Thursday, January 14, 2016

What I've Learned after a Semester Serving on the Salem State University Alumni Association Board of Directors

I have learned a lot in the few months since joining the Salem State University Alumni Association board of directors in September 2015. In this post I will share some of what I have learned. 

Many things are familiar around campus since my student days. The dome of the Collins Observatory on top of Meier Hall is still there. The detailed craftsmanship of the Sullivan Building remains impressive. The George H. Ellison Campus Center seems as if frozen in time. Even though is has gone digital, the WMWM studio is still crammed with stacks of vinyl and cheers still echo off the solid walls of O'Keefe Complex. There have also been many changes. 


The physical campus has undergone metamorphosis. What was once a hulking almost completely abandoned industrial area just south of what was then the main campus is now a vibrant new center of campus life. Here today adjacent to the re-purposed former factory that houses the Bertolon School of Business is a series of LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design) green dormitories.

Where hazardous waste once threatened the tributaries of the Forest River, today there is a detoxed landscape that features walking trails, picturesque natural vistas and athletic fields. 

Once twilight brought to this area little more than the ghostly memories of an industrial Salem's past. Today a civic hub buzzes with daytime and evening activities. 

Elsewhere on campus from, the gleaming new Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons, to the state of the art Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center, and to the soon renovated Sophia Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts; students, alumni and the local community are enriched. Unfortunately, some realities of change are not as positive. Some are sobering. 

The costs of attending is one such change. According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, tuition and mandatory fees have risen an average of seven percent per year since 2007. In 2007 it had cost an in-state commuter student $6,030 to attend Salem State. By 2014 the cost has risen to $9,246. Living on campus roughly doubles the price tag. 

One might look at the numbers in comparison to the costs of other possible choices and think, "Salem State remains a bargain."  There is little question that this is true. Looking at the raw numbers, however, betrays what Salem State has meant to many of our alumni and what it means to many of those seeking their start in today's challenging economy. 

For me and many I know, Salem State represents a chance where other options were closed. So too today, Salem State should remain an opportunity for the many with the motivation and work ethic to follow in our alumni footsteps.

My first reaction on learning about the rising costs was to assume that this is the price of the many positive changes on campus. Progress can be expensive.  I figured that the rise in tuition costs are a result of the building and other improvements that have taken place on campus. I have learned that my assumption was wrong. 

The buildings and the physical plant on campus are owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Building and improvements are funded by the state capital budget. The costs associated with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts investments in the physical campus do not affect Tuition and fees. 

What does affect tuition and fees is how much of the state budget comes to Salem State to subsidize student costs. I know that this may seem like digging into two separate pockets of the same pair of trousers, but there are a key differences in the fiscal processes. The numbers are stark. 

The 2014 study by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, shows that educational appropriations per full time student in Massachusetts have decreased 23.1 percent since 2005. As state funding has decreased Salem State has needed to find ways to hold the line against costs while still maintaining the high academic standards that have so well benefited our alumni community.

One way that Salem State has defended against these cutback is with the help of the University's many friends. Although there are many stellar examples of Salem State alumni giving back in gratitude for the jump start provided to their success by the school, it is by a significant margin not alumni contributions that make the difference. The largest impact is the support of the friends of Salem State University who make the difference.


Among these friends Salem State benefits from the participation of business and community leaders in the Salem State University Assistance Corporation (SSUAC) and a rich ecosystem of local businesses who employ students and alumni and who benefit from the economic activity generated by the University. This is a wonderful thing, but the fiscal pressure never lets up. 

Cutbacks in departments and functions across the campus are an all too frequent reality. There is also no prospect any time soon of the Commonwealth restoring funding lost from past budgets. Quite the contrary, increased reductions are anticipated.

What this means for the individual student as tuition and fees rise is that the benefits of Salem State's once highly accessible education are becoming increasingly difficult to attain. When I attended, I had the benefit of a good paying job and tuition reimbursement from the company that employed me. Few today are as lucky. 

Along with rising tuition and fees comes the everyday pressures of the cost of living. Although Salem State does a great job in helping students to find employment both on campus in the neighboring communities, student jobs just aren't what they used to be. Although government agencies may claim that inflation in the economy is under control, we all know from our day-to-day lives that for those things most important to quality of life, costs rise endlessly.

Today students carrying a full course load and needing to find the economic resources to accomplish their educational goals are under extreme pressure. Serving on the alumni Civic Engagement Committee has taught me how hard it is for some current Salem State students. There are current students who at times have to choose between buying food and paying their educational costs. 

I know that many of us today also struggle to keep up with conflicting fiscal priorities. We may still be paying down loans that financed our own education. We may be looking to a future of paying tuition for our own children. We all share the need to save for future uncertainty. We may look at the extent to which some have contributed and feel as though our contribution might seem inconsequential in comparison. 

The reality is that Salem State needs the help of all of our alumni community in order to be able to continue to provide to others the benefit that we alumni share. Money is not the only way to help. Giving back in kind or giving a financial gift; no contribution is to small nor unappreciated. 

Not sure how you may help? May I suggest that you come to Salem and spend some time visiting on campus. Take in a game. Every week features a slate of great competitive events. 

Are you a more contemplative person?  Weekly there are talks, seminars and cultural events on the University calendar. The theater and arts department's calendar features a regular schedule of eventsParticipating in the great activities that are constantly going on on campus will inspire your ideas. 

Upcoming January 23, 2016 is the annual Winter Family Day featuring a jazz brunch from 11 am to 1 pm in Marsh Dining Commons followed by a choice of activities.  That day there are four athletic games during which you can participate as our Vikings take on their rivals. If you plan to attend the Winter Family Day please email family@salemstate.edu to RSVP.

Another way to help is to participate in the alumni association gift card drive that runs through February 2.The gift card drive is specifically for food and toiletries for the students in financial need who get help through the University's Student Advocacy Program Do you have gift cards from the holidays that you know you will never use?  Please drop off or mail any cards that can be used for the purchase of for food and toiletries to the Alumni Affairs office.

Talent and time as well as treasure are all valued contributions. If you'd like to learn more ways that you might help please visit the 10,000 Reasons Campaign website. There you can learn about the Salem State Foundation and its work. You'll be surprised at the efforts underway and the opportunities for your participation. 

Giving back to Salem State is not a solitary act. When you participate you share in an ethic that is woven into the fabric of university life. Students themselves are constantly involved in activities that benefit their communities and those in need. The Salem State Center Civic Engagement is a cornerstone in campus life. 

President Meservey set this out as a priority for the University at her inauguration when she said, "It is our duty to ensure that students understand the importance of community involvement, and that they are well versed in the privileges and responsibilities that come with citizenship in a democratic republic." As alumni we share in those same “privileges and responsibilities” and we should actively support the University's worthy goals. 

Thank you to the many who do. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your time. I hope to see you at one of the many events taking place this winter and spring. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Viking Voices - Podcast: Alumni Success Stories - Jenn T. Grace

This edition of our Viking Voices conversations features an audio podcast interview with Jenn T. Grace.  Jenn is a 2004 Cum Laude graduate of Salem State where she studied Communications/Advertising. 

Today Jenn is a successful entrepreneur and author. She calls herself The Professional Lesbian. In her business she teaches straight people how to market to gay people and gay people how to market themselves.

Among her accolades include being named 2014 Enterprising Women by Lesbian.com; awarded the 2013 Regional Affiliate Champion Spirit Award by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates; and also in 2013 Red Hot Entrepreneur by GO Magazine. 

or,
 Download

or click below to subscribe in iTunes.

Synopsis:

Guy:
I greeted Jenn and then asked about her business.

Jenn:
My business tag line is that I teach straight people how to market to gay people and gay people how to market themselves. I go by the moniker the "Professional Lesbian." It started as a joke, going back to around 2006 when I used to say that I needed a name tag that said Professional Lesbian. It's something that people vary rarely don't make note of when they hear it. 

My day-to-day in my business is that I work with companies that are interested in marketing to the LGBT community. I also work with LGBT people themselves, whether individual professionals or business owners and help them market their businesses. This is both to the LGBT community also just kind of broad marketing. 

I do consulting, individuals coaching, and group coaching, I have written two books and I have a podcast and a blog. I share just about as much information as I can. My end goal is to make the world a more inclusive place for all LGBT people in business and professional life. 

Guy:
I asked Jenn about her podcast.

Jenn:
I started pod-casting back in early 2013. It started was an "aha" moment. I had two separate conversations in the same day between two very nondescript people; Just business people, your average persons. I started thinking, 'if somebody could just be a fly on the wall, because this person is so understated but so brilliant in what they do, it would be amazing for people to hear that conversation.'

My criteria is really just somebody who is either part of the LGBT community or someone who isn't but is active some way in the community. I have interviewed LGBT business owners and professionals. I have interviewed a lot of non-profit leaders of national LGBT organizations. 

The end goal is to give them a platform to share their experiences. Also to share tips and advice to those who are listening and to share better ways that businesses can be marketing to the LGBT community. 

Even though I am a recognized expert in the field of marketing to the LGBT community, there are still so many things that I don't know that my guests bring to the table. It is an incredible gift to learn, but also to be able to share. 

Guy:
I asked Jenn if she specialized in any particular vertical industry or business sector.

Jenn:
I don't Jenn said, but I do have particular patterns. I have as clients a lot of attorneys, a lot of accountants and financial advisers. Typically service-based businesses are ideal clients for me; Anyone who is looking to branch out in their marketing efforts or who say they want to be more inclusive of the LGBT markets.

Though we are in 2015 there are still a lot of places in our country that are still not open and accepting for LGBT people. A lot of times it is the straight business owner or somebody who is working in a corporate environment who says, "I want to make sure our company is really positioned to work with the LGBT community." This is important because A, there is a lot of money to be made by doing so, and B, it's the right thing to do. 

Guy:
I asked Jenn about the books she has authored. 

Jenn:
I have written two books. These sprung from my blog which I started in November of 2012. I started off with conversations such as with a nurse friend who is a straight person asking me for advice about how to relate to her LGBT patients. It hit me one day that if she has these questions, others do too. The advice is applicable across a broad spectrum of industries. 

After three years and over 400 blog posts I looked at what I had and repackaged the content based upon most popular topics. This resulted in two books, one focused on marketing and the other focused on communication. They represent a how-to guide to making sure you are communicating properly and marketing properly within the LGBT community. 

Guy:
I then asked Jenn about her time at Salem State University and what she remembers of her time on campus. 

Jenn:
I remember being very busy. I remember choosing Salem State so that I could be away from home, but not too far to my roots in Rhodes Island. Salem was just far enough away to give me a feeling of freedom, but close enough to get back home when I needed to. 

I chose Salem over the other handful of New England institutions I was looking at specifically because it is such an inclusive place in general. When I started attending Salem State I had just come out the year before. I wasn't really yet in the mindset of thinking of myself as an LGBT person, but Salem was just so appealing because of its history as a town. It seemed as though the puzzle pieces were fitting together. I felt I can just be me because everyone else here is also being themselves. Salem is just very naturally inclusive.   

I've heard from a handful of folks I used to attend with about of how proactive Salem State has been as of late in terms of LGBT inclusion. This is so important because LGBT youth, teens or college aged students, are the one who need the most support. Having such a supportive environment gives them valuable skills for the workplace.

Guy:
I asked Jenn about her recent experience in coming back to campus to speak to students.

Jenn:
In April I spoke to the communication program graduates for their senior portfolio night.  One of my core services is that of a speaker all over the country at conference and at companies. This time Dr. Brown and Dr. Oehlkers asked me back to speak to the students about what a successful communication based business looks like.

I spent some time after the event talking with students individually and making suggestions about their portfolios. It was fun to give back in this way. 

That was April and just at the end of October I got a LinkedIn message from one of the students saying that my speaking had a profound impact on her. 

It is so rewarding to be able to speak to 60 or so future alums and hear from them months later to know I had helped. It is a very easy way to give back and to continue to be involved in Salem State and what's going on.


Guy:
You can learn more about Jenn T. Grace, the Professional Lesbian by visiting her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @JennTGrace. She can also be found on Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Jenn's two books are:
Thanks for checking out this week's Viking Voices. I hope you'll listen to the full audio podcast

I am looking forward to our next conversation.You can join in the conversation by following this blog and checking out the many social media outlets available to our Salem State community. A short list of some of these venues are below.

Go Vikings!

Here are some of the places you may find me on social media:


Monday, November 16, 2015

Center for Education in the Community at Salem State University

I recently sat down with Wendy Pearson, staff associate at the Salem State University School of Education’s Center for Education in the Community (CEC) to discuss the contributions that CEC makes to professional development for teachers and school administrators. "We are proud that many Salem State School of Education alumni are employed as teachers, principals and administrators in the region’s public school districts and community based educational organizations," Ms. Pearson told me.

Headquartered on the third floor of the Sullivan Building, the CEC program provides professional development, training and consultation to educators. The CEC also collaborates with school districts and community based organizations to apply for and manage grants and funding support for innovative educational initiatives in the region.  

The CEC offers courses and workshops targeted to the professional development needs of educators in schools and community based organizations. The CEC arranges to offer district-based graduate degree, licensure, and advanced certificate programs to meet the needs of schools and educators for high quality continuing education and to respond to the changing academic and other needs of students in PreK – 16 education.  

For example, many schools in the region report recent increases in the number of students whose first language is other than English. This year, School of Education faculty with expertise in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) are meeting with Salem Public School teachers and staff in a series of seminars and “professional learning communities” (PLCs) to share and discuss effective strategies and teaching methods to support students learning the language skills necessary to progress academically. 

A highlight for educators is the bi-annual Best Practices in Education Conference. The Best Practices in Education Conference was developed in cooperation with and is co-sponsored by the Friends of the School of Education a group that includes many active School of Education alumni. Held now for seven successful years the conference features over 20 workshops instructed by faculty and other experts in the field. The conference is held on a Saturday to facilitate maximum teacher and administrator attendance. 

Planning is already underway for the November 2016 conference. Anticipated topics will include English as a Second Language (ESL) and Special Education. Information regarding the 2016 event will be published before the end of the 2015/16 school year in June. Interested parties may contact Ms. Pearson (wpearson@salemstate.edu, 978.542.7448).

Another upcoming event of note is the Salem State School of Education networking event that is being held Thursday, November 19th at FINZ Restaurant on Derby Street in Salem from 3pm – 5pm. The free event is free. Those wishing to attend are asked to register at the following link:
https://participate.salemstate.edu/SchoolofEducationNetworkingReception

Other programs managed through the center includes help to educators in applying for and managing grants for education. Recent successes include helping schools apply for, obtain and manage:

  • Race to the Top -Early Learning Challenge Grants and the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment (MKEA), a federal/state funded program focused on improving educator knowledge and skill in the assessment of young children’s development and learning in order to better target instruction to meet their learning needs.
  • The Region 3 Partnership, Educator & Provider Support Grant (MA Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) Educator and Provider Support (EPS), currently in its sixth year.  Public and private universities and community colleges in the Northeast and Metro-West region partner to offer college courses and continuing education opportunities to assist the early childhood education workforce (PreK – 3rd grade) to attain bachelor and master degrees i and improve their teaching skills.
  • The CEC also partners with several regional colleges and community colleges on the statewide, grant funded Massachusetts College Access Challenge program. In a joint initiative of the MA Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the CEC provides information and support on how to access and succeed in college to middle school and high school students and their families and to freshman college students on campus.  The goal of this successful program is to increase the number of underrepresented, low income and first generation students who apply to, are accepted to, and succeed in post-secondary education. 

Students from schools including the Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Lynn, Collins Middle School in Salem, and high school students from Salem and Malden Public Schools have participated in faculty led programming on campus and in the high schools.  Student support continues on campus with first year college students at Salem State and other public and private universities and community colleges.

Through these programs middle and high school students visit college campuses to learn about the college experience and to observe college classes. They learn what high school courses best prepare students for specific career opportunities. They tour libraries, dormitories, meet with financial aid and admissions counselors and get help writing their college entry essays.

This program also funds Transition Support Specialists and programming at Salem State and other colleges and universities.  The specialist/advisors meet regularly with students from under-represented groups, both individually and in small groups, and provide advising and support to assist students with the academic and other challenges of college. The program is concluding its fifth year. Services provided include:
  • Career exploration and what educational preparation is required for specific careers
  • how to find the college with the “best fit” for careers and individuals;
  • how to apply to college; and
  • how to find best financial aid for their circumstances.
Salem State University is deeply committed to increasing access to college for low income and first generation students including Latino, Far East, Haitian and other underrepresented groups. As the grant is about to expire, Salem State has demonstrated its commitment to sustaining this support and has integrated the program into campus support services to continue to assist freshman students to succeed in college and prepare for careers.
    Other services provided by the CEC include professional development to school districts on:
    • Special Education issues;
    • English as a Second Language (ESL);
    • hosting workshops and Professional Learning Communities (PLC); and
    • general support such as providing someone who can come teach the teachers.
    The CEC offers off-campus School of Education graduate certificate programs to meet school and teacher needs on topics including Advanced Graduate Study in Autism Spectrum Disorders. This certificate program includes four courses for teachers to better assess and meet the needs of increasing numbers of students on the autism spectrum.

    Recognizing that it can be difficult for teachers to make the commute to the Salem State campus, courses are offered at schools in the region. Ms. Pearson said, “We’ll come to the teachers in the district.” She continued, "If there are enough participants in a particular location a financial discount may also be offered."  Programs have been offered to teachers in Revere, Chelsea and Amesbury public schools.

    The School Education was granted funding from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education for “Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment” (ICE) to develop career exploration and college programming to help students with disabilities who are unprepared to enter college or the workforce. Programming will serve students 18-22 years old with autism spectrum disorders and/or intellectual disabilities who have completed high school studies, but need further “transition” assistance to succeed in post-secondary education and careers. Interested alumni educators may join the ICE “Lunch and Learn” panel discussion on this developing program at the Ellison Campus Center at Salem State on Friday, November 20th from 11:30am – 1pm.  Additional information is online at http://www.salemstate.edu/academics/schools/28395.php?id=2489

    Beginning in fall of 2016, the Salem State School of Education will offer a “4 + 1” degree and licensure program. Integrated Bachelor and Master of Education (MEd) degree programs will be offered to students pursuing Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education teacher licensure in Elementary, Early Childhood and Secondary Education content areas. Instead of the traditional two years on top of four, participants will be able to complete the required coursework and fieldwork in five years with the opportunity to earn a second educator license in another high need content area.

    Examples of the second area of concentration include: Special Education, ESL, and Reading Specialist. Salem State is the first Massachusetts state university to offer this innovative, integrated program. The concept of the integrated bachelors/masters degree program is an emerging national trend and was enthusiastically embraced by regional school administrators attending focus groups and interviews, including significant alumni participation.  

    The School of Education is also a recipient of a planning grant to offer help to students with disabilities who find themselves unprepared for college or the workforce explore careers. The program will offer an opportunity to earn college credits and learn the skills needed to enter the workforce for 18 to 22 year old students who have completed high school studies and require more transition support to enter post-secondary education and the workforce. Students included may also require help socially or have workforce preparation needs. 

    As the above proves, the Center for Education in the Community (CEC) at Salem State University is yet another reason for our Salem State alumni community to look back to our alma mater with pride. For those in our community who are educators, I hope the information above leads you back to resources that may help the students you serve and in your careers. For all our community I hope this serves as yet another reminder of how Salem State continues to be a resource to enrich our alumni lives. 

    I invite you to participate in this conversation and watch for the next edition of Viking Voices.

    Join in on the conversation: 

    Here are some of the places you may find me on social media:















    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Viking Voices - Podcast: Lauren Hubacheck, Director of Career Services at Salem State University

    In this edition of our conversations we inaugurate the Salem State Viking Voices podcast. This first episode features my talk with Lauren Hubacheck, Director of Career Services at Salem State University. 

    By way of introduction Lauren has been the Director of Career Services at Salem State University since August of 2012. Prior to that she served as Associate Director of Employer Relations at Florida International University. 

    Since coming to Salem State Lauren's goals have included establishing the vision and directing the priorities for the Career Services Office. She has helped to develop and maintain university partnerships with employers, coordinate an extensive career readiness program across campus for all students, and to collaborate with the Salem State Community to foster an environment of career development and learning that will enhance the career outcomes of our students and graduates. 

    Lauren leads a team of Associate Directors, Assistant Directors, and Administrative Assistants in successfully delivering signature career development to Salem State University students and alumni.

    Lauren and I talk about the many ways that the Career Services Office benefits students and our alumni community. Looking for your first job? Need help applying for graduate school? Making a mid-career change? Looking for great employees for your business? The Salem State Career Services Office will help. 
    or,
    Download

    or click below to subscribe in iTunes.


    Synopsis:

    I asked Lauren to talk about the Career Services Office and how alumni may take advantage. Lauren said that over the past several years the Career Services Office has evolved including, "Building out a whole side of our office that functions as an employer relations team." Lauren commented that the effort has resulted in increased engagement with alumni and employers and is a positive addition to Salem State's already great culture. "The Career Services Office exists to help students and alumni, while students are here on campus and after. We help as they are in the career development process and later transitions in careers," Lauren said.  

    For example, first year students can get help with study discipline and study plan. There are processes of career development that benefit students across their time at Salem. These include: opportunities for internships and networking, résumé building, cover letter help, and other elements that relate to career development, job search strategy or graduate school search.

    I asked Lauren to talk about about the ways that the Career Services Office engages with alumni. Lauren defined that, "We engage alumni in two ways: We think about those alumni who are in career transition, seeking employment or grad school, and those alumni who are out there in the world of work. We work with alumni who are looking to engage new employees through Salem State for their businesses." 

    For Alumni seeking employment or career transition Career Services Online (cso) Offers:
    • an online job Posting Board;
    • the ability to build a profile which you can share with prospective employers;
    • Interview Stream, an online interview practice tool you can use from home using a computer and a web camera;
    • a Resource Library including –
      • Career-related Articles/Blogs,
      • Career Services Fact Book,
      • Career Services Handouts,
      • On-Campus Recruiting.
    There are -
    • Career Advice Videos;
    • Job Search Tools;
    • Résumé Creator Tools;
    • Career Event Schedules;
    • Access to the Campus Career Coach; and
    • Other resources.
    Lauren said that alumni can also come into the office, "Where a career coach will meet with you one on one and spend about 45 minutes detailing a plan."

    For alums who are looking to hire or increase the talent pipeline for their companies the Career Services Office offers a number of ways to get involved. These include:
    • Programming in the academic classroom where faculty will request to have an alumni come into the classroom and speak on -
      • a career development topic, or
      • a career related to coursework;
    • Career panel series examples include -
      • Internship panel (students who are on internships and alum who have succeeded though an internship),
      • Career focus panels including recent panels on -
        • Sustainability,
        • Careers with animals,
        • Careers in the environment;
    • Alumni may host students at your company -
      • partnering clubs or organizations,
      • partnering with faculty to bring a class,
        • Tours,
        • Company overviews,
        • "What are you hiring for?"
    I asked Lauren about opportunities for companies to visit campus. Lauren said, "We have increased the number of fairs we offer. We offer a student employment fair in the first week of school in September."  Lauren continued, "We hosted 59 companies with the focus of talking with students about internships and part time employment for students while on campus."

    Along with the Bertolon School of Business Accounting Association and the Alpha Chapter on campus, "We offer a meet the firms nights," said Lauren. Now in its third year this event recently featured 19 companies who where looking for accounting and finance recruitment. This resulted in students who, "Right now have offers on the table for employment after graduation in the spring," said Lauren.

    "We do a large comprehensive career fair in March," Lauren continued. "We cap at 139 companies recruiting at the event." Due to the success of the employer relations effort the event has grow to outstretch the capacity for the largest space available on campus 

    Lauren noted that although the primary focus may be on entry level positions often companies have positions for more experienced individuals. "We move those opportunities over to the Salem State LinkedIn groups," said Lauren. 

    Because there is such a heavy population of great individuals among Salem State alumni on LinkedIn the Career Services office becomes a conduit for career opportunities for students and alumni in all career phases. Lauren continued, "This can be for those alumni who are actively looking for a change and those perhaps who aren't looking but could be intrigued by a new opportunity that comes along." 

    The Salem State LinkedIn groups include:
    Lauren concluded our conversation by pointing out that alumni may not think about coming back to take advantage of Salem State University Career Services but should. Lauren stressed there are many reason why, "One is we are a free service to alums." Lauren said career services can assist alumni whether it is the resources mentioned above or by helping think through how their skills apply. "Their liberal arts education coupled with their experiences can transfer into a new industry or a new opportunity," said Lauren.  

    Thanks for checking out this week's Viking Voices. I am looking forward to our next conversation.

    You can join in the conversation by following this blog and checking out the many social media outlets available to our Salem State community. A short list of some of these venues are below.

    Go Vikings!

    Here are some of the places you may find me on social media:



    Friday, October 23, 2015

    Viking Voices - Salem State Collaborative Project for Professional Development

    In our ongoing series of conversations about how Salem State transcends our academic careers and continues to add value for our alumni lives we've talked about: Career Services Online, the Enterprise Center, the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, the  School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and alumni participation in the Major / Minors Fair. This week I'd like to kick off discussions of particular interest to those alumni who are teachers. Regardless of where life has taken alumni as educators, other careers and in other life circumstances you will find that the Salem State Collaborative Project for Professional Development (CPPD) is an ongoing enterprise for which we can point back to Salem State with pride. 

    The Collaborative Project was started by Salem State professor Frank Sullivan and several public school science department heads from the North Shore in 1983. The original focus was on professional development for teachers in math and sciences teaching kindergarten through grade 12. It was then called the Collaborative Project for Math, Science and Interdisciplinary Education (CPMSIE). 

    Today the Collaborative Project is an alliance of member schools and school districts serving a student population of over 62,000. In the past ten years the project has grown in scope from a focus on math and sciences to encompass professional development for teachers in all curriculum areas.

    Professor Sullivan was taught biology and education at Salem State College.  He had also spent teaching time in England and noticed that the UK elementary and secondary teachers were offered professional development throughout the year in science in math.  He sought to emulate the successful practice back home in Massachusetts. 

    Today the Collaborative Project is led by Executive Director Jim Kearns (SSC Class of 73/74), who is a retired Math Department Head of Lynnfield High School. Kearns partners with Jim Terlizzi, who retired as the Science Department Head at Peabody High School and serves as Finance Coordinator for the project. 

    As technology increasingly transforms education The Collaborative Project has kept pace. The Collaborative Project became the leading SmartBoard training organization on the North Shore. When iPads became a ubiquitous teaching tool, the Collaborative Project became a leading iPad training group for teachers on the North Shore. They now lead the way in the implementation of Google in the Classroom.

    Although 95 percent of the Collaborative’s work is geared toward teacher professional development there are additional notable successes. One is organization of the annual Women in Science and Engineering (W.I.S.E.) Career Day. Coordinated for many years by Jim Terlizzi, Daryl Mazzaglia and Salem State professor Gwen Scottgale. According to The Connectory, "The W.I.S.E. Career day initiative specifically targets young women at an impressionable age and exposes them to today's technologically oriented careers in mathematics and science." 

    The W.I.S.E. Program has expanded throughout the years to over 500 participants (girls in grade 6 through 8). The program has become so successful that a major challenge is now fitting all of the students into the limited spaces of the available venues. 

    Over 20 professional women in the science and engineering fields present workshops to the girls. W.I.S.E. events have featured guest speakers including WBZ meteorologist Danielle Niles who has returned for several years of engaging presentations. This year's speakers included a computer analyst and field agent for the FBI who is a role model for the students combining Computer Sciences with Law Enforcement and showing how women can succeed in these traditionally male dominated fields.

    Another highlight of the Collaborative Project is organization of Advanced Placement Practice Exams in Science (Biology and Chemistry) and Mathematics (Calculus and Statistics). These events take place over two successive Saturdays in March and April. Jim Kearns told me, "We average 500 students in math and 3-400 in science. By the time the teacher accompanying her students leaves for the day all their scores are tabulated and the teachers know what questions to concentrate on helping their student to prepare for the exams." Jim said that the results include that the grades go up on average of one point. 

    On Mondays throughout 2015 the Collaborative Project will offer ten or more two-hour sharing workshops on technology in the classroom and Common Core. On Saturday mornings a new program of workshops is also taking place SEEM Collaborative Office in Stoneham, MA. Click here to see the current schedule of programs (some sessions have an online component).

    Jim Kearns said, "We try to adapt to address the changing needs of the teachers. The program used to only run after school with an occasional school day during the school years. Now we teach on Saturdays and host 20 programs during the summer. We’ve become a full year program." Jim continued, "This year we will add a new initiative being coordinated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to do training for the parochial students from about ten schools north of Boston and helping them out as best we can."

    Jim perhaps is most proud of how lean the Collaborative Project runs. He said, "We’ve worked out the overhead very well. We pay our presenters well but keep all other costs down." Membership in the Collaborative Project is consistently over 50 public school systems, parochial and private schools. Operating at a budget of less than $50,000 and at a cost to the participants of about $5 per contact hour the Collaborative Project is a bargain for all involved. 

    Jim said that a big part of the success of the project is the support provided by Salem State. The University provides office space and helps manage the organization's financial transactions with members and vendors.  

    I hope you share the pride I feel about this program headed by one of our great alumni and facilitated by Salem State University. I hope that you will continue to participate in this conversation and watch for the next edition of Viking Voices.


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