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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University President Linda Thompson appointed William Salka as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Salka will begin his duties on July 5.

As Westfield State continues to build and reinforce systems, programs, and opportunities to enrich students’ academic experiences as well as the intellectual life of the university, Salka’s leadership acumen, scholarship, integrity, and collaboration are expected to serve Westfield State’s institutional mission and the diverse interests of the campus community.

Among talented candidates, Salka was distinguished by his academic leadership as provost for Eastern Connecticut State University for the past six years, during which time he was widely recognized as a champion of faculty scholarship and research and students’ academic pursuits. He believes in the importance of a dynamic undergraduate and graduate learning experience in which faculty and employees work cooperatively to develop the knowledge, skills, and character essential for students to become responsible leaders and engaged citizens.

“I am very excited about this great opportunity to join the Westfield State team,” he said. “I look forward to arriving on campus in July and getting to know my new colleagues.”

Salka received a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Lewis & Clark College and a doctorate in political science and government from Colorado State University. Prior to serving as chief academic officer for Eastern Connecticut State University, he taught numerous courses in American government, environmental policy, and globalization in his capacity as professor of Political Science since 2000.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University students in the “Advanced Public Relations” course are launching a campaign, “Literacy is Currency,” for Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services.

The mission of MLK Jr. Family Services is to strive to foster an environment that nurtures and empowers the aspirations of individuals, families, and youth to achieve new realities of peace, social and economic justice, self-determination, self-actualization, and self-sufficiency.

The students’ campaign will create awareness for the organization and collect donations that will provide funds for its literacy program. The campaign will also provide new books that children will be interested in and have fun reading.

In order to meet their goal, the students are inviting the community to join two events, featuring games, raffles, and prizes including Stanley cups, beach supplies, and Westfield State gear. The events take place on Saturday, April 20 from noon to 5 p.m. outside Target at the Holyoke Mall; and Tuesday, April 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. inside Tim and Jeanne’s Dining Commons at Westfield State University.

The public-awareness campaign will take place on social media via the handle @owlprmlk and use the hashtag #literacyiscurrencymlk.

“We’re delighted to enhance our alliance with Westfield State University with the ‘Literacy is Currency’ initiative, reinforcing literacy’s crucial role as both an empowering tool and a source of excitement about reading, in line with MLK Jr.’s vision that ‘education is the passport to the future’” said Karon Forde, director of Youth Programs at MLK Jr. Family Services. “This project not only reflects our commitment to literacy, but also supports our efforts to elevate reading levels and foster a love of reading among children in our afterschool program. We praise the students for their exceptional commitment to this cause and eagerly await the project’s impact on both the children we serve and the participating university students’ educational journey.”

Suzanne Boniface, adjunct professor of Communication at Westfield State, explained that the course partners with a local nonprofit each semester to help the community through its civic-engagement program.

“These public relations students use the skills they have acquired from their studies and gain practical experience for their future careers,” she said, noting that her students’ campaign will increase awareness of the efforts of Martin Luther Family Jr. Family Services and help them purchase necessary supplies for their program.

Donations to this campaign can be made by Venmo @LiteracyIsCurrency or by visiting mlkjrfamilyservices.org/donate.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — On April 6, Westfield State University will recognize and induct six alumni into the Criminal Justice Alumni Hall of Fame. Inductees are recognized for their excellence in their chosen field and for their accomplishments in criminal justice and law enforcement at the state, federal, and local levels.

This year’s alumni inductees are Benjamin Campbell ’11 of the Maine State Police; David Campbell ’84, a retired special agent in the U.S. Department of Justice; Cheryl Clapprood ’92, Springfield Police superintendent; John Kotfila Jr. ’08, who served in the Sheriff’s Office in Hillsborough County, Fla.; Kenneth O’Connor ’87, a chief court officer in the Massachusetts Trial Court; and Jeffrey Trask ’02, a leader in emergency management and preparedness. Kim Tobin, professor of Criminal Justice, is also being honored for her distinguished service to Westfield State. Both Benjamin Campbell and Kotfila are being recognized posthumously.

The ceremony will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and commence in the Scanlon Banquet Hall on campus. Michael McCabe ’84, Westfield mayor, will deliver the opening remarks, followed by addresses from university President Linda Thompson and Nicholas Smith ’24, president of the Student Government Assoc. Brunch will take place afterward and precede McCabe and Alice Perry, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, presenting the honorees.

For more information and to register to attend this event, visit westfield.ma.edu/cjhof by April 2.

Daily News

Westfield State University Associate Art Professor Imo Nse Imeh in his studio with his new portrait of Frederick Douglass, which was unveiled at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on March 14.

WORCESTER — Mechanics Hall in Worcester unveiled three commissioned portraits of 19th- century Black Americans at an event called “Beyond Frames” on March 14, as part of its Portraits Project.

Westfield State University Associate Art Professor Imo Nse Imeh contributed with his portrait of formerly enslaved civil-rights leader, orator, and writer Frederick Douglass. Other contributions unveiled included Worcester business owners and abolitionists William Brown and Martha Ann Tulip Lewis Brown, painted by Brenda Zlamany of Brooklyn, N.Y., and formerly enslaved abolitionist and women’s-rights activist Sojourner Truth, painted by Manu Saluja of Long Island, N.Y. The three portraits are the first to be added to the 167-year-old concert hall since 1999.

The Mechanics Hall Portrait Gallery is an installation honoring 19th-century Worcester innovators, social reformers, Civil War heroes, and political leaders.

“This is a historic moment for Mechanics Hall and our vibrantly diverse community,” said Kathleen Gagne, Mechanics Hall executive director and co-chair of the Portraits Project. “Many of the world’s most renowned performers take the Great Hall stage every year. They and their audiences will now share the hall with — and be inspired by — these striking paintings of Black Americans who lived extraordinary lives of courage. Our community, and especially our children, can look up to the individuals honored in the gallery with pride and hope.”

Imeh is a visual artist and scholar of African diaspora art. His work focuses on historical and philosophical issues around the Black body and cultural identity. His works are in the collection of the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art; the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst; and the Danny Simmons Collection of Art, among others. Imeh is a recipient of the Mass Cultural Artist Fellowship, as well as grants from the Holyoke and Springfield Cultural Council and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Parenzo Hall on Friday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at the entrance to the building.

The more than $40 million project, a partnership with Westfield State University and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Assets Management and Maintenance, started its planning phase in 2018 and was completed earlier this month.

The newly designed, 90,000-square-foot building will host Dever Stage, the Center for Student Success and Engagement, the Department of Education, the Department of Political Science, and the new Collaboration and Maker Space.

Parenzo Hall will also be home to Westfield State’s new Research, Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurial (RIDE) Center, which will serve as a hub of innovation and workforce development in Western Mass., fulfilling the university’s stewarded agreement to engage students while partnering and collaborating with external stakeholders and community leaders.

RIDE will partner with MakerHealth, a division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which will outfit RIDE with equipment and modules that support transdisciplinary innovation, design, and entrepreneurial practices. Westfield State University will be the first undergraduate institution in the nation to establish this partnership.

Guided tours of Parenzo Hall will take place after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Westfield State University will host a “Conversation with Values Practitioners,” an evening dedicated to celebrating the work and life stories of individuals who, through the practice of values, build inclusive communities, inspire more equitable institutions, and contribute to a more just world.

Featured speakers include Janine Fondon, chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path University and exhibit curator; Rhonda Anderson, an Iñupiaq-Athabascan woman from Alaska and commissioner on Indian Affairs in Western Mass.; and Ben Boyd, senior vice president of Global Communications at Peloton.

In bringing together community members across the diversity spectrum, including identity, thought, talent, and lived experience, the program will recognize and appreciate that identities are interconnected; celebrate the equity and inclusion efforts by faculty, staff, and students; and encourage opportunities for continued action.

Following the speaking program, the “Voices of Resilience” exhibit will be launched at Westfield State’s Arno Maris Gallery, on the second floor of the Ely Building. The display panels will showcase the stories of women and men who have worked to create change as well as untold narratives that reframe history. The exhibit will represent these achievements both visually and through inclusive storytelling. A panel is dedicated to Linda Thompson, president of the university.

The speaking program will run from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. and take place in the Scanlon Banquet Hall, followed by the exhibit opening and its reception in the Arno Maris Gallery, which runs from 6 to 7 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.

Sponsors include the university’s Office of Human Resources, the Office of the President, the Values Working Group, the Ethnic and Gender Studies Department, and numerous collaborators throughout campus. External sponsors include the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Peloton.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University will host its annual Government, Criminal Justice and Nonprofit Career Fair on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the Woodward Center, 395 Western Ave.

The fair offers a convenient opportunity for Westfield students and residents to network with employers and learn what it would be like to work for area nonprofits and government agencies.

Representatives from police departments throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire will be available to answer questions and showcase their agencies to prospective employees. Some of the registered city and town agencies include Amherst, Holyoke, Northampton, and Westfield, as well as Enfield, Conn. Registered state police agencies include Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

Registered nonprofits and government agencies include May Institute, Center for Human Development, Gándara Center, Match Education, Peace Corps, ServiceNet, Wellpath, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

The job fair is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the South Lot off Western Avenue. Shuttle service will run continually throughout the event.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — The Westfield State University board of trustees elected Ali Salehi to serve as its chair, while trustees Melissa Alvarado and Gloria Williams were elected as vice-chair and secretary, respectively. Daniel Currier, class of 2025, was elected to the board as student trustee.

Salehi serves as managing director of Hansen Engineering and Machinery Co. Inc. of Danvers. A former board member of the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, the Westfield State University Foundation, and the Westfield Redevelopment Authority, Salehi is a current trustee of Suffield Academy and a former vice chair of the Baystate Health Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from Western New England University.

Alvarado is an assistant vice president in strategic planning and delivery at MassMutual Financial Group and, prior to that, worked in its compliance and information-technology organizations. She previously served as clerk of the Westfield State Foundation and was a member of the Westfield State Alumni Assoc. executive council. In addition earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Westfield State in 1999, Alvarado holds an MBA in finance from Western New England University and earned an executive certification in leadership and management from the University of Notre Dame.

Williams is an educational consultant and leadership mentor who previously completed a 21-year tenure as a master principal for Springfield Public Schools. Her service in education, including as a representative for the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, was recognized when she received the 2019 Educational Legacy Achievement Award, presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Williams is also president of the consulting firm Coalition of Experienced Black Educators Inc. and the newly elected president of the board of directors for Families Against Violence. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Westfield State College in 1977 and a certificate in advanced graduate studies, a M.Ed., and a Ed.D. from UMass Amherst.

Currier was elected by the student body in April to serve as Westfield State’s student trustee for the 2023-24 academic year. A junior with majors in accounting and finance with minors in economics and English, Currier was formerly vice president for Finance for Westfield State’s Student Government Assoc., is president of the Accounting Club, and serves as a campus tour guide, new-student-orientation leader, and peer tutor. Currier is also a Commonwealth Honors Scholar and received the Executive Excellence Award from the Westfield State University Student Government Assoc.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Linda Thompson, President of Westfield State University, has joined the board of trustees at Goddard House Assisted Living in Brookline.

Prior to her role as president of Westfield State University, Thompson held the role of dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UMass Boston. She has an extensive background in healthcare leadership and public policy. In Baltimore City, Md., she served as director of Occupational Medicine and Safety and developed programs and policies to promote the health of the city workforce, including the implementation of policies for HIV prevention and substance use and abuse. At the state level in Maryland, she served as special secretary of Children, Youth and Families, where she developed programs and policies to improve quality of care for vulnerable populations of children.

Thompson draws parallels between her service at Westfield State University and Goddard House’s mission. “While we may serve different generations, our goals are closely aligned,” she explained. “Maintaining compassion and respect for others while nurturing collaboration, creating innovative methods to solve contemporary challenges, and embracing transparency while rewarding excellence are noble practices that serve all of humanity.”

Goddard House embraces the aging experience for seniors living in the Boston area by operating a high-quality assisted-living community and by creating innovative programs which support the need for purpose, engagement, autonomy, and choice as people age.

“The Goddard House board is very fortunate to gain Linda’s extensive experience and unique perspective,” said Alexandra Schweitzer, board chair. “Her dedication and expertise in public-health advocacy and delivering high-quality care is remarkable and aligns with the core values we share at Goddard House.”

Daily News

WESTFIELD — David Caruso will join Westfield State University as temporary provost and vice president for Academic Affairs on Aug. 1.

With more than 35 years of higher-education experience, Caruso brings a strong background in the classroom, as a researcher, and an administrator. “Dr. Caruso’s deep commitment to academic excellence and student success was evident throughout our selection process, and I am confident he will serve our community well while he is with us,” President Linda Thompson said.

Caruso’s experience as a leader in higher education will play an important role to advance WSU’s concept of IDEAS — innovation, diversity, engagement, and advancement — that ultimately leads to student success.

“I am very pleased to have been selected to serve the Westfield State University community as temporary provost for the coming academic year,” Caruso said. “I have a deep commitment to the vital role that the state university system plays for the Commonwealth and believe that Westfield State is a leading campus in achieving that mission. As a resident of Western Mass., I am also very familiar with the accomplishments and contributions the university makes to the region and am proud to say that my son is a Westfield State University alum. I look forward to working with President Thompson, the deans, department chairs, and faculty, as well as other academic-affairs departments, to advance the university’s strategic goals and other important initiatives during the 2023-2024 academic year.”

Prior to his retirement, Caruso served as president of Antioch University New England (AUNE) from 2006 to 2013. There, he led the successful implementation of the 2007-12 strategic plan and doubled the campus annual fund. He launched AUNE’s first successful Horace Mann Spirit of Service Awards ceremony that provides funds for the general scholarship endowment. He also served on the boards of the New Hampshire College and University Council and Campus Compact for New Hampshire.

Previously, he was provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Worcester State University from 2002 to 2006. Under his leadership, Worcester State implemented a universal student laptop program, revised general education, and launched a number of new academic programs. Earlier, he held faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Hartford, the University of Rhode Island, Purdue University, and Indiana State University. In 1995, he was awarded the American Council on Education Fellowship, a program designed to develop senior leaders in higher education. In 2014-15, he returned to Worcester State as interim provost.

Caruso obtained his Ph.D. in Human Development at Cornell University and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sonoma State University. His research and publications are in the field of child and youth development and early-childhood education. He has done consulting in early-childhood education and higher-education leadership and organizational change, chaired the governance committee at the University of Hartford Magnet School, and served on the editorial boards of Early Education and Development, Child and Youth Care Forum, and Infant Mental Health Journal. He currently serves on the Leadership Council for Boundless Way Zen.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) President Linda Thompson has appointed Kevin Hearn as vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. Hearn will begin his duties on July 3.

As WSU continues to reinforce and build systems to support the needs of students and the surrounding communities, “Dr. Hearn’s dedication as an experienced, innovative steward of higher education will play an important role in advancing the university’s concept of IDEAS — innovation, diversity, engagement, and advancement — that ultimately leads to student success,” Thompson said. “The breadth of Dr. Hearn’s experience stood out from many qualified candidates, and I look forward to working with him to tell the story of Westfield State University.”

With 30 years of higher-education experience, Hearn’s curricular and co-curricular leadership spans enrollment, student affairs, academic support, and communications.

“I wish to thank Dr. Thompson, the selection committee, and all those who participated in the nationwide search for inviting me to serve in this post at Westfield State University,” Hearn said. “This position will play a critical role in addressing the needs of prospective and current students and in creating a more seamless and vibrant student experience from the point of admission through graduation. During my campus visit, I was impressed with the passion with which Westfield State students, staff, and faculty spoke of the university and their experiences. I look forward to partnering with them, as well as with the board of trustees, local and regional community organizations and businesses, and Westfield State alumni, to foster a culture of innovation and engagement that inspires all campus members to build on the rich history of Westfield State University.”

Hearn most recently served as vice president for Enrollment Management at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, where he was responsible for leadership and management of all staff and operations within the offices of undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and international admissions, as well as the office of Financial Aid.

Prior to this role, he served as vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., and held leadership roles in Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Dean College in Franklin, Mass.

Hearn earned his doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Miami, his master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology from Rhode Island College in Providence, and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.

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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Westfield State University (WSU) will announce a new pathway for individuals to earn both an associate and a baccalaureate degree in nursing simultaneously or in a streamlined manner by combining the curricula of both programs. The concurrent program is the first in the Commonwealth.

Representatives from HCC and WSU will participate in a signing ceremony at HCC today, May 15, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Frost Building, Room 309.

Beginning one’s professional life as an RN with all the demands on new nurses in a post-COVID era can make it challenging to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This program provides an opportunity for students to earn both their ASN and BSN credentials simultaneously before entering the workforce.

“The concurrent ADN-to-BSN pathway is an innovative approach to nursing education. It enables students to earn their ADN while simultaneously completing coursework that counts toward their BSN. This integration of education allows for a more efficient and streamlined approach to nursing education that is advantageous to some students,” WSU Executive Director of Nursing Jessica Holden said.

The ADN-to-BSN pathway creates efficiency for students as it incorporates a joint admission process, thereby eliminating the need for students to submit a separate application for admission to the university. By facilitating the attainment of a BSN, this pathway helps to meet the evolving demands of the healthcare industry.

“We’re excited. Working with Westfield State on this new program is huge,” HCC Director of Nursing Teresa Beaudry said. “We had to meet with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, who had to approve it, and they’re equally as excited as we are to create another pathway for nurses to advance in their education and a different way for those students who might not be able to get into a bachelor’s of nursing program.”

The concurrent nursing program will help address the nursing shortage by increasing the number of students who can get into a bachelor of nursing program and allow them to earn their degree faster.

According to a Massachusetts Health Policy Commission report, “registered-nurse vacancy rates in acute-care hospitals doubled from 6.4% in 2019 to 13.6% in 2022, with especially high vacancy rates in community hospitals. Employment in nursing and residential care facilities has not recovered since 2020 and remained below 2018 levels.”

Westfield State University President Linda Thompson noted that “collaboration and partnerships in education are imperative to build a solid workforce. We have seen a tremendous need to build capacity in nursing, and we are fortunate to have had wonderful collaboration with Holyoke Community College. This effort expands on our already productive, committed relationship to serve the communities of our region.”

Daily News

WESTFIELD — On Wednesday, April 26 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., the Westfield State University master of public administration program will present a discussion with municipal leaders in Western Mass. on the challenges and rewards of municipal work. The discussion will take place at the Westfield State University TV studio in the Ely Campus Center.

This event is free and open to students of all majors interested in public service, high-school students, and anyone interested in learning about the inner workings of local government.

“Local Government Career Opportunities and Challenges” will feature a panel including Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia; Westfield Personnel Director Anne Larkham, West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, and Paul Sieloff, chair of the Berkshire Municipal Management Assoc.

The panel will be moderated by Rick Sullivan, adjunct faculty member of Westfield State University, former Westfield mayor, and current president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

The program will be livestreamed on the University website, westfield.ma.edu/live.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) advanced public relations students are launching a campaign, Dunkin’ for Diapers, to raise money and awareness for Square One’s diaper bank.

The campaign will create awareness and collect donations for the organization’s diaper bank, which provides diapers and wipes to 1,200 families annually throughout the Pioneer Valley. The students are hosting two events featuring games and raffles: Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of Target at the Holyoke Mall; and Tuesday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside Dunkin’ Donuts at Westfield State University.

The Instagram-based public-awareness campaign will take place via the handle @dunkinfordiaperssquareone and use the hashtags #dunkin4diapers and #squareonediapers.

Square One is a nonprofit organization based in Springfield that provides a range of family-friendly education and support services to local families. Its focus is on providing opportunities for children and families to build the foundation for lifelong learning, make smart choices, and grow strong cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physically.

“Families in our region continue to be challenged by the high cost of basic essentials, including diapers for their little ones,” said Kristine Allard, vice president of Development & Communication at Square One. “We are so grateful to the students and staff at Westfield State for recognizing this tremendous need and for taking action to help us support our region’s children and families.”

Suzanne Boniface, adjunct professor of Communication at WSU, added that “this Westfield State Communication Department course partners with a local nonprofit each semester to help the community through its civic-engagement program. These public-relations students use the skills they have acquired from their studies and gain practical experience for their future careers.”

She added that her students’ campaign will raise awareness of the diaper-bank program and will help fund expenses for diapers.

Donations to this campaign can be made by Venmo @dunkin4diapers.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal joined Westfield State University President Linda Thompson to announce a $1 million earmark to enhance the university’s training capacity for nursing and health science students.

The allocation was made possible through congressionally directed spending from the Department of Education. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2023 spending bill that was signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022.

“The Commonwealth has long been at the forefront of innovations in the healthcare field, making our state’s healthcare system the envy of the nation. We are fortunate to have some of the best hospitals in Western and Central Massachusetts, and institutions like Westfield State University are ensuring we have the skilled workforce needed to staff these facilities,” Neal said. “This funding will allow the university to improve and expand its nursing and health science programs, ensuring the next generation of healthcare professionals has access to the state-of-the-art technology and real-world experiences needed to succeed in their respective fields.”

Westfield State’s plans for this funding are threefold: to double the university’s simulation space that is utilized to develop students’ skills and confidence in applying healthcare practices, provide a new Easy Street simulation space that will allow healthcare students to apply concepts of home-based and community care in their learning, and provide new spaces for the practice of healthcare innovation.

“The funding appropriated for Westfield State University’s nursing and healthcare programs will create opportunities to reverse a healthcare professional shortage trend that has impacted a wide swath of our region,” Thompson said. “The critical, smart, and necessary move by Congress, led by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, will lead to the creation of systems that will reinforce and strengthen the health of the population. Westfield State University is eager to continue collaborating with our healthcare partners to provide top-level services to our communities through training and development opportunities for our students and others who may be interested in improving their skills.”

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University and its partners will host a free presentation of En-ROADS on Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. on campus in Wilson Hall, Room 130. The program is designed for the general public, secondary teachers, and students of all ages.

En-ROADS is an evidence-based global climate simulator that allows users to explore the impact of specific policies — such as electrifying transport, pricing carbon, and improving agricultural practices — on hundreds of factors, including energy prices, temperature, air quality, and sea-level rise.

Developed by Climate Interactive, the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, and Ventana Systems, En-ROADS helps people make connections between things they care about and the possibilities available to help ensure a resilient future. Users can quickly see the long-term effects of the global climate policies and actions they imagine.

Anyone interested in learning which climate solutions are most impactful, teachers wondering how to enhance students’ learning about climate issues, and others will benefit from the En-ROADS presentation, which will explore the benefits, challenges, and equity implications of a wide range of climate policies, while stakeholders work together to build a scenario for a better climate future.

The presentation will include information on using En-ROADS in classrooms and other community settings, and will help attendees understand actions they can take to address climate change. Light refreshments will be provided.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s (WSU) Athletic Training program has earned the maximum reaccreditation duration after a recent review by the Committee on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE). It is common for reaccreditation of three- or five-year periods. The 10-year reaccreditation recently earned by WSU Athletic Training program extends through the 2032 academic year.

WSU has been accredited by CAATE since 2001, and the curriculum has undergone considerable changes due to evolving practices in the field. The reaccreditation process now details compliance in 109 profession-specific standards.

Recent events, such as Buffalo Bill Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field due to cardiac arrest and a severe neck laceration suffered by an Army men’s hockey player, highlight the vital need for athletic trainers in many settings.

The extensive coordination of athletic-training education with other healthcare professions on campus prepares WSU students for interprofessional strategic planning, communication, and implementation in emergency and non-emergency healthcare situations. In addition to their rigorous academic coursework, athletic-training students are required to participate in a variety of graded clinical settings to assure a high level of technical proficiency before their graduation. Additionally, the WSU coursework emphasizes advanced, evidence-based clinical research strategies by undergraduates. This has resulted in WSU’s undergraduate students publishing articles in professional journals and presenting research at national and regional conferences over the last six years.

WSU graduates are working as athletic trainers in high schools, universities, and clinics throughout the region. Alumni are also employed in professional baseball, professional ice hockey, industrial settings, and leading research hospitals. Recent graduates have also furthered their professional knowledge by adding graduate degrees in related fields to extend their impact on healthcare delivery.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University will host a virtual information session for the master of science in accounting (MSA) program on Wednesday, Jan., 25 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

The graduate program is designed to foster leadership skills and prepare students for successful careers in public and private accounting. It allows students to complete the additional 30 credit hours necessary to fulfill the educational requirements for the , (CPA) license in Massachusetts and several other states.

The program offers a foundation curriculum for students who have an undergraduate business degree but lack the necessary coursework in accounting to complete a series of prerequisite courses as part of the master’s program. The advanced curriculum is for students with an undergraduate major or concentration in accounting. It is comprised of 10 courses (the majority are offered in a hybrid format, and certain courses are 100% online) that can be completed in only two semesters. The MSA program offers students flexibility and affordability to achieve a greater degree of sophistication in accounting.

Information-session attendees will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and members of the outreach team about the program and its application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for all attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8461 or email [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s Division of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will host nationally recognized civil-rights attorney Ben Crump on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in the Scanlon Hall Banquet Room. His lecture, titled “Justice in 2022 and Beyond,” will serve as the inaugural presentation in the university’s new “Voice of Justice” lecture series.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with the lecture beginning at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, winning a number of record settlements and verdicts for victims and families that have faced injustice. He has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the U.S., representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the residents of Flint, Mich. who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River, as well as the family of Henrietta Lacks in a landmark reparations case.

In 2021, St. Thomas University College of Law announced the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in his honor, which will open doors for minority students pursuing law degrees. His book, published in October 2019, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, reflects on the landmark cases he has battled and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) will host a virtual information session for its master of public administration and master of science in criminal justice programs on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

The two programs — and all of WSU’s graduate programs — offer students an affordable, flexible experience. The ability to attend full- or part-time while taking courses in the late afternoon, evening, and online during fall, spring, and summer sessions is responsive to the needs of today’s adult learner.

Westfield State’s master of public administration (MPA) program, supported by faculty in the departments of Communications; Criminal Justice; Economics and Management; Geography, Planning, and Sustainability; Nursing; and Sociology, prepares students to develop as professional administrators in public, nonprofit, healthcare, and criminal-justice settings.

“Our students are public-service-minded and are seeking to enhance their leadership and management skills,” MPA Program Director Charles DiStefano said. “The MPA program offers a collaborative learning experience, where you will learn from professors and fellow students who have a wide range of public-sector experience and expertise.”

The criminal justice graduate program focuses on theoretical and applied issues in law enforcement, corrections, administration, and public law. Its goal is to further critical thinking about significant issues in crime and criminal justice. Judges, lawyers, managers, and criminal-justice researchers supplement the faculty, bringing many practical considerations to the study of the discipline.

“The master of criminal justice provides a great opportunity for those who work in the criminal-justice field to advance their education and, potentially, their career,” Program Director Christopher Kudlac said. “It also provides a way for those interested in entering the field to earn a master’s degree to make themselves more marketable.”

Information session attendees will have the opportunity to speak with outreach team members and faculty about the programs and application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8461 or email [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Westfield State University (WSU) have joined forces this year to honor veterans at a celebration on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at WSU.

The 2021 pre-Veterans Day celebration will begin with “U.S. Veterans on the Frontline,” a roundtable discussion from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., followed in the evening by a resource fair and speed-networking event from 6 to 8 p.m. Both portions will be held at Scanlon Hall on the WSU campus, 577 Western Ave., Westfield.

Among the panelists in the roundtable will be Robert Vigneault, HCC’s veterans certifying official and a U.S. Air Force veteran, along with HCC student veterans Megan Bergeron and Dillon Nash.

“This event will provide an opportunity to learn what it means to be in the military, to be a veteran, and how veterans make a difference on the frontlines,” Vigneault said. “It’s a great way to connect with and learn from other veterans and learn about all the resources available for vets.”

To register for the roundtable discussion, RSVP to westfield.ma.edu/veterans/discussion. To register for the veterans resource fair and speed-networking event, RSVP to westfield.ma.edu/veterans/networking.

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WESTFIELD — A virtual information session for Westfield State University’s (WSU) master’s degrees in counseling and applied behavior analysis will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Individuals interested in careers as behavior analysts, clinicians, family and marriage counselors, and guidance or adjustment counselors should consider attending to learn how a graduate degree could help them attain one of these career paths.

The Department of Psychology offers a 60-credit graduate program designed to serve the student who plans to enter the applied fields of counseling or psychology after receiving the master of arts degree. Students may follow one of four specialized tracks: school counseling, school-adjustment counseling, forensic mental-health counseling, and mental-health counseling.

Westfield State also offers a 48-credit master of arts program in applied behavior analysis to individuals who work, or aspire to work, in settings such as schools, including regular and special-education classrooms; business and industry; healthcare; and other community-based settings.

“Westfield State’s graduate training in counseling meets all requirements for entry licensure in school counseling and all pre-masters content and field experience requirements for mental-health counselors,” said Robert Hayes, chair of Graduate Programs in Psychology. “We particularly value small classes for technique-related courses, where graduate candidates receive outstanding individual attention, as well as group supervision during the development of their counseling skills. Counseling is both a science and an art, and our graduate training program attends to both.”

Information session attendees will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and members of the outreach team about the program and its application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for all attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8020 or e-mail [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) interim Dean of Faculty Enrique Morales-Díaz is the recipient of the Latino Scholarship Fund (LSF) of Western Massachusetts’ Antonia Pantoja Award, which honors people who contribute to the Latinx community through research and education. It was presented in June, during the organization’s 30th annual awards ceremony, held virtually.

The Latino Scholarship Fund of Western Massachusetts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to putting higher education within reach of college-bound students in the region.

Morales-Díaz leads Westfield State’s initiative to become a federally recognized Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) and chairs the University’s Racial Equity and Justice Institute Team. The HSI designation is part of a larger commitment by Westfield State to address systemic racism and inequities on campus, such as in its policies and practices. It also supports its efforts to become a student-ready, relationship-centered campus community that is fluent in understanding all of its students’ needs and that values their culture.

“To say that I was surprised to learn I have been bestowed the Antonia Pantoja Award is an understatement,” Morales-Díaz said. “Dr. Pantoja’s example is what I strive to emulate with my work on these highly important matters of inclusivity and accessibility.”

An activist for the Puerto Rican community in New York City, Pantoja is best known for establishing ASPIRA in 1961, a nonprofit organization that promotes education and advancement for Puerto Rican youth by providing clubs within schools, career and college counseling, advocacy for bilingual education, and other services.

In his introduction of Morales-Díaz, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago said he was delighted to celebrate the accomplishments of his former student from their days at the State University of New York Albany, where Santiago taught as a professor.

“I know Enrique well,” Santiago said. “His receipt of the Antonia Pantoja Award is very well-deserved for his contributions to the [Latinx] community and to Westfield State University.”

One of Morales-Díaz’ former students, LSF board member Derek Estrella, nominated him for the Antonia Pantoja Award.

“As a former student of Dr. Morales-Díaz, I had the opportunity of getting to know his deep commitment to the Latinx community and, more specifically, this community at Westfield State University,” said Estrella, who graduated from WSU in 2019. “Dr. Morales-Díaz has always taken an initiative to be involved with Latinx students who are trying to navigate their collegiate careers.

“In addition to serving in various mentorship roles, he has pioneered many conversations surrounding intersectionality of being queer and Latinx,” Estrella added. “For these reasons — and many more — I am delighted to have advocated for Dr. Morales-Díaz as a more-than-deserving recipient for the Antonia Pantoja Award.”

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s Department of Social Work has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Integrative Behavioral Health (IBH) Equity Project.

The project builds a specialized workforce within rural, medically underserved areas as well as among diverse and historically marginalized populations to address the barriers identified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the social determinants of health.

This HRSA award will be distributed over the next four years and will train 92 Westfield State graduate students in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program in the following integrative behavioral health specialties: Child, Youth, and Family; Health Social Work; Substance Use and Addictions; and Latinx Community Health. These students will receive $920,000 in training stipends over the next four years.

“The pandemic has highlighted how racial and economic disparities impact health outcomes. Social workers have an important role in addressing the social determinants of health, and these must be addressed to achieve health justice,” said Nora Padykula, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University’s Department of Social Work and principal investigator of the grant. “Westfield State students while training in these specialty areas work directly with our community partners to increase access to healthcare among vulnerable populations.”

Westfield State President Linda Thompson, DrPH — whose background is in nursing, health sciences, and public policy — noted that the IBH project continues the University’s growth in building important healthcare programs that meet the needs of the Commonwealth.

“Westfield State University is honored to receive this award from the federal government in recognition of the important research and training conducted and performed by our Department of Social Work faculty and students,” said Thompson. “As the majority of our graduate students go on to live and work in Massachusetts, they will support the Commonwealth’s growing need for social workers, as the number of these professionals with crisis-level caseloads is on the rise. Students in this program will help bridge that gap as they enter the workforce.”

The Field Education Team in Westfield State’s Department of Social Work established IBH/Integrated Primary Care and inter-professional training partnerships across western and central Massachusetts to train students to gain proficiency as they provide in-person and telehealth services to children, youth, and families as well as individuals living with addiction and mental health issues. It is broadening to include organizations that serve the Spanish-speaking Latinx population.

The IBH Equity Project will also increase linguistic and cultural access to social work education by offering classes in Spanish to impact the structural health inequities that affect students and clients throughout the Pioneer Valley. Westfield State is the first institution in the area to offer social work courses in Spanish.

The project advances the university’s progress toward an institutional goal of gaining the federal Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation. Achieving the designation is part of a larger commitment by Westfield State to address systemic racism and inequities on the campus, such as in its policies and practices, according to Enrique Morales-Diaz, Ph.D., interim dean of the faculty and chair of the University’s new Racial Equity and Justice Institute Team.

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WESTFIELD — The board of trustees at Westfield State University (WSU) selected higher-education and public-policy leader Linda Thompson to serve as the university’s 21st president. Pending Board of Higher Education approval, Thompson is slated to begin her presidency this summer.

“Based on Dr. Thompson’s credentials and wealth of experience in influential leadership and collaboration, paired with her highly engaging campus visit with Westfield State’s varied constituents, the board voted to recommend her as the university’s next leader,” said Kevin Queenin, who chairs the WSU board of trustees.

Thompson has served as dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UMass Boston since 2017 and previously held a similar position at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. At both institutions, she developed and implemented a comprehensive, five-year strategic plan to increase enrollment, expand partnerships and academic programs, secure funding, and increase diversity among students and faculty.

She has taught nursing and public health throughout her career at 10 different colleges and universities. Her administrative experience includes appointments as provost and vice chancellor at North Carolina A&T State University, dean of Nursing at Oakland University in Michigan, and associate dean at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Her extensive experience in public service includes serving as director of Occupational Medicine and Safety in Baltimore, where she developed programs and policies to promote the health of the city’s workforce. At the state level, she served as special secretary for Children, Youth, and Families in Maryland. There, she developed programs and policies to improve the quality of care for vulnerable populations of children. Many of these programs have been duplicated through her advisory and consulting roles in Brazil, China, India, Korea, and the Caribbean. She was the chief policy advisor to the governor of Maryland on all children and youth matters, managing an interagency budget of more than $350 million.

Thompson has published more than 100 articles, books, book chapters, and abstracts. She has received numerous awards, including induction into the American Academy of Nursing, Phi Kappa Alpha, and Sigma Xi, and was an invited participant in the White House Conference on Childcare and as the White House delegate to Brazil.

She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at Wayne State University in Michigan and master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“In addition to looking forward to welcoming Dr. Thompson as Westfield State’s next leader, I offer sincere thanks to the hardworking and thoughtful members of the presidential search committee for their invaluable role in this important selection process,” said Robert Martin, Westfield State University trustee and chair of the presidential search committee.

Thompson will succeed interim President Roy Saigo, who has led Westfield State through the 2020-21 academic year.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) launched a new graduate degree concentration and certificate program that focuses on public healthcare administration. The master of public administration (MPA) in public healthcare administration concentration and the public healthcare administration certificate were approved recently by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

“Public healthcare is a priority, now more than ever, and we are excited about Westfield State’s new MPA in public healthcare administration concentration and certificate program because their curriculum provides an opportunity to better support our public healthcare system with high-quality, skilled workers,” said CGCE interim Dean Stefanie Sanchez. “The degree concentration — or the standalone certificate — addresses an ongoing need for healthcare leaders and administrators in several different capacities. With a focus on management and leadership, both options provide a clear path for advancement in the workforce.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for healthcare managers is strong and projected to grow 32% through 2029 — much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large Baby Boomer population ages, and more people remain active later in life, an increase in the demand for healthcare services is expected.

Graduates of the degree and certificate programs will be prepared to take on public healthcare challenges as government and nonprofit leaders, where they will lead the charge to create healthier communities. Students in both interdisciplinary programs benefit from an inclusive, supportive environment in which faculty are committed to their success and where they build relationships with their classmates that will continue long after they graduate. They will learn from full-time faculty and practitioners whose expertise is in nursing, biology, communications, healthcare economics, and policy.

MPA Program Director Charles DiStefano explained that, for many years, public-service leaders in Western Mass. have developed leadership and management skills in public management, nonprofit management, and criminal justice administration through Westfield State’s MPA program. Now, future leaders seeking to make their mark in public healthcare administration can benefit from the same specialized opportunity. Additionally, he added, successful public healthcare administrators are leaders within their agencies who effectively gain and foster political allies, nurture relationships within their communities, and build public trust.

“We have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic amazing examples of strong, effective leaders at the federal, state, and local levels, and we have felt the effects of failures by public healthcare officials,” DiStefano said. “By offering this concentration and certificate now, we demonstrate Westfield State’s commitment to nurturing leaders in the public healthcare community who will not succumb to fear or pressure from special interests, and who instead act in our collective best interest to keep us safe and healthy.”

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s (WSU) College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) will host a virtual information session for its master of Public Administration and master of science in Criminal Justice programs on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. on Zoom.

The two programs — and all of Westfield State University’s graduate programs — offer students an affordable, flexible experience. The ability to attend full- or part-time — while taking courses in the late afternoon, evening, and online during fall, spring, and summer sessions — is responsive to the needs of today’s adult learner.

Westfield State’s master of Public Administration (MPA) — sponsored by the departments of Political Science; Criminal Justice; Geography, Planning, and Sustainability; and Economics and Management — prepares students to develop as professional administrators in public, nonprofit, and criminal-justice settings.

“Our students are public-service-minded and are seeking to enhance their leadership and management skills,” said MPA Program Director Charles DiStefano. “The MPA program offers a collaborative learning experience, where you will learn from professors and fellow students who have a wide range of public-sector experience and expertise.”

The Criminal Justice graduate program focuses on theoretical and applied issues in law enforcement, corrections, administration, and public law. Its goal is to further critical thinking about significant issues in crime and criminal justice. Judges, lawyers, managers, and criminal-justice researchers supplement the faculty, bringing many practical considerations to the study of the discipline.

“The master of Criminal Justice provides a great opportunity for those who work in the criminal-justice field to advance their education and, potentially, their career,” said Program Director Christopher Kudlac. “It also provides a way for those interested in entering the field to earn a master’s degree to make themselves more marketable.”

Information-session attendees will have the opportunity to speak with outreach-team members and faculty about the programs and application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8020 or e-mail [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) is again one of Massachusetts’ top public universities among its peers, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2021 list. The rankings underscore the university’s commitment to accessibility, affordability, and intentional outcomes.

In this year’s release, Westfield State is ranked 90th among 170 institutions in “Regional Universities – North.” It is ranked ahead of its peer Massachusetts state universities in both that category and U.S. News’ Best Public Schools, where it placed 26th.

Rankings were determined by a number of factors, including a peer assessment, retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, class sizes, student/faculty ratio, student selectivity, and alumni-giving rate.

“We are proud to receive this noteworthy recognition,” said Roy Saigo, interim president of WSU. “The university meets students’ needs by providing pathways to an accessible, high-quality, affordable, comprehensive education and experience.”

The rankings are available at www.usnews.com/colleges and on newsstands.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s (WSU) College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) will host a virtual information session for the master of social work program on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. on Zoom.

The program, one of only four located in Western Mass., is also offered at the YWCA at Salem Square in Worcester.

The master of social work (MSW) program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and prepares students to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) and to work in a variety of positions in the human-services field. The program aims to prepare advanced-level social-work practitioners who have specialized knowledge and skills for clinical practice, based on a firm generalist foundation.

“The MSW program at Westfield State University provides students with a competitive, accessible, and affordable social-work education,” program Director Maria del Mar Farinam said. “As future social-work professionals, students will be exceptionally well-prepared to meet the increasingly complex needs of the diverse communities served by our profession.”

With full- or part-time options — and the consistency of having all of one’s classes on Monday and Thursday evenings — the MSW program offers flexibility and affordability.

Information-session attendees will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and members of the outreach team about the program and its application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for all attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8020 or e-mail [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — The College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) at Westfield State University will host a virtual information session for the master of science in accounting (MSA) program on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

The graduate program is designed to foster leadership skills and prepare students for successful careers in public and private accounting. It allows students to complete the additional 30 credit hours necessary to fulfill the educational requirements for the certified public accountancy (CPA) license in Massachusetts and several other states.

The program offers a foundation curriculum for students who have a business background but lack the necessary coursework in accounting to complete a series of prerequisite courses as part of the master’s program. This curriculum can be completed entirely online with courses offered on a rotating basis (students can also take courses in person). The advanced curriculum is for students with an undergraduate major or concentration in accounting. It includes 10 courses (the majority are offered in a hybrid format, and certain courses are 100% online) that can be completed in only two semesters. The MSA program offers students flexibility and affordability to achieve a greater degree of sophistication in accounting and auditing.

Information-session attendees will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and members of the outreach team about the program and its application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for all attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8020 or e-mail [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Cellular service on the Westfield State University campus is expected to significantly improve now that a new cell tower has been installed atop Scanlon Hall.

Westfield State partnered with the Mass. Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and Mass. State College Building Authority (MSCBA) on the project. The installation was completed earlier this month by Berkshire Wireless, a subcontractor for Verizon Wireless.

“Verizon recently has increased its network coverage and capacity at Westfield State University, with a new cell site near Scanlon Hall,” said Verizon Wireless in a statement. “It provides robust 4G LTE services throughout the campus, as well as parts of Route 20, Western Avenue, and the surrounding neighborhoods. The new cell site includes an emergency battery backup and generator to ensure 24/7 availability to services. We’re proud to have made this investment in the Westfield State University campus community.”

Improving cellular service on campus has been a decade in the making, according to Stephen Taksar, Westfield State’s vice president of administration and finance.

“We are thankful to our partners to complete the project to provide better and more reliable cell service on campus and in the surrounding community,” he said.

In addition to improved and more reliable cell service, the university will also generate revenue by leasing the space to the cellular provider. According to Taksar, a 10-year contract was signed, which will generate $240,000 over the term. The $24,000 per year will go toward the university’s Residential Life area to support services and programming for resident students.

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WESTFIELD — A virtual information session for Westfield State University’s (WSU) master’s degrees in counseling and applied behavior analysis will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Individuals interested in careers as behavior analysts, clinicians, family and marriage counselors, and guidance or adjustment counselors should consider attending to learn how a graduate degree could help them attain one of these positions.

The Department of Psychology offers a 60-credit graduate program designed to serve the student who plans to enter the applied fields of counseling or psychology after receiving a master of arts degree. The program offers four specialized tracks: school guidance counseling, school adjustment counseling, forensic mental-health counseling, and mental-health counseling.

Westfield State also offers a 48-credit master of arts degree in applied behavior analysis to individuals who work, or aspire to work, in a number of different settings, such as schools, including regular and special-education classrooms; business and industry; healthcare; and other community-based settings.

“Westfield State’s graduate training in counseling meets all requirements for entry licensure in school counseling and all pre-master’s content and field experience requirements for mental-health counselors,” said Robert Hayes, chair of graduate programs in Psychology. “We particularly value small classes for technique-related courses, where graduate candidates receive outstanding individual attention, as well as group supervision during the development of their counseling skills. Counseling is both a science and an art, and our graduate training program attends to both.”

Information-session attendees will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and members of the outreach team about the program and its application process. The $50 application fee will be waived for all attendees. To RSVP, visit www.gobacknow.com. For more information, call (413) 572-8020 or e-mail [email protected].

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s (WSU) teacher-education program has received full, seven-year accreditation with commendation from the Assoc. for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) for its wide-ranging, growing work in anti-racism education. WSU is the first institution of higher education in the AAQEP membership to receive commendation from the organization.

“Educator preparation at Westfield State has been a vital and integral part of Westfield State University since Horace Mann founded the institution in 1839 as the Westfield Normal School. It is Horace Mann’s philosophy that we continue to embrace: to welcome all students — regardless of fortune, ethnicity, gender, or religion. This remarkable heritage is embodied by our Education Department,” said Roy Saigo, WSU’s interim president. “National accreditation by AAQEP continues the affirmation of Westfield State University’s longstanding tradition of excellence in teacher preparation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and region.”

The WSU Education Department’s teacher-education program is designed to prepare educators to teach effectively within a democratic society. Its mission is informed by several pillars, including critical engagement with diversity, social justice, community building, scholarship, and reflective practice. Program coursework and field experiences provide students with the understanding, knowledge, and skills that will enable them, as teachers, to engage with diversity and issues of equity, build inclusive learning communities, embrace the scholarship of teaching and learning, and adopt a reflective practitioner mindset.

These principles — which undergird the Teacher Education program — set expectations that are essential for those who will teach in K-12 schools, and collectively are needed to provide the foundational knowledge for WSU students to become effective, caring, and equitable teachers.

Robert Kersting, WSU’s interim provost, in recognizing the faculty, staff, and librarians whose collective efforts made AAQEP accreditation possible, noted that “Westfield State University strives for excellence in each of our academic programs, and this prestigious accreditation with commendation is a clear example of that success.”

The Accreditation Commission also commended the university’s education programs for their concerted and deepening work in anti-racist education, as these efforts permeate the preparation of educators, are embedded in and impact the wider campus culture, and reach into the community through campus- and program-based partnerships.

All education students participate in annual Anti-Racist Education Town Hall events featuring relevant themes like the School-to-Prison Pipeline, share common readings across courses, and participate in guest lectures on campus.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University appointed Maggie Balch dean of students. She will report to Vice President for Student Affairs Gloria Lopez, and will oversee student activities and leadership, student conduct, residential engagement, and the Career Center.

An accomplished student-development professional, Balch has more than 20 years of experience in the field.

“We are thrilled to welcome Maggie to campus, where her considerable expertise in student development, engagement, and support will serve our students well,” Lopez said. “She exemplifies the strong commitment to student well-being and to the student experience that’s critically important to us at Westfield State.”

Balch most recently served in a similar position for the past five years at Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to that, she held progressively advancing positions in student life at Brandeis University for 12 years, ranging from director of Residence Life to associate dean of Student Life.

“There is a deep affection for Westfield State among the students, staff, and faculty I have met and a sincere investment in the holistic development of students,” Balch said. “I am eager to meet everyone and become involved in such a dynamic and engaged community.”

Balch earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University and master’s degree in higher education administration: student affairs at the University of Connecticut. She later held positions in residence life at Washington University in St. Louis, Indiana University, and UMass Dartmouth.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) and Holyoke Community College (HCC) have partnered to create an affordable pathway for students who earn an associate degree in biotechnology from HCC to transfer credits and pursue a bachelor’s degree from WSU.

The transfer agreement benefits students by providing an affordable option to enroll at HCC for two years and take high-level science courses that can be applied at Westfield State. With the agreement in place, students will experience a smooth transfer process between the two schools.

“Westfield State University is honored to continue our long relationship with Holyoke Community College, this time providing a bridge between an associate degree in biotechnology and the career that community-college students want to pursue,” said Roy Saigo, interim president of Westfield State University. “This partnership also underscores the Westfield State’s commitment to facilitating accessible and affordable degree options for everyone, regardless of background.”

Under the articulation agreement, students will receive credit from Westfield State for program-related courses completed at HCC. They can apply those credits toward the requirements for a bachelor of science degree in biology, with a concentration in biotechnology, at WSU.

“We are proud of our partnership with Westfield State University that allows students to earn their associate’s degree at Holyoke Community College and transfer seamlessly to Westfield State to earn their bachelor’s degree and beyond,” HCC President Christina Royal said. “Programs like these offer affordable pathways for students to begin their careers with less debt and enter the next phase of their lives as leaders in the medical and science fields.”

Continued growth in biotechnology and medical research is expected to increase demand for these workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, MassBioEd reports that nearly 12,000 jobs are forecast to be created through May 2023.

“Massachusetts has one of the highest concentrations of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the world, and a degree in biotech typically translates to careers with competitive salaries and opportunities for advancement,” said Emily Rabinsky, Biotechnology program coordinator and professor of Biology at HCC. “Furthermore, it provides students with career opportunities in which they can play a role in positively impacting others’ lives.”

HCC offers an associate degree in arts and science with a concentration in biotechnology. In 2018, the college opened a 13,000-square-foot Center for Life Sciences that features a dedicated biotechnology lab and instructional cleanroom like those used in the biotechnology industry.

“During a time when molecular and cellular biology is of the utmost importance, Westfield State’s biotechnology program provides students with the content knowledge and skills to be prepared for any career in the biotechnology field, including vaccine development, genetic engineering, and biofuels,” said Jennifer Hanselman, dean of WSU’s College of Mathematics and Sciences.

“HCC provides a quality foundation in sciences and mathematics, allowing students to make a seamless transition into Westfield State’s program,” she added. “Housed within our Biology Department, the Biotechnology program supports the shift from ‘student to scientist’ through individualized mentoring, research, and internship opportunities.”

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University, in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Assets Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), announced the selection of Holyoke-based Daniel O’Connell’s Sons Inc. to serve as construction manager for the university’s $40 million Parenzo Hall renovation project.

The construction manager selection committee — consisting of three DCAMM representatives, architect James Loftus of Miller Dyer Spears of Boston, and David Riggles, associate director for Projects and Space Management at Westfield State — received 12 responses to DCAMM’s request for qualifications and eight final proposals for the project. The final construction-manager selection was made based on the firm’s qualifications, experience, past performances, and reviews of performance records in comparison to the others.

“We are pleased to select Daniel O’Connell’s Sons through a competitive procurement process to carry out this significant enhancement to Westfield State’s facilities,” said DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone. “Through this infrastructure project, we will help support the Western Massachusetts economy by creating new space for advanced and hybrid learning for students and young adults, while also partnering with a local construction business.”

The university plans to transform the 64-year-old Parenzo Hall — the oldest building on campus — into a state-of-the-art hub for student success and development. Renovations will include the creation of two new centers — the Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) and the CoLab (collaboration laboratory). The renovation of swing space to relocate current Parenzo Hall tenants is underway and expected to be completed this winter. Groundbreaking for Parenzo’s reconstruction is anticipated in summer 2021. The renovation is expected to take approximately two years.

The CoLab will leverage technology to serve as a nexus for innovative collaboration in Western Mass., partnering with K-12 school districts, community colleges, and industry partners. It will teach students and community partners how to productively engage in online and hybrid environments that increase flexibility for students, facilitate co-enrollment, expand course choices, and provide a bridge to employment. The CoLab will work with community colleges to ease the transfer process by offering financially supported hybrid-style programs and boot camps. It will work with chambers of commerce and economic-development boards to broker relationships, inform curriculum, and secure support.

The CSSE will address the university’s goals of increasing retention and graduation rates, as well as reducing achievement gaps and the continuing decline in the number of working-age adults. In addition, it will increase student preparation for advanced learning and support exploration of career pathways in elementary and high schools to prepare them for on-the-job training. New and in-demand certificate programs and advanced study options will be offered to its business partners, utilizing technology.

The renovation project is a strategic investment for Westfield State and has been on the university’s master plan as a top priority, according to Vice President for Administration and Finance Stephen Taksar. “In addition to improving our primary instructional space, it will also significantly reduce the deferred maintenance on campus,” he said.

The Commonwealth is helping to finance the project via a $21.25 million spending bill that was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker during a July 2018 visit to campus.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University (WSU) appointed Kate Burke associate director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. In her role, she will be responsible for the development, management, and oversight of alumni outreach and engagement initiatives as well as providing leadership to the Alumni Relations team for the management of the Alumni Association and the Lifetime Owls program. In addition, she will provide oversight of the annual-fund communications, campaigns, and giving programs.

“I’m excited to join Westfield State University and the Institutional Advancement team,” Burke said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with such great and passionate alumni, students, staff, and volunteers. I’m eager to collaborate and engage with our alumni, donors, staff, and campus and community partners. I look forward to enhancing the student, alumni, and donor experience through creating and building upon alumni engagement and involvement programs and events, campus and community outreach, and fundraising initiatives.”

Burke reports to Erica Broman, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the Westfield State Foundation.

According to Broman, Burke comes to WSU with a wealth of external, alumni-relations, and development experience in both higher education and intercollegiate athletics. She has previously made an impact at Colorado School of Mines, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Oakland University, University of Virginia, and Xavier University. Burke earned a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Indiana State University.

“We are pleased to welcome Kate and look forward to the level of sophistication that she brings to Institutional Advancement and the university,” Broman said. “We will rely on her leadership to work with the Alumni Association to advance the critical role our graduates fill in the success of our students.”

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education is accepting applications for the 2020-21 addiction counselor education (ACE) program. Classes will be held evenings and weekends starting in September 2020 and ending in May 2021.

The goal of this non-credit certificate program, offered at the university since 1991, is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary for the successful treatment of individuals and families afflicted by alcoholism and/or other drug addictions. This program has been highly instrumental in the professional development of individuals in Western Mass. who are either working or interested in the growing healthcare field of addiction services.

To help with this mission, Westfield State also offers the ACE program at a satellite location, in Pittsfield, to help train potential counselors in the Berkshires area to fill critical positions in treatment facilities that are understaffed and unable to fill open positions.

Applications for both programs are available online at www.westfield.ma.edu/ace. For more information, or to receive an application by mail, contact Brandon Fredette at [email protected] or (413) 572-8033.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — World-renowned political activist, professor, and author Cornel West will speak today, March 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Westfield State University’s Woodward Center. His talk, “The Power of Deep Education,” is expected to challenge audience members to explore humanity as a point of departure for thinking about the context of race, citizenship, love, and leadership.

A professor at Harvard University’s Divinity School who has also taught at Princeton, Yale, and New York universities, West will speak to how “servant leadership” and “deep education” are needed for “self-interrogation and social transformation at the heart of service.” The talk is free and open to the public.

“Dr. West brings a lifetime of scholarship, public discourse, and activism to the goals of the Anti-Racism Education (ARE) Project in Westfield State University’s Education Department,” said Andrew Habana Hafner, associate professor of Education. “The ARE Project aims to introduce a critical, multi-cultural perspective for the WSU Education Department community that is rooted in the intentional aim of dismantling racism, and its role in intersectional forms of oppressions.

A social critic and intellectual, West’s work focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their “radical conditionedness.” He frequently appears on television shows (such as The Colbert Report and Real Time with Bill Maher) and has been featured in more than 25 documentaries and movies. He has recorded three spoken-word albums, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and Gerald Levert. He has a passion to communicate to a variety of people to keep alive Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

West has written many books, including the influential Race Matters (1993) and Democracy Matters (2004). He will sign his books tonight after his talk and question-and-answer period. Books will be available for purchase.

To reserve a seat, click here.

Education

The New College Try

Diane Prusank

Diane Prusank

Diane Prusank says Westfield State University is a few years behind the other Massachusetts state schools in adopting the so-called ‘college structure’ for its Division of Academic Affairs.

In most respects, that’s a good thing, she told BusinessWest, because it has provided the 180-year-old institution with an opportunity to learn from what those other schools have done and shape a system that reflects what amounts to best practices. And that’s important, because going from 25 academic departments to four colleges is a significant change for students and faculty alike.

“It takes time for people to see how this works, time for people to talk with those at other institutions and say, ‘how did this go for you?’” said Prusank, who last spring was named WSU’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “So, in some ways, coming later than our sister institutions was really beneficial.”

Elaborating, she noted that the delay, if it can be called that, in adopting this structure resulted from, among other things, apprehension that it might create silos at the university at a time when greater collaboration between the departments was and is the goal, as well as an additional (and perhaps unwanted) layer of bureaucracy.

But over the course of a 15-month planning period — one that included examination of what’s happened at the other state universities and other institutions of higher learning after they adopted the college system — it was determined that these fears were mostly unfounded.

In fact, that review showed the college structure fostered greater communication among faculty members within various programs, and also new collaborative efforts.

Jennifer Hanselman

Jennifer Hanselman

Juline Mills

Juline Mills

Emily Todd

Emily Todd

Once you place faculty essentially in proximity to each other in the kinds of meetings and events that colleges put together, they create a chemistry with each other that you don’t see when they’re spread out across 25 different departments,” said Prusank, who joined the university in 2008 as dean of Academic Programs and Accreditation.

“When there are eight of them in the room, they start to talk about things they have in common,” she went on. “And they start to create connections. Sometimes people worry that when you create the college system you’ve made silos, that these colleges will separate themselves from each other. But the truth is that those deans have conversations with other, and they make connections.”

Under the new system, WSU now has four colleges — the College of Graduate and Continuing Education, the College of Mathematics and Sciences; College of Education, Health, and Human Services; and College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Three new founding deans were also appointed in June: Jennifer Hanselman, former chair of the Department of Biology, was appointed interim dean of the College of Mathematics and Sciences; Juline Mills, most recently a professor in the College of Business at the University of New Haven, was named dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services; and Emily Todd, former chair of the Department of English at WSU, was named interim dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

As for Prusank, she brings a great deal of experience to her new role as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs — and the process of bringing the college system to fruition.

Before coming to WSU a decade ago, she served as a faculty member, associate dean, and assistant provost at the University of Hartford. At Westfield State, in addition to her work as dean of Academic Programs and Accreditation, she’s served as dean of Undergraduate Studies, chair and faculty member in the Department of Communications, and chief of staff in the President’s Office.

Thus, she brings a number of different perspectives to the shift from 25 departments to four colleges. And from the lens of both a faculty member and administrator, she said it brings with it considerable promise for enhanced collaboration and innovation, as well as greater operational efficiencies.

“You get a lot of points of sharing that you didn’t have before,” she said, referring, again, to what happens when you bring the chairs of eight departments together for meetings of the individual colleges. “You get a lot of synergy, a lot of collaboration, and a lot of sharing. And that’s great for our students because it opens up more opportunities for them.”

Elaborating on the nature of these opportunities, she said they come in many different forms, from greater collaboration on curriculum and potential new programs of study to creation of new events, to the broadening of existing events, such as alumni gatherings, which might now involve graduates of several different (but related) programs instead of one.

“You get a lot of points of sharing that you didn’t have before. You get a lot of synergy, a lot of collaboration, and a lot of sharing. And that’s great for our students because it opens up more opportunities for them.”

“There’s synthesis and collaboration that opens doors for students that might not have been there before,” she explained.

Prusank told BusinessWest that a shift to the ‘college’ format is something that’s been under consideration at the university for some time.

“Westfield State has had this conversation periodically over the past few decades, as most institutions have,” she explained. “Eventually, the college structure found its way onto college campuses across the country.”

Discussions were ongoing when Ramon Torrecilha took the helm as president in 2015, she went on, adding that he essentially took the conversation to a higher level, asking the advisory committee on academic planning to research the college format, talk with campus constituencies, look at what other schools had done, and make a recommendation on what should be done moving forward.

The eventual recommendation was to take this step, she said, adding that what followed was a lengthy implementation period involving work to determine, among other things, how many colleges would be created and the composition of each one (the specific departments). When that work was completed, searches were conducted for the deans that would lead each college, as well as for the provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

While there will be a period of adjustment to the new system, Prusank said the many types of benefits are becoming increasingly apparent to students and faculty alike. Chief among these benefits for students is greater access to assistance when its needed.

“With the older structure, when we had a dean of Undergraduate Studies, students who had academic issues or problems would have to go to that dean, and there are 4,500 full-time undergraduate students looking for one person,” she explained. “Now, with the four-college structure, there are four different points of access; it’s easier to get that individual quicker.”

There are many other benefits to this system, she told BusinessWest, adding that, while WSU may be the last school in the state system to embrace this structure, it is already making up for lost time.

— George O’Brien