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2016-2017 Kutztown University Points of Pride

September 2016

KU Named a Best Regional University by U.S. News and World Report
Kutztown University has been named a "Best Regional University" in the U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of U.S. colleges and universities. In data released Tuesday, U.S. News lists KU as number 128 in the first tier of the Best Regional Universities for the northern region, three spots higher than last year. KU has been ranked in the first tier since 2011. The ranking uses data from 2015.

Dr. Phill Reed and Students in the observatoryReed Awarded Collaborative Grant from NSF
Dr. Phill Reed, associate professor of physics and astronomy, has been awarded a $250,000 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation. Kutztown University's share of the grant, $113,450, will fund Dr. Reed and six KU students for three years between 2017 and 2020. The students will work with Dr. Reed at KU's on-campus observatory during the fall and spring semesters and will then become visiting researchers at universities in Italy, Australia and elsewhere as they conduct paid internships with some of the world's leading experts in exoplanetary science - the study of planetary systems other than our own solar system. The students will learn cutting-edge research techniques and help discover and characterize new exoplanets.

Dr. Christine SaidiSaidi Awarded NEH Collaborative Research Grant
Dr. Christine Saidi, associate professor, Department of History, has been awarded a $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research Grant. Dr. Saidi and her collaborators received the award, which was established to support interpretive research undertaken by a team of two or more collaborating scholars that adds significantly to knowledge and understanding of the humanities. The grant will allow Dr. Saidi to continue her research on early Bantu matrilineal societies, which started with her book Women's Authority and Community in Early East- Central Africa. Dr. Saidi will bring students into her work, giving them opportunities to do innovative and creative research by involving them in data collection and analysis, map making and producing academic scholarship.

Dr. Marilyn Stewart, second from left, with (left to right) Alex Ogeka, Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, Dr. Anne ZayaitzStewart Receives Wiesenberger Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Marilyn Stewart, Ph.D., professor of art education and co-coordinator of graduate programs in art education, received this year's Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award, given annually, is presented to one faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching skills and service to the university.

October 2016

KU Freshman Class Highest Quality Since 2008
Kutztown University's current freshman class boasts the highest quality since 2008. KU's 1,691 freshmen have a combined SAT score of 986 and the second-highest high school grade point average (3.19) in the past decade. The incoming class was the most selective since 2012, with a 9.25 percent increase in denies for freshmen. The total enrollment for the university for the 2016 fall semester is 8,513, down 5.4 percent from last fall. The enrollment drop is partially a product of increased degrees awarded. Last year, 23 percent of KU undergraduates received bachelor's degrees --- a 13 percent increase over the prior year, and above the national peer comparison. University retention remained stable for the second year in a row at 73 percent. Minority enrollment continued at an all-time high of approximately 20 percent, making KU one of the most diverse institutions in the State System.

KU's Graduate Rate at an All-Time High
Kutztown University's four-year graduation rate has hit an all-time high, as 39 percent of the students who matriculated to the university in 2012 graduated last spring. The 39 percent is a four percent increase over the 2011 cohort, and seven percent higher than the national average of 32 percent. Graduation rate is an indicator of success of a university's student in attaining their education goals. It is based on first-time, full-time undergraduate students. KU's five-year graduation rate for students entering the university in 2011 remains steady at 50 percent. The six-year graduate rate for students coming to KU in 2010 is 55 percent, a one-percent increase over 2009. The four-year graduation rate for KU students has jumped an impressive 22 percent, since it was reported at 17 percent in 1997.

Dr. Simpson Featured in Washington Post
Kutztown professor Dr. Ed Simpson was featured in the Washington Post and other national publications for his work with Utah State paleontologist Jim Kirkland to determine what trapped at least nine Utahraptor dinosaurs of various ages. At first, Kirkland said, he thought "we were looking at a small river channel," or some other body of water where animals might have frequently fought or drowned. Yet all the dinosaur bones were encased in sandstone blobs that were distinct from the surrounding rock. Now, working with KU's own Dr. Ed Simpson and colleagues, Kirkland thinks he's found the answer: Quicksand is what snared, killed and buried these unfortunate dinosaurs.

Nykolai BicharBlichar Selected to Serve on It's On US National Student Advisory Committee
Kutztown University student Nykolai Aleksandor Blichar has been selected to serve on the It's On Us Student Advisory Committee. Blichar, a political science major from Palmerton, Pa., is one of 28 students serving on the committee, which includes representatives from Fordham University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, the University of Connecticut and Williams College. It's On Us was launched by President Obama in 2014 to create a cultural movement to fundamentally shift the way people think about sexual assault. The It's On Us Student Advisory Committee was created to further empower young people to step up and to be a part of the solution.

Snyder Awarded Freddie Gruber Scholarship
Kutztown University senior music major, Peter Snyder, was awarded the Freddie Gruber Scholarship from the Percussive Arts Society. The annual scholarship, which receives auditions from percussion students across the world, rewards the winning college or university student with $2500 towards tuition.

New Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Approved
The State System of Higher Education Board of Governors approved a new Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree for Kutztown University at its board meeting earlier this month. The program will be run by the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. Currently, KU offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Within that program, are two tracks: software development and information technology. Creating the new major in information technology, and eliminating the track option, will respond to student and employer demand at the local, state and national levels. The curriculum for the new degree will provide students with the core concepts necessary for a career in numerous related fields, such as system or database administrator, network administrator or technician, web designer, or cyber security professionals.

December 2016

KU Receives Act 101 Grant
Kutztown University has received $32,350 from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to operate an Act 101 program on campus. The purpose of Act 101 funding is to support Pennsylvania students who have an academic and financial need.

The Act 101 program at Kutztown University started September, 2016 and serves 50 full-time students. The program collaborates with campus offices to create a student success culture that assists in their completion of a college degree. The services provided include: personalized academic support, academic advising/coaching counseling, tutoring, workshops on a variety of subjects such as time-management, note taking, test taking, and study skills, leadership experience, and assistance with financial aid. Kutztown University's Act 101 program assists students to transition and adjust to the demands of college life and provides the extra support necessary for their academic success.

It's on Us Kutztown UniversityKU Awarded It's On Us Grant
Governor Tom Wolf announced last week that Kutztown University is one of 36 post secondary institutions in Pennsylvania to receive an "It's On Us PA" grant to address campus sexual assault. KU will receive $29,100 to address goals of the Governor's $1 million It's On Us PA campaign, which include:

  1. Improve awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges and universities to better serve all students.
  2. Remove/reduce barriers that prevent survivors of sexual violence from reporting and/or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender based violence.
  3. Demonstrate significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania's education leaders - including college and university presidents, superintendents - as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions' climate.

More than 60 applicants competed for funding. Grant awardees were selected using a blind evaluation process by a team assembled by the Department of Education.


Kutztown Recognized by Military Times and Military Friendly Schools
The Military Times announced its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings, giving Kutztown University the 99th spot on the list of 4-year schools. KU is the only State System of Higher Education school on the list and one of only three ranked schools in Pennsylvania. The eighth annual rankings factor in the results of Military Times' comprehensive school-by-school survey of veteran and military student offerings and rates of academic achievement. It was our third-straight year on the Military Times list. KU also earned the 2017 Military Friendly School designation. First published in 2009, Military Friendly Schools is the most comprehensive, powerful resource for veterans today. It is our fifth-straight year as a Military Friendly School.

Jordan Morgan Receives Upshaw AwardGolden Bear Football Wins PSAC East Title
The Kutztown University football team captured the third Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division title in the 101-year history of the program this fall. Head coach Jim Clements was named PSAC East Coach of the Year, and offensive tackle Jordan Morgan was named the PSAC East Offensive Athlete of the Year --- he is the first offensive lineman in the history of the PSAC to earn the honor. Morgan also was named to multiple All-America teams and was named the Gene Upshaw Award winner as the top lineman in Division II. Morgran represented the Golden Bears in the 2017 Senior Bowl --- along with the best college football players in the country --- in Mobile, Alabama.

Golden Bear Women's Soccer Advances to the Final Four
The KU women's soccer team completed a dream season in 2016, advancing to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division II Tournament in Kansas City. The team won its first-ever Atlantic Region title en route to the final four and finished with a school record 20 wins. The team was the third NCAA varsity sport in school history to advance to a final four --- softball and field hockey have done it two times each.

January 2017

Fall Dean's List
More than 1,650 students have been named to KU's Fall 2016 Dean's List. To be eligible for the Dean's List, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 12 credits and have a minimum grade point average of 3.60. The number of students recognized for the achievement is on par with the total from spring 2016.

Military Friendly SchoolKU Earns Gold Status as Military Friendly School
Victory Media has announced that Kutztown University has earned gold status as a 2017 Military Friendly School in the public, small school category. KU is the only State System of Higher Education member to earn the gold designation.

KU College of Business and Liquid Interactive Announce Partnership
The Kutztown University College of Business and Liquid Interactive have signed an agreement which will provide an annual scholarship for a KU student interested in digital marketing. The intent for the award is to increase student awareness as to how many career opportunities in the digital marketing industry there are, as well as to how many of those career opportunities - and resources - there are in the Lehigh Valley. The award recipient will be given a one-time, $1,000 scholarship and will be invited to partake in a two-day, hands-on externship at Liquid Interactive.

London Winter Study Abroad Program
Thirteen Kutztown University students and two faculty members participated in this year's London Winter Program. The group met with KU alumnus Guy Sechrist '14 in Cambridge, England, during the visit. Sechrist is pursuing his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in the history of science at Clare College and Pembroke College at Cambridge University.

Printmaker Alan Altamirano working alongside KU freshman Miranda Pells in his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico.KU Students Study Printmaking in Mexico
Five Kutztown University students in the visual arts program studied printmaking in Oaxaca, Mexico during winter break. The short-term study abroad course was taught by Prof. Kevin McCloskey of KU's Communication Design Department. The students purchased toys in Oaxaca's central market to donate to poor children for the Feast of the Three Kings. The KU students were rewarded for their generosity with ringside seats at a Lucha Libre wrestling match.

Price and Blichar Attend National It's On Us Summit at White House
On Thu. Jan. 5, Christine Price, director for KU's Women's Center and the GLBTQ Resource Center, and student trustee, Nykolai Blichar, attended the national It's On Us Summit held at the White House. Price spoke on a panel: It's On Us Communities: Pennsylvania and represented the great work that is being done at KU with It's On Us. Blichar serves on the It's On Us Student Advisory Committee. KU is one of 28 schools across the country to become an It's On Us Partner School through the Campus Innovation program, and is a recipient of a $29,100.00 grant from the It's On Us PA Governor's office.

KU Hosts County and Regional Science Olympiad
Kutztown University hosted the Berks County Science Olympiad on January 15. Students from 15 high schools converged on campus for the competition. We are proud to host the regional competition on March 19 with nearly 700 students from 40 schools.

March 2017

KU, Ming Chuan sign exchange agreement (l-r: Dr. Anne Zayaitz, Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, Dr. Li-Tien Wang)KU Signs Agreement with Ming Chuan University
KU officials signed an agreement with Ming Chuan University (MCU), Taipei, Taiwan, to collaborate and establish an exchange program for the mutual benefit of both institutions. Both universities will offer student and faculty exchange programs that promote scholarly activities and multi-cultural understanding. Students and faculty may participate in a semester or year-long exchange. Students will pay tuition to their "home university" and be responsible for their own living expenses in the host country. Founded in 1957, MCU is home to approximately 17,000 students on three residential campuses in Taiwan.

KU and Rodale Institute Announce Partnership
KU signed a cooperative agreement with the Rodale Institute of Maxatawny Township to establish research affiliates for the mutual benefit of both institutions. The agreement will create opportunities for students to partner with university faculty and Rodale Institute personnel on field research in the areas of soil health, organic practices for farming and pest management, composting and pollinators. Students will also be able to intern at the Rodale Institute. Rodale Institute personnel will now be able to perform collaborative research with Kutztown University faculty and students; have access to university research laboratories; the opportunity for its research affiliates to offer guest lectures, when invited by Kutztown University faculty; access to Rohrbach Library; parking on the Kutztown University campus; and a Kutztown University ID card, identifying the status as research affiliate. The Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people and developing and demonstrating practical methods of rebuilding natural soil fertility. The Institute can be found on a 333-acre farm with research facilities located less than six miles from Kutztown University.

Dr. Sherrod Participates in Discovery Channel Series
Dr. Laura Sherrod of the KU Physical Sciences Department is currently in Columbia participating in a six-part investigative TV series for Discovery Channel called Destination Colombia. The series follows two American adventurers in Colombia who are on a quest to untangle historical fact from fiction. Dr. Sherrod is a member of the geophysical team selected for the series.

KU Faculty Members Perform at Carnegie Hall
KU faculty members --- pianist Dr. Maria Asteriadou and saxophonist Dr. Jeremy Justeson performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on February 21st. The duo joined violinist Kurt Nikkanen and Greek saxophonist Athanasios Zervas to perform music by Greek composer Dinos Constantinides.

KU Cuppie AwardsUniversity Relations Claims Two Cuppies
Kutztown University is a winner in the 2017 CUPPIE Awards from CUPRAP (College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals). KU will be awarded Gold --- the highest honor ---- in the category of PR/Special Event for the "Sesquicentennial Celebration." KU also received a Bronze in the Electronic Media-Web for its homepage.

Golden Bear Men's Basketball Wins the PSAC East; bid to NCAA Tourney
The Kutztown University men's basketball team has captured the PSAC East Championship for the second straight year. The Golden Bears won a school-record 20 games in the division, finishing 20-2, and were 26-4 overall and ranked as high as sixth in the nation in Division II. The team advanced to the conference championship game and received a bid to the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament.

April 2017

Left to right: Provost Anne Zayaitz, President Kenneth Hawkinson and Dr. Ben Moritz (American Honors) sign collaborration agreement.An agreement of Academic Cooperation was signed between KU and American Honors as we collaborate to promote and enhance transfer opportunities for community college students.  American Honors partners with a network of leading community colleges and four-year institutions to develop, fund and grow the American Honors Program at community colleges.  American Honors provides an innovative learning platform that brings together talented faculty and advisors to ensure students are prepared for the rigor of a four-year degree program at a top liberal arts college.  The university recognizes the value of having students successfully pursue a bachelor's degree by first attending the program and then transferring to KU.

Stephen Hilborn, a senior finance and accounting major from Shoemakersville, Pa., was named a semi-finalist in the State System of Higher Education Business Idea Competition.  Stephen had previously been awarded the grand prize at the 2016 Kutztown University Business Idea Competition for his mobile application concept, Virgil.  Virgil, an app that aims to help young people during the credit card application process, was awarded a $1,000 grand prize in the KU competition. During Stephen's presentation he explained to the judges the steps in which his application would help the everyday young person through the credit card application process. 

Business students with supply chain management minor, Nick Hohlt and Tyler Valovcin and Allison Geist (from right to left in the picture), with by professor Steven Hensler (left)KU business students with supply chain management minor, Nick Hohlt and Tyler Valovcin and Allison Geist, led by professor Steven Hensler won 1st place of the Weinman Cup  supply chain management case competition at Towson University. The case is about providing the risk identification, assessment, and recommendations to a company within the vibrant and challenging global supply chain management. The contestants are from Kutztown, Shippensburg , Morgan State, Stevenson and Towson University.  This is the second consecutive year that a team from KU has won this event.

KU has been designated as a "Voter Friendly Campus," which makes the university part of a select group of campuses from around the country that participated in the inaugural class and received the designation.  The Voter Friendly Campus initiative, led by national nonpartisan organizations, Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education worked with KU to set goals in its statement of interest, formed a committee, drafted an action plan, executed that plan, and evaluated our efforts and set new goals for the future. 

Kutztown University has been granted membership in the TESS Follow-up Observing Program Working Group (TFOP WG).  As a result, Dr. Phil Reed and his students and will be using the KU observatory for follow-up work for NASA's TESS mission.  TESS, which stands for The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits.

The four colleges held major conferences this spring including Entrepreneurial Leadership Week, the 12th annual Designathon, the 14th annual Social Work Forum and the 19th annual Children's Literature Series.  All of these events were highly successful in providing unique educational opportunities for our students and attracting hundreds of visitors to campus.

College Value Online Top Degree Programs 2017Kutztown University of Pennsylvania has been identified as one of the best value colleges for a bachelor's in oceanography degree in our recent ranking by College Values Online. The ranking considered tuition, financial aid opportunities, customization options, and any "wow" factors.  College Values Online's mission is to provide assistance in selecting the best college for each individual situation by offering rankings of schools and various degree programs, in addition to information on numerous career options from a value perspective.

KU ranked sixth in the Student Loan Report's new publication that analyzed which public colleges award international students the most financial aid in 2015. The Student Loan Report analyzed over 4,000 colleges, relying on Peterson's Financial Aid Data.  The ranking includes aid in the form of institutional aid, state government aid, federal aid, and aid from private organizations. Such aid included scholarships, student loans, grants, work-study compensation, and part-time compensation on both a need and non-need basis.

The KU field hockey team had 17 student-athletes recognized last month as members of the 2016 ZAG Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) National Academic Squad, while seven of those Golden Bears earned additional honors as Scholars of Distinction.  The National Academic Squad includes all student-athletes with a cumulative GPA or 3.3 or higher through the first semester, while the Scholars of Distinction have a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher through the first semester.  KU's 17 National Academic Squad players tied for sixth-most in Division II this year. KU was also honored last month with a National Academic Team Award for having a 3.0 team GPA. It is the 13th consecutive year that Kutztown has been recognized with a Team Award.

For the first time in program history, the Golden Bear wrestling team produced three All-Americans in a single season. Austin PetrilT.C. Warner and Ryan Appleby all became first-time All-Americans as a result of their March performances at the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. Austin and Ryan both advanced to the national semifinals in their weight classes.  The top eight finishers in each weight class earn All-America honors.