Home Posts tagged Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Special Coverage Technology

Creating Collisions

While the pandemic was a time of upheaval in higher education, not all the changes that occurred were negative.

Indeed, Gina Puc said colleges and universities have seen higher education transformed in some ways, with a new sensitivity to innovative models of learning.

“We took a close look at how we were serving students in this new environment,” said Puc, chief of staff at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. And one good example is MCLA’s new partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) in Pittsfield on an MBA program to enhance and expand experiences and career connections to prepare graduates for innovation-driven careers in the Berkshires and beyond. 

This fall and spring, BIC will host students from MCLA for 10 Saturdays as part of their MBA program, which will be taught online and on-site at BIC in a hybrid format. Applications for the fall 2023 program are due by Aug. 18.  

Puc said the partnership is reaching students who may not have thought about getting their MBAs pre-pandemic, but are drawn by this innovative, experiential model. “We’re meeting students at this moment in time through the collaborative nature of this MBA program.”

The BIC has been an intriguing story in its own right. With the approval of more than 80 regional stakeholders in the private sector, government, and academia, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded the city of Pittsfield a $9.7 million capital grant in May 2014, with the goal of developing a 20,000-square-foot innovation center in Pittsfield’s William Stanley Business Park, the former site of General Electric.

These days, the BIC, which officially opened in 2020, provides regional manufacturers and STEM businesses with advanced research and development equipment, state-of-the-art lab and training facilities, and collaboration opportunities with BIC’s research partners, as well as internship and apprenticeship programs for local students.

A relationship with Berkshire County’s only four-year public college just made sense, said Dennis Rebelo, BIC’s chief learning officer.

“BIC’s three pillars are community, technology, and learning, and innovation is most likely to be robust and have a likelihood of succeeding at the interaction of those [pillars],” he explained, noting that such interactions can range from hyper-localizing the supply chain of building a new product to technology workshops that teach companies — from hundred-year-old firms like Crane Currency to much newer entities like Boyd Biomedical — how technology can be a tranformative agent in ways they might not have considered.

Gina Puc

Coming out of the pandemic, Gina Puc says, higher education was being transformed, and colleges were taking a hard look at serving students in more innovative ways.

“There are different ways technology can be a catalyst in economic growth and development,” he said. “When we saw what was happening with MCLA, we started exploring how they could be more embedded in our world and how we could serve them. It made sense to host their MBA program as partners; we’re now referring to it as an innovation-based MBA.

“An MBA student does a capstone — maybe it’s building a new product, like an advanced car seat, maybe a therapeutic device, or maybe something like SolaBlock,” he went on, referring to the Easthampton-based developer of solar masonry units. “They can have coffee with an industry leader and talk about clean tech. They have access to all these organizations.”

MCLA President James Birge, a BIC board member, added that “it’s incredible to see two major Berkshire County institutions come together to leverage the growth of MCLA’s programming with the BIC advancement opportunities. I’m looking forward to the networking and educational opportunities this will provide for our MBA students and the collaborations with industry leaders at the BIC.”


Innovative Model

Through this partnership, MCLA aims to contribute to the BIC’s efforts to foster growth within the life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and all regional technology and innovation-based sectors. 

“To explain an MBA influenced by innovation … you could substitute the word innovation for creativity. What we’re able to do by having the classes at the BIC is that we’re allowing students to be adjacent to the creative process,” Rebelo said. “To be able to spark additional thinking that conjures up new ideas that can also be socially responsible is a big win. You may think about technology as anti-human, but we think about it as really serving humanity … we think about things more from a humanitarian standpoint.”

Dennis Rebelo

Dennis Rebelo

“When we saw what was happening with MCLA, we started exploring how they could be more embedded in our world and how we could serve them.”

Josh Mendel, associate dean of Graduate and Continuing Education at MCLA, agreed. “The possibilities are really limitless for our students to embrace and be a part of the future of advanced technologies,” he said, adding that this partnership allows the college to fulfill the critical needs of the advanced-manufacturing industry in Berkshire County to grow and enhance the future of the county’s workforce, and that partnering with BIC in this way was a logical next step in the MBA program.

“We needed to be at this hub of innovation, advancement, and opportunities for students to grow and support a critical sector in the Berkshires,” he explained.

Mendel said he expects applicants to the program to be a blend of recent MCLA graduates with a passion and desire to stay in the Berkshires and want to be part of the energy happening at BIC, and also working professionals who have an interest in getting their MBA to get to the next pay grade or promotional opportunity.

“Some are about to become entrepreneurs; we’ve had several students in the past couple of years start their own business organization,” he said. “So this made so much logical sense — our mission is to support critical growth sectors in the Berkshires, and what better partner than BIC?”

The Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation

The Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation at MCLA, which prepares students to enter the research pipeline and STEM careers.

The Berkshire Innovation Center’s programming includes the BIC Manufacturing Academy, an industry-led training collaborative designed to address persistent challenges facing the manufacturing economy in the Berkshire region by closing the gap between local supply-chain capabilities and the needs of larger manufacturers through ongoing education, training, and technology assistance. Another program is the BIC Stage 2 Accelerator, a 30-week, hands-on, results-oriented program designed to serve early-stage tech startups that are building a physical product and moving toward the manufacturing phase.

Josh Mendel

Josh Mendel

“We needed to be at this hub of innovation, advancement, and opportunities for students to grow and support a critical sector in the Berkshires.”

There’s also a robust slate of ‘learning series’ — for students, BIC members, community members, and executives — some of which MCLA’s students will be able to access. But beyond the specific programming, Rebelo said, the BIC is also a space that will excite students about learning, not only through classes and panel discussions, but through day-to-day conversations with people doing innovative work.

“They’ll have access to resources and ‘collisions’ — and the collisions they make in the café could lead to some of the most valuable outcomes of these innovative relationships,” he noted.


Staying Connected

Drawing on the ‘systems thinking’ philosophy of Peter Senge, a pioneer in organizational development, Rebelo noted that, “if we’re going to be a learning organization that thrives in the 21st century, MCLA and BIC have to be in constant conversations about the systems we’re creating together and strive for mastery of the educational experience of the adult learner.”

In addition, Mendel told BusinessWest that MCLA draws many students from outside the Berkshires, and connecting them to a hub like BIC could be a factor in keeping young talent within the region.

“It’s very important to us to connect these students back to these companies and organizations and job opportunities and internships, so they stay and grow and raise families and have full-time careers here in the Berkshires.”

Puc agreed. “We’re in a rural community, and I can’t think of another hub like BIC that serves a rural community they way they are. That speaks to the efficacy of our educational programs and the innovation of BIC, in the way we serve learners in a rural community.”




Western Mass. is well-known for quality higher education. Which means it should have a leg up in the competition for professional talent.

But that’s not necessarily the case, and talent drain is a real thing, as graduates — especially those who didn’t grow up here and have no roots in the region beyond their college years — procure their degrees and make their way to Boston, New York, or myriad points south and west.

Which is why it’s encouraging to hear about the types of initiatives featured in two of this issue’s articles. On page 53, we learn about an MBA program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts that takes place partly at the Berkshire Innovation Center, just down Route 7 in Pittsfield. Through that partnership, students are exposed to experts, resources, and growing, innovative companies with which they can collaborate and make connections — potentially long-term connections.

Meanwhile, the story on page 58 details an initiative through which UMass students in the iCons certificate program are matched with area companies through internships that promote mutual growth and, again, connections that may develop roots.

“We are dedicated to supporting next-generation talent … and fostering professional development in our region,” a leader of one of those companies said, and that’s really the best way to think about these partnerships. For Massachusetts to thrive in the coming decades, it needs to attract — and retain — the best next-generation talent, and part of the strategy must include robust professional-development efforts that introduce young people to successful, inspiring companies early.

We’ve mentioned before some of the issues causing the highest outmigration numbers in Massachusetts in decades, from a housing crisis to transportation challenges to high taxes and cost of living. The Bay State needs to address those, of course, but it also needs to give people positive reasons to stay. An innovative economic ecosystem is one of those reasons, and the more young people are exposed to that, on a personal, experiential level, the more they will want to stay here.

And the better the future will look.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold a virtual information session on the college’s radiologic technology concentration on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Register by clicking here.

Prospective students looking to enter the healthcare field, or who are interested in health sciences, are encouraged to attend. MCLA’s Office of Admission and Health Sciences faculty will answer questions and give a brief overview of MCLA’s Radiologic Technology concentration. Graduates of the program have a 100% job-placement rate, and alumni earn an average starting salary of $72,000.

To learn more, contact the MCLA Office of Admission at [email protected] or call (413) 662-5410.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Caren Beilin, an assistant professor in the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) English & Communications Department, will offer a free community conversation via Zoom on Tuesday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m., in her role as this spring semester’s Hardman Scholar-in-Residence.

This event is free and open to the public; visit bit.ly/MCLAHardman to register. Beilin will also present a faculty talk via Zoom at noon on March 9.

Beilin is a creative writer working at the intersection of feminism and disability poetics. She is the author of the nonfiction book Blackfishing the IUD, a CLMP Firecracker Award nominee. Her other books include a memoir, Spain, and a novel, The University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to her work as a professor and author, Beilin has developed a new residency program in coordination with MASS MoCA that will invite young, emerging writers into the MCLA and North Adams community. Her talk will highlight this new programming and the ways the Hardman Special Initiative funding has been key to its launch.

Made possible through the Hardman Family Endowment, this series, which also includes the annual fall Hardman Lecture, presents in-depth discussions with some of the leading journalists of our time.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Ona Egbue, associate professor of Informatics and Engineering systems at University of South Carolina Upstate, will give a talk titled “Factors that Influence Electric Vehicle Adoption” as part of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Green Living Seminar Series on Wednesday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Green Living Seminar Series webinars are free and open to the public. Community members can register for each lecture at mcla.edu/greenliving. All seminars take place weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. through April 14.

Prior to becoming a professor at USC Upstate, Egbue was an assistant professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She received her PhD from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and is a certified professional in engineering management.

Egbue’s research interests include socio-technical system analysis, critical infrastructure resilience, management of sustainable engineering systems, technology and innovation adoption, optimization and decision making for complex systems, and engineering education. She has an extensive record of peer-reviewed publications and funding, including funding from the National Science Foundation.

Every semester, MCLA’s Green Living Seminar Series hosts lectures by local, regional, and national experts organized around a central theme related to the environment and sustainability. The 2021 series theme is “Individual Actions and Environmental Sustainability.” The series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and MCLA’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Ralph Buehler, professor and chair of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, will give a talk titled “Cycling for Sustainable Cities” as part of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Green Living Seminar Series on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Green Living Seminar Series webinars are free and open to the public. Community members can register for each lecture at mcla.edu/greenliving. Seminars take place weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. through April 14.

Most of Buehler’s research has an international comparative perspective, contrasting transport and land-use policies, transport systems, and travel behavior in Western Europe and North America. He is the author or co-author of over 70 articles in refereed academic journals, the books Cycling for Sustainable Cities and City Cycling, chapters in edited books, as well as reports to federal and local governments, NGOs, and for-profit industry organizations. Between 2012 and 2018, he served as chair of the Committee for Bicycle Transportation of the Transportation Research Board.

His presentation highlights that cycling is the most sustainable means of urban travel, practical for most short- and medium-distance trips — commuting to and from work and school, shopping, and visiting friends — as well as for recreation and exercise. The talk demonstrates that cycling promotes physical, social, and mental health, helps reduce car use, enhances mobility and independence, and is economical for both public and personal budgets. It highlights how cycling can be made feasible for everyone and not limited to especially fit, daring, well-trained cyclists riding expensive bicycles, and how to make city cycling safe, practical, and convenient for all ages and abilities.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Leadership Academy will hold virtual information sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. and on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Aspiring school leaders interested in pursuing their administrator licensure or certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS) in educational leadership are invited to join MCLA’s Leadership Academy director and a panel of alumni for a discussion about the program and application process.

Prospective students will be able to discuss school leadership, receive an overview of the program leading to administrator licensure with or without CAGS, and learn about the application process. The Leadership Academy is currently accepting applications for 2021.

Click here to learn more and register for either information session.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold a virtual information session on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. This information session will offer details about MCLA’s bachelor’s degree completion program; master of business administration, master of education, and teacher licensure programs; and the MCLA Leadership Academy.

Members of the community interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree, advancing in their education careers, or completing their undergraduate degree are encouraged to attend. Representatives from each postgraduate program will present information and answer questions about degree paths, enrollment, balancing responsibilities while pursuing a degree, and more. For more information or to register, visit mcla.edu/infosession.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Center for Teaching and Learning will present a virtual event with Robin DeRosa, co-director of the Plymouth State University (PSU) Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative, on Monday, Nov. 23 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. With a talk titled “Zooming Humans: A Framework for Teaching During Times of Crisis,” DeRosa will discuss how educators can respond to the challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event, geared toward faculty, staff, and the MCLA community, is also open to the public, and local educators are encouraged to attend. For more information and to register, click here.

DeRosa is a national leader in open pedagogy and an advocate for public infrastructures and institutions for higher education. She was a professor in the English Department at Plymouth State University for 15 years before becoming the director of the Interdisciplinary Studies program, a position she held for four years. As the new director of the Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative, she works with students, faculty, staff, and administrative colleagues on exploring learner-driven architectures for projects, courses, partnerships, and programs at PSU.

COVID-19 has pushed students, faculty, and institutions into new learning patterns. These patterns are at various times exciting, exhausting, and exasperating. As we struggle to navigate unfamiliar online environments and the fallout of maintaining educational continuity during a global pandemic, we may find ourselves adrift in a sea of technology tools and a sense that our core mission as educators and learners is lost in the chaos of just making it through each week. In this presentation, DeRosa will present a framework for organizing educational responses to crises like coronavirus, and help faculty and staff find a practice-based rudder to guide the development of assignments, courses, and institutional structures. Ultimately, she will suggest that how we respond to the challenges that COVID-19 presents can set us on a path for an educational future that is more adaptable, connected, and equitable — and more humane — for learners.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — In support of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and in recognition of the public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCLA Office of Admission will be waiving the SAT/ACT testing requirement for students who apply for fall 2021 and fall 2022. MCLA will also pilot a test-blind/test-free policy for fall 2021 applicants.

“We do not want students to worry about sitting for the tests if it is unsafe for them to do so,” MCLA Director of Admission Kayla Hollins said. “As an office dedicated to creating a clear and transparent college admission process for students, the next logical step in our efforts toward an equitable process is to waive standardized-test scores. We decided to take it a step further, after months of data collection and research, to become test-blind/test-free.”

National and institutional data point to high-school work being indicative of student success in college and a more equitable means of assessment than standardized-test scores. For many years, research studies have found that wealthy students have significant advantages through the college-application process. A 2013 study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California, for example, found that the difference in SAT scores between high- and low-income students was twice as large among black students compared to white students.

MCLA’s application is free, and students are considered for merit-based scholarships at the same time as they submit their application. MCLA has an early-action deadline of Dec. 1. Those who apply must submit their official high-school transcript, including first-quarter senior grades and any transcripts for college-level courses taken, as well as a personal statement/essay. To find out more, visit mcla.edu/apply.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — For Berkshire County STEM Week, Oct. 19-23, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and other county partners will offer virtual programming for local public-school students, K-12 educators, and the general community.

A complement to the statewide STEM Week initiative, Berkshire County STEM Week’s theme is “See Yourself in STEM.” Free and open to the public, the week will feature a virtual series of unique panels, workshops, speakers, virtual tours, and information about opportunities that exist in science, technology, engineering, and math in the Berkshires and beyond.

MCLA will offer three programs during the week: “Fun with Physics,” a workshop for middle- and high-school students on predictive motion; an ecology session for educators conducted by Professor Eric Doucette; and an ornithology presentation by Professor Daniel Shustack on the migration behavior of the dark-eyed junco.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Adams Community Bank will host a college-planning webinar with admission professionals from MCLA, Berkshire Community College, Williams College, and Pittsfield High School as a support for local high-school students and their families as they navigate the college-application process.

Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) will be the platform host for the week’s series of events, and community members can access programming on cable access or at www.pittsfieldtv.org. See a full program schedule at www.mcla.edu/stemweek.

Each day of STEM Week will kick off with “Live at the BIC (Berkshire Innovation Center),” featuring award-winning host Jeremy Brisiel introducing viewers to local innovation partners. Berkshire Community College faculty and students will share a virtual lab tours, Williams College seniors will conduct an astronomy workshop, and Dr. Mark Sprague and Dr. Ashley Miller of Berkshire Orthopaedic Associates will conduct an orthopedic-surgery demonstration. MassHire will also run a virtual STEM Job Fair on Oct. 21-23, and the Berkshire Museum will offer “Be a Chemist,” a live virtual event where students can conduct safe experiments with items in their kitchens. Hancock Shaker Village will offer a virtual tour, and General Dynamics has developed a website for students featuring 15 different at-home science experiments suitable for every grade.

Learn more about regional events managed by the regional STEM networks across the Commonwealth in collaboration with local museums, nonprofits, schools, and local business partners at www.massstemweek.org.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Frances Jones-Sneed, emeritus professor of History at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), will moderate a 14-week virtual community read of W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk, held by Clinton Church Restoration in Great Barrington. The community read will feature guest scholars who will discuss each chapter as well as enduring themes and concepts in African-American life and culture.

The community read begins on Tuesday, Oct. 13 aat 7 p.m. and runs weekly through Feb. 16, 2021, the week before DuBois’ birthday. MCLA Associate Professor of Psychology Ruby Inez Vega will be a featured scholar on Jan. 26.

This event is held by Clinton Church Restoration, which began in 2016 as a nonprofit effort to preserve the historic A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington. Clinton Church Restoration’s mission is to restore the historic property for reuse as a heritage site and visitor center that interprets the life and legacy of DuBois, celebrates the rich African-American heritage in the Berkshires, and honors the church’s history. The nonprofit’s work was featured in Architectural Digest in June. In addition to being a noted historian and scholar, Jones-Sneed is a member of the board of Clinton Church Restoration.

Learn more about the series and the featured scholars by visiting clintonchurchrestoration.org/souls-community-read.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) will hold virtual information sessions on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. for community members interested in the following academic programs:

• Master of Business Administration/Graduate Certificate in Business Administration;

• Master of Education/Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study/Leadership Academy; and

• Degree Completion.

DGCE’s academic programs embrace MCLA’s mission of access and affordability, and are designed for those looking to advance their careers through higher education no matter what stage of life they are in. These sessions are free and open to all interested community members.

MCLA’s MBA program is among the most affordable in the Northeast. Its most recent cohort scored in the 89th percentile on Peregrine’s national examination, which is taken by all graduates at accredited business schools. MCLA invites non-matriculated students to enroll in MBA courses and see if they are ready for graduate work.

The 45-credit MBA program offers a broad-based, multi-disciplinary education that combines the strengths of the business faculty with those of practicing managers actively involved in day-to-day decision making in the field. Courses include a blend of classroom experience and practical, hands-on field work.

The graduate certificate in business administration is an option for those who hold bachelor’s degrees in areas outside of business administration. The five-course certificate provides either a standalone advanced certificate in business administration or fulfills the first 15 credits toward an MBA at MCLA.

To register, visit mcla.edu/graduate.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — For the third consecutive year, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is ranked as a Top Ten College by U.S. News & World Report. MCLA ranks ninth on the organization’s list of top public colleges and also appears on U.S. News’ list of Top National Liberal Arts Colleges.

The college also is ranked among the top 50 public and private schools on U.S. News’ Top Performers on Social Mobility list, which measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000. Only eight other public colleges are ranked higher than MCLA on this list.

The college has appeared on U.S. News’ list of top public colleges for eight of the last 10 years.

“I am especially proud that MCLA has continued to be ranked among the nation’s top public schools,” MCLA President James Birge said. “This year, during a pandemic, in addition to providing a high-quality education, we were able to distribute more than $257,000 to students who found themselves dire economic circumstances due to COVID-19 through the MCLA Resiliency Fund. MCLA was also awarded a federal TRIO grant, which will provide $1.3 million to enhance our support for under-resourced students for the next five years. These grant activities will enhance MCLA’s commitment to equity for our students by providing support services to help students achieve their academic goals. I am thankful to my colleagues for their ongoing commitment to providing our students an accessible, affordable education that elevates lives.”

U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges based on indicators that reflect a school’s student body, faculty, and financial resources, along with outcome measures that signal how well the institution achieves its mission of educating students. For more information, visit usnews.com/colleges.

“The Commonwealth is lucky to have an institution like MCLA, and we are proud of this achievement and the impact MCLA has on our community,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. “As the Commonwealth’s public liberal-arts college, MCLA has demonstrated enormous commitment to access, equity, and academic excellence. MCLA is a key partner in driving the economy of the Berkshires and sustaining Massachusetts’ national leadership in higher education.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Berkshire Community College (BCC) have signed a new articulation agreement, creating a pathway for students who complete BCC’s associate degree in early childhood education to enroll in MCLA’s liberal-arts degree-completion program in children, families, and society.

Students who complete this associate-degree program at MCLA will also be able to enter MCLA with a core-requirement waiver. Students must graduate with at least a 2.5 grade point average to qualify.

This agreement means students who qualify will be able to earn their associate and bachelor’s degrees as well as early education and care certifications. These credentials support requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC). This pathway can also result in a lead teacher certification from the DEEC.

“This is an exciting pathway for future educators,” MCLA President James Birge said. “MCLA began as a normal school, and the college remains committed to creating opportunities and pathways for educators. MCLA is proud to be involved with BCC in these educational efforts to meet the needs of districts in the Berkshires, in the region, and in Massachusetts.”

Patricia Kay, chair of BCC’s Education Department, added that, among first-time community-college students, the desire to transfer to a four-year school is strong.

“The transfer pathway, an academic avenue for advancement, is important for students to consider. The ease of the transfer process remains key to students wanting to acquire a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “BCC and MCLA have constructed a transfer articulation agreement that builds on skills acquired in the first two college years, making the transition to the four-year program efficient and effective for students. We are pleased to celebrate this articulation agreement with MCLA and look forward to collaborating now and in the future to enhance the quality of educators in Berkshire County.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — In partnership with the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), the MCLA Institute for the Arts and Humanities plans a two-part webinar series on consecutive Thursdays, Aug. 6 and 13, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., featuring Aruna D’Souza, Genevieve Gaignard, and Ben Ripley, who will address conversations on race and transformation within art institutions.

This webinar series is free and open to the public. Participants can register by clicking here.

In part one on Aug. 6, artists Ripley and Gaignard will participate in a live Zoom conversation where they will introduce each other with images of their work to explore the intersections between their artistic practices. Each artist will pose questions to one another to establish a conversation around ‘unlearning’ socially conditioned ways of being; they will then open up the space to invite participant inquiry and dialogue.

Both artists are committed to exploring this platform and using it as a vehicle to address difficult questions around inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in the context of the art world as well in the Berkshires.

This joint session will be the basis for a follow-up panel discussion on Aug. 13 to be moderated by writer D’Souza, who will moderate a panel discussion between Gaignard and Ripley; each artist will continue the conversation by talking about how they address themes of race and transformation within their work while also expanding the conversation beyond art to involve inquiry from the audience.

Following the webinar series, participants will receive additional resources and suggested readings selected by D’Souza to continue the conversation within their own communities.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS —The Division of Graduate and Continuing Education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold a webinar offering information about the college’s certificate programs on Wednesday, July 8 at 11 a.m. This webinar is free and open to the public. To register, click here.

MCLA offers three certificate programs with classes at the college’s Pittsfield location: network security, principles of accounting, and the graduate certificate in business administration.

For both network security and principles of accounting, applicants need only a high-school diploma or the HiSET credential. Both programs may be completed in just over one year for students attending part-time. All courses in the certificate programs are eligible for transfer to continued study in MCLA’s undergraduate programs. The five-course graduate certificate in business administration provides either standalone advanced certification in business administration or fulfills the first 15 credits toward an MBA at MCLA.

“This certificate is appropriate for working professionals who may or may not be interested in pursuing the MBA, but for whom graduate certification in business would enhance their career potential,” said Nancy Ovitsky, director of MCLA’s MBA program.

Funding for MCLA’s certificate programs may be available for those who qualify through the MassHire Career Center. Federal financial aid is available for the two undergraduate certificates for those who qualify.

For more information, e-mail [email protected], call (413) 662-5575, or visit mcla.edu/certificates or mcla.edu/mba.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received two awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement. The college received an Educational Fundraising Award for Overall Performance in the category of Public Liberal Arts Institutions and a Circle of Excellence Award for its 2018-19 President’s Report. This is the first year MCLA has been recognized by this program.

The annual Educational Fundraising Awards recognize exemplary development programs based on a blind review of data submitted to the CASE Voluntary Support of Education survey. Winners are selected based on factors and variables that include, but are not limited to, patterns of growth, overall breadth of fundraising, amount raised per student, and alumni participation.

The Circle of Excellence Awards recognize institutions whose staff members advanced their institutions through innovative, inspiring, and creative ideas. The awards acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, and deliver exceptional results.

CASE judges commended the 2018-19 President’s Report, which was developed by MCLA’s Department of Marketing and Communications staff, on its theme and narrative flow, effective use of vintage and modern photographs and design elements, concise but not spare use of color, and the overall feeling of community it expressed, among other praise.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51 will hold an online conversation about artist Titus Kaphar’s painting “Analogous Colors,” which graced the June 15, 2020 cover of Time magazine. The gallery will explore this piece through the lens of the nation’s recent events on Wednesday, June 24 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., using VTS Visual Thinking Strategies.

During this event, art will be the vehicle to create and sustain non-judgmental dialogue, with an opportunity to learn from one another’s observations.

Gallery 51 is committed to creating safe spaces for discourse and dialogue with, about, and through art. If not now, gallery leadership asserts, then never will people be able to engage in honest discussion about race and the experience of black and brown people in the U.S.

To register for this event, click here. For more information about upcoming programs, click here.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — This year, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge is going virtual, and the MCLA community is invited to serve as judges. The three finalists’ pitches are available to watch and review online. Voting will be open until 9 a.m. on Friday, May 8. Any member of the MCLA community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) will be eligible to vote once during this period.

The three students who will be pitching their business ideas are seniors David Flight (“Settling the States”), Kimberly Granito (“Detailing Dream”), and Sierra Lamonde (“Pyrography Crafts”).

The students were coached through a series of deliverables — determining the solution to the problem, developing a budget and business plan as the road map for the project or business, and presenting before a panel of judges.

The winners will be announced at 6 p.m. on May 8. The first-place project will be awarded $7,500, second place $5,000, and third place $2,500 toward startup funding to cover inventory, equipment, and marketing for their business.