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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Daily News

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.