of Education with employing “top-notch staff and faculty members, many of whom hold terminal degrees in their field.”

Participants interested in attending the School of Education sessions or any of the weekly graduate and undergraduate virtual sessions are invited to visit aic.askadmissions.net/portal/ei/search for a complete list of dates and times, and to register.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — In a letter to students, faculty, and staff, American International College (AIC) President Vince Maniaci praised the campus community for their diligence in working to keep everyone safe. He stressed that the college’s disciplined adherence to protocols does make a difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19, both on campus and in the community, thereby allowing for an anticipated successful completion to the fall semester.

The letter is in response to the rise of new cases of COVID-19 across Massachusetts that have resulted in changes to Massachusetts regulations effective Nov. 6. Maniaci acknowledged that, while most young people who contract the virus recover after having experienced only mild to moderate symptoms, “We must look beyond the borders of our campus and take our responsibility as members of the Greater Springfield community seriously and keep our friends and loved ones safe by continuing to do everything we can to stop the spread.”

Maniaci’s communication reiterated and provided links to new state regulations relative to gatherings, dining, stay-at-home orders, travel, and face coverings.

“We are all obligated to act in the best interests of our campus community. Students pledged compliance with guidelines upon return to campus in August, and faculty and staff are committed to do the same,” Maniaci said. “While there is no immediate end in sight, nor does anyone know how long our campus, the state, the nation, and the world will need to take such precautionary measures, we do know that, through compliance with protocols, AIC is contributing to the solution of how to continue educating our students with as little disruption and as much safety as possible.”

AIC announced last month that it would continue to opt for remote learning for the spring semester. More information about AIC’s health and safety precautions and protocols can be found at aic.edu.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The American International College (AIC) Admissions office is offering virtual information sessions for undergraduate- and graduate-degree program applicants.

Information sessions are available Monday through Friday and provide an opportunity for attendees to speak with admissions counselors virtually to learn more about the admissions process, available programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, financial aid, and more.

During November, in addition to the weekday information sessions, a special School of Health Sciences virtual information session for undergraduates is slated for Saturday, Nov. 7 for prospective students interested in gaining insight to programs in physical and occupational therapy, exercise science, nursing, and public health. The School of Business, Arts, and Sciences will offer a special program on Tuesday, Nov. 10 to showcase the more than 40 interdisciplinary program offerings at AIC that are grounded in the liberal arts.

Graduate virtual information sessions will be available during the month in the School of Health Sciences on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Tuesday, Nov. 10. On Thursday, Nov. 12, a session dedicated to the post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy will be offered.

The School of Business, Arts, and Sciences will provide virtual information sessions on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 9 and 10, to highlight graduate-degree programs in business, psychology, and cannabis science and commerce.

AIC’s School of Education invites individuals to learn more about its program offerings on Sunday and Thursday, Nov. 8 and 12.

Interested participants are invited to visit aic.askadmissions.net/portal/ei/search for a complete list of dates, times, and to register.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will honor a Springfield individual known to residents in Mason Square as Preacherman with a mural on the college’s maintenance building located at the corner of State and Reed streets. Born Randolph Lester, he was a well-known community member who was given the Preacherman moniker as he was often seen walking around the Mason Square area carrying a Bible.

Collaborating on the construction of the mural is Britt Ruhe, the founder of Fresh Paint Springfield, a creative initiative in 2019 that invited artists to paint building walls downtown. Ruhe is the director of Commonwealth Murals and manages the Community Muralist Institute, featuring individual mural installations that meaningfully engage and uplift communities.

AIC alumnus Andrew Cade, president of the Springfield Cultural Council and senior vice president of the Urban League of Springfield, supported the project with a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council and other resources to assist with the mural.

“The artist selected to paint the mural of Preacherman is Greta McLain,” Cade said. “She has extensive mural-making experience, exploring the ways that art can bring communities together, the power of visual language to activate voice, and the potential of art as a vehicle for hands-on organizing and educating. The mural will provide vibrancy to the neighborhood and tell the story of one of Springfield’s most iconic citizens.”

McLain created the “Home, Here” mural on the Chestnut Towers parking garage on Dwight Street.

“As an institution of higher education, AIC is pleased to partner with the Springfield Cultural Council and host the mural,” AIC President Vince Maniaci said. “The values of access, opportunity, and diversity that are central to the college align well with the Cultural Council, Commonwealth Murals, and the artist’s vision for this endeavor.”

Mural installation is expected to be completed by Saturday, Oct. 24.

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SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) recently welcomed Lt. John Vanasse to lead the campus police department. Vanasse is an employee of G4S Secure Solutions North America, a leading international security-solutions group and the provider of campus-security services for American International College for more than five years.

Vanasse’s background and experience lend well to his new role at the college. Most recently, he was an instructor of Criminal Justice at Westfield High School. He has also served as a corrections officer and deputy sheriff at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections. Additionally, while working in safety and security for the Springfield public schools, he managed a million-dollar budget, supervised security staff at schools throughout the district, developed safety and security training programs, and conducted investigations into major security infractions. Prior to relocating to Western Mass. 15 years ago, he was deputy director for Safety and Security at the Massachusetts State House and other state facilities throughout Government Center in Boston.

“Working for a college police department has always been a professional goal of mine,” Vanasse said. “I feel that it ties my work experiences in security, education, and law enforcement together well. Personally speaking, heading the police department of my late father’s alma mater makes it that much more special to me.”

Vanasse received his undergraduate degree in criminology and law from Suffolk University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) is ranked 17th among the top 50 colleges and universities for teaching and education degrees, as ranked by learn.org for academic year 2020-21.

Established in 2003, learn.org provides free resources for students and working professionals to research potential schools and degrees by providing information on career opportunities and institutions of higher education that help individuals reach their goals, including school connections, scholarships, and online college planning for quality and affordable education.

Citing AIC, learn.org highlights the college’s master’s programs, including its master of education in early childhood education and a master of education in middle or secondary education. The organization additionally notes that AIC offers a doctoral program with multiple tracks, the doctor of education in teaching and learning, and called attention to students’ ability to take part in a practicum or field-based research to ensure preparedness for future careers. The organization also credits the School of Education with employing “top-notch staff and faculty members, many of whom hold terminal degrees in their field.”

“AIC has, for over 130 years, invested in the value of access to education and understands the relevancy of giving back to community,” said Sheila Stamm, dean of AIC’s School of Education (SOE). “Our model in the SOE embraces the agency of teachers, leaders, and counselors as scholar practitioners supporting the currency of needs supporting all learners in PK-12. This focus is embodied in our mission, our values, and promise to the citizens of Massachusetts to provide capable, caring, and committed professionals deeply invested in the collective success of communities served.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The American International College (AIC) Admissions office is offering virtual information sessions for prospective undergraduate and graduate degree program applicants.

Information sessions are available Monday through Friday and provide an opportunity for attendees to speak with admissions counselors virtually to learn more about the admissions process, available programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, financial aid, and more.

This month, in addition to the weekday information sessions, there will be an athletic information session for undergraduates on Saturday, Sept. 26 for individuals interested in learning more about AIC’s athletic programs.

Specialized graduate information sessions will also be available during September for the doctorate in physical therapy, master’s degree in cannabis science and commerce, master’s degree in occupational therapy, and advanced degree programs in the School of Education.

Interested participants are invited to visit aic.askadmissions.net/portal/ei/search for a complete list of dates and times, and to register.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — John Nordell, assistant professor of Visual and Digital Arts at American International College (AIC), is receiving acclaim for photographs he took at the beginning of the 1980s hip-hop scene in Boston. Today, Sept. 15, the prestigious Sotheby’s will host its first-ever hip-hop auction, where the professor’s photos will be featured.

Among the items to be auctioned are two lots of previously unseen photographs, 42 images in all, taken by Nordell. His images are a peek into the beginnings of hip-hop with Hollywood Talent Night events with young artists including New Kids on the Block, the Almighty RSO, and DJ Rusty the Toe Jammer in the early years of what would become a cultural revolution.

Growing up in Cambridge, Nordell said photography was always his calling, and he began honing his craft as a teenager. Returning to Boston after college, he persevered, ultimately finding work as a photojournalist for Time and other prominent publications.

Nordell said it is an honor to have his previously undiscovered photos featured. “This body of work is a labor of love. These photographs represent the hundreds I shot from 1985 to 1989, documenting hip-hop culture in Boston. I believe the power of the images lies in their focused look at a single community: an exuberant microcosm of a growing worldwide cultural revolution. Many of my subjects never gained much prominence, but they remain important as early, localized representatives of a seismic shift.”

A sampling of images set to appear at Sotheby’s auction can be viewed on Nordell’s blog at createlookenjoy.com.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Dr. John Rousou has joined the board of trustees at American International College (AIC). In a career dedicated to cardiothoracic surgery, Rousou was chief of the Cardiac Surgery division at Baystate Medical Center until his retirement in 2018.

Graduating with an undergraduate degree in biology from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, Rousou received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut Medical School in 1970. Following an internship at the university, he relocated to the U.S., completing a residency in general surgery at the University of Rochester in New York, and a residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, where he was also an instructor.

Rousou and his associate, Dr. Richard Engelman, initiated the Cardiac Surgery program at Baystate Medical Center in 1978. He served as chief of the division from 2001 until his retirement. Combined with his responsibilities at Baystate Medical Center, Rousou served as assistant professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine and assistant clinical professor of Surgery at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

In addition to the boards of Surgery and Thoracic Surgery, Rousou was a member of the American Heart Assoc., the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Hampden County Medical Society, and the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery. He is a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American Assoc. for Thoracic Surgery, and is a fellow with the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Chest Surgeons. He had multi-year affiliations with the International Cardiovascular Society, the International Society for Artificial Organs, and the International Society for Heart Transplantation.

Rousou and his wife, Maria, have three adult children Dr. Anthony Rousou, a cardiac surgeon practicing at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield; Dr. Laki Rousou, a thoracic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield; and Zachary Rousou, an architect practicing at a firm in Manhattan, N.Y.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will offer a certificate in Addiction Counseling beginning with the fall 2020 semester. Applications are being accepted for entry into this new program that can be completed in under two years.

The 29-credit undergraduate certificate program is designed for individuals interested in a career as a certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC). This academic program has been approved by the Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselor Certification as meeting the 300 hours of required training and education needed to sit for the CADC certification examination in Massachusetts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports projected employment opportunities for substance-abuse counselors will grow at a rate of 22% through 2028.

“There is a growing need for educated professionals in the addiction field to help others find recovery,” said Lina Racicot, AIC’s program director of Graduate Psychology. “We welcome professionals in the field as well as those with lived experience who want to make a difference in the lives of others.”

American International College is seeking to establish partnerships with local and regional agencies and organizations to offer the program to their employees with flexible modalities, including on-site instruction. These courses carry college credit that can be applied toward an associate or bachelor’s degree at AIC.

Registration is open for the first two courses that start the week of Aug. 24. “Introduction to the Behavioral Sciences for Human Services” and “Addiction and Substance-use Disorders” will be offered remotely during the fall semester with synchronous course meetings one night per week over Zoom during the scheduled class time, Tuesdays and Thursdays, respectively, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) announced plans to reopen for the fall 2020 semester amid a series of cost-saving strategies that are required to sustain the college in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the school. Revenue curtailment could result in a gap of up to $17 million, with cutbacks including reductions in the number of tenured and non-tenured faculty.

The college announced that students will return to campus for the fall semester with the majority of courses offered through a remote, synchronous delivery, with the exception of certain modules in health-sciences courses that require in-person delivery, such as labs. While the semester will remain at 15 weeks, courses will not be held on campus following the Thanksgiving break.

In March, AIC made the unanticipated move to remote learning in response to COVID-19. This resulted in extensive technology costs associated with delivering content remotely through the semester’s end and residence and meal-plan reimbursements. About one-third of the administrative staff, totaling nearly 100 individuals, were either furloughed or laid off. This initial round of reductions did not include any cuts to faculty.

In April, the college engaged in an institution-wide process to identify areas to reduce costs. Like other colleges and universities, AIC started a planning process for the fall semester anticipating fewer students would be attending college at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Both administration and faculty were advised to identify areas from which to reduce expenditures. AIC President Vincent Maniaci engaged faculty senate leadership, advising that significant cuts were required to reduce expenses in response to the needs of the 2021 budget and the pandemic-induced loss of revenue. Maniaci apprised senate leadership that these reductions could not be realized through operational cuts alone and would include tenured and non-tenured faculty positions as a last resort.

Three task forces were convened by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Mika Nash to address recruitment, retention, and faculty workload. As part of the shared-governance process, the faculty workload task force was invited and encouraged to participate in the process of identifying the $1.5 million needed in reductions from the academic budget. The recommendations of the faculty workload task force ultimately did not meet the threshold for cuts that was given to them. As a result, AIC’s administration will be implementing reductions that will result in both tenured and non-tenured faculty loss.

“Ultimately, this pandemic has forced decisions that no institution ever wants to make, and losing programs, faculty, and staff is incredibly difficult,” Nash said. “We wish the outcome were different.”

According to Frank Colaccino, who chairs the AIC board of trustees, a 1973 graduate of AIC, cuts to faculty positions are a reflection of declining enrollment in a number of programs.

“American International College is no stranger to making very tough decisions in order to secure the future of the institution,” he said. “With 72% of students enrolled in just 28% of programs offered, in order to remain viable, the college cannot continue to support programs that have experienced continually declining enrollments. The impact of the pandemic has added to the criticality and urgency of addressing this situation.”

Added Maniaci, “as American International College prepares to open this fall as it has for 135 years, it will do so in support of the academic enterprise with a focus on the future of the institution and furthering its vision of providing access and opportunity to a diverse community of students.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) recently welcomed two members to its board of trustees: E. Thomas Foster and Denise Jordan.

Foster is managing director of the Retirement Advisor University Speakers Bureau. A 1970 graduate of American International College, he also attended Suffolk University Law School. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he is well-regarded as an industry expert, educating and advising individuals and businesses on the retirement marketplace, including products, legislation, regulation, and compliance.

Most recently, Foster served as the spokesperson for MassMutual Retirement Services, working directly with financial advisors and employers to educate about 401(k) and other qualified retirement-savings plans. In 2007, he co-authored a book on practice management for advisors titled To Sell or Not to Sell … Employer Retirement Plans. He has been featured in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Kiplinger, Financial Planning, Investment News, and the London Stock Exchange.

Jordan was born and raised in the city of Springfield. She attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where she received a bachelor’s degree in political science, and in 2000, she earned a master’s degree in human resource development from American International College. AIC presented Jordan with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2019, awarded for outstanding achievement in the social sciences and for significant community contributions at the local and national levels.

Jordan worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in a variety of roles for more than 20 years. In 2008, she became the city of Springfield’s first African-American chief of staff, a position she held for more than a decade in the office of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. She currently serves as executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority, the third-largest public housing authority in the state. She has held seats on many boards and has won several awards for her volunteer work.

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SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has again been named a Military Friendly School.

VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment and educational and entrepreneurial opportunities, has released the 2020-21 Military Friendly​​ Schools list, providing a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students, and proprietary survey information from participating organizations in order to help them select the best college, university, or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly​ School designation are evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. This year, fewer than 800 schools nationwide earned this prestigious designation.

“American International College is proud to be recognized as an institution that assists men and women who serve our country,” President Vince Maniaci said. “The college appreciates the value of the many educational and leadership experiences that occur in the Armed Forces and the excellent foundation that military experience provides. In turn, we give veteran students transfer credits for service in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, helping service members and veterans get a head start on earning their degrees.”

Methodology and criteria were determined by VIQTORY with input from the Military Friendly​ ​Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher-education and military-recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the individual institution’s survey scores with the assessment of its ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer), and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

The entire 2020-21 Military Friendly Schools list is available online at militaryfriendly.com. More information about AIC’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students can be found online at aic.edu.

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SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) announced that the new health sciences educational facility located at 1020 State St. in Springfield will be named the Colaccino Center for Health Sciences in recognition of Frank Colaccino, a 1973 alumnus of the college.

Colaccino is the founder, president, and CEO of the Colvest Group in Springfield, a firm that specializes in land planning and development; commercial real-estate site selection; shopping center research, development, leasing, and management; and office-space rental and leasing services.

While serving as chair of the board of trustees finance committee in 2005, Colaccino was instrumental in helping restore the college’s solvency after facing extreme financial jeopardy. In 2007, and again in 2015, he assumed the role of chairman of the board of trustees. Colaccino is the first alumnus in the college’s history to hold this position.

“At a time when this institution was in great fiscal need, Frank was committed to preserving AIC’s longevity,” said AIC President Vince Maniaci. “Through his leadership and unwavering service, we have seen the college grow immeasurably. It is in recognition of Frank’s dedication, loyalty, and financial support that we elected to name the new educational facility in his honor.”

Set to open this fall, the two-story, 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will house AIC’s new exercise science programs in addition to expanded occupational therapy and physical therapy offerings. Athletic training programs will be introduced beginning in 2021.

Located in the geographic center of Springfield, the Colaccino Center for Health Sciences complements the ongoing redevelopment of downtown by extending revitalization efforts up the State Street corridor to the Mason Square/Upper Hill neighborhood.