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Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will host a virtual graduate information session for its master of business administration (MBA) and master of education (MEd) programs on Wednesday, June 12 at 5 p.m.

Prospective students can meet with faculty and staff to learn about graduate education in MCLA’s innovative programs designed to support the rising workforce needs in the Berkshires and beyond.

The MBA program offers a broad-based, multi-disciplinary education that combines the strengths of MCLA business faculty with those of practicing managers actively involved in day-to-day decision making in the field. It is a part-time, 30-credit program designed for working professionals and in partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center.

The MEd program offers a thoughtful blend of classroom and fieldwork experiences that prepare students to make a meaningful impact in their school communities. Programs include MEd with initial licensure, MEd with professional teacher licensure, MEd with individualized plan of study non-licensure, and accelerated +1 bachelor’s degree with MEd.

To register for the information session, visit lnk.mcla.edu/gradinfo or contact the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education at [email protected] or (413) 662-5575.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will host information sessions for its master of business administration (MBA) and master of education (MEd) graduate programs on Tuesday, May 14 at 5 p.m. at the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield. A virtual session will be held on Thursday, May 30 at noon.

Prospective students are invited to meet with faculty, students, and staff to learn more about how to continue their education in two of MCLA’s innovative programs designed to support the rising workforce needs in the Berkshires and beyond.

The MBA program is committed to redefining the educational experience by focusing on real-world applications that drive meaningful change in the region’s businesses and organizations. The program combines liberal-arts principles with modern business studies, equipping students with the critical-thinking skills needed to excel in today’s dynamic business environment. It is a part-time, 30-credit program structured in an accelerated hybrid learning model for working professionals and in partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center.

The MEd program offers a thoughtful blend of classroom and fieldwork experiences that prepare students to make a meaningful impact in their school communities. Programs include MEd with initial licensure, professional teacher licensure with MEd, MEd with individualized plan of study non-licensure, and accelerated +1 bachelor’s degree with Med.

To register for an information session, click here or call the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education at (413) 662-5575.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Writer and journalist Tamar Sarai will deliver the Hardman Journalist in Residence Lecture on Monday, April 8 at 6 p.m. in the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation Atrium at MCLA. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Tamar Sarai represents a refreshing journalistic practice which our Beacon and Beacon Web News journalism students will find energizing and modern,” MCLA Professor Michael Birch said. “Her writing will offer new topics and focus for their learning, as will her emphasis on the power and value of good writing in the service of exceptional storytelling. This will be an excellent learning opportunity for our students.”

Sarai is a writer and journalist currently based in Philadelphia. She is a features writer at Prism, a nonprofit media outlet that seeks to highlight the perspectives and voices of those directly impacted by some of today’s most pressing issues. Her work focuses on race, culture, and the criminal legal system. Both her writing for Prism and her freelance work often focus on the ways in which Black women and girls are impacted by policing and the prison system. Her work has been featured in outlets including Shadowproof, Capital B, and Essence. Sarai is a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

MCLA’s Hardman Lecture Series presents in-depth discussions with some of the leading journalists of our time and is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA will host a virtual information session on Thursday, March 14 and an in-person session on Wednesday, March 27 for its graduate programs — master of business administration (MBA) and master of education (MEd) — as well as the Leadership Academy.

Potential students will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff to learn more about how to continue education in three of MCLA’s programs that are designed to support rising workforce needs in the Berkshires and beyond.

The MBA program offers a broad-based, multi-disciplinary education that combines the strengths of MCLA business faculty with those of practicing managers actively involved in day-to-day decision making in the field. It is a part-time, 30-credit program designed for working professionals in partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center.

The MEd program offers a blend of classroom and fieldwork experiences that prepare students to make a meaningful impact in their school communities. Programs include MEd with initial licensure, professional teacher licensure with MEd, MEd with individualized plan of study non-licensure, and accelerated 4+1 bachelor’s degree with MEd.

MCLA Leadership Academy prepares candidates to serve as effective leaders of educational institutions and active citizens in their communities.

The virtual information session on March 14 will begin at 5 p.m. The in-person information session on March 27 will begin at 5 p.m. on the MCLA main campus in North Adams.

To register, visit www.mcla.edu/graduate or call the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education at (413) 662-5575.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA Physics Professor Emily Maher, one of 65 scientists in the MINERvA collaboration at Fermi National Accelerator Lab (Fermilab), has published work that has been chosen as one of the “Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2023” in Physics World.

Over a 10-year span, the MINERvA detector recorded the interactions of neutrinos and antineutrinos, the antimatter partners of the neutrino. The physicists working on the MINERvA experiment used the data to make a groundbreaking new measurement, which was published last February in Nature.

“We work to uncover and understand nature’s smallest building blocks,” Maher said. “I am repeatedly amazed at how we use particle accelerators that span miles to shoot invisible particles at multi-story detectors to ‘see’ something as small as a proton. No human has even been able to make this measurement before, and I am delighted that this science is not merely interesting to specialists in my field, but also recognized by the larger world as a real contribution.”

To be featured on the list of physics breakthroughs, research must have been published within the last year, generate significant advances in knowledge or understanding, and show the importance of work for scientific progress and/or development of real-world applications.

The study, led by Tejin Cai at the University of Rochester in the U.S. and Canada’s York University, shows how information about the internal structure of a proton can be gleaned from neutrinos scattering from a plastic target. The team focused on isolating the signal from neutrinos scattered off lone protons within the background of those scattered off protons bound in carbon nuclei. Their innovative approach involved simulating and subtracting the carbon-scattered signal from experimental data. This provides insights into proton structure and enhances the understanding of how neutrinos interact with matter.

Maher has spent more than 20 years studying neutrinos. She began her work at Fermilab in 2000, studying the tau neutrino for her thesis work. This experiment, called DONuT (direct observation of nu tau), made the world’s first direct observation of the tau neutrino. Maher said she enjoys studying neutrinos because “neutrinos continually surprise us and point us to new physics.”

Professional Development

Professional Development

 

It’s called the MCLA Leadership Academy.

This is a program designed to help those with aspirations to be a school principal or superintendent take the next steps in their career in education. It blends academic content with practical skill and knowledge development. As students earn 31 credits, they engage in activities that include reading, writing, discussion, group projects, case studies, simulations, lectures by prominent thinkers, project-based tasks, fieldwork, and more.

“This is an area that school district leaders have identified as a critical need — they’re losing so many principals, assistant principals, and superintendents to retirement,” said Joshua Mendel, associate dean of Graduate and Continuing Education for Partnerships and Programs at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, adding that this is one of many initiatives at MCLA that fall into the broad realm of professional development — and also address an identified, and often serious, need for trained professionals.

Others include everything from programs for those desiring careers in ‘outdoor leadership’ — managing a ski resort, perhaps — to those seeking to become nurses and radiologists; from teachers needing licensure to would-be entrepreneurs.

Joshua Mendel

Joshua Mendel

“This is an area that school district leaders have identified as a critical need — they’re losing so many principals, assistant principals, and superintendents to retirement.”

Summing up this ever-growing, always-evolving portfolio of programs, Mendel said they’ve been designed with several goals in mind, but primarily to address the needs of employers across several sectors, all of whom are challenged to find sufficient talent in this difficult job market, and to help individuals find not simply jobs, but careers, or take the next big step in their career.

For this, the latest installment of its series on professional-development programs and initiatives in the region, we visit MCLA and examine the many offerings it has developed over the years and continues to hone to meet the changing needs of employers and job seekers alike.

 

Courses of Action

Mendel said the graduate and continuing-education programs at MCLA essentially focus on needs and opportunities identified by the Berkshire Skills Cabinet, led by MassHire Berkshire, Berkshire Community College, and 1Berkshire and created with the goal of addressing the skills gap by bringing together regional teams of educators, workforce entities, and economic-development leaders to create a blueprint for growth strategies.

“Through the Skills Cabinet, four areas have been identified as having critical growth potential and need,” he said, listing healthcare, education, tourism, and advanced technology. “These are the areas that are seeing a major increase in interest from outside corporations coming into the Berkshires, but are also our strengths when it comes to economic development in the region.”

And these are the areas that MCLA, the public, four-year college in the Berkshires, is focusing on primarily, he said, adding that the school not only serves residents of the Berkshires, but draws students from outside the area, with some of them staying in the region after graduation and starting careers there.

In healthcare, initiatives include the school’s new bachelor’s degree in nursing program that started last fall, as well as a degree program in radiologic technology, a program that resulted from the closure of Southern Vermont College and MCLA stepping in to become that school’s official teach-out partner to enable students to complete their degrees.

MCLA now offers the program, and it is helping to meet a recognized need within the community for such professionals, said Mendel, adding that interest in the program is strong and continues to grow.

The same is true for many of the programs in education, he said, noting that MCLA is helping to meet a critical need for teachers resulting from the retirement of Baby Boomers and other factors.

Elaborating, he said there are many now teaching under emergency licensure, which enables them to teach without a master’s degree. However, this is set to expire within the next year. MCLA has strategically positioned itself to address this situation through a fully online master’s program now being ramped up, with some students starting in the spring and more expected in the summer and fall.

Meanwhile, MCLA has created another new program, a +1 (bachelor’s degree and online master of education degree) program designed as an accelerated pathway for those students who seek to earn a teaching license and undergraduate degree, a second initial license in moderate disabilities, and a master’s degree in education.

“This was an area that was introduced to by the superintendents of this region at our superintendents’ roundtable,” Mendel noted. “They said, ‘we have such a demand for teachers with a background in moderate disabilities that we’ll hire 100% of the students that come out with that discipline.”

As for the Leadership Academy, launched 20 years ago, it enables students to earn their principal or superintendent licensure in Massachusetts, New York, or Vermont.

“It’s a robust program,” Mendel said, adding that about 40 students enrolled this past year, a number that could increase following the closing of the College of Saint Rose, which also has a leadership-academy program for New York’s Capital District.

A third sector that has become a focus at MCLA is tourism, an all-important sector in the Berkshires, one that has been a steady supplier of jobs and one also hamstrung in many ways by the ongoing workforce crisis. Many of the school’s MBA students enter this field, he said, adding that MCLA has created something somewhat unique, an outdoor leadership program that will be a minor within the environmental studies program starting next fall.

“There will courses in environmental studies and courses in leadership that will help students embrace the opportunities they have in the Berkshires for outdoor education and outdoor leadership,” he said, adding that there are career opportunities at ski areas, hiking programs, and related fields.

The fourth area of focus is advanced technologies, specifically a partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, whereby the school’s MBA program is run out of that facility.

“The Innovation Center is doing an amazing job of bringing in entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and advanced technologies,” Mendel explained. “So we’ve created a partnership program with them; our MBA program meets in the cohort model, one class at a time but two classes a semester for 18 months straight, and those classes are both online and in-person, a hybrid model.

“And when they meet in person, they meet at the Innovation Center,” he went on. “The Innovation Center allows our students to meet with local CEOs that are doing amazing things in the area, it allows our students to do research with their companies and organizations, and it’s enabling them to do capstone projects with these new entrepreneurs and learning about new technologies. It’s about elevating our MBA program to focus on the critical needs within these new technology businesses.”

 

Bottom Line

There are many other new initiatives as well, from a minor in entrepreneurship within the business program to address a surge in interest in starting new businesses to a minor in data science, to an Early College program created in conjunction with Drury High School in North Adams that enables students to earn up to 30 college credits before they graduate from high school.

The common denominator with all these programs is a desire to meet those needs identified by employers and economic-development leaders by creating pathways, Mendel said, and then getting individuals on those paths.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA has expressed support and encouragement to the College of Saint Rose students, family, and community.

“We are saddened by the news of Saint Rose’s closure and offer support and care for their students as they navigate their next steps,” MCLA President James Birge said.

For students who may have questions about their educational options, MCLA will host a tour & information session on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. Those that can’t attend can email [email protected] to schedule another time to visit.

“As the official teach-out partner for the closure of Southern Vermont College, MCLA has a successful track record and is committed to providing Saint Rose students with a pathway to ensure equitable and optimal transfer of credits to MCLA,” Birge added.

MCLA will provide an expedited transfer process, providing an admission decision within 48 to 72 hours of receiving a completed online application and all necessary supporting documents. MCLA will accept all currently matriculated students who are in good academic and judicial standing at the College of Saint Rose. Reduced tuition rates and campus housing will be offered to Saint Rose students as well.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Suicide Prevention Grant for $306,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Over the next three years, this funding will launch the MCLA Cares Project, an initiative to build campus-wide infrastructure to support student mental health.

The MCLA Cares Project will utilize a multi-pronged approach to address mental-health support deficits across campus. This project will engage a health promotion coordinator, a new position designed to plan and implement the grant’s activities as well as produce additional mental-health and wellness programming. Grant funds will contribute significantly to training the student-facing faculty and staff in suicide awareness and prevention.

The MCLA Cares Project was developed in accordance with MCLA’s mission to provide an accessible liberal-arts education to students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, such as first-generation students, students of color, and LGBTQIA+ students. The health promotion coordinator will collaborate with these groups to identify their specific needs and challenges in order to create responsive programming.

“I am thrilled that MCLA received the GLS suicide prevention grant from SAMHSA,” said Ashleigh Hala, MCLA’s associate dean for Counseling and Holistic Wellness. “This enables us to expand critical programs related to our students’ mental health and emotional well-being, including supporting students at high risk for suicide. Through this grant, we will change culture, creating a more caring, compassionate, and healthy community.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA faculty and staff invite the campus and North Adams community to a panel discussion on Thursday, Nov. 30, titled “How to Speak About Peace,” to discuss urgent calls for a permanent ceasefire in Palestine.

The discussion will start at 7 p.m. in Murdock Hall Room 218. Panelists include Associate Professor of Anthropology Mohamad Junaid, Associate Professor of English & Communications Victoria Papa, Assistant Professor of Art History and Museum Studies Eunice Uhm, Associate Professor of Modern Language Mariana Bolivar, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Carter Carter. The discussion will be moderated by Assistant Professor of English & Communications Caren Beilin, interim director of the Mind’s Eye, an initiative featuring interdisciplinary academic programming.

“As an educational institution with scholarly expertise in our community, one thing we can do to try to cope with the unfolding events is to gather for conversation and to contend with current events,” MCLA President James Birge stated in a message to the campus community. “It is notable that this panel includes Jewish, Arab, and Muslim faculty members and those whose research addresses many of these intertwined topics. I encourage our community’s participation in this important conversation.”

This community panel is a follow-up and continuation of the previous panel about the war in Israel and Gaza. This comes after a weekend of violence that took place in Burlington, Vt. involving three Palestinian college students.

“We must continue to talk with one another about peace, to find the words, and indeed the information, to speak and act on this urgent issue,” Beilin said.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Caleb Gayle will present the 2023 MCLA Hardman Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in MCLA’s Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation Atrium.

Gayle is an award-winning journalist who writes about race and identity and is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. His book, We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power, was published in 2022. He is a professor of Journalism and Africana Studies at Northeastern University.

Gayle’s writing has been recognized by the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award, the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship, the Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellowship, a fellowship at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the New America Fellowship, among others. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Threepenny Review, Guernica, the Atlantic, Harvard Review, Pacific Standard, the New Republic, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Review of Books, the Root, the Daily Beast, and more. His writing has been anthologized as a notable essay in the 2019 Best American Essays.

Gayle completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma as a Truman scholar. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Oxford and has an MBA and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, respectively. In addition to writing, he serves as a visiting scholar at the Arthur Carter Journalism Institute at NYU. He is currently completing his next book, Pushahead: The Story of Edward McCabe and an Epic of American Empire.

This event is free and open to the public. Call (413) 662-5224 for more information or Zoom details.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA invites prospective students to a fall open house on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center.

This event allows those interested in attending the college an opportunity to meet MCLA students, faculty, and staff. The day includes two morning sessions, followed by lunch, a resource fair, and a campus tour.

“Open houses are a great way for prospective students to see the campus for the first time and to learn more about MCLA’s academic programs and vibrant campus life,” said Jana Boyer, MCLA’s director of Admission. “We encourage students to connect with faculty, staff, and students to make sure all of their questions are answered and to discuss the next steps in the enrollment process.”

Those interested in attending can register by clicking here.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA will host information sessions for two graduate programs: Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Education (MEd) — as well as the Leadership Academy on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. at the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) in Pittsfield. A virtual session will follow on Tuesday, December 5 at noon.

Potential students will have the opportunity to meet with faculty, students, and staff to learn more about how to continue education in three of MCLA’s innovative programs that are designed to support rising workforce needs in the Berkshires and beyond.

The MBA program offers a broad-based, multidisciplinary education that combines the strengths of MCLA business faculty with those of practicing managers actively involved in day-to-day decision making in the field. It is a part-time, 30 credit program designed for working professionals and in partnership with the BIC.

The MEd Program offers a blend of classroom and fieldwork experiences that prepare students to make a meaningful impact in their school communities. Programs include MEd with initial licensure, professional teacher licensure with MEd, MEd with individualized plan of study non-licensure, and accelerated +1 bachelor’s degree with MEd.

MCLA Leadership Academy prepares candidates to serve as effective leaders of educational institutions and active citizens in their communities. To register for the information session, call the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education at (413) 662-5575.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Supreme Court expert and scholar Amanda Tyler will present the 2023 Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in MCLA’s Church Street Center Auditorium.

Tyler is the Shannon Cecil Turner Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is the author of several books, including Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue: A Life’s Work Fighting for a More Perfect Union, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Tyler has appeared on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN, among others, and spoken at venues around the world.

In her lecture, “Supreme Court Round Up,” Tyler will give audiences a behind-the-curtain look at the history and procedures of the nation’s highest court, exploring notable decisions and the quirks and personalities of current and prior courts.

This event is free and open to the public. Call (413) 662-5224 for more information or Zoom details. A student and faculty question-and-answer session will occur prior to the lecture at 4:15 p.m. in the Freel Library.

In 2008, MCLA announced the establishment of the Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture series, making public-policy forums an ongoing part of the college’s long-term speaker offerings, in complement to MCLA’s major in political science and public policy. The series is made possible through the generosity of the Ruth E. Proud Charitable Trust.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA announced that the first of two fall 2023 open-house events will take place this Saturday, Oct. 14, followed by a second open house on Saturday, Nov. 4, both from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center. At these open houses, prospective students will have an opportunity to meet MCLA students, faculty, and staff.

“Open houses are a great way for prospective students to see the campus for the first time and to learn more about MCLA’s academic programs and vibrant campus life,” said Jana Boyer, MCLA’s director of Admission. “We encourage students to connect with faculty, staff, and students to make sure all of their questions are answered and to discuss the next steps in the enrollment process.”

The first open house will be broken up into two morning sessions, followed by lunch, a resource fair, and a campus tour. Click here to register.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Education Department will offer preparation workshops for those considering taking the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29.

The workshops will be held in an online, synchronous format, with two sessions each day. The first session will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and will cover Communication and Literacy, and the second session, held from 1 to 4 p.m., will focus on Foundations of Reading.

Passing the MTEL is a requirement for teacher licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Each class will focus on a specific test and will be taught by instructors knowledgeable in both the content/skill area and the test. The workshops are open to the community. Register online at lnk.mcla.edu/mtel.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has earned the #7 spot on the list of Top Public Liberal Arts Schools in the nation for a third year in a row. U.S. News and World Report also ranked MCLA first for Top Performer on Social Mobility in the state, second in the country, and 22nd for National Liberal Arts Colleges.

MCLA has appeared on U.S. News’ list of Top Ten Public Colleges for nine consecutive years. The college has also been acknowledged in the publication’s list of National Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility since the organization adopted this ranking in 2019. This list measures how well institutions graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000, though most Pell Grant money goes to families with income below $20,000.

“Each year that MCLA appears in the Top Ten Public College rankings, I am reminded how incredibly committed our faculty and staff are when it comes to the growth and success of our trailblazers by demonstrating an unwavering dedication to excellence,” President James Birge said. “I am grateful to be part of an institution like MCLA that has made enormous improvements over the last year and its rankings for Top Performer on Social Mobility.”

More than 42% of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and 51% are the first in their families to go to college. Overall, 93% of students receive some kind of financial aid.

“Enrolling at MCLA makes such a difference on student and faculty lives as well as on the community at large,” said Brenda Burdick, chair of the MCLA board of trustees. “I’m truly amazed by the ongoing success of MCLA — an institution that consistently shines as a top-notch provider of high-quality, accessible, and affordable education. Being recognized as a Top Ten Public College affirms this commitment.”

U.S. News 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.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — LEAD Academy, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) almost two-decade-old program to help new students integrate into college life, is getting a huge boost thanks to Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Greylock pledged $100,000 to support a reimagined Greylock LEAD Academy, allowing the program to grow from around 30 MCLA students each year to this fa­ll’s cohort of 200 participants. Thanks to Greylock’s generosity, LEAD is now available to all MCLA first-year students at no cost.

“Our LEAD program has a long history of being incredibly successful at boosting student retention rates,” MCLA President James Birge said. “With help from Greylock Federal Credit Union, we now are able to offer this meaningful experience to all of our incoming first-year students.”

LEAD, which stands for Leadership, Education, Action, and Development, is a college success, leadership, and civic-engagement program designed to help students develop leadership skills and the skills necessary for college preparation, which they can immediately apply. Beginning Aug. 26, this year’s LEAD students will participate in a holistic onboarding experience before the start of fall classes. The first five days will provide a signature experience focusing on leadership development, team building, community building, and workshops conducted by student leaders.

“Greylock is excited to support this longstanding initiative, which we believe creates success for new college students in our region,” said Jennifer Connor-Shumsky, Greylock’s assistant vice president for Community Support and Events. “The LEAD Academy equips the next generation of leaders with the tools they’ll need to thrive in their academic experiences and professional development. At Greylock, we believe in the power of financial wellness, and we’re thrilled to provide support for the financial-literacy presentation during the first five days of LEAD.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) awarded Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) $1 million to fund the college’s new bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The grant will support the first two years of the program by supplementing its curriculum development and funding the cost of a simulation lab coordinator; nursing journals, textbooks, and testing software; and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing fees.

MCLA’s BSN program received approval from the Board of Registration in Nursing in January and approval from the Board of Higher Education in March. The program will launch in the fall of 2024 and graduate its first class in 2027. It is the first BSN program in Berkshire County and the only four-year nursing program in the rural tri-state area of Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.

The curriculum will integrate MCLA’s liberal-arts foundation with required courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences to complement theoretical and clinical courses in professional nursing. Nursing faculty will utilize a simulation lab to provide hands-on learning experiences for students in a controlled environment.

The EOHHS Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) and Human Services Workforce Development Grant Program is set to award up to $42.5 million in grant funding for training, recruiting, and retaining initiatives that support HCBS and the human-services workforce in Massachusetts. The program helps fund training organizations that develop healthcare professionals, including direct-care staff, nurses, behavioral-health staff, and community health workers. This mission aligns with MCLA’s goal to address the rural nursing shortage and the critical healthcare needs in Berkshire County through the creation of a BSN program.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — David Batker, president of Batker Consulting and founder of Earth Economics, will give a talk titled “Using Ecological Economics to Drive Policy Change” on Wednesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121. This event is free and open to the public as part of MCLA’s Green Living Seminar Series.

Batker is a renowned ecological economist, policy leader, pragmatic project proponent, and acclaimed speaker with 35 years of experience. He has worked to advance policy at U.S. federal agencies and worked in more than 40 countries, 45 U.S. states, and many U.S. cities and countries.

Batker’s history of keynote addresses covers a wide range of institutions, including the International Society for Ecological Economics, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Assoc. of State Floodplain Managers. He has worked to implement hundreds of projects providing jobs and local economic development, ranging from mining and forestry to shipping and disaster resilience. He is a fellow at the University of Vermont the author of dozens of publications, book chapters, and a book.

Every semester, the Green Living Seminar Series centers around a different topic that is timely and relevant to current sustainability issues. The 2023 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department. Podcasts will be posted online following each presentation at www.mcla.edu/greenliving.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Jennifer Hashley, the Trisha Perez Kennealy and Michael Kennealy director of New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, will give a talk titled “Economics of Climate-smart Agriculture” today, March 29, at 5:30 p.m. at the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121. This event is free and open to the public as part of MCLA’s Green Living Seminar series.

Hashley is a leader in local food-systems work, focusing on beginning farmer development. Her role at New Entry includes building community partnerships, developing new programs and services, mentoring and supporting project staff, securing sustainable resources for all program operations, writing grants, strategic planning, and overseeing incubator training farm site infrastructure and a multi-year sustainable-agriculture training curriculum in specialty crops and livestock production for limited-resource farmers.

Hashley’s efforts at New Entry have transformed it into a nationally recognized farmer-training program with multiple components: training and technical assistance, marketing, finding land and resources, hands-on learning at training farms, accessing government programs and resources, and conducting training for other incubator farm and community food-security projects across the U.S. Hashley also excels in working side-by-side with farmers in the field, at markets, and in the classroom.

As part of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Hashley is also an Agricultural Science and Policy lab instructor, helping to bridge the gap between graduate students’ classroom learning and practical, farm-based education.

MCLA’s annual Green Living Seminar Series continues through April 19, presenting a series of lectures on the theme of “Capitalism and the Environment.” Every semester, the Green Living Seminar Series centers around a different topic that is timely and relevant to current sustainability issues. Seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

The 2023 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department. Podcasts will be posted online following each presentation at www.mcla.edu/greenliving.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will launch a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program for the fall 2023 semester. This will be the first BSN program in Berkshire County and the only BSN program within an hour’s drive of the rural tri-state corner of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. This nursing-education initiative will help address the current and future rural nursing workforce shortages.

MCLA received final approval from the Board of Higher Education this month and received initial approval to launch a BSN in January from the Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN). The next phase of BORN approval is anticipated after MCLA graduates the first nursing cohort in 2027.

MCLA’s BSN degree can be completed over a four-year period. After accepting pre-nursing students this fall, the college will formally accept up to 25 students into the nursing major at the conclusion of their first year of study. Students must complete required pre-nursing courses in math and sciences during that first year for admission into the program. Transfer students may also apply to the nursing program during their first year of study at MCLA and transfer in non-nursing courses for consideration toward graduation. MCLA expects that the first BSN class will graduate in May 2027. At the conclusion of the program, students will be awarded a bachelor of science in nursing degree and be prepared and eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“Nursing care in rural and remote areas is uniquely complex and diverse, necessitating educational preparation at the baccalaureate level,” said Dr. Elizabeth Fiscella, associate dean of MCLA’s new BSN program. “Rural nurses need to know how to assess situations and manage client care with the resources available. They must be flexible problem-solvers who can prioritize alternatives to match resources, time constraints, and cultural expectations — skills that are especially well-served by MCLA’s strong liberal-arts foundation — while also meeting individual client-care needs, all rooted in evidence-based nursing practice. Increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses to meet the demands of residents living in rural and underserved areas of Northwestern Massachusetts is critical.”

MCLA President James Birge added that “MCLA has received overwhelming positive feedback as we prepare for implementation of a bachelor of science degree in nursing. We recognize the great demand right now for nurses in Berkshire County, and we look forward to helping meet this significant need right here in our community.”

In recognition of the importance of this degree program for the Berkshires, Berkshire Health Systems (BHS), the leading healthcare provider in the county, has agreed to help MCLA fund certain program startup costs.

“Our region is not unique in experiencing healthcare-staffing challenges,” said Darlene Rodowicz, president and CEO of BHS. “However, what is special about the Berkshires is our strong portfolio of programs designed to educate and train nurses. MCLA’s nursing bachelor’s-degree program rounds our region’s offerings, including an associate degree in nursing program (ADN) at Berkshire Community College (BCC), licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs at BCC and McCann Technical School, and a nursing assistant (NA) training program at BHS. We are grateful for this community’s dedication to training the next generation of compassionate, skilled healthcare workers right here in the Berkshires.”

Brenda Cadorette, chief Nursing officer at Berkshire Medical Center (BMC), added that “educational programs like this one at MCLA are critical to helping rebuild the workforce that cares for our community, and we are eager to partner with these bachelor’s-degree students, as we already do with the existing nursing programs, to offer clinical rotations and meaningful learning experiences at BMC.”

Additionally, MCLA announced three new scholarships available to qualified applicants pursuing bachelor of nursing degrees at the college. The Dion Family Scholarship provides $5,000 per year to students pursuing a BSN, the Lisa O’Brien Nursing Scholarship provides $2,500 to $5,000 to students pursuing a BSN, and the Brian and Vikki Fairbank Berkshire Community Scholarship provides up to $5,000 to students who reside in Berkshire County and are pursuing a BSN.

The BSN program will be funded in part through a two-year, $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The grant will allow for curriculum development that responds to the critical workforce needs within Berkshire County and across the Commonwealth. The funds will help support faculty, a simulation-lab coordinator, the purchase of nursing journals and textbooks, nursing testing software, and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing fees.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has secured an additional $620,000 appropriation for the MCLA nursing program as part of the federal spending bill passed in December 2022. In its pitch for funding, Neal’s office noted that 13,500 people work in the healthcare field locally, and said the project deserved support in part because of its importance to the region’s economy.

MCLA is now accepting applications for fall 2023. To learn more and apply, visit mcla.edu/nursing.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Eric Miller, director of Ecological Footprint Initiative at York University in Toronto, will give a talk titled “GDP Is Gross, Well-being Is Better” on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121. The presenter will attend via Zoom. As part of MCLA’s Green Living Seminar series, this event is free and open to the public.

Miller is director of the Ecological Footprint Initiative, Footprint Data Foundation secretary-treasurer, and course director at York University. He manages multiple projects and partnerships of the initiative, including the production of the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts. He teaches the footprint-related courses and supports students and project staff. His prior work as a consulting economist has informed governments, industry, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations. His earlier career in public service had him leading the team of economists in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, after he had worked for the Ontario Ministry of Environment and for Environment Canada.

MCLA’s annual Green Living Seminar series continues through April 19, presenting a series of lectures on the theme of “Capitalism and the Environment.” Every semester, the Green Living Seminar series centers around a different topic that is timely and relevant to current sustainability issues. Seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

The 2023 series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department. Podcasts will be posted online following each presentation at www.mcla.edu/greenliving.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Leadership Academy, a postgraduate program for educators seeking administrator licensure, will host a series of information sessions between January and March for prospective students.

Applications will be accepted through April 15, and information sessions are scheduled in person and remotely this winter. The 12-month program starts on July 7 with an on-campus, in-person, 14-day residency followed by online courses and three weekend residencies.

Leadership Academy alumni and administrators will answer questions about the program and application process during virtual sessions today, Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m.; and Monday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. An in-person session will also be held today, Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. at MCLA Pittsfield, 66 Allen St.; and an on-campus open house at MCLA in North Adams is slated for Saturday, March 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those interested should visit bit.ly/3PIoADW to register.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA announced that Jean Clarke-Mitchell, assistant professor of Social Work at Lesley University, has been nominated to the MCLA board of trustees. A 2000 alumna of MCLA, she is also in her second term on the college’s foundation board.

Clarke-Mitchell is a licensed clinical social worker who served as the clinical director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and an outpatient clinician at the Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. With more than 20 years of experience in the clinical field and more than 10 years in academia, she looks forward to participating on the board.

“I am very excited and feel very privileged and honored to be chosen to not only represent my alma mater but also to represent future students. To be on the board is monumental to me,” she said. “I’m feeling there is a lot to be done, and I’m hoping I can make an impact in so many ways. There are so many intersections to me and my experiences, and I want that to be something that I can bring to the table that will make a difference.”

Clarke-Mitchell has an extensive resume in social justice activism and working with community organizations, including the Rights of Passage and Empowerment program as a senior mentor. She serves as a board member on Rockfort Moving Forward, Leadership Councils of Western Massachusetts, the Albany Assoc. for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and the Massachusetts Women of Color Network.

“Having Dr. Jean Clarke-Mitchell on the board of trustees is a tremendous delight,” MCLA President James Birge said. “I’m confident that her experiences and education will expand the dynamics and work of the board.”

Clarke-Mitchell has invested many years in helping, advocating for, and educating others, including trauma and sexual-assault survivors, survivors of intimate-partner violence, and adults struggling with substance use and mental-health disorders.

“Just being a woman of color, I can bring a perspective that is not often considered. When I think of that, I think about how we can retain professors of color and welcome students of color,” she said. “How do we honor those people in our society? How do we manage the funds of the college and what we’re invested in? The perspectives which I bring are not always present.”

Prior to teaching at Lesley, Clarke-Mitchell taught social work and psychology at Westfield State University, Smith College, Cambridge College, and Elms College. She has worked with groups in South Africa, taught students in Ghana, and conducted presentations on healthy relationships and self-care in Jamaica. She continues to affect positive change by teaching social work full-time and continuing to develop effective social-work practitioners.

“When we consider different decisions that have to be made, I can have a voice at the table,” she said. “I have a lot of appreciation and respect for people who felt they should nominate me.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate & Continuing Education (DGCE) will host information sessions for those interested in completing a bachelor’s degree or pursuing an MBA. The 30-minute information sessions will be available in person and online in North Adams and Pittsfield.

The community is invited to the Tuesday, Nov. 1 information session at 5 p.m., online only; Tuesday, Nov. 8 at noon at 66 Allen St.in Pittsfield; or Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. at MCLA’s Eldridge Hall, Room 206, in North Adams, with optional remote registration available for the latter two sessions.

MCLA’s degree-completion programs are designed for adult learners seeking accelerated, non-traditional pathways to completing bachelor’s degrees. Each program uses a cohort-style learning format, in which students begin their courses of study in groups with their peers and proceed through the program together.

Each information session will provide participants with an overview of DGCE programs, including the MBA, master of education, degree-completion programs in business administration and interdisciplinary studies, and certificate programs in accounting and cybersecurity.

Completion of a bachelor’s degree includes business administration or a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies. Students in the interdisciplinary program may focus on children, families, society, leadership and business, health and human services, or an individualized plan of study, created with assistance from an advisor.

Program leaders will meet with session participants to provide an overview of DGCE’s curriculum and programs, including program locations, schedules, tuition costs, financial aid, and how to apply, transfer credit, academic support, student services, and career opportunities.

The program offers classes in the evening at MCLA Pittsfield and online one night per week to accommodate students meeting the demands of work, family, and their studies. Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield are encouraged to attend an information session. Representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.

Click here for a complete schedule of information sessions and registration links. Learn more about MCLA’s DGCE programming and how to apply at www.mcla.edu.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome Scott Dikkers, author, comedy writer, and founder of humor newspaper and now website the Onion, on Thursday, Sept. 29, when he will present MCLA’s Hardman Lecture, “Fake News in the Age of Misinformation: The History of the Onion and How the Philosophies and Practices Have Adapted Over Time,” at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

This lecture event is free and open to the public. This series presents in-depth discussions with some of the leading journalists of our time and is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.

With the Onion, Dikkers created a small college humor publication and grew it into one of today’s most recognized comedy platforms at theonion.com. He’ll share his experiences about how being committed to a unique vision — and standing firm in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and threats — can translate into genuine differentiation and robust brand equity for any organization.

As co-founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of the Onion, Dikkers has written multiple comedy books. His work has won him a Peabody award, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and dozens of Webby Awards. In addition, he earned the number-43 spot on Time magazine’s list of the Top 50 “Cyber Elite,” alongside such iconic figures as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and George Lucas.

In his latest book, Outrageous Marketing: The Story of The Onion and How to Build a Powerful Brand with No Marketing Budget, and his many speaking engagements, Dikkers details how he staffed the company with quirky individuals who often had unstable family environments similar to his and shared his dark sense of humor.

In the Hardman Lecture, Dikkers will reflect on the freedom and support he gave his writing team that enabled the Onion to break through the noise in a media-saturated landscape, overcome doubters and legal obstacles, and prove time and again that being outrageous leads to the best possible version of a brand. He will also dive into some of the most basic principles that can help transcend an organization’s marketing limitations, get the best work out of the employees, and attract devoted, lifelong customers.

A student and faculty question-and-answer session will be held at 4:15 p.m. in the Freel Library on Sept. 29 prior to the evening lecture.

Upcoming fall lecturers at MCLA will include New York Times bestselling author and the chair of Princeton’s Department of African Studies, Eddie Glaude Jr., who will present the 2022 Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture, “Race & Democracy: America is Always Changing, but America Never Changes” on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate & Continuing Education (DGCE) announced the 2022-23 schedule of information sessions for those interested in completing a bachelor’s degree or pursuing a master of business administration (MBA) degree. The 30-minute information sessions will be available in-person and online in North Adams and Pittsfield through August 2023.

The community is invited to the Tuesday, Sept. 20 information session at 5 p.m. in North Adams, MCLA Murdock Hall Room 208, or Tuesday, Sept. 27 at noon at 66 Allen St., Pittsfield, with optional remote registration for all sessions.

MCLA’s degree-completion programs are designed for adult learners seeking accelerated, non-traditional pathways to completing bachelor’s degrees. Each program uses a cohort-style learning format in which students begin their courses of study in groups with their peers and proceed through the program together.

Each information session will provide participants with an overview of DGCE programs, including the MBA, master of education (MEd), degree-completion programs (business administration and interdisciplinary studies), and certificate programs (accounting and cybersecurity).

Completion of a bachelor’s degree includes business administration or a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies. Students in the interdisciplinary program may focus on children, families, and society; leadership and business; health and human services; or create an individualized plan of study with assistance from an advisor.

Program leaders will meet with session participants to provide an overview of DGCE’s curriculum and programs, including program locations, schedules, tuition costs, financial aid, and how to apply, transfer credit, academic support, student services, and career opportunities.

The program offers classes in the evening at MCLA Pittsfield and online one night per week to accommodate students meeting the demands of work, family, and their studies. Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield are encouraged to attend. Representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.

For a complete schedule of information sessions and registration links, visit tinyurl.com/y8a95tsh. To learn more about MCLA DGCE’s programming and how to apply, visit www.mcla.edu.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) continued commitment to an excellent, affordable education is reflected in the 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report rankings. The college now ranks seventh on the list of Top Public Liberal Arts Colleges for the second year in a row, 33rd as a Top Performer on Social Mobility among national liberal-arts colleges, and first among all Massachusetts liberal-arts schools. MCLA also continues to appear on the list of Top National Liberal Arts Colleges.

MCLA has appeared on U.S. News’ list of Top Public Colleges for 10 of the past 12 years. The college has also been acknowledged in the list of National Liberal Arts Colleges for Social Mobility since the organization adopted this ranking in 2019. This list measures how well institutions graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, typically awarded to students whose families make less than $50,000, though most Pell Grant money goes to families with income below $20,000.

Slightly more than 42% of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and 51.4% are the first in their families to go to college. Overall, 93.1% of students receive some kind of financial aid.

“As we once again appear in the Top Public College rankings, I feel immense gratitude toward my colleagues who support our Trailblazers in achieving their academic goals,” MCLA President James Birge said. “From faculty and staff strengthening and growing programs to the exceptional student body striving for academic excellence and fulfilling lives, I am grateful to work at an institution with a mission of advancing equity, social mobility, and serving under-resourced students.”

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

“I am incredibly impressed by MCLA’s continued success — an institution that is consistently recognized as a Top Public College,” said Brenda Burdick, chair of the MCLA board of trustees. “The work that has been done to remain in the top-10 standings is extraordinary. With our excellent faculty and staff dedicated to growing and strengthening the college’s programs, I am proud to see affordable and accessible college education at the forefront of the college’s mission.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced that Brenda Burdick, director of Strategic Communications at General Dynamics Mission Systems, has been elected to the role of chair of the board of trustees for the college. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Burdick to the board in 2018, and she was reappointed for a second five-year appointment this summer.

Prior to her election, Burdick had served as chair of the student affairs committee and academic affairs committee as well as vice chair of the board. She succeeds Mohan Boodram as chair of the board.

Burdick started her career at General Dynamics in Pittsfield in 1995 before becoming the Marketing and Public Relations manager in 2002, and later adopting the role of senior manager of Marketing and Public Relations in 2014.

“Serving as the chair of the MCLA board of trustees is an honor and a privilege,” Burdick said. “I’ve had the opportunity to witness the positive impact that MCLA students have had on the success of Berkshire County. With the development of new academic programs, MCLA responds to the needs of our businesses and communities while assuring our students can make even greater impact on the Berkshires region and beyond.”

Before joining General Dynamics, Burdick was director of Sales and Marketing for Swift River Inn in Cummington and was both a Sales manager and a Public Relations assistant for Canyon Ranch in Lenox. She also served as a member of the Berkshire United Way board of directors from 2008 to 2017, which included one two-year team as chairperson and two two-year terms as vice chairperson.

“I’m eager to continue working with Brenda in her new role as the chair of the board of trustees,” MCLA President James Birge said. “Our students and graduates are crucial to the future workforce and are key players in the relationship of the largest engineering and manufacturing employer in the region.”

Burdick holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in business communications and marketing from Bryant University. She currently serves on 1Berkshire’s executive committee as the vice chair and has been with the organization since 2009.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Community members interested in pursuing MCLA’s master of business administration (MBA) degree or completing a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to join the MCLA Division of Graduate & Continuing Education (DGCE) for a virtual information session on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.

MCLA’s degree-completion programs are designed for adult learners seeking accelerated, non-traditional pathways to completing bachelor’s degrees. Each program uses a cohort-style learning format, in which students begin their courses of study in groups with their peers and proceed through the program together.

Academic programs available through the degree-completion program include a bachelor of science in business administration or a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies. Students in the interdisciplinary program may focus on children, families, and society; leadership and business; health and human services; or with assistance from an advisor to create an individualized plan of study.

The program offers evening classes at MCLA Pittsfield and online one night per week to accommodate students meeting the demands of work, family, and their studies. Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield are encouraged to attend. Questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more will be addressed.

Visit mcla.edu/infosession for more information and to register. Learn more about MCLA DGCE’s programming and how to apply at www.mcla.edu.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) consortium announced that Anne Goodwin of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) received a Course of Distinction (COD) Award on June 2.

The Course of Distinction awards are given annually to recognize excellence in design and delivery of online and hybrid courses across multiple categories. Goodwin designed and taught ‘Nutrition for Healthy Living,’ integrating individual and small-group activity, and providing authentic, humanized connections to support students’ engagement and academic success in an asynchronous environment.

“While MCLA hosts mainly in-person classes during the academic year, this award shows that we do have the flexibility to offer high-quality online courses, as well,” said Goodwin, who is the second faculty member in MCLA’s Biology Department to earn recognition in recent years for outstanding online course design.

 

Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) is a collaborative of 24 public state higher education institutions involved in the design, delivery, management, and assessment of online, blended, and other technology-mediated learning formats. MCLA is a member institution of the consortium.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — On June 4, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Alumni Association will stage its annual Alumni Awards Brunch to recognize distinguished alumni and friends of the college for their accomplishments. 

The event will run from 10 a.m. to noon at Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation on the MCLA campus, with a special session for photos of awardees from noon to 12:30 p.m.  

The following recipients will be recognized:   

 

  • Ricardo Arroyo ’11, 2021 Vanguard Award;
  • James Casey ’00, 2020 Distinguished Alumnus Award;   
  • Mallory D’Aniello ’10, 2021 Outstanding Educator Award;   
  • Charlotte Degen ’73, 2020 Outstanding Service to the College Award; 
  • Mark Halloran ’77, 2020 Outstanding Educator Award; 
  • Robert Howland Jr. ’06, 2020 Community Service & Citizenship Award; 
  • George Jacobs ’83, 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award; 
  • Celia Norcross, 2021 Outstanding Service to the College Award; 
  • Kimberly Roberts-Morandi ’91, ’01, M.Ed. ’00, 2021 Outstanding Educator Award;
  • Kaite Rosa ’10, 2020 Vanguard Award; 
  • Margaret (Meg) Skowron ’71, M.Ed. ’74, 2020 Outstanding Educator Emeritus Award;   
  • Darcie Sosa ’14, 2021 Community Service & Citizenship Award. 

 

This ceremony was deferred in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, so this year, many alumni will be recognized for their accomplishments, as well as their contributions to the MCLA community.   

 

See descriptions of each award at https://alumni.mcla.edu/distinguished-alumni.   

Daily News

 

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) will stage a virtual information session at 5 p.m. on May 3 for community members interested in the college’s Master of Education (MEd) and teacher licensure programs, master of Business Administration (MBA), graduate certificate in Business Administration, master of Education program, Leadership Academy, and bachelor’s degree completion programs.  

This info session is free and open to the public and is tailored to community members interested in advancing their education at MCLA.   

To register, visit mcla.edu/infosession, or email DGCE at [email protected]for more information.   

Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield, are encouraged to attend. Representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.   

Daily News

 

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s summer Science and Robotics Camp is back this year from July 25-29, with hands-on STEM activities that culminate in a Robot Demolition Derby. 

Designed for students ages 9-12 in grades 4-7, this camp is for students who are interested in science and robotics. Campers will participate in science activities and experiments and use LEGO Mindstorm RCX and NXTs to create robots. Families are invited to attend a demolition derby at the end of the week where campers will battle with their creations. 

Science and Robotics Camp costs $375, and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a 2 p.m. end time on Friday. Campers should be dropped off at 8:30 a.m., with pickup at 4:30 p.m. Camp will take place in MCLA’s Bowman Hall Robotics Lab, and proof of immunizations and COVID-19 vaccination is required for all campers.   

To register, visit mcla.edu/camps or contact [email protected]or (413) 662-5576 with questions. Space is limited.   

Opinion

Opinion

By James F. Birge

 

This isn’t another COVID think piece written by a college president. This is a story about upward mobility in the face of the most significant public health crisis of our lifetime.

In fact, the faculty and staff at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) are so dedicated to this mission that we’ve received national recognition for it — MCLA ranks 21st on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the 50 public and private “Top Performers on Social Mobility,” which measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants. These grants are typically awarded to those whose families make less than $50,000. The publication also ranked MCLA as a 2021 Top Ten College for the third consecutive year, and the ninth time in the past 11 years.

Nearly half of MCLA students are Pell Grant recipients, the highest percentage across the Massachusetts state-university system. More than 40% are the first in their families to go to college. Nearly 85% of students receive some kind of financial aid.

These are students who need support in their academic journey. Many are balancing work and family commitments. Many are coming from urban areas and are discovering what it is like to live in a rural area for the first time. Many have no frame of reference for what a college experience is like. They are discovering who they are, and who they want to be, in a time of global upheaval, and many of them have seen increased economic insecurity as a result of COVID-19.

What does a commitment to social mobility look like during a pandemic? Here are some examples.

• In 2020, MCLA kicked off its TRiO Program, supported by a $1.2 million federal grant, which works toward increasing the retention, good academic standing, and graduation rates of low-income, first generation, and students with disabilities. This program serves up to 160 students a year;

• MCLA’s Office of Admission adopted a test-blind policy in 2020 and waived SAT requirements for students applying for the fall 2021 and 2022 semesters;

• In 2020, in response to economic uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, MCLA established the Resiliency Fund, which has to date distributed nearly $300,000 to 296 students in need;

• The MCLA Food Pantry combats student food insecurity, supported with student volunteer work and donations; and

• MCLA boasts more than 100 of its own private scholarships, including five new additions since 2020.

Like all other schools, MCLA has seen its enrollment decline as a result of the pandemic. Still, we continue to serve these students well. We continue to graduate our high-need students at higher rates than the national average, and the vast majority of MCLA graduates — 93% — land jobs or get accepted into some of the finest grad schools in the country. Helping our under-resourced students achieve a college education will help them earn more in their lifetimes, find fulfilling careers, and live meaningful lives. Public colleges help contribute to furthering economic equity every day, and we are proud to make this part of our mission as an institution.

I’m incredibly proud of all our students, as well as our incredible faculty and dedicated staff, who are changing individual lives and working toward a more equitable future.

 

James F. Birge is president of MCLA.

Daily News

 

 

NORTH ADAMS — David Sayer of Beyond Plastics and Sustainable Saratoga will give a talk titled “Community Strategies for Addressing the Plastic Pollution Crisis,” at 5:30 p.m. on March 2 at the Mass. College of Liberal Arts’ Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121.  

Part of MCLA’s Green Living Seminar series, this event is free and open to the public. Please note that masks are required in all buildings on MCLA’s campus. 

Sayer is a charter member of the Beyond Plastics Alumni Network, and coordinates its growing online community. He is a recent but devout student of the plastic pollution crisis and maintains educational and activist resources on the Beyond Plastics wiki (bit.ly/plasticwiki). Locally, he supports Sustainable Saratoga in his hometown of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and coordinates community pickups and other Zero Waste activities. 

While he has become a recognized “trash vigilante” in his community (@madplastic on Instagram), Sayer is increasingly working at the keyboard to pressure state and federal lawmakers to support plastic-pollution legislation and related climate protections. He bands together weekly with other Beyond Plastics supporters to drive initiatives that would stem the plastic tide at the source and safeguard vulnerable communities.

Outside of his engagement with Beyond Plastics, Sayer is a consulting IT architect for Accenture, specializing in Microsoft modern workplace technologies.

MCLA’s annual Green Living Seminar Series continues through April, presenting a series of lectures on the theme of “Greening the City.” Every semester, the Green Living Seminar Series centers around a different topic, timely and relevant in current sustainability issues. Seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. until April 20.

The series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and MCLA’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center. 

 

Presentations will also be broadcast on Northern Berkshire Community Television Channel (NBCTC) 1302 at the following times: 

  • Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; 
  • Fridays at 4 p.m.; 
  • Saturdays at 3:30 p.m.; 
  • Sundays at 11:30 a.m.; and 
  • Mondays at 5:30 p.m. 

 

Recordings will also be available on the College’s YouTube channel. 

 

For more information, visit www.mcla.edu/greenliving or contact professor of Environmental Studies Elena Traister at (413) 662-5303. 

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) will hold a virtual information session at on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. for community members interested in the college’s master of education and teacher-licensure programs, MBA, graduate certificate in business administration, Leadership Academy, and bachelor’s-degree-completion programs.

Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree, or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield, are encouraged to attend. Representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.

To register, visit mcla.edu/infosession, or e-mail [email protected] for more information. This information session is free and open to the public. Additional information sessions are planned at for March 29 and April 26 at 5 p.m.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Katherine Fichter, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) assistant secretary and chief of Climate and Decarbonization, will give a talk titled “Transportation’s Responsibility to the Climate: Our Role in Decarbonization” on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, Room 121.

Part of MCLA’s Green Living Seminar series, this event is free and open to the public. Masks are required in all buildings on MCLA’s campus.

The transportation sector is the single greatest contributor to carbon emissions among economic sectors, and it is growing, both in raw numbers and relative to other sectors. This is true in Massachusetts as well as nationally and internationally. Fichter will discuss the reasons for this, the opportunities for and challenges to change, what is currently happening in Massachusetts, local transportation patterns and how they reflect broader needs, and the future of the field.

Fichter has served in various capacities since 2004. She is now responsible for overseeing multiple policy initiatives and insuring that MassDOT policy priorities are implemented through investments and projects. Among other issues, she works on transportation and climate policy, congestion, regional planning, and sustainable transportation. She is also program manager for the MassDOT Shared Streets & Spaces program. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and MIT and has also worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation and for the Massachusetts Legislature, where she worked on transportation-related issues.

MCLA’s annual Green Living Seminar Series continues through April, presenting a series of lectures on the theme of “Greening the City.” Every semester, the Green Living Seminar Series centers around a different topic that is timely and relevant in current sustainability issues. Seminars take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. until April 20. The series is a presentation of the MCLA Environmental Studies Department and MCLA’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center.

Presentations will also be broadcast on Northern Berkshire Community Television channel 1302 at the following times: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 4 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m., Sundays at 11:30 a.m., and Mondays at 5:30 p.m. Recordings will also be available on the college’s YouTube channel.

For more information, visit www.mcla.edu/greenliving or call Professor of Environmental Studies Elena Traister at (413) 662-5303.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and its Department of Business Administration will once again partner with Habitat for Humanity to offer free tax-preparation services to local residents in need through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Habitat for Humanity administers VITA, a program of the IRS, to assist taxpayers with disabilities or limited English-speaking skills, those 60 years of age or older, and individuals who make $57,000 or less per year. MCLA students will be available to complete both basic and advanced returns, including those with itemized deductions.

The students who participate in this program undergo a rigorous training, become IRS-certified, and will work under the supervision of MCLA Professor of Accounting Tara Barboza, an enrolled agent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a certified public accountant (CPA).

In addition to meeting a significant need in Northern Berkshire County, Barboza said, “participating in the VITA program is a unique opportunity that will provide students with valuable, hands-on preparation experience.” They will earn college credit, and accounting students can use this credit toward the requirements for the CPA exam.

Interested individuals should call Habitat for Humanity offices at (413) 442-0002 or (413) 442-3181 to find out if they qualify and schedule an appointment. MCLA students will begin to see clients on Monday, Feb. 7. Hours will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. in Murdock Hall on the MCLA campus in North Adams. The program will continue through April 13.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Department of Business Administration has earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This accreditation covers all the department’s business-degree paths, as well as the college’s MBA program.

A global accreditation agency, ACBSP focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes, and a continuous improvement model. ACBSP’s student-centered teaching and learning approach, which is measured and analyzed for quality, ensures that students gain the right skills from their educational investment. Institutions with programs accredited by ACBSP are committed to continuous improvement that ensures their business program will give students the skills employers want.

“This means we have reached a level of rigor and discipline that puts us in the top tier of business programs worldwide,” said Professor of Business Tom Whalen, who is also department chair. “This will keep us reviewing what we’re offering to students, so we continue to make improvements to keep our program rigorous and competitive. This accreditation will give our graduates that much more credit in the job market.”

MCLA’s Department of Business Administration already has an excellent track record for job placement. Recent graduates have secured full-time work at major national companies like BDO Consulting, General Dynamics, and Google. MCLA accounting majors who sit for the certified public accountant exam currently have a 100% pass rate.

In its review, “the Board of Commissioners noted the excellent self-study and accredited all programs with no follow-up notes required,” said Steve Parscale, the ACBSP’s chief accreditation officer. “This is a rare achievement.”

Whalen added that “we’ve known for quite a while we have a really solid program. I’m so proud of what my colleagues have done to get this accreditation. Professor of Economics Chali Nondo has been a champion and a true superman in doing the work to get us here. Associate Professor Tara Barboza has done wonderful work with our accounting program and is a true mentor to her students. Our graduates are out in the world, getting excellent jobs. This accreditation fits in really well with our mission.”