All posts tagged college

Clarion University is Headed “True North”

TNI Task Force developed six priorities, the basis for an action plan the university will follow over the next three years:

• Student success

• Academic programming

• Affordability

• Student engagement/citizenship

• Clarion brand and promise

• Venango campus

The first item with action taken was the relaunch of the School of Education. Pehrsson made the announcement in April, appointing Dr. Gwyneth Price as dean to oversee the school’s budget and curriculum, and make scheduling and personnel decisions.

“I see us broadening our horizons in terms of keeping the kernels of solid, evidence based teacher preparation, then expanding that to embrace innovation,” Price said. “We have confidence that what we’ve been teaching historically has been the right thing, but we also have confidence that our faculty engage in research and continually update what they’re doing. We have been on the forefront of developing programming preparing graduates to be better teachers of all students.”

Clarion University is one of 17 universities in Pennsylvania with national accreditation, with 15 nationally recognized programs, and has one of six special education reading programs in the state with International Dyslexia accreditation.

Venango Campus

Venango is NWPA’s primary location for delivery of career and workforce education in healthcare, education, business, technology, and science. The personalized environment gives it potential to serve as an incubator for new programs, to partner and/or provide a collaborative training location for virtually all sectors of the economy, to provide training and professional development needs, and to facilitate and be part of regional economic growth.

The TNI directive for Venango Campus is to be a bustling academic and economic venture for the region, and Venango will establish a director whose sole purpose is to focus on the success of the campus.

The director will work with university deans to create unique academic opportunities that reflect a new model of two year or less programming: certificates, badging, licensure, and training programs which are stackable and flexible. Programming will be based on regional workforce needs and will continue to serve untapped and non traditional populations.

The School of Education has one of the first early childhood education programs in the state to implement a full year teacher residency, which begins this fall. Student teaching will be done the last year of the program, with coursework integrated into the experience. It is the only university in Pennsylvania authorized to offer Competent Learner Model courses for college credit, and Clarion led the development of and was the first school to offer the Skills for Teacher Leadership endorsement. Additionally, the innovative intervention specialist program boasts a 100% employment rate.

Venango Campus has a strong history of campus-community partnerships, with many focused on workforce development. New programming and partnerships are already underway:

• Individuals who have completed a registered apprenticeship program can receive credit toward Clarion’s Associate of Science in Applied Technology or Bachelor of Science in Technology Leadership.

• Non-credit courses on blueprint reading and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing are in development, part of continuing work with area employers to create needed training programs.

When Dr. Dale Elizabeth Pehrsson began her presidency at Clarion University in July 2018, one of her first actions was to assess the university. She convened the “True North Initiative (TNI) Task Force,” pulling together constituents across various divisions and departments to produce actionable goals.

• An Emergency Medical Technician program is offered in partnership with Venango Technology Center and Clarion Hospital.

• In partnership with Venango County Economic Development Authority and funded through a $300,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant, an entrepreneurship academy for high school seniors will begin this fall.

• The university is administrator of a $1,100,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission to support apprenticeship programs with Venango Campus, Venango Technology Center, Community College of Allegheny County and Keystone Community Education Council.

• A partnership with Intermediate Unit V will help individuals prepare for the GED exam, improve basic entry-level skills, soft skills, etc., paving a pathway to education. The curriculum is being driven by business and industry needs.

A $900,000 investment in facility improvements, funded through grants and donations, is in progress at Venango Campus, including renovation of the respiratory care lab, Charles L. Suhr Library, and facility and technology upgrades. Venango Campus is focused on defining its own True North and will continue to be a vital part of Clarion University. Its increasingly important role as a community resource is evidenced through high quality programs, strength in serving returning adult and traditional/ non-traditional students, unique programs built on partnerships, and commitment to serving regional needs.

Learn more about Clarion University’s True North Initiative by visiting

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s August 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

NPRC Gains Degree-Granting Authority

June 3rd marks another milestone for Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC). Coming just over a week after the College celebrated their second year of operations, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided NPRC with their degree-granting authority. This degree-granting authorization is a critical step for NPRC and will allow them to operate independently for the Spring of 2020. Gannon will remain their educational partner through the end of 2019.

To reach this point in the College’s establishment, the last year has been filled with policy development, curriculum writing, and creation of the College’s 2019-2020 course catalog. “This is an extremely momentous occasion for NPRC thanks to the hard work of the staff, the board, and PDE. We are building a top-notch school, and that can only be done with top-notch, dedicated individuals,” says Kate Brock, Chair of NPRC’s Board of Trustees. When Founding President Nairn was delivered the news from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, emotions were strong. “I cannot adequately express the gratitude I felt when I got the news,” said Nairn, “So many people, so much time, so much effort, and now we are one last step away from fully realizing the promise and the mission of this very special institution.”

This milestone couldn’t have been accomplished without the backing by Senator Scarnati, the early work of the Educational Consortium of the Upper Allegheny (ECUA), counties that have supported the College from the beginning, and the superintendents and school districts that took a chance on this initiative. NPRC is the first two-year college in Pennsylvania above interstate 80 and much of its success can be attributed to the seven years of ground work ECUA has laid for the College. Early in 2020, Northern Pennsylvania Regional College plans to begin the process for regional accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Local classes can be taken at the Venango Technology Center.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Northern PA Regional College Kicks off Fall Term

NPRC SEALFall 2018 has been an exciting term for Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC). Classes began on August 22 at 14 site locations over nine counties. This term also marked the start of two new Associate of Arts Degrees – Criminal Justice and Early Childhood Education/Early Intervention.

Shortly after the term began, NPRC celebrated yet another new chapter in the College’s existence–the Inauguration of its Founding President, Dr. Joseph T. Nairn, who believes in the transformative power of education to improve lives and revive communities.

NPRC is the first college developed in Pennsylvania since 1993. For the Inauguration, a college seal was adopted to be displayed on the Presidential Medallion–a symbol of the Office of the President. NPRC chose to represent the nine-county area they serve with a nonagon shape and nine hemlocks. The seal was designed by Caitlin Nairn, Founding President Nairn’s daughter.

Throughout the day, Dr. Nairn insisted that this event was not about him, but about the students and the success of those that attend NPRC. Alumna Tesla Moore confirmed his statement in her remarks by saying: “This is the idea that drives the success of this school. The benefits to the students are the main priority.” It was further echoed in Dr. Nairn’s sentiment, “We believe in and respect the inherent worth and dignity of all, and our academic staff are charged with ensuring our curricula reflect that respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and traditions of our learners.”

NPRC is currently enrolling students for the Spring 2019 term. The class schedule can be found at You can also contact Student Success Specialist Steve Carr at for more information.


This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s November 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.