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SPRINGFIELD — Edward Caisse III, unit director at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, will be the keynote speaker at the Fostering Equity and Inclusion for Latinas/os in Child and Family Welfare Conference on the Springfield College campus on Wednesday, March 13. The conference is the culmination of a year-long community awareness and development campaign led by Social Work Professor Miguel Arce, the 2023-24 Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics.

The goal of the conference is to facilitate public discussion and raise awareness about the crises that resilient families must overcome. The conference promotes the participation of all sectors of the broader community and seeks a sense of shared responsibility in the pursuit of better living conditions for all. Fostering inclusion and equity for Latina/o children and their families’ well-being is a call to action, and 37 workshops at the conference will address a variety of topics related to equity and inclusion in the local Latina/o community. The conference is open to the public and the Springfield College community, and registration is required.

This conference is approved for five category I credit hours for social workers by the Springfield College master of social work program, which is an authorizing body for granting continuing-education units for re-licensure of Massachusetts social workers.

Additionally, this conference is approved for seven professional development points (PDPs) for educators by the Springfield College Department of Educator Preparation and Licensure, an approved Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education professional-development (PD) provider. PD certificates will be provided to participants for a total of seven PDPs in Safe and Supportive Learning Environments that educators can use toward licensure renewal requirements.

For more information, a complete schedule, and to register, visit springfield.edu/fosteringequity.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Adam Gomez and state Rep. Bud Williams joined legislative colleagues, community members, and youth across Western Mass. for the 2024 MLK Day Collaborative Community Event at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. This collaborative celebration was hosted by Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield, and Springfield College to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

“The theme for today’s annual celebration is ‘Living the Legacy. Continuing the Dream,’ and over the course of this weekend in Springfield, we’ve honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and dream,” Gomez said. “Dr. King’s legacy is immortalized by his call for civil and economic rights for all people in his iconic ‘dream’ speech. His reminder that ‘an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ compels us to reflect on the progress we have made and the challenges that still lie ahead”.

Williams remarked on Dr. King’s enduring spirit as an inspiration for youth. “We’ve had a lot of monumental tasks that we have done in this country, but there’s plenty of work to do — more work to do. Our youth must continue dreaming and break barriers in the process.”

Waleska Lugo-DeJesús, CEO of Inclusive Strategies, also spoke during the program. “In a world marked by persistent social and racial inequities, the message of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. resonates with unwavering relevance,” she said. “The struggles for justice and equity persist, demanding our collective attention and action.  As a presenting partner helping coordinate the MLK Day Celebration for 11 years, we are grateful to Senator Gomez, Representative Williams, and the Springfield delegation who serve our community.  Today is a critical reminder that we all have a role to play.  I hope everyone joining us today seeks inspiration and recommitment toward positive social change.”

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SPRINGFIELD — In partnership with the city of Springfield, Springfield College was awarded $240,000 to help assist in combating the growing mental-health needs among college students and the local community. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan announced the partnership as part of the Sarno administration’s Higher Education ARPA Fund at City Hall on Dec. 6.

“Empowering our students through comprehensive counseling programs is not merely an investment in their well-being; it is a commitment to the resilience of our community,” Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper said. “Our phased program fosters Springfield College’s mission of providing leadership in service to others and creates the opportunity for us to shape the future of individuals and fortify the foundation upon which our society stands by addressing the mental-health crisis head-on.”

Sarno had previously announced the creation of the $750,000 Higher Education ARPA Fund as part of his 13th round of ARPA awards in July, as Springfield College was joined by American International College and Western New England University as recipients of the funding. The $240,000 allocation that Springfield College received will create additional opportunities to further support youth and families in the city of Springfield and provide collaboration between Springfield College students and Springfield Public Schools to enhance their learning and simultaneously support the community.

With the funding, Springfield College intends to hire case managers to provide support and advocacy for both college students and children and families in Springfield Public Schools who have difficulty navigating the often-complex web of available resources, hire a psychiatric nurse practitioner to support critical needs within area colleges and the community, and strengthen relationships between school counseling and clinical mental-health counseling student interns at Springfield College and Springfield Public Schools to provide additional community-based mental-health services and support.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Melissa Blissett, vice president of Family Services at Square One, has been named advisory board chair of the Springfield College School of Social Work. Her appointment follows the passing of long-time social worker and social-services advocate Dora Robinson.

Blissett earned her master of social work degree from Springfield College in 2015. As a student, she served on both the advisory board and the student organization for the School of Social Work. She currently serves as an adjunct professor.

“It is an honor to take on the role of the advisory board chair,” Blissett said. “Dora Robinson was not only a colleague of mine, but also my big sister in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. We shared a commitment to supporting local youth and promoting mental-health awareness. I am honored to continue her legacy of leadership and the empowerment of individuals and families.”

At Square One, Blissett leads a team of social workers, case managers, and support staff who provide parent education, support, and training programs through groups, home visitation, and personalized case management to help parents access whatever services are needed to be successful in their role as their child’s first teacher.

Blissett joined Square One in 2014 as a supervisor in the agency’s Healthy Families and Supervised Visitation programs. In 2017, she went to work as a child and family-law division social worker for the Committee for Public Council Services in Springfield. In 2018, she returned to Square One as the assistant vice president of Family Services, and in 2021, she was promoted to vice president.

Daily News

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.

Daily News


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.”

Daily News

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].

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.