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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.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will continue distribution of $1 million in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), part of the American Rescue Plan, in 2021, along with $689,200 via the state-funded MassGrant Plus program.

MassGrant Plus funding is allocated according to the percentage of enrolled students eligible for federal Pell grants, and is available for full-time or part-time students who need assistance paying for tuition and fees. More than 45% of MCLA students are eligible for Pell grants.

During the 2020-21 academic year, MCLA was able to distribute $208,800 in MassGrant Plus funding; the allocation for the 2021-22 academic year is $689,200. MCLA Director of Student Financial Services Bonnie Howland said the college is currently working on awarding funds for the 2021-22 academic year, and will likely distribute half during the current fall 2021 semester, with the other half distributed in the spring of 2022.

HEERF funding is part of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP). One of the largest investments ever made in American higher education, the 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 received $1.9 million in HEERF funding, announced in August 2021. Students enrolled for summer 2021 courses already received some of this funding, and Howland said the college plans to distribute $1 million in HEERF funding to all students enrolled in credit-bearing courses in mid-November. The remainder will be disbursed to enrolled students in the spring of 2022.

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

“Many of our students have considerations beyond getting to class on time — they are often balancing their studies with work, family obligations, and other commitments,” MCLA President James Birge said. “I’m grateful for this federal and state funding, which will go directly to support our students. A college education can change lives, and for many of our students, receiving financial help along the way will make a difference in the long term.”

Daily News

NORTH ADAMSWall Street Journal Senior Editor Bob Davis will be Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ 2021 Hardman Journalist in Residence on Nov. 1-2.

As part of his residency, he will offer a community lecture on Monday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. in the first-floor atrium of the MCLA Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation. This event is free and open to the public and will be delivered in person with a hybrid virtual option. Click here to register for the in-person event or virtual lecture

Davis is a senior editor who covers economic issues out of Washington D.C., and focuses on the trade and economic struggle between the U.S. and China. He is co-author of a book about the fight, Superpower Showdown. From 2011 to 2014, he was posted in Beijing, where he covered the Chinese economy.

Before he decamped to Beijing, Davis ran economic coverage during the global financial crisis and, before that, reported on Washington’s response to the Asian financial crisis. From 2004 to 2007, he was the WSJ’s Latin America bureau chief, based in Washington, D.C., and covered the resurgence of populist politics. Under his direction, the bureau won the Overseas Press Club award for Latin America coverage in 2005. He was the Journal’s Brussels bureau chief in 2001-02 and was responsible for coverage of the European Union.

In 2000, he was awarded the Raymond Clapper award for Washington reporting for coverage of the White House negotiations with China over the World Trade Organization. A year earlier, he was part of a team of Journal reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for coverage of the Asian and Russian financial crisis.

In 1998, Davis co-authored Prosperity, which was selected by Business Week as one of the year’s 10 best business books.

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

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA and the Berkshire STEM Network will offer virtual programming for local public-school students, K-12 educators, and the general community during Berkshire County STEM Week on Oct. 18-22.

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

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

Each day of Berkshire STEM Week is theme-based:

• Monday, Oct. 18: Food, farming, and sustainability, with contributing programming sessions from Berkshire Grown: “How to Keep Farmers Farming,” fall owling with Williams College, organic agriculture by Full Well Farm, and a live Zoom session with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts;

• Tuesday, Oct. 19: Careers in STEM, with programs in building trades, nursing, mental health, and design technology;

• Wednesday, Oct. 20: STEM in business, with sessions from Berkshire Innovation Center partners; and

• Thursday, Oct. 21: STEM education, with programs from Flying Cloud Institute, the Berkshire Museum, MCLA, Berkshire Community College (BCC), and Williams College, as well as the MassHire Berkshire Career Center’s virtual job fair from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Employment opportunities include STEM and manufacturing careers as well as internships and jobs for youth. The program also will have educational resources. An in-person STEM Café will be hosted in the Connector at BCC.

The week will also include all three episodes of “Project Frontline” by Boyd Studios, an internship and job-information session by General Dynamics for MCLA and BCC students, a STEM education panel hosted by Berkshire Innovation Center with educators and students, and in-person STEM family programs at Berkshire Museum on Saturday, Oct. 23. The Flying Cloud Institute will also offer STEM art kits for families participating in Berkshire STEM Week.

Daily News

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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