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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College has been named a recipient of the Campus Prevention Network (CPN) Seal of Prevention. Presented by Vector Solutions, the CPN Seal of Prevention is awarded to institutions of higher education that have demonstrated leadership in digital prevention programming focused on student safety, well-being, and inclusion.

Each recipient of the CPN Seal of Prevention has taken action to create a safer, more inclusive campus through comprehensive, evidence-based digital prevention education on issues such as sexual assault, alcohol misuse, mental health, and discrimination. It establishes guidelines for discerning quality online prevention education and implementation practices, and positions prevention as central to key institutional outcomes.

“Springfield College is known for holistically educating students in service to others. This Seal of Prevention is a recognition that the co-curricular experiences provided to students not only educate them on matters of safety and well-being, but prepare them to live and lead in a diverse world,” Vice President for Student Affairs Slandie Dieujuste said. “We are honored to be among the top 12% of higher-education institutions receiving this recognition.

At Springfield College, incoming students complete three courses: “AlcoholEdu” (first-year and transfer students), “Sexual Assault Prevention” (all new undergraduate, graduate, and regional and online students), and “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for Students” (all new students). Sophomores complete “Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing: Healthy Relationships,” juniors complete “Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing: Taking Action,” and student-athletes complete “Sexual Assault Prevention for Student-Athletes.”

In addition, all new employees complete “Title IX and Sexual Harassment Prevention” (supervisor or non-supervisor courses), “FERPA: Confidentiality of Records,” “Data Security & Privacy,” and “Managing Bias.”

“Creating a culture of prevention speaks to the heart of the Springfield College mission. We are proud to receive this seal of prevention as recognition for the support and commitment of college leadership to ensure our students and employees are informed about their safety and well-being,” said Erin Leeper, director of Non-discrimination Initiatives, Title IX administrator, and 504 coordinator.

According to research conducted by Vector Solutions, 34% of high-school seniors are more likely to attend a college or university that has achieved the CPN Seal of Prevention. Among current college students, 77% feel it is important that their institution has achieved the CPN Seal of Prevention.

“The CPN Seal of Prevention recipients reflect the top 12% of colleges and universities nationwide, further highlighting their commitment and investment to not only academics but also the well-being of their students and the overall college experience,” said Jonathan Cherins, CEO at Vector Solutions.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Board of Trustees recently announced the outcome of its 2022-23 board election results during its annual spring meeting.

William Burke III was re-elected as chair for the board of trustees. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola College, and also received a master of Business Administration from Loyola College Sellenger School of Management.

The following individuals have been elected to serve a three-year term on the board of trustees (Class of 2025):

  • Mark Elgart is president and chief executive officer at Cognia in Alpharetta, Ga. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College, a master of Education from Westfield State College (now university), and a doctor of Education from the University of Massachusetts.
  • Pia Flanagan is chief of staff to the chief executive officer at MassMutual in Springfield. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a juris doctor from Emory University School of Law.
  • Peter Pappas is a wealth management associate at Morgan Stanley in Springfield. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Kenyon College, a Master of Arts from Union College, and a master of Education from Springfield College.
  • Suzanne Robotti is the founder and president of MedShadow Foundation in New York, N.Y. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.

The following individuals have been elected as new members to serve a three-year term on the Springfield College Board of Trustees (Class of 2025):

  • Terry Powe is principal of Elias Brookings School in Springfield, Mass. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College.
  • Anthony Sarage is a podiatrist and partner at Western Massachusetts Podiatry Associates in East Longmeadow, Mass. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University.

The following individuals have been elected to serve a five-year term on the Springfield College Board of Trustees (Class of 2027):

  • Denise Alleyne is a retired vice president for student services at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1973 and a graduate degree in 1974.
  • Douglass L. Coupe is the retired vice president of State Street Global Investor Services of Boston. Coupe has been a member of the Board of Trustees for more than 20 years serving as chair from 2011 to 2015. He earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate of advanced studies at Springfield College, and he received an honorary doctor of Humanics degree from the College in 2016.

Samantha Hourihan, a native of Bridgewater, will continue to serve as a student trustee until January 2023. A physical therapy major, Hourihan has been named to dean’s list multiple times and is a member of the women’s basketball team.

Gizzelle Abanador, a native of Ludlow, will continue to serve as student trustee-Elect until January 2023 and then serve as student trustee from January-December 2023. She is a biology major.

David Henke, a native of Brookfield, Conn., was elected as student trustee-elect for January-December 2023. He is a secondary education major.

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SPRINGFIELD — A long-time champion for social change and equality and sports icon Billie Jean King will deliver the 2022 Springfield College commencement address at the 136th Springfield College Commencement Exercises on May 15 at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.

“Welcoming Billie Jean King to Springfield College to address our graduates speaks volumes to the commitment Springfield College has made to equity, inclusion, diversity, and to advancing opportunities for girls and women in sport,” said Mary-Beth Cooper, Springfield College president. “In honoring a pioneer, an advocate, an athlete, and a visionary, we also honor the incredible women and men who have made a difference through education and sport. There is no finer choice to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX. Billie Jean King represents the best of all that Springfield College values, especially leadership in service to others.”

King’s appearance kicks off a year-long celebration at Springfield College of 50 Years of Title IX. The celebration commemorates the anniversary of the landmark federal law signed in 1972 that prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. 

Named one of the ‘100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century’ by Life magazine, King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation, and part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angel City FC, and the Philadelphia Freedoms. 

King created new inroads for all genders in sports and beyond during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today. She is an advocate for LGBTQ rights and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor in the United States — in 2009. In her legendary tennis career, she ranked as the top female tennis player in the world.

King captured 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. Her historic win over Bobby Riggs in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes, is one of the greatest moments in sports history. 

In September 2020, King became the first woman to have an annual global team sports event named in her honor when Fed Cup, the women’s world cup of tennis, was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup. The National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006 in honor of her accomplishments on and off the court.

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SPRINGFIELD — MassDevelopment has issued a $106,675,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Springfield College, which will use proceeds to fund several capital projects.

The college will use $45,095,000 to build and equip a new environmentally friendly and sustainable, 76,000-square-foot health sciences building; this portion of the financing received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, which are approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative.

The college will use the remaining proceeds to build an academic quad and campus pavilion; renovate classrooms, residence halls, administrative buildings, and the existing health sciences building; improve a steam-plant facility; upgrade walking and running paths and outdoor seating; and refinance previously issued debt. The bond was sold through a public offering underwritten by Hilltop Securities Inc.

“Institutions of higher education are important drivers of our state and local economies as they bring jobs, opportunities, and additional activity to communities across the Commonwealth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “MassDevelopment is a valuable partner to those colleges and universities looking to modernize infrastructure and remain competitive hubs of innovation and intellectual exploration.”

MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera added that “this major investment represents Springfield College’s commitment to its students, staff, and the entire Greater Springfield community. MassDevelopment is proud to lend a helping hand to support construction of a new health sciences building and significant upgrades to the college’s campus and academic facilities.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno offered “a big thank you to MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera, who — once a mayor, always a mayor — understands that these types of investments into our community are essential to maintain and move forward on capital projects while not hindering an institution’s bottom line. I am very appreciative of MassDevelopment’s continued support, belief, and investment in our Springfield, especially to Springfield College over these past years. This public-private partnership continues to greatly enhance the campus of Springfield College, which in turn has increased overall quality of life to the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, and just as important, these improvements and various upgrades of the amenities and facilities the college has to offer benefits our residents, especially our students and their families.”

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SPRINGFIELD — In a Springfield College holiday tradition, the Office of Spiritual Life staff led its annual adopt-a-family program, with the mission of helping neighboring families. Once again, members of the campus community worked together to make sure families from the Teen Living Program in Springfield received special gifts this holiday season. The Teen Living Program, run by Springfield-based Open Pantry Community Services, is a residential program for teenage mothers and their children who require a safe place to live.

This year’s adopt-a-family planning team was led by Amy Quenneville, who joined Springfield College graduate student Jonathan Perlow and Springfield College Director of Spiritual Life David McMahon in organizing this year’s program. Quenneville is a part of the campus community’s Project SEARCH initiative, which is a partnership with New England Business Associates that helps a cohort of interns gain valuable work experience through month-long internship rotations with a variety of departments and offices on campus.

“This truly is one of the most heartwarming initiatives I am involved in at Springfield College,” Quenneville said. “We wanted to make sure we were able to help families in our community, and so many special people on the campus helped make this program a success.”

Similar to previous years, the Springfield College campus community came together and assisted in making sure 26 families from the Teen Living Program had a holiday season to remember.

“It has been so heartwarming to see all of the gifts again this year, and it really means so much to all of the families,” said Teen Living Program Director Nicole Lussier, who earned her master of social work degree from Springfield College in 2000. “Every day, I feel like I am going to cry just looking at all of the gifts. It really does display that there are so many great people in our community, and at Springfield College.”

Overall, the adopt-a-family program is another example of students, faculty, and staff living our Humanics philosophy and directly getting involved in taking care of their neighbors in the city of Springfield.

“The impact this has on our families is so special,” Lussier added. “Many families in our program have never had the opportunity to receive gifts during the holidays, and being a part of this adopt-a-family program really reminds us all why we are all here, and it emphasizes why helping others is so very important.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced it has partnered with MassDevelopment to issue $106,675,000 in bonds, of which $50 million has received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative. Sustainability remains a key strategic focus for Springfield College, and pursuing a Green Bond was an intentional decision to demonstrate that commitment.

“Springfield College is one of the first colleges or universities in Massachusetts to take the lead on issuing a Green Bond that reflects the convergence of environmental and financial principles for long-term sustainability,” said William Guerrero, the college’s vice president for Finance and Administration.

The bond offerings highlight a commitment to both climate and sustainability designations, and will be used to finance campus construction and renovation projects, including the new Springfield College Health Sciences Center, which will empower transformative approaches to education, career enhancement, service, research, and leadership in healthcare.

“The new Springfield College Health Sciences Center will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver building design, and the adjacent parking lot will include EV charging stations and solar canopies,” Guerrero noted. “This type of building design demonstrates the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability and environmental, social, and governance principles to be good stewards within our community.”

The new Health Sciences Center will be architecturally designed by SLAM, based in Glastonbury, Conn., and constructed by Consigli Construction, based in Hartford, Conn.

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SPRINGFIELD — Dr. Simone Alter-Muri, Springfield College’s director and professor for Art Therapy/Counseling and Art Education Programs, recently received the American Art Therapy Assoc. (AATA) 2021 Outstanding Creative Applied Practice Award (OCAPA). Alter-Muri received her honor during the AATA’s recent 2021 virtual awards ceremony.

“I am honored to be the first recipient of the Outstanding Applied Creative Practice Award by the American Art Therapy Association,” Alter-Muri said. “This award was founded in memory of Dr. Lani Gerrity, an amazing art therapist. Receiving the award would not be possible without the support and inspiration from my colleagues and students. This award talks to the language we all know, the language of our hearts. I hope to serve as a mentor for students in the applied creative practice of art therapy.”

The criteria for this award included personal art making that emphasized social justice, resilience, and the promotion of art therapy in the community. Alter-Muri’s art making has demonstrated a commitment to creative practice and has significantly influenced the art-therapy community with these art-based practices. She has demonstrated support for the value of art in art therapy as evidenced by both personal and professional practice as an artist and art therapist.

The OCAPA is designated for an active member of the AATA whose contributions as an artist and art therapist (or student in a current art-therapy program) have significantly influenced the art-therapy profession.

The AATA is dedicated to the growth and development of the art-therapy profession. Founded in 1969, the association is one of the world’s leading art-therapy membership organizations. Its mission is to advance art therapy as a regulated mental-health profession and build a community that supports art therapists throughout their careers.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College hosted an official kickoff event for Advancing Humanics: The Campaign for Springfield College on Nov. 12 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Center Court.

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper officially introduced the comprehensive campaign, which supports the Springfield College Humanics philosophy, which is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others. Cooper provided an overview of the campaign goal of $50 million. Advancing Humanics is being co-chaired by trustees Gregory Toczydlowski and Michele Megas-Ditomassi. Trustee emerita Helen Davis Blake, co-chair of the last Springfield College campaign, is serving as the honorary campaign chair.

“As we educate students in our Humanics tradition, we prepare professionals whose goals are to lead and care for their communities,” Cooper said. “The Advancing Humanics campaign is about preparing the future that needs Springfield College students and graduates today. The excitement is building around this campaign. Individuals can help us shape the future by investing in our students and the value of a Springfield College education.”

Gifts collected during the Advancing Humanics campaign will have a direct effect on every aspect of campus life, and the financial support will provide immediate assistance to the most critical needs of Springfield College, including scholarship resources for students and the new Health Sciences Center.

“I assumed the responsibility of co-chair of the Advancing Humanics campaign because Springfield College has influenced me throughout my life,” Toczydlowski said. “Not only have I embraced the principles of spirit, mind, and body, but it has also helped me with the mission of leadership and service to others. The Springfield College mission has served me well in my business and my profession, and especially in my community.”

The Advancing Humanics campaign will be led by individuals who not only have been invested in the Springfield College community, but have also been dedicated to the Greater Springfield community.

“I was born and raised in Springfield, and I knew early on that Springfield College was a strong partner to the Springfield community,” Megas-Ditomassi said. “I strongly believe in the mission of Springfield College because it’s just as relevant today as it was when Springfield College was founded in 1885. I know the Advancing Humanics campaign will continue to make our mission thrive by investing in our students, faculty, staff, our academic programs, and, of course, our beautiful Springfield College campus. I have always believed that Springfield College makes the world a better place.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College invites members of the Springfield community to attend the college’s Veterans Day observance ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 11, starting at 12:15 p.m. at the new Springfield College Veterans and Military Services Center located at 727 Middlesex St., at the corner of Alden Street and Middlesex Street near the Springfield College archway.

This year’s Veterans Day ceremony will be followed by the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Springfield College Veterans and Military Services Center, the newest addition to the campus community, which offers space and support services for military members. A reception and tours of the center will follow the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Veterans Day ceremony is annually planned by the Office of Student Affairs and Spiritual Life and pays tribute to all veterans who have served and continue to serve our country.

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SPRINGFIELD — William Burke III will chair the Springfield College board of trustees for the 2021-22 academic year. A board of trustees member since 2004, he will lead the governing body of the college, which is responsible for major decisions and changes on campus, and comprises an integral part of the progress and advancement of the college.

Burke was chief operating officer of Newell Brands, a Fortune 200 global marketer of consumer and commercial products with worldwide sales of more than $10 billion. The company has a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Yankee Candle, Sharpie, Paper Mate, Parker, Elmer’s, Yankee Candle, Coleman, Marmot, Rawlings, Oster, Sunbeam, Mr. Coffee, Graco, Baby Jogger, Calphalon, Contigo, First Alert, Jostens, and Rubbermaid.

“The ancient Greek philosophy was founded on the notion of a balanced individual,” Burke said. “The Springfield College mission is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others. Building on that foundation reminds me of a quote Aristotle said: at the intersection between one’s gifts and the needs of the world is ‘vocare’ — that is Latin for ‘calling.’ That is the Springfield College community. No institution has a greater mission, and that is why I am all in.”

Burke’s 13-year career with Newell Rubbermaid started as president of American Saw, where he was recruited to integrate a privately held company, Lenox, into Newell Rubbermaid.

“Bill has been an engaged and valued trustee for 17 years, and he is a thoughtful, deliberate, and reflective leader who keenly understands and appreciates the unique Springfield College mission,” college President Mary-Beth Cooper said. “Throughout the pandemic, our board has been accessible and helpful as we’ve navigated difficult decisions. Always leading with the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff in mind, our board was — and is — a vital source of counsel and support, while also ensuring the college’s financial health. Bill brings great professional experience and wisdom to Springfield College, and I am eager to work with him in his new capacity as chair.”

Burke earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola College (now Loyola University), and also received an MBA from Loyola College Sellenger School of Management.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College and the University of Massachusetts Law School – Dartmouth have finalized a 3+3 agreement that will create new, accelerated opportunities for Springfield College students to attain a law degree.

As part of the agreement, Springfield College pre-law students will spend three years working toward their undergraduate degree before enrolling at UMass Law, where they will begin taking law courses that fulfill their remaining undergraduate requirements while beginning their legal education.

“We are delighted and honored to partner with an important institution whose mission is so aligned with ours,” said Springfield College School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rachel Rubinstein. “As the only public law school in Massachusetts, UMass Law is committed to providing an accessible and excellent legal education that prepares lawyers to advance justice through service and leadership. We can’t imagine a better fit for our students considering or planning careers in the law, whether they study history, criminal justice, business, or any number of related fields.”

Springfield College Professor of History and Pre-Law Advisor Thomas Carty was instrumental in forging this pathway for Springfield College students with UMass Law. Students will earn their bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees in six years rather than the traditional seven. These accelerated degree programs allow students to apply credits earned during their first year of law school to their final year of college, saving students thousands of dollars in tuition payments and living expenses.

“As the Pre-Law program on our campus continues to expand, including the creation of a Mock Trial Club this year, we welcome this new partnership with UMass Law,” Carty said. “Springfield College has made a commitment to providing more opportunities for undergraduate students to explore the legal field. This commitment stays consistent with our mission of service and leadership to others.”

Over the past five years, UMass Law ranks second in the nation, among nearly 200 ABA-accredited law schools, for enrollment growth, while maintaining the smallest first-year doctrinal course sizes among all Massachusetts law schools. UMass Law’s most recent ABA Standard 316 ‘ultimate’ (two-year) bar pass rate is 92% across all jurisdictions. UMass Law has twice been ranked among the best law schools in the country for its program of practical training. The law school also ranks second among all 15 law schools in New England for the percentage of students entering public service.

“For UMass Law, it is important that we partner with undergraduate institutions to provide access to an affordable, high-quality legal education,” UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick said. “Springfield’s support of legal education through their pre-law program and commitment to the region is a natural pairing for UMass Law that will lead to student success and community impact.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Division of Finance and Administration announced that Lt. Joseph Tiraboschi has been promoted to Springfield College deputy chief.

Tiraboschi has been a member of the Springfield College Police Department since 2017, most recently serving as administrative lieutenant, where he supervised more than 40 personnel members, including officers and dispatchers. In addition, he managed all crime statistics, managed certification in accordance with the Massachusetts State Police, and directed all department policies and procedures.

“Although I’ve been working directly with Public Safety since July, I’ve had the chance to observe Joe’s work during my time in Student Affairs and was very impressed with his dedication, care, and commitment to students and the greater community,” Springfield College Associate Vice President for Administration Patrick Love said. “Now that I work more closely with him, I can see just how hard he works and his excellent leadership capabilities. His promotion is well-deserved, and Public Safety will benefit tremendously with having him in this position.”

Prior to his role as administrative lieutenant, Tiraboschi worked as detective sergeant, overseeing all criminal and non-criminal investigations, while also taking on the responsibilities of background investigator, internal-affairs investigator, and sexual-assault investigator. In addition, he was responsible for enforcing all U.S. Constitutional laws, Massachusetts General Laws, and Springfield College bylaws.

A 2013 graduate of the Massachusetts State full-Time Police Academy, Tiraboschi transitioned from a Springfield College Police Department dispatcher to a full-time police officer in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Springfield College in 2010, and he is currently on pace to earn his master’s degree in counseling from Springfield College in 2022.

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SPRINGFIELD — Award-winning fiction writer and Springfield College Associate Professor of English Justine Dymond will read from her short-story collection, The Emigrant and Other Stories, on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum, located inside the Harold C. Smith Learning Commons. The event will include a Q&A session with the author. This event is free and open to the Springfield College community and the public.

Described as “smart and subversive” and “a masterful collection from a gifted stylist,” The Emigrant & Other Stories ranges widely in setting and era, including France during World War II, Maine in the early 18th century, and Tennessee in the 21st century.

The Emigrant and Other Stories won the 2018 Eludia Award from Hidden Rivers Arts. In advanced praise for the collection, novelist Allison Amend noted that “her stories’ astonishing breadth in style, time, and place allow Dymond to examine from all angles the powerful drive that propels us away from the familiar.”

Dymond’s other awards and honors include a 2020 Mass Cultural Council finalist grant, second place in the New South prose-writing contest for her memoir about breast cancer titled Brave of Worms, a 2007 O. Henry Prize, a “distinguished” story in The Best American Short Stories 2006, two Pushcart Prize nominations, and a nomination for The Best American Travel Writing. Her stories have appeared in Pleiades, Massachusetts Review, Briar Cliff Review, Meat for Tea, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Cargo Literary.

Her co-edited collection Motherhood Memoirs: Mothers Creating/Writing Lives was published in 2013. She has been honored with grants and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Writers OMI at Ledig House, and Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. On faculty in the Department of Literature, Writing, and Journalism at Springfield College since 2008, she is currently working on a novel based on the life of a woman who was tried for infanticide in Boston in 1733.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College continues to excel at offering its students a strong return on their academic investment. For the seventh consecutive year, the college is ranked in the top 30 in the Best Regional Universities – North Region category in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” report. Also, the college is ranked 16th in the Best Value category of the report, up 10 spots from last year. The accolades show Springfield College is committed to affordability while still delivering an exceptional college experience.

“The consistent top-tier ranking demonstrates that the value proposition of a Springfield College education, grounded in the Humanics philosophy, continues to be well-regarded,” President Mary-Beth Cooper said. “I am extremely proud of the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to advancing the Springfield College mission. We are proud to receive continued recognition for our outstanding academic offerings and rich co-curricular life. Springfield College is a special place, and it’s a worthwhile investment that benefits our graduates who are starting out in this competitive job market and those who are long into their careers.”

The consistent ranking in the top tier is spurred by improved graduation rates and improved retention of first-year students. U.S. News ratings are based on a peer assessment from other higher-education institution leaders and variables, such as graduation and retention rates, student selectivity, class size, alumni giving, and student-faculty ratio. In the Best Value category, the only other New England college ranked higher than Springfield College was Bentley University (ranked second overall).

As a result of another successful summer and fall student recruiting effort, Springfield College welcomes an incoming first-year class that represents the strongest academic profile of any entering class in history, with an average cumulative high school GPA of just over 3.5.

“Our enrollment remains strong because students want to be a part of moving our mission forward,” Cooper said. “We have a vision and strategic plan for how to educate and serve our students in exceptional ways. In our strategic plan, we put students first, and we have a campus master plan that provides exceptional learning and recreational facilities that prepare students for all aspects of personal and professional success. We are innovatively reinvigorating our highly successful academic programs and creating new ones to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. That includes providing online degree options to meet students where they are.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts has partnered with Soccer without Borders and Springfield College to host a first-of-its-kind soccer clinic in Springfield. The week-long clinic will be held June 28 to July 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Springfield College for 50 refugee and immigrant Springfield high-school students.

The soccer clinic will provide a positive summer experience for refugee and immigrant students who attend Springfield public schools. For some students, this will be the first in-person activity of the school year, and for others new to the city or the U.S., it is an opportunity to meet peers in person and find common ground.

“As one of the few global languages, soccer has the power to shape the world for the better,” said Bruno Contreras, Soccer without Borders Boston program director. “Soccer Without Borders (SWB) uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing underserved youth in the U.S. and abroad with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. SWB Boston has been serving the refugee and immigrant community in and around East Boston since 2012 with a culture of welcoming and belonging that supports newcomers to build a new home.”

JFS and Springfield College are excited to have Soccer without Borders make its debut in Springfield. The clinic will bring together youth and coaches from diverse cultural backgrounds to create community, exercise, build leadership, and practice their English-language skills. Over the course of the week, teens will have the opportunity to foster teamwork, connect and build friendships with other teens, and, of course, have fun.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced that Rachel Rubinstein has been named dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, effective July 12.

Rubinstein was professor of American Literature and Jewish Studies at Hampshire College for 16 years, where she also served as the dean of Academic Support and Advising for six years. She subsequently became Holyoke Community College’s inaugural vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, a position that combined two previously separate divisions. Most recently, she has been serving as senior advisor to the deputy commissioner of Academic Affairs and Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, where she has focused on supporting initiatives in the state’s equity agenda.

“I am excited about the contemporary perspectives that she brings in fostering student achievement and success as well as her talent in breaking down silos across diverse constituencies,” said Martha Potvin, Springfield College’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “She is a great fit with the college’s mission, and I expect that she will ably lead the School of Arts and Sciences toward further academic quality and excellence.”

The child of immigrants from Mexico, Rubinstein’s scholarship focuses on migration, multi-lingualism, racial formation, and literary nationalism, as well as on pedagogies in the fields of ethnic and race studies. She is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination, as well as the co-editor of Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon and, most recently, Teaching Jewish American Literature, a volume in the MLA’s Options for Teaching series. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and her PhD in English and American literature from Harvard University.

“I am honored and excited to bring a commitment to student success, innovative and interdisciplinary teaching and research, and student-centered academic leadership to Springfield College and the School of Arts and Sciences,” Rubinstein said.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College will open its 2021 commencement weekend ceremonies with a virtual presentation on Friday, May 14, with Gov. Charlie Baker delivering the virtual commencement address. The virtual ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed by clicking here.

Following Friday’s virtual opening celebration, the college will host eight separate in-person ceremonies, four on Saturday, May 15, and four on Sunday, May 16, at Stagg Field on the Springfield College main campus. Ceremonies start at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. each day. Video streams and schedules of the ceremonies can be accessed through the Springfield College commencement stream webpage.

Over the weekend, Springfield College will award 434 master’s degrees, seven certificates of advanced graduate study, three doctor of philosophy degrees, 34 doctor of physical therapy degrees, and 13 doctor of psychology degrees. At the undergraduate ceremonies, the college will award 671 bachelor’s degrees. All together, 1,162 degrees are being awarded.

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SPRINGFIELDSpringfield College has partnered with the Springfield Public Schools in providing employee grants to full and part-time employees of Springfield Public Schools, who are enrolled in either undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, or certificate of advanced graduate study programs at Springfield College.

Springfield Public Schools employees are eligible to receive scholarships, which have been established by Springfield College to support its members being educated for leadership in service to others. Students must provide employment information to confirm their eligibility. For more information, visit springfield.edu/partnership.

“We are excited to continue to grow our menu of options for Springfield Public Schools employees interested in furthering their education,” said Springfield Public Schools Senior Administrator of Talent and Diversity Development Matthew J. Grimes. “The synergy that exists between SPS, Springfield College, and other organizations in Western Mass is exactly what is needed to address critical issues impacting education in the region, including the lack of racial diversity that exists in our workforce. Partnerships like this allow us to leverage our resources to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and retention. Our goal is to not only attract highly qualified, diverse employees to SPS, but also keep and develop them. Being able to support employees on their own learning journeys is critical in strengthening our workforce.”

Employees of Springfield Public Schools can receive the employee grant for each degree pursued at the college, and participants will be awarded potential transfer credits who have completed trainings and certifications as outlined in the college’s experiential learning handbook.

In addition, the college will provide a pathway for Springfield Public Schools employees, once enrolled, to earn additional credits for their degree program through the College’s prior learning assessment portfolio program.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs team, in collaboration with other partners, is hosting a two-day virtual summit today and Saturday, April 16 and 17, to provide a background, general understanding, and experience in the study of hip-hop as a field of academic inquiry, and to address the new realities of those involved in and impacted by the culture.

The event will feature keynote speaker Rosa Clemente — an organizer, producer, independent journalist, and scholar-activist — and 10 panelists, performers, and artists. The summit will educate the community on topics related to classism, racism and white supremacy, sexism, and heteronormativity.

Click here for more details about this event. For general inquiries, e-mail [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced that Slandie Dieujuste has been hired as vice president for Student Affairs. She is currently vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students at Massasoit Community College, a position she has held since 2018. She will start her new role at Springfield College on July 1.

Dieujuste will join the Springfield College President’s Leadership Team and play a key leadership role in fostering a sense of inclusion and engagement in a diverse and vibrant community. Working with students, faculty, and staff, she will be responsible for developing a comprehensive co-curricular vision for life on campus.

“This was a competitive, national search during a challenging time for higher education, and Dr. Dieujuste emerged from a strong pool of candidates because of her breadth of experience and her record of accomplishments as a leader in student affairs,” Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper said. “She joins a cohesive team that works together to achieve the college mission of educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others.”

Prior to her current role at Massasoit Community College, Dieujuste was associate vice provost for Residence and Greek Life at Illinois Institute of Technology. She also held student-affairs leadership positions at Governors State University, Jackson College, Saint Mary’s College, and Northeastern University. She received her PhD in higher education administration from Andrews University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College.

“I am thrilled to be joining Springfield College at this pivotal moment in history,” Dieujuste said. “In a year that has been marked by loss and isolation, Springfield College’s Humanics philosophy of educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others has proven timeless and relevant. I am looking forward to contributing to this mission and collaborating with my colleagues to foster an inclusive and engaging environment for our students. I am fully committed to being a champion for all students and to finding ways to help them reach their full potential.”

Dieujuste will lead the Springfield College Division of Student Affairs, which includes the following offices and programs: Spiritual Life, Community Standards, Alcohol and Other Drug Education, Dean of Students, Student Orientation Programs, Career Center, Counseling Center, Housing and Residence Life, Student Activities and Campus Union, Campus Recreation, Center for Service and Leadership, and the Health Center.

“I’m grateful to the hard-working members of our search committee who brought this search to a successful conclusion,” Cooper said. “Dr. Dieujuste joins us as we begin our preparations for the arrival of students for the 2021-22 academic year, and I look forward to her ideas, her leadership on our campus, and to the ways that she will engage with our students to promote an overall positive student experience at Springfield College.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced that Beth Zapatka has been hired as the new vice president for Institutional Advancement, following a national and competitive search. Zapatka comes to Springfield College from Yale University, where she served as associate dean for Development and Alumni Affairs for the Yale School of Nursing. She will join the President’s Leadership Team on July 1.

“Beth will oversee all of our institutional-advancement efforts, including the departments of Advancement Services, Alumni Relations, and Development,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper. “Beth will work closely with the President’s Leadership Team and our entire campus community to translate the passion for and loyalty to Springfield College into successful fundraising efforts and long-term alumni engagement.”

In a nine-year career at Yale, Zapatka held numerous roles that created a well-rounded set of experiences in institutional advancement that are directly transferable to Springfield College. In her most recent role in the School of Nursing, her accomplishments include securing significant new resources — nearly tripling contributions to the school — overseeing a rebranding campaign, building university-wide collaborations, broadening the use of social-media platforms, and reinvigorating the alumni and advisory boards.

“This is an important hire for the college as we prepare to publicly launch our campaign later this year,” Cooper said. “With a career spent in philanthropy, Beth’s leadership and experience are an excellent match for Springfield College. Beth also has demonstrated a keen ability to grow and develop a strong team of institutional-advancement staff and has a record of success in cultivating relationships that will advance the college’s mission and resource base.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper announced the college’s plans for the 2021 commencement ceremonies the weekend of May 14-16. The festivities will begin on Friday, May 14 with a virtual opening celebration streamed live starting at 6:30 p.m. Following Friday’s opening celebration, the college will host eight separate in-person ceremonies, four on Saturday, May 15 and four on Sunday, May 16, at Stagg Field on the Springfield College main campus. All ceremonies will be streamed live on springfield.edu, including the in-person ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday.

“After such a challenging year, these celebrations are something to look forward to and a wonderful way to celebrate the accomplishments of our students,” Cooper said. “Student input in these decisions has been important and helpful, including responses to the survey and student-leader involvement on the commencement committee.”

On May 15, the School of Health Sciences will hold its graduate commencement at 8:30 a.m. and its undergraduate commencement at 11:30 a.m. Also on May 15, the School of Arts and Sciences will hold its graduate commencement at 3 p.m. and its undergraduate commencement at 5 p.m.

On May 16, the School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership will hold its graduate commencement at 8:30 a.m. and its undergraduate commencement at 11:30 a.m. Also on May 16, the School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences will hold its graduate commencement at 3 p.m. and its undergraduate commencement at 6:30 p.m.

Each ceremony is expected to be approximately 60 to 75 minutes in length. Graduates who have completed a degree application will receive an e-mail with instructions for registering guests, and those tickets will be valid for the specified ceremony only. No tickets will be available during commencement weekend.

“With the exception of Friday’s virtual event, the ceremonies will be in-person gatherings, designed to comply with the restrictions in place by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, while retaining elements of commencement that are important to our students,” Cooper said. “Each graduate will be permitted to invite up to two guests to the in-person commencement ceremonies, something we know is important to our students and is made possible because of the commencement guidelines provided by the Commonwealth. The ceremonies will also be livestreamed on springfield.edu, but having some guests on campus is a positive step.”

In between ceremonies, the commencement and guest areas, including the chairs and stage, will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and all graduates and guests will be required to wear face coverings at all times and adhere to social-distancing guidelines. All seating at Stagg Field will allow for appropriate six-foot social distancing between graduates and between guest groups.

In addition, the Springfield College main campus will be open to graduating students and their guests on May 15 and 16 to allow graduates to take photos with their friends and families at their favorite outdoor campus locations before or after their ceremony.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College will welcome Holocaust survivor, author, and human-rights activist Marione Ingram on Thursday, April 8 from 4 to 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the college and local community.

In this lecture, Ingram will share excerpts from her memoirs, The Hands of War and The Hands of Peace. She will discuss the failure to respond to fascism and racism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and the non-violent responses to those evils in the U.S. in the 1960s. She will then try to relate her experiences to the challenges that students face today.

Ingram is a writer, artist, and human-rights activist who experienced the Holocaust, Europe’s deadliest bombing, and the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. Throughout the turbulent ’60s and ’70s and into the 21st century, she continued to protest racism, war, sexism, Apartheid, and police violence. Ingram’s Holocaust memoir, The Hands of War, became a New York Times bestseller in 2014 and was followed by a companion memoir in 2015, The Hands of Peace, which celebrates the countless acts of non-violent defiance that culminated in the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.

Event sponsors include Springfield College’s Office of Spiritual Life; Holocaust Remembrance Committee; Department of Literature, Writing, and Journalism; Department of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership and the Humanics in Action Club recently delivered more than 200 fire-safety kits to Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary School, and 100 incentive kits to both Elias Brookings Elementary School and William N. DeBerry Elementary School.

The fire-safety kits include washcloths, emergency whistles, water bottles, granola bars, a face mask, soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, as well as donated items from the Springfield Fire Department, including a fire hat and a fire-safety booklet. The intention behind the fire-safety kits is that, in an emergency, the kids could grab the bag and have emergency supplies.

The incentive kits include an activity book, notebook, crayons, slime, DIY slap bracelets, positive notes, and erasers.

Throughout the spring semester, the Humanics in Action Club has been hosting Sip and Serve service project events in the Campus Union Café on Sunday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The events have provided members of the campus community an opportunity to take part in service projects and demonstrate the college’s Humanics philosophy.

Nicole Coakley, assistant director of the Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership, and therapeutic recreation major Margaux Atkins have helped lead the Sip and Serve events, which consist of service projects being performed while enjoying hot chocolate provided by Harvest Table.

All of the items donated to the Springfield-area schools were produced by students who attended the Sip and Serve events, along with items donated by the Springfield Fire Department.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — In conjunction with the Springfield College Legacy Alumni of Color, the Springfield College community has set aside Thursday, March 25 for “A Day to Confront Racism,” featuring workshops and conversations to confront racism, power, privilege, and prejudice. This date also is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade, the impetus for this day-long event.

At the conclusion of the four webinars, the campus community will transition to welcoming noted anti-racist scholar and bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi, and hearing about his anti-racism work as the featured speaker at the Springfield College Arts & Humanities Speaker Series lecture at 7 p.m.

The four webinars are titled “The Past is Present: How the Historical Legacies Revealed by the 1619 Project Impact Our Professions and Communities,” “John Brown: the City of Springfield Connection to this Abolitionist and Accomplice,” “A Moderated Dialogue with Members of the Legacy Alumni: Moving the Needle,” and “Campus Climate: A Moderated Conversation with Students.”

Click here for times, information about the presenters, and how to access the webinars.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — For the sixth consecutive year, Springfield College has been named to Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll, which identifies the top four-year colleges and universities for creating dynamic pathways to support community-college transfer. Springfield College is one of only 150 colleges and universities in the country to be recognized for this honor, including one of only six colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

“We are very honored once again to be among a small, select group of colleges recognized nationally by Phi Theta Kappa for our high level of commitment to the success of transfer students,” said Stuart Jones, vice president for Enrollment Management at Springfield College. “Educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others is the hallmark of who we are and what we do best.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs will host award-winning author, speaker, mentor, and teacher Manoucheka Celeste as part of the Cultural Connections Speaker Series today, March 4, starting at 6 p.m. Her virtual presentation will focus on race, gender, and representation. The Zoom ID for the presentation is 948-6026-5613.

Celeste is an associate professor in the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research at the University of Florida. She is in the African American Studies Program and conducts research on media representations of race, gender, class, and sexuality, and on identity formation in the U.S. and the Caribbean, specifically in Haiti.

Her most recent work focuses on citizenship narratives surrounding blackness, black womanhood, and trans-national mobility. Her book Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the African Diaspora: Travelling Blackness received both the National Communication Assoc. Diamond Anniversary Book Award and its Outstanding Book Award, presented by the African American Communication and Culture Division and Black Caucus.

She is committed to critical scholarship on representations of blackness, which appear in academic journals as well in public venues, including the Seattle Times, the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, and Spark: Elevating Scholarship on Social Issues.

Celeste’s presentation is sponsored by Springfield College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Fund. The overarching goal of the Multicultural Fund is to support and encourage campus-based collaborations that promote social justice, antiracism, inclusion, and acceptance within the Springfield College community. Faculty, staff, students, and student clubs and organizations may apply for a grant through the fund in order to support these goals. More information can be found at springfield.edu/inclusion-and-community-engagement/multicultural-fund.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College announced that Nicole Coakley has been named the Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership assistant director following a national search. Coakley has more than 20 years of experience in community-service programming, collaboration, leadership training, budgeting, and supervision.

A native of Springfield, Coakley is the current administrator for the Springfield Police Department Mason Square C3 community-policing program. In addition, she has been a lead organizer of Unity in the Community, a local program helping to bridge the gap between youth in the community and law enforcement.

“We are so excited to welcome Nicole to the Springfield College community,” said Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership Director Charlene Elvers. “Nicole has demonstrated a strong commitment of service to so many communities. Springfield College is always dedicated to establishing and maintaining city-wide connections and partnerships, and we believe Nicole will only enhance our commitment in providing our Humanics philosophy to our community neighbors.”

Coakley’s involvement and dedication to the community includes work as program director at Morris Professional Child Care Services in Springfield, collaborator for the Side by Side initiative, program director with Digital Boombox Networks/DBN Access, a member of both Leadership Pioneer Valley Inc. and the Gun Violence Elimination Alliance, and a contributor to the Neighbor 2 Neighbor program.

“Individuals will find from my professional experience and educational background in the medical, law-enforcement, and educational fields that I have a passion for fostering community partnerships and developing, promoting, and supporting activities and programming that emphasize the growth of mind, body, and spirit. This passion is the very same spirit of Springfield College,” Coakley said. “I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with the Springfield College community and continue my passion of being inclusive and working together toward helping others.”

Coakley serves on the board of directors for Easterseals Massachusetts and is also a volunteer disaster action team supervisor and community volunteer leader with the American Red Cross, a member of Chicopee Women of the Moose, and a clerk for the nonprofit organization Morris Open Pantry.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Director of Strength and Conditioning Brian Thompson has been named the National Strength and Conditioning Assoc. (NSCA) College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year as part of the 2021 NSCA awards announcement. Thompson was selected by his peers from a list of nominees that represented Division I, II, and III colleges and universities from throughout the country.

The NSCA College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award is given to one outstanding certified strength and conditioning specialist, recognizing his or her dedication to improving athletic performance with safe and effective science-based programs.

“This is one of those awards where Springfield College is going up against some well-known colleges that play a Division I athletic schedule,” said Thompson, who has been involved with the Springfield College Strength and Conditioning program for more than 20 years, serving as the associate director of Strength and Conditioning before taking over as the director in 2010. “It’s a huge honor to be chosen for this award. I have the pleasure of working with so many talented faculty and students at Springfield College, and to earn this honor from all of the talented strength and conditioning professionals from throughout the entire country is a big honor. It demonstrates how successful our strength and conditioning program is at Springfield College.”

Since 1998, Thompson has served many roles at the college, including associate director of Strength and Conditioning, head Strength and Conditioning coach, professor of Exercise Science, and the graduate Strength and Conditioning program director. In addition to teaching in the Applied Exercise Science program, he is responsible for the Strength and Conditioning program design and implementation for 26 sport programs at Springfield College, as well as teaching and advising in the graduate Strength and Conditioning program.

“Dr. Thompson has been a leader in the strength and conditioning field for years,” said M. Susan Guyer, dean of the Springfield College School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership. “His dedication to his craft, coupled with his passion for excellence and dedication to teaching, has earned him this deserving award. Springfield College is lucky to have such a dedicated professional who is able to balance the demands of teaching and service at the highest level.”

Thompson first started working in the field of strength and conditioning in 1987 and has trained athletes at the elementary-school, middle-school, high-school, collegiate, professional, Paralympic, and Olympic levels. He has presented and conducted strength-and-conditioning-related workshops in Australia, China, Mexico, Taiwan, and throughout the U.S.

In 2016, Thompson received an official appointment as an expert technical consultant to the Chinese National Fitness Trainers Assoc. by the Chinese Sports Bureau, the only non-Chinese citizen ever to receive this status.

“We have a great Strength and Conditioning program at Springfield College, one that I am very proud of, and a program that is well-respected in the industry,” Thompson added. “The Strength and Conditioning program features so many success stories of current students and alumni moving on to successful careers in the strength and conditioning industry.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Last year, members of the Springfield College Physician Assistant Student Organization (PASO) held a volleyball tournament with proceeds benefiting the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA). Not surprisingly, the PASO volleyball tournament planned for spring 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic, but that did not dissuade members of the student group from finding a way to raise funds for MHA.

“Our volleyball tournament was cancelled in the spring due to COVID-19, but the members of PASO still wanted to raise money for MHA,” said Alexandria Perrone, the student organization’s president. “MHA is an organization based here in Springfield that works to provide mental-health services and counseling to individuals in our local community. Members of PASO planned and carried out a virtual fundraiser where club members, families, and friends could donate a set amount to be entered in a drawing for prizes such as gift cards donated by local restaurants.”

The PASO virtual fundraiser took place during PA Week, Oct. 6-12, and giveaway winners were announced through e-mail and social media, she noted. “Social distancing made things a little harder, but with some creativity and effort, we raised $750 for MHA.”

Kimberley Lee, vice president, Resource Development and Branding for MHA, noted that, “even though members of PASO couldn’t hold their volleyball tournament in person this year, it didn’t prevent them from applying their time, talent, and energy to put on a virtual event to benefit MHA. We admire their resolve and respect their commitment to help people feel better and live their best life. We are thrilled that PASO has again chosen to support the important work of MHA.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Martha Potvin announced that M. Susan Guyer has been named dean of the School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership. Guyer had been serving as interim dean since January 2020.

Guyer has been a faculty member at Springfield College since receiving her doctor of physical education degree from Springfield College in 2003. Four the past four years, she has served as chair of the Springfield College Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training.

“I believe that Springfield College has identified the right person at the right time to continue to build on the legacy and traditions of this storied school,” Potvin said. “She clearly lives the Springfield College mission every day and has demonstrated that she has the background and skills to lead the school through the dynamic changes that higher education is experiencing.”

In 2017, Guyer was named the Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics and focused on a year-long vision to foster collaborative relationships and leadership on campus between exercise, health, and other disciplines. Her vision brought together campus and community members across multiple disciplines to discover, share, and adopt the principles of the ‘exercise is medicine’ program, and assisted in helping change the culture of chronic-disease prevention and management.

“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to lead the School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership and build on the foundation that those before me have established,” Guyer said. “I look forward to expanding on our traditional programs in a new and innovative way as we face a paradigm shift in higher education. I also strongly believe in our Humanics philosophy and giving back to our surrounding community.”

During Guyer’s time at the college, she has built strong community partnerships and has hosted multiple symposiums benefiting the health of the campus community members and surrounding community neighbors. She has annually collaborated with Baystate Rehabilitation Care to lead programs that highlight the importance of fitting exercise into a person’s daily routine. In addition, she also has worked with health experts from Baystate Medical Center, the New England Center for Functional Medicine, and the Springfield College Nutritional Sciences Program to host an annual Heart Health Symposium on campus.

In October 2018, Guyer was honored by the Springfield City Council with a proclamation recognizing her commitment to creating collaborative health initiatives within the city of Springfield to improve the overall health of all citizens. She has also received numerous national accolades from her professional associations, including the National Athletic Training Assoc. Service Award, the National Athletic Training Assoc. Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award, and the Gail Weldon Award of Excellence. These awards represent her continued contributions to service, professional development, mentoring, and leadership.

Guyer earned her master’s degree in athletic training from Old Dominion University, and her bachelor’s degree in athletic training, with a dual minor in sports science/fitness and coaching, from Castleton State College.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Assistant Professor of Religion Katherine Dugan has accepted the position of director of core curriculum at the college. Dugan will oversee the implementation of the new core curriculum at Springfield College starting during the 2020 fall semester.

As part of Dugan’s responsibilities, she will be responsible for providing clear communication methods with faculty, administrators, and students about the what and why of the Springfield College core curriculum.

“One of the strengths of this core is that, with strong implementation, nearly all faculty have to be involved with it, in some capacity,” Dugan said. “In order to facilitate that, I would provide wide-ranging communication that is thoughtful and consistent.”

She added, “I am confident that this curriculum can be a strong, well-respected part of what it means to graduate from our institution. The new core curriculum challenges students to think about perspectives they had not previously engaged and to step outside their major program. It is an opportunity for students to be creative and also self-directive in their college education. I am prepared and eager to participate in making that happen on campus.”

Dugan joined the Springfield College humanities faculty in 2016 with a focus on American religions with a specialization in contemporary Catholicism in the U.S. She teaches courses on world religions, religion in the U.S., Catholicism, women and religion, and introduction to Christianity. Her research interests are in religious experience, women in religion, and the intersection of religious practice and American culture.

Her first monograph, “Millennial Missionaries: How a Group of Young Catholics Is Trying to Make Catholicism Cool,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. Her current research is on Catholics who practice natural family planning in the U.S.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Wesley Church II has been named dean of the Springfield College School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences. His professional background includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of social work, primarily in criminal-justice settings.

“Springfield College will benefit from the broad experiences and accomplishments that Dr. Church brings to the dean’s role,” said Martha Potvin, Springfield College’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “His spirit of innovation and collaboration, as well as successes in growing enrollments in online and continuing-education programs in social work and in child and family studies, bode well for successful leadership across all departments in the year-old School of Social and Behavioral Studies.”

Church has been the J. Franklin Bayhi endowed professor, the special assistant for assessment, and formerly director of the Louisiana State University School of Social Work.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to be part of the Springfield family — my career in higher education has always had a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration to improve the quality of life for our community,” Church said. “The Springfield College School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences faculty are incredibly talented and committed, and I look forward to working alongside them. There is tremendous potential for innovations to heighten student experiences and success, and I look forward to collaborating with the entire Springfield College community in growing the School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences.”

Church succeeds Francine Vecchiolla, who is retiring after 30 years of service at Springfield College.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Associate Professor of English Justine Dymond has been selected by the Mass Cultural Council (MCC) Artist Fellowships Program as a finalist in the category of fiction/creative nonfiction on the strength of her lyrical essay titled “Brave of Worms.”

“I am so very excited with the news and the peer recognition that comes with the selection as a finalist for the MCC artist fellowship,” said Dymond, who joined the Springfield College humanities faculty in the fall of 2008. “I am thrilled to be in the company of the other finalists and fellows. Since it’s a statewide honor, you can imagine how competitive it is in Massachusetts, where so many amazing writers live and work. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve applied, and I’m still pinching myself I received this honor.”

Dymond teaches courses in writing and multi-cultural literature at Springfield College. Her short prose and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Briar Cliff Review, and Cimarron Review. Her short story “Cherubs” was selected in 2007 for an O. Henry Award, a highly prestigious recognition in the art of the short story.

In 2018, she received the the Eludia Award presented by Hidden River Arts, an inter-disciplinary, independent arts organization located in Philadelphia, for her collection of stories titled The Emigrant and Other Stories. Forthcoming from Sowilo Press, the collection ranges widely in setting and era, including France during World War II, Maine in the early 18th century, and Tennessee in the 21st century.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling master’s-degree program has been granted initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), effective immediately.

Awarded after a peer review by the Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education and the CAAHEP board of directors, this accreditation determined the Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling program was in substantial compliance with nationally established accreditation standards.

“This truly is such a great day for Springfield College, and I want to say thank you to everyone who helped in this process. It truly was a team effort,” said Springfield College Art Therapy/Counseling and Art Education Director Simone Alter-Muri. “We had such an amazing advisory committee helping us through this process. We can’t thank everyone enough for their dedication and support.”

Students enrolled in the program will have the option to either pursue a master of science or master of education degree. Graduates are master’s-level clinicians who can jump right into the workforce or pursue additional licensure opportunities, which will allow them to earn a license in the mental-health field after graduation and to obtain board certification as an art therapist.

“To all of our Springfield College alumni, who through art therapy are making the world a better place, thank you, and this couldn’t have occurred without you,” Alter-Muri said.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Students from the Springfield College health science major have been working on a national project to track the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

Students Yue Li, Ashley Tanner, Alexandra Christine Jones, Brenna Keefe, Dhruvi Patel, and Callie Dowd have been taking part in an internship to assist with this project. Participating students are responsible for tracking historical data and collecting daily data, as well as participating in special-interest team projects that include computer-based automation, data visualization, infectious disease, policy, social media, and fundraising.

This internship is part of BroadStreet’s COVID-19 Data Project, a collaboration of more than 200 students, statisticians, epidemiologists, healthcare experts, and data scientists throughout the country, Springfield College Assistant Professor of Public Health Sofija Zagarins explained.

The project is a collaboration of more than 40 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., bringing together people who are committed to having the most accurate, community-level data about COVID-19 positive tests and fatality rates. Along with Springfield College, colleges and universities also taking part include Harvard University, Yale University, Boston University, Temple University, and Duke University.

Through BroadStreet’s COVID-19 Data Project Internship, healthcare professionals have access to data that can help them to improve how they spend their time and resources on improving community health.

“We have been humbled by the outpouring of support, especially from the collegiate community,” BroadStreet co-founder Tracy Flood said. “We know that, right now, students have a unique set of challenges trying to navigate these difficult times. Despite this, we wanted to recognize students who have graciously donated their time and talent to our project.”

For more information about the project, visit covid19dataproject.org to follow along with information and updates from the participants.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Springfield College AmeriCorps program are partnering with Parent Villages Inc. and other local nonprofits to lead the Village Engagement Matters initiative, a program committed to providing community members with face masks at no cost to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The initial distribution of protective facemasks took place on May 12 at three meal-distribution sites located at Springfield elementary schools. Springfield College AmeriCorps members have been assisting with the production of the masks, and also helping with the planning of the distribution efforts.

“Giving back to our community is always something we have done in our family, and we are committed to helping with this project,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps member and social-work student Molly Glynn. “My mom and I started making masks for our family members, but that quickly has turned into helping our community as well. What I like about the Olson mask pattern we are using is, it provides a pattern to make masks for both adults and kids, and the pattern also allows for a pocket on the inside for a micron filter to help those individuals who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.”

Added Parent Villages Inc. CEO Lakisha Coppedge, “the Parent Villages organization always tries to stay in touch and learn about items that community members really need, and obviously right now the masks are at a high demand. Springfield College stepped up to the plate to help, and we can’t thank the college enough to make this project a reality, and always being there to help our community members.”

During these challenging times of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield College AmeriCorps members continue to seek opportunities to serve the Greater Springfield area, including volunteering their time making sure the Village Engagement Matters initiative is a success.

“It really means a lot to have AmeriCorps members finding ways to support others,” said Springfield College AmeriCorps Director LaTonia Naylor. “We continue to live our Humanics mission at Springfield College of educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others. It brings me so much joy to watch people step up and show love and support for our community members.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work (DGSW) will host an open house for prospective students at the Brennan Center, 45 Island Pond Road, Springfield — and also simultaneously at Saint Vincent Hospital, Conference Room B, 123 Summer St., Worcester — on Thursday, March 5 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. There will be a second open house for prospective students at both locations on Saturday, March 7 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The DGSW offers flexible scheduling options for students, including weekday, evening, and weekend courses in Springfield, as well as weekend courses in Worcester. There are also options for graduates of Council on Social Work Education-accredited bachelor of social work programs to choose either a four-semester weekend or three-semester weekday advanced standing program. The combined master of social work/juris doctorate is a four-year, full-time program in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law.

“Social Work is a growing profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that social-work jobs will grow by 11.5% between 2014 and 2024,” said Department Chair Dr. William Fisher.

The DGSW offers an advanced generalist concentration, the ideal preparation for direct clinical practice, group work, community practice, and administration in a range of settings. Graduates find careers in child and family agencies, schools, hospitals, veterans and military services, senior centers, the justice system, mental-health clinics, hospice care, government agencies, and corporations.

“The department is student-centered, community-focused, and committed to diversity and cultural competence, and to promoting continuous learning,” Fisher said.

Prospective students may register in advance for the open house through the department’s website, springfield.edu/gsw, or by contacting Leanna Tamiso, Recruitment and Admissions coordinator, at (413) 748-3060 or [email protected].

People on the Move

Jill Monson-Bishop

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently welcomed Jill Monson-Bishop into the role of Community Development manager. She comes to the ACS with expertise in networking, relationship building, marketing, project management, and more. Prior to joining the American Cancer Society, Monson-Bishop was one of the opening-day team members at MGM Springfield, with responsibilities including internal communications and employee events. She also owns Inspired Marketing, now a consultative marketing agency, but at one time a full-service marketing and event-planning company serving clients such as Smith & Wesson, Adam Quenneville Roofing, and Northwestern Mutual. Previously, she was a radio personality in Western Mass. on stations such as WMAS, Rock 102, WHYN, and more. Community engagement has always been a priority for Monson-Bishop, who, over the years, has been involved with organizations such the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, Square One, YWCA, the Springfield Regional Chamber, the Drama Studio, and more. She is a graduate of Bay Path University with a MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovative practices, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies at Westfield State University.


Jeffrey Neumann

Valley Solar, LLC announced the appointment of Jeffrey Neumann as lead master electrician. Neumann started with Valley Solar in April 2019 and will oversee all electrical operations. Prior to working at Valley Solar, Neumann was the electrical foreman at Hampshire College from 2010 to 2019. There, he supervised a crew of four journeyman electricians and oversaw all aspects of the the college’s Electrical Department, including supervision of crews, planning, budgeting, installations, and maintenance of campus electrical systems. He also oversaw several solar projects while at Hampshire and has performed solar installations involving single-phase residential wiring as well as more complex three-phase commercial projects.



Linda Morgan, an attorney with extensive experience in higher education, has been named vice president and general counsel at Springfield College, effective Aug. 26, President Mary-Beth Cooper announced. Morgan will provide legal counsel and guidance to the leadership of the college and will serve as secretary to its board of trustees. She will be a member of the president’s senior leadership team. Joining Springfield College with 13 years of service as a practicing attorney and more than six years in positions of senior-level organizational management and financial administration, Morgan is well-practiced in providing leadership to institutional compliance with laws and regulations pertinent to higher education, including the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title IX, FERPA, HIPAA, and the Jeanne Clery Act. She provides experience in broad aspects of law and related matters, including contracts, agreements, litigation, legal investigations, dispute resolution, mediation, business formation, compliance, and management. She is admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Morgan most recently worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, providing expertise in areas of employment-law adjudication and related statutory interpretation. Her previous experience also includes service as associate dean for Gender Equity at Bard College, grant administrator within the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, and an attorney in private practice. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College and a juris doctor from Western New England University School of Law. She has teaching experience as an adjunct professor at Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College.


Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been selected for membership in the Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life. The Nautilus Group is a planning resource comprised of financial professionals experienced in taxes, law, life insurance, accounting, and charitable giving. Deliso’s access to this exclusive resource enables her clients and their other financial advisors to benefit from the group’s collective experience and solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country. Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that position clients for a solid financial future. Her 30-year experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment, and retirement planning. She has developed an expertise in assisting business owners with protecting and securing their future. She is also fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. She has been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso currently serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She has also served on the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.


Darcy Fortun

The Ad Club of Western Massachusetts recently recognized the Innovation Series with an award in the Video Series category. The Innovation Series is a documentary-style video series produced by Darcy Fortune, producer for Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi), for PeoplesBank. The series explored Valley Venture Mentors and some of its more unique entrepreneurial teams. The series was hosted by Matthew Bannister, first vice president of Marketing and Innovation for PeoplesBank. According to the bank’s website, the six-episode Innovation Series was designed and produced with the belief that PeoplesBank can not only be innovative, but help inspire innovation as well. The series garnered considerable media attention, with feature stories appearing in BusinessWest and several other area media outlets, as well as a sizable viewing audience. GCAi also distributed the Innovation Series through social-media channels, where it accumulated almost 400,000 total impressions, 100,000 engagement actions, and 90,000 video views at the time of the award. Fortune’s team included GCAi’s John Garvey as producer, Mary Shea as project manager, and James Garvey as digital dissemination manager. Matthew Derderian served as director of photography. Fortune is an experienced media professional and video producer, having served on assignment desks for both ABC and FOX News affiliates and developed videos and animations for GCAi clients including Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists, Cape Cod Cooperative Bank, MP CPAs, PeoplesBank, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and Winchester Savings Bank. She also just released two new pro bono videos for the Children’s Study Home and Wild Care of Cape Cod.


Yvonne De Faoite

Elms College announced it will host an Irish Fulbright language teaching assistant (FLTA) during the 2019-20 academic year. Yvonne De Faoite of Limerick, Ireland, will teach Irish (Gaelic) language and culture. The Irish FLTA position is co-sponsored by the Irish Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts. De Faoite earned her primary teaching degree from Froebel College of Education in 2008. In 2012, she spent a year in Australia, where she gained international teaching experience. She recently completed a master’s degree in Irish immersion education from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Prior to that, she completed a diploma in educational leadership in University College Dublin. De Faoite’s educational interests include immersion and second-language acquisition. As a Fulbright Irish FLTA, she will teach the Irish language and culture to Elms College students and to community members through the Irish Cultural Center. She will also take classes at Elms.


Robert Burnell has been appointed executive chef of all dining venues at the Red Lion Inn. In his new role, Burnell oversees the day-to-day culinary operations of the main dining room, Widow Bingham’s Tavern, the Lion’s Den, and the seasonally open courtyard. In addition, Burnell will collaborate with Brian Alberg, vice president of Culinary Development, on all future food- and beverage-related development, including specialty menus for Red Lion guests and private parties. With nearly 20 years in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, Burnell was previously executive chef at Gedney Farm in Marlborough. With a passion for clean cooking and eating, coupled with expertise in modern food trends, Burnell revamped menus to incorporate locally sourced items, along with gluten-free, vegetarian, and keto options for diners. He also strived to deliver exceptional client experiences for weddings, community events, and private dining. Additional hospitality experience includes five years as a property developer for Berkshire Hotels Group, during which he implemented construction projects for both hotels and restaurants.


Sean Sormanti

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced that Sean Sormanti has joined the bank as senior vice president – Human Resources. Most recently, Sormanti was director of Human Resources at Strategic Information Resources in Springfield. In his new role, he will be responsible for recruiting, planning, coordinating, and managing the activities of the bank’s Human Resources department. He will be based at 63 Federal St. in Greenfield. Sormanti has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. He currently holds a professional in human resources certificate and is an active member of the Western Mass. chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.


Joseph Baker


Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) announced that Joseph Baker has joined its team as vice president of Finance and Administration. He will oversee finances, investments, human resources, and operations for the $152 million foundation. Baker previously served in leadership roles at other community foundations for 13 years, most recently as vice president of Finance and chief financial officer at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Before that, he was director of Finance and Administration at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. He brings to BTCF a background in nonprofit finance and development, as the former head of a United Way and a nonprofit service organization. He also developed Danbury Children First, a parent-led community initiative. Baker earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from Colby College.


Bob Cummings has been re-elected to serve as president of the National Assoc. of Professional Benefits Administrators (NAPBA). A  NAPBA trustee since 2007, Cummings was first elected NAPBA president in 2015, and has been an instrumental force in the emergence of the consumer-directed healthcare industry over the past 20 years, orchestrating the growth of NAPBA as the primary compliance-standards and best-practice organization for third-party employee-benefits administrators serving the consumer-directed healthcare industry. As CEO and founder of American Benefits Group (ABG), a leading national employee-benefits administrator located in Northampton, Cummings has been a pioneer of the consumer-directed healthcare industry before the term even existed. ABG was one of the first administrators of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in 1989 along with COBRA, billing-administration, and commuter-benefit accounts in the 1990s. When health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) were enabled under the Internal Revenue Code in 2002, ABG was one of the early leaders in administering consumer-directed healthcare plan designs. As pre-tax, account-based plans became a linchpin of most employer benefit-plan designs along with high-deductible health plans, NAPBA was founded to promote compliance and best-practice standards in the administration of pre-tax, account-based plans. All NAPBA member organizations are third-party administrators focused on the administration and service of employer-sponsored plans for consumer-directed pre-tax accounts such as FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, and commuter benefits, as well as COBRA administration services. Collectively NAPBA member organizations provide services to more than 30 million employee healthcare consumers nationwide.


Richard Venne, president and CEO of Viability, announced longtime staffer Richard Horton’s promotion to vice president of Administration and Finance. Horton joined Community Enterprises, one of the nonprofits that merged to become Viability, in July 2008 as director of Community Staffing. Before joining Viability as a staff member, he had executed consulting work to revive and re-engineer the Community Staffing operations. Over the next decade, his role expanded, first becoming director of Financial Planning and then associate vice president of Administration and Finance. He is known throughout the organization for serving as project manager for the implementation of Viability’s electronic health record and outcomes-management system. Two years ago, during the merger of Community Enterprises and Human Resources Unlimited into Viability, he led the effort to bring the infrastructure of the organizations together, focusing on technology and facilities. Entering its third year as Viability, the agency’s focus is on the creation, integration, standardization, and improvement of systems and processes. In his new role, Horton will play a central role in helping achieve that goal.


A Healthy Relationship

Springfield College’s recent visitors from China

Springfield College’s recent visitors from China included, from left, Wang Di, Dr. Huang Yizhuan, Cao Xiaojie, Wang Xinran, and Li Dehua.

One side of Sue Guyer’s business card bears the Springfield College logo, address, and website, and declares that she is a doctor of physical education (DPE), is athletic-trainer-certified (ATC), and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS).

It also notes that she is chair of Exercise Science and Sport Studies and professor and clinical education coordinator of the Athletic Training Program at the college.

On the other side, it says all or most of that — in Chinese.

And she’s far from the only one at the 133-year-old college handing out business cards also printed in that language — one of the many visible signs of a relationship between the college and businesses, educational institutions, and civic leaders in that country that goes back decades and has only grown stronger in recent years.

Indeed, Guyer has handed out her card with the Chinese version facing up on countless occasions, including several visits there, including her first, in 2008, just before the Summer Olympics were staged in Beijing.

“We took 17 students over for an academic/cultural experience,” she recalled. “And China seemed to be the perfect place to go because we were looking at sports medicine — eastern and western approaches — and we were also looking at human performance, and we have relationships with multiple institutions in China.”

“We decided that, rather than go over there all the time, we would keep our expertise here and have them come to us.”

Many of those words and phrases — including ‘academic/cultural experience’ and ‘perfect place to go’ were no doubt uttered by those participating in the very latest example of this healthy relationship, one that wrapped up last week. Springfield College’s School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation hosted 16 Chinese educators for intensive instruction in sports performance and sports medicine.

The participants, who hailed from several different cities and represented a number of institutions and businesses, received instruction and insight into everything from concussions to sport nutrition to the principles of treatment and rehabilitation during a two-week program focused on fitness, management, and leadership. For their efforts, they earned a certificate and continuing-education credits.

Sue Guyer

One side of Sue Guyer’s business card bears the Springfield College logo, address, and website, and declares that she is a doctor of physical education (DPE), is athletic-trainer-certified (ATC), and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS

And for those participants, this was an eye-opening, valuable experience.

Cao Xiaojie (Andre), a coach with the Saipu Fitness Institute, the largest fitness-training academy in China, spoke with BusinessWest near the start of the two-week program. He said the course of study was different from that in China (we’ll hear more about that later), and it was intriguing to compare western approaches and techniques with those learned in China.

“There will be a lot that we can take home with us from this experience,” he said, adding that Springfield College was one of several stops he and two colleagues from the institute made during a six-week visit to the U.S. “And we’re also looking at possible opportunities to work with Springfield College in the future.”

Guyer told BusinessWest that Springfield College, known nationally and internationally for its many sports- and fitness-related programs, has been fielding a growing number of requests from groups in China for its educators to visit that country and make presentations.

“We were getting four or five requests a year,” she explained. “And we decided that, rather than go over there all the time, we would keep our expertise here and have them come to us. That was the main impetus for putting this summer’s program together; we couldn’t meet all the requests to go there.”

The genesis of these requests is a heightened interest in sports performance, sports medicine, nutrition, and other subjects, and a desire to learn what would still be called ‘western’ practices, strategies, and methods for teaching and learning, especially as the country gears up for the 2020 Winter Olympics, said Maura Bergan, assistant professor of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, director of the summer program, and another of those providing instruction to the visiting delegation.

“The summer has always been a popular time for Chinese professionals to come over to learn a little more about sport medicine, human performance, and strength conditioning,” she explained. “So this summer we really worked hard to create a mainstream curriculum, a summer conference or seminar symposium.”

For this issue and its focus on education, BusinessWest talked with Guyer, Bergan, and some of the participants (often with help from an interpreter) to get some perspective not just on this summer’s program, but also decades of collaboration and a relationship that is healthy in every respect.

Speaking Their Language

As noted earlier, Chinese delegations visiting Springfield College to observe and learn is not exactly a recent phenomenon. In fact, Chinese students and educators have been visiting, and studying at the college for more than a century.

Maura Bergan

Maura Bergan says the curriculum for the summer program featured both theory and hands-on learning, a departure from the teaching process in China.

The origins of the relationship trace back to John Ma, a member of the Springfield College class of 1920 and graduate class of 1924. He was the first international scholar from China to visit the school, and is the founder of modern physical education in China and founder of the Chinese Sports Federation.

“We’ve had a long-standing history and relationship,” said Guyer, adding that groups have been coming to the college regularly over the past several decades.

In recent years, the college has hosted the Beijing Sports Institution’s softball team; a number of visiting coaches and educators, who would often come over for a semester at a time; the developmental hockey team; and other constituencies. And, as she mentioned earlier, the college was getting all those requests to come there.

In response to all that demand, the college decided to put together an intensive two-week summer program, one that attracted the large and diverse delegation that arrived on July 23.

Participants represented a host of institutions, including the Saipu Fitness Institute, Chengdu Sport University, the Shanghai Research Institute, the Dessy Fitness School, and the national women’s softball team.

Together, the visitors kept to a packed schedule — but one that still left time to visit Harvard, MIT, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a fast-food restaurant, and other sites of interest (remember, this is an academic/cultural experience — with instruction representing a blend of sports medicine and injury prevention and human performance).

Specific courses included:

• “The Epidemiology of Athletic Injuries,” which focused on common injuries, contact versus non-contact injuries, and other subjects;

• ‘“An Introduction to Sport Performance,”taught by Bergan, featuring everything from a tour of facilities to instruction in training, to creation of a ‘performance plan’;

• “Components of a Warmup,” focusing on such matters as mobility, soft tissue, and preparation;

• “Introduction to Performance Testing”;

• A program on Plyometrics (jump training) and explosiveness;

• “Weight Lifting Instruction”;

• A program on conditioning focused on everything from programming to energy systems; and even

• “Music & Performance.”

Much of the instruction was hands-on, said Guyer, adding that participants were given both theory (in the morning sessions) and hands-on, practical application in the afternoon classes.

“They don’t do a lot of hands-on in China — a lot of is theory and lecture,” she explained. “So they like our approach to blending the theory with the hands-on, and that’s what makes our programs so exciting for them — they get to do what they’re learning, and that’s not a traditional learning style in China.”

As an example, she cited study of concussions. In China, these professionals would learn the textbook application of concussion with regard to what they would see and do. During this summer’s program, there was a lecture, but also work in the lab, where they practiced what they would see with a concussion, how they would evaluate one, and how they would treat it.

“We allow them to practice the skills they learn in the classroom rather than just the didactic, the theory,” she explained, adding, again, that this teaching method resonates with them.
Bergan called it a “holistic approach” to teaching sports medicine and human performance.

“We decided to combine the two together, and they get a little of both,” she explained. “They get the sports-medicine side, and they get the performance side, and that’s different and unique for them.”

Participants who spoke with BusinessWest at the start of the two program, such as Dr. Huang Yizhuan, a spinal surgeon and representative of the Chengdu Sport University, said they hoped to bring home with them new insights into sports medicine and human performance.

“It has been a learning experience,” he said through an interpreter. “This is a great opportunity for me to bring sports-medicine knowledge back to China.”

Course of Action

Bergan’s business card doesn’t have all of her information in Chinese on the reverse side — yet.

Indeed, she is planning to go visit that country this fall for still another of the many exchanges that have marked the past several decades. By then, she’ll have printing on both sides of her card.

And her visit will add another chapter to a decades-long relationship that has generated an exchange of ideas and yielded real learning experiences for people in both countries.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]