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NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) will hold a series of virtual information sessions this fall for community members interested in the college’s MBA program, graduate certificate in business administration, master of education program, Leadership Academy, and bachelor’s-degree completion programs.

Information sessions will take place at noon and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, and Nov. 30. These sessions are free and open to the public. To register, visit mcla.edu/infosession or e-mail DGCE Administrative Assistant Betty LeSage at [email protected] for more information.

Community members interested in pursing 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.

Learn more about MCLA’s DGCE programming and how to apply at www.mcla.edu.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ continued commitment to an excellent, affordable education is reflected in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings. The college has risen to seventh on the list of Top Public Colleges, and to 21st as a Top Performer on Social Mobility and first among all Massachusetts 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 nine of the past 11 years. The college has also appeared on 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 schools 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.

More than 45% of MCLA undergraduate students receive Pell Grants, and more than 40% are the first in their families to go to college. Nearly 85% of students receive some kind of financial aid.

The 2022 rankings represent a march upward for the college. In 2021, MCLA was ranked ninth on the list of Top Public Colleges, and appeared in the top 50 National Liberal Arts Colleges for social mobility.

“I am proud to see MCLA recognized again as a Top Public College, but I am more proud of the work we’ve done to continue to climb these rankings for nine of the last 11 years,” MCLA President James Birge said. “We have an excellent faculty body with expertise and dedication to a liberal-arts education. We have staff dedicated to student outcomes at every level and in every department. We have incredible programs that contribute to social mobility, helping our under-resourced students achieve a college education, which 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.”

In recent years, MCLA has added new programs that help bolster student support. The TRiO Program, founded in 2020 and supported by a $1.2 million federal grant, works toward increasing the retention, good academic standing, and graduation rates of low-income and first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities. This program serves up to 160 students each year.

In 2020, in response to economic uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, MCLA established the Resiliency Fund, which has to date distributed nearly $300,000 to 296 students in need. The college maintains a robust food pantry to combat student food insecurity, supported with student volunteer work and donations. The college also boasts more than 100 of its own private scholarships, including five new additions in 2020.

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.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) recently welcomed three new vice presidents to its executive team: Joseph DaSilva, vice president of Administration and Finance; Richard Glejzer, vice president of Academic Affairs; and Jeannette Smith, vice president of Student Affairs.

The three new vice presidents were hired after an intensive search process that included multiple interviews and open meetings for campus community members, including students, faculty, and staff.

“I’m excited to have three highly experienced vice presidents join our campus community at this pivotal moment in higher education,” MCLA President James Birge said. “They’re already offering new perspective and thinking about ways to continue to carry out our mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to our students.”

DaSilva has worked in public higher education for more than 28 years, the last 21 at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). During his tenure as vice president of Administration and chief financial officer, he provided executive-level vision, leadership, planning, and direction, and managed all aspects of fiscal operations, facilities management, Campus Police, Information Technology, Student Financial Services, and Human Resources/Employee Benefits and Operations Center.

Glejzer was most recently the interim dean of Graduate Studies at Muhlenberg College, and previously served as provost and dean of Faculty at Marlboro College for 10 years. Prior to joining Marlboro, he served as professor and chair of English at North Central College and as chair of the college’s academic programs and policy committee. Among his other institutional duties, he served on the college’s steering committee and the dean’s academic advisory committee. He was a faculty liaison to the board of trustees. Earlier in his career at North Central, Glejzer revised the composition program as the director of Writing.

Smith is a scholar-practitioner with 16 years of work experience in higher education, having worked most recently as the associate dean of Student Affairs and Engagement at Evergreen State College. She was previously employed at Truckee Meadows Community College, the University of Nevada Reno, and Elmhurst College. Her practice areas of experience include student unions, residence life and dining, academic advising, financial aid, shared governance, and student employment. Her scholarship areas of interests include policy, equity, financial aid, and student development.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education worked this summer with Student Diplomacy Corps (SDC) to offer college classes to 101 high-school students from 15 U.S. states and four different countries, including two from Berkshire County.

The program, which provides full scholarships for high-school students, lets participants select from 10 college-credit courses, from public health to sociology and culture, ecology, history, literature, and music. In addition to coursework, MCLA provided guest speakers, including current students, to connect with SDC students about the benefits of a liberal-arts education. While all SDC courses were delivered online this summer, a future residential program is planned.

The Student Diplomacy Corps creates opportunities for high-school students from underserved populations to access free summer programs that build college readiness and foster empathy. Learn more at sdcorps.org.

“The Student Diplomacy Corps has offered an outstanding program this summer that MCLA has been proud to support,” said Paul Petritis, associate dean for Graduate and Continuing Education. “With a rigorous curriculum, outstanding faculty, and an international focus, SDC is a remarkable organization doing wonderful work, and we look forward to partnering with them in the future.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA will receive $1.9 million to distribute directly to enrolled students from Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) that are part of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP).

One of the largest investments ever made in American higher education, ARP allocates $40 billion to colleges in order to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A third round of pandemic relief for higher-education institutions, the ARP funds are more than double the first two COVID recovery packages combined. HEERF funding, which exists under the umbrella of ARP, is meant specifically for students.

MCLA students with the highest need, demonstrated via FAFSA information, will receive the majority of this funding, but all enrolled students will receive a check or the option to use the funds to pay off student debt or pay for future semesters of college.

The first disbursement of funds will be to MCLA undergraduates and graduate students who are enrolled for summer classes as well as for the fall 2021 semester. The next disbursement will be to students enrolled for fall 2021. The remainder of this funding will be disbursed to enrolled students in spring 2022.

Bonnie Howland, MCLA’s director of Student Financial Services, said she has heard from many MCLA students who are helping support their families, have lost jobs, or lack internet access at home. This funding can help pay for expenses so that students can stay enrolled in college while they deal with other emergencies brought on by COVID.

“It’s designed to help students stay in school throughout the pandemic,” Howland said. “I think we’re going to feel the effects of the pandemic for at least the next couple of years.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education is accepting applicants to the college’s fall Degree Completion Program, a cohort-style program that begins Sept. 1 for students looking for a non-traditional path to a bachelor’s degree.

MCLA’s Degree Completion Program is best suited for those who have an associate degree or some college credits. Each program is conducted in a cohort-style learning format in which students begin their course of study with a group of their peers and proceed through the program together. Classes are offered in the evening and online to help students balance work, family commitments, and their academic journey. Classes are offered one night a week at MCLA Pittsfield, 66 Allen St. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Students can earn a bachelor of science degree in business administration or a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies. Students in the interdisciplinary program may focus on children, families, and society; leadership and business; health and human services; or may create an individualized plan of study with an advisor.

To learn more and enroll, visit mcla.edu/degreecompletion or contact Erinn Kennedy, associate director of Advising and Outreach, at [email protected] or (413) 662-5422.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge, held virtually from May 3 to May 7, saw the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts community come together to view and vote for three winning pitches.

The finalists, who pitched their business ideas via video, were Lorenzo Cristofolini ‘21, Cristo’s Consulting; Jake Ferrara ‘21, Ferrara Lawn Care; Latisha Hargrett ‘21, Strong Shoulders; Austin Miller ‘21, Get Hooked Bait & Tackle; and Andrew Nygard ‘21, Wheels Now!

Miller’s Get Hooked Bait & Tackle won first place, which came with a $7,500 award. Hargrett’s Strong Shoulders placed second, for a $5,000 award, and Cristofolini’s Cristo’s Consulting won the $2,500 third-place award. The startup funding awards aim to cover inventory, equipment, and marketing costs for the three new businesses.

Judging was determined by three votes: one each from North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard and Zoar Outdoor founder Bruce Lessels, and 332 votes from the MCLA community, which counted collectively as the third vote.

To watch the business pitch videos, visit mcla.instructure.com/courses/3265819.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — On Friday, May 7 at noon, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) MBA program will present the last event in its Friday Focus series of free virtual panels on entrepreneurship and small business in the time of COVID-19.

Moderated by MCLA Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Joshua Mendel, this event will focus on “Business Financials in the Time of COVID” and feature Gregg Levante, vice president, Commercial Banking relationship manager for NBT Bank, NA; Tracy McConnell, vice president of Business Banking at Adams Community Bank; Marie Harpin, Avangrid Renewables’ administrator for its Hoosac and Deerfield wind sites; and MCLA Assistant Professor of Accounting Tara Barboza.

To register, visit mcla.edu/mba. All events will take place virtually and are free and open to the public. This event will also be streamed to the MCLA Facebook page and will be archived on the MCLA YouTube channel for later viewing.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — As part of the Berkshire Compact for Education, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, MassHire and other community partners will help showcase careers in the Berkshires the week of April 26-30 through Berkshire Virtual Career Week. The event aims to engage high school students, mainly in grades 10-12, in career awareness and exploration through a blend of live Zoom sessions with local professionals and scheduled broadcasts on Pittsfield Community Television.

Career Week programming is also open to Berkshire residents of all ages who are interested in learning more about the current labor market landscape in the Berkshires. Via PCTV, portions of the live sessions will be broadcast, and career-related content will air when there is not a live Zoom meeting. All videos will be available after the week-long event in PCTV’s online educational library. A full schedule with all programming will be available prior to April 26 at www.masshireberkshire.com

The MassHire Berkshire Career Center will also host a virtual job fair from noon to 4 p.m. on April 27. This event is for those ages 14-21 seeking jobs in the Berkshires. To register for the job fair, visit www.MasshireBerkshireCC.com and then “Calendar of Events.”

Career Week will also feature daily, live Zoom sessions focused on different careers in the Berkshires including a STEM session organized by MCLA and the Berkshire STEM Network, plus sessions on Health Care and Human Services, Hospitality and Tourism, Communications, Building Trades, and Advanced Manufacturing.

“It’s great to see these opportunities for students to learn more about what they want to pursue in their future,” said Berkshire Workforce Board high school intern Nick Lopenzina. “Workshops like this really give kids a chance to start finding their direction.”

Said MCLA Director of Corporate and Strategic Partnerships Dr. Joshua Mendel, “MCLA is proud to partner on this program with MassHire. Through MCLA representation on the Berkshire Compact’s Aspiration Committee and the Berkshire STEM Network, the College is able to contribute to these kinds of opportunities for students throughout the Berkshires, another part of our mission of public education, and another aspect of the work we do toward maintaining a thriving economy in Berkshire County.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has received a $28,720 Higher Education Innovation Fund Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), which recently announced a slate of $1.7 million in grants for the state’s public colleges. These grants fund initiatives that help colleges work toward racial equity in Massachusetts public higher education.

The grant will allow the MCLA Department of Public Safety to work with a consulting firm specializing in improving police departments’ relationships with their communities. The consultant will work with MCLA to develop an interactive training module for the Department of Public Safety with the goal of increasing cultural competency and engagement of its officers and staff with the MCLA community.

“I’m deeply appreciative to see our Department of Public Safety receive this grant funding,” said MCLA President James Birge. “Our dedicated public-safety officers play an important role in our community. MCLA’s student population is diverse, and their experiences with police vary greatly. This grant will help our Department of Public Safety continue to connect with our community and help them do the important work of ensuring our campus is a safe, comfortable place for everyone who studies, works, and visits here.”

Most of the grant proposals funded by DHE seek to provide faculty and staff equity training for transforming campus pedagogy, syllabi, curriculum, and campus life, with the goal of making the institution a truly nurturing environment for students of color.

“Since the inception of the Higher Education Innovation Fund, our goal has been to seed and support new ideas and proven practices across our campuses, with the overarching goal to increase success outcomes for minoritized students,” said Patricia Marshall, deputy commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success. “We have begun to identify the need for significant changes in the way we operate and educate, focusing on ensuring that we’re ready to meet the needs of racially minoritized students at our institutions. The innovation grants will provide campuses with the resources to amplify this important work.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Division of Graduate and Continuing Education will hold a virtual information session on Tuesday, April 13 at 4 p.m. This information session will offer details about the college’s MBA program, graduate certificate in business administration, master of education program, teacher licensure programs, administrative licensure, Leadership Academy, and bachelor’s-degree completion programs.

Community members seeking to advance their educational credentials by attaining a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or educator license to become a teacher, principal, or superintendent are encouraged to attend. This information session is free and open to the public, and representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.

For more information or to register, click here. Learn more about MCLA DGCE’s programming and how to apply at www.mcla.edu.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — On Friday, April 9 at noon, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) master of business administration (MBA) program will present a free virtual panel on entrepreneurship and small business in the time of COVID-19, as part of its “Friday Focus” panel series examining the pandemic’s impact on business and economic development.

Moderated by MCLA Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Joshua Mendel, this series features local business leaders, MBA program alumni, and faculty from MCLA’s Business Department.

To register, visit mcla.edu/mba. All events will take place virtually and are free and open to the public. This event will also be streamed to the MCLA Facebook page and will be archived on the MCLA YouTube channel for later viewing.

MCLA’s MBA program is a part-time, accelerated program designed to meet the needs of the working adult learner. Most courses meet through a combination of online and face-to-face instruction and blend classroom experience with practical, hands-on fieldwork. In addition, the program offers diverse academic programming and provides a high return on investment. MCLA’s MBA program accepts applications throughout the year, and new students may begin the program in the fall, spring, and summer.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Dr. Angela Sanguinetti, research environmental psychologist at the University of California, Davis, will give a talk titled “How Emissions Information Can Prompt Travelers to Purchase Greener Flights” as part of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Green Living Seminar Series on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

The series continues on Wednesday, March 31 when Dr. Jason Seacat, professor of Psychology at Western New England University, will give a talk titled “Promoting Recycling Behaviors in Massachusetts.”

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.

Sanguinetti earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, with an emphasis in behavior analysis, from CSU Stanislaus, and a PhD in planning, policy, and design, with an emphasis in design-behavior research, from UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology.

Her research interests center on how the design of the built environment, including communities, homes, and vehicles, impacts people’s behavior and well-being. She directs the Consumer Energy Interfaces Lab and brings her behavioral expertise to projects with the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program, Western Cooling Efficiency Center, Center for Water-Energy Efficiency, and Energy & Efficiency Insitute. She is also director of the Cohousing Research Network, which seeks to increase the impact of research establishing the personal, societal, and environmental benefits of living in collaborative neighborhoods. At UC Davis since 2014, she has worked on more than 20 research grants and authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed journal publications.

Seacat’s major program of research explores the interplay of negative social stereotypes, stigmatization, and personal health behaviors. As a social-health psychologist, he primarily seeks to understand how social interactions may impact the health behaviors and outcomes of stigmatized individuals. Additionally, he actively collaborates with researchers on issues pertaining to diet-related decision making and the consequences of mental-illness stigma on treatment-seeking behavior.

He also maintains an ongoing program of research examining psychosocial predictors of pro-environmental behavior. His current work examines the role of community-level factors in promoting recycling behaviors throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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 — The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Division of Graduate and Continuing Education will present a virtual information session on Tuesday, March 23 at 4 p.m. for community members interested in learning about MCLA’s graduate and continuing-education programs, including bachelor’s-degree completion, master of business administration, master of education, teacher-licensure programs, and the MCLA Leadership Academy.

Community members seeking to advance their educational credentials by attaining a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or educator license to become a teacher, principal, or superintendent are encouraged to attend. This information session is free and open to the public, and representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.

Visit mcla.edu/infosession to register. E-mail [email protected] or call (413) 662-5575 for more information.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — The Berkshire Bank Foundation awarded Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) $20,000 to fund the Berkshire Bank STEM Academy, which accepts up to 20 incoming first-year students enrolled in a STEM major or who have expressed interest in STEM fields.

Designed to introduce incoming students to careers in STEM, the residential, five-day academy includes opportunities to network with STEM faculty, students, and staff in the interest of developing a deeper relationship with those involved in STEM careers in the Berkshires. The program’s ultimate goal is to encourage more students to secure jobs in the Berkshires and remain here after graduation.

This summer will mark the ninth year of the Berkshire Bank STEM Academy. Alumni of the program, which was developed to serve low-income and first-generation college students, have gone on to be leaders at MCLA as residential advisors, tutors, and supplemental instructors. Graduates have gone on to have careers at Raytheon, General Dynamics, Edge Pharma, and as public-school teachers.

Students are selected based on their responses to surveys taken upon their acceptance to the college. Interested students should e-mail program director Dr. Sara Steele, assistant professor of Psychology, at [email protected] to have their name prioritized in the selection process.

During the residential program, where the majority of the awarded funds are spent, students will explore concepts in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, environmental science, psychology, and physics through laboratory work and meeting with faculty. Students will also be paired with an upper-level STEM major who will serve as a mentor. Field trips to local STEM employers, including Berkshire Health Systems, MASS MoCA, and General Dynamics, as well as a roundtable discussion and a dinner with STEM professionals will encourage students to begin thinking about internships and local career opportunities.

Other programming throughout the year will include career exploration, introduction to academic services and resources on campus, and presentations on study skills, time management, course advising, and financial planning. Sessions on preparing and understanding FAFSA applications, student loans, and personal financial responsibility will be conducted by the MCLA Office of Student Financial Services, with individual appointments for all participating students. Berkshire Bank STEM Academy students will be expected to attend special events during the year, such as visiting speakers, planned programs, and MCLA’s annual Undergraduate Research Conference.

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