I came to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in 2020 with 24 years of community college experience. I had served as a faculty member for 15 years, and also brought nine years of experience as a senior administrator to the job.
But even though I was a community college veteran, once here, I quickly learned that I had room – a lot of room – to grow as a leader and had a lot to learn about this region and Penn Highlands.
One aspect of my new job was working directly with the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to Penn Highlands and its students. The foundation is distinct and separate from the college and has its own board of directors, which provides oversight of the operations and the fiscal management of Foundation resources.
In my new role as president, my interaction with the college’s foundation is regular and necessary. The directors have been kind and supportive and allowed me to “get my feet under me” and understand the local landscape a little better. After many discussions, I believe we now have a focused and collective shared vision for the future.
What I have discovered is that the foundation is a critically important component of the success of the college and of our students. Due to the generous donations of college employees (current and former), alumni, board members, community members and local businesses, the foundation gives nearly $30,000 in Penn Highlands scholarships annually and has supported a multitude of initiatives throughout the years.
While the cost of attendance at Penn Highlands has always been reasonable (we have the lowest tuition for higher education in the region), the foundation scholarships provide another resource to help our students attend college at the lowest cost possible.
Many of our students will leave debt-free, or nearly debt-free, and can therefore more easily earn bachelor’s degrees or enter the workforce without carrying the extra burden of paying off significant student loans.
Students who have less college debt will have more money to invest in homes and cars, or save their money for a rainy day after their education is complete. This is good for students (and their families) and this is good for our local economy as many of our graduates stay right here in west-central Pennsylvania.
One of the ways we raise funds to support the foundation – and hence our students – is to hold fundraising events throughout the year. You may have attended our Foundation Gala or our signature “Puttapalooza” – an 18-hole miniature golf course set up right inside our Richland campus.
On June 9, we will be hosting the first-ever Sips for Scholarships event, where you can enjoy a tasting of some local beer and wine, listen to live music, and try to solve and break out of a custom-designed escape room.
Why not have a little fun that supports a worthy cause? Hope to see you there. See you at Penn Highlands.
Written By Dr. Steve Nunez, College’s Fifth President. This monthly series appears in The Tribune-Democrat, and will allow Dr. Nunez to provide his perspective on the value of education and of a community college.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is proud to announce that the following students have made the Dean’s List for the Spring 2022 semester.
Alexandria – Reagan Christine Lightner, Lacey J. Thompson
Altoona – Monia E. Ahmed, Emma Leigh Bender, Natalie Shae Boose, Alicia Ann Friedenberger, Nicole Horton, Scott Anthony Jurcik, Courtney Michelle Luciano, Esther J. Matthew, Jaelynn Brooke Namenwirth, Makayla Grace Ruggery, Victoria Noelle Sauers, Jonathan Brad Slack, Rachel Denise Sral-Mountain, Phillip Andrew Stevens, Tam-Mara Madeline Stevens, Tanner John Dayne Umbower, Abigail White
Apollo – David Michael Sylvia
Armaugh – Ashlyn N. Bowers
Ashville – Hannah Grace Krug
Bedford – Felica L. Hafer
Belleville – Gavin Daniel Patterson
Berkeley Springs – Ethan Jacob Barkley
Berlin – Emma Rose Martz, Julie Ann Mitchell, Courtney Marie Seaman
Boswell – Emily Michele Bittner, Kellie J. Rosa
Brisbin – Daphne Elizabeth Nevling
Calvin – Sara Kay Oakman
Carrolltown – Shelby Lynn Beaucage, Christine Lee Cantalope, Tanner J. Maurer, Alyssa Walkingshaw
Central City – Nicole Ashley Deneen, Natasha Lee Meck, Briana Lyn Pakstis
Cherry Tree – Makayla Marie Price
Chicora – Richard B. Goodman
Claysburg – Corey Allen Hammel, Jordan Lafferty, Joseph D. Mauk
Cresson – Robert Clair Kearney, Meghan Claire Mostick, Julia M. Taylor, Rachel C. Verchereau
Davidsville – Samuel David Brahney, Mary Elizabeth Stanley
Dayton – Eric Dean Eckman, Gavin John Solley
Duncansville – Kimberly Michele Adams, Morgan Elizabeth Bihary, Kylie Ann Marie LoSasso, Tyler John Peterson, Britan Nathanael Swope
Dunlo – Emily Ann Belinda
East Freedom – Macray James Markovich
Ebensburg – Victoria Diana Grattan, Bryce Alan Hessler, Matthew Paul Kuzilla, Bridget Ann Llewellyn, Florence Nah, Kailee Jo St. Pierre
Emeigh – Courtney Breeanna Williams
Export – Eric Jeffrey Hyland
Fenelton – Hunter Alan Miller
Friedens – Ethan M. Kaufman, Jessica Shockey
Gallitzin – Kaitlyn Marie Eger, Austin G. Link, Julie Ann Madonna
Greensburg – Abbigale Hunter Wentzel
Hastings – Tyler J. Charney, Cindy K. Dillon, MaKala Lee Stafford
Hillsdale – Jamie Zurenko
Hollidaysburg – Ibrahim Alawad Aljalki, Trinity Erin Burk, Emily Grace Campbell, Candice Marie Cicero, David Claar, Damon Joseph Hesley, Joseph M. Mattern, Laura Jean McNutt
Hollsopple – Maciah Robyn Holsopple
Hooversville – Hannah Lynn Brehm
Houtzdale – Alex Francis Capitos
Hudson – Phillip Thomas Grainger
Huntingdon – Rebecca Bickle, Colby Paul Grubb
Hyde – Briana Lee Miller
Imler – Aleeta Marcelle Diehl, Dodi Rena Krise
Indiana – Jonathan Clark Gibbons
James Creek – Amy Elizabeth Buseck
Jerome – Jennifer Sue Everett
Johnstown – Cassidy Faye Bailey, Kendall Alena Barron, Tarynn B. Bencivengo, Savannah Lynn Bevec, Anna M. Bomgardner, Allyson Boring, Lauren B. Botteicher, Dakota S. Bradley, Deranna N. Brandon, Elizabeth Irene Breen, Alexus M. Carr, Michael Steven Cratty, Megan Rose Cunningham, Isabella Marie Dadura, Darius A. Daily, Darius Isaiah Dale, Heather A. Donatelli, Lori Rose Eamigh, Kayla Christine Eppley, Emily E. Euen, Sarah Lynn Favreau, Jacob L. Fetzer, Abigail Lin Fisher, Drewann Marie Gaydos, Mary Jeannette Gordon, Olivia Ada Kayin Grant, Elias C. Gunby, Brianna Hicks, David Eugene Hilderman, Shayann B. Hill, Hayden Charles Holsopple, Bryce Michael Huss, Tracey Faye Jeske, Vanessa Marie Johnson, Jonathan Michael Kane, Cassie Elaine Kauffman, Alyssa Nicole Keiper, Jayden K. Keith, Katilynn E. Keyser, Wade Travis Knipple, Nathan James Kniss, Samantha Morgan Kusner, Autumn Renee Lehman, Emily Rose Lowery, Amber Lee Mangus, Teresa A. Marion, Faith M. Mascuch, Jeffrey Raymond Matevish, Keria R. McCulloch, Dustin James McLaughlin, Brock M. Mroczka, Alyssa Irene Nail, Jaz Ann Nelson, Haily Sue Oswald, Brooke Pasquerilla, Emma Kathryn Richards, Hannah Elizabeth Rietscha, Kayla M. Rosenbaum, Shane J. Ross, Matthew Joseph Russo, Rylee Morgan Sabo, Lucas Robert Sabol, Michelle E. Salem, Jennifer L. Schario, Alexis Kira Shank, Spring J. Shultz, Madyson G. Smith, Brittney Renee Stanton, Elizabeth Ann Stricker, Joseph J. Stringent, Myah Nichole Teeter, Ava S. Tisinger, Corrin Renee Vann, Emmalie F. Vitalie, Tanner Jackson Wagner, Emilie Shea Walker, Anthony Walters, Erik Laroi Ward, Tessa Marie Weeks, Hannah M. Wenderoth, Alexis E. Wesner, Zachary David Whitcomb, Renu Williams, Steven Joseph Winfield, Mark M. Zarate
Kunkletown – Nicole Schifano
Lewistown – Connor Nicholas Fultz
Lilly – Isabella Jean Borlie, Julia Ann Podrasky, Lauren Marie Suchta
Loretto – Austin Paul Conrad
Marion Center – Kaitlynn Alexis Kirkland
Martinsburg – Nicholas Allen Bechtel, Jamie Janette Detwiler, Kayla Ann Imler, Chason N. Kratzer
Meyersdale – Eric Steven Beckner, Carissa Nicole Miller
Middletown – Crystal Eileen Melton
Mineral Point – Aaron J. Dreikorn, Aaron Michael Fenchak, Lauryn Mae McCullough
Mount Pleasant – Lee Eric Newcomer
Mount Union – Kady Madilia, Noah T. Morgan
Munster – Madison Marie Wirfel-Latocha
Nanty Glo – Dillon Joseph Gongloff, Darla Kay Brown, Haley Michael Rhine
Windber – Jessica Rose Baeder, Michelle Rose Bartkovich, Kevin Dennis Bukovich, Rachel Criscione, Haley Nicole Crum, Allison Mae Dusack, Katelyn Elizabeth Graham, Karli Shay Hanik, Ashley Linda Harris, Gabriel Byron Helsel, Dylan Jack Napora, Megan B. Ott, Heather Josephine Smith, Jennifer Jo Stiffler, Joseph Scott Stopko, Jamin Anthony Tomaselli, Matthew James Walker, Dylan Young
The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) Accreditation Commission recently granted accreditation and re-accreditation to 25 concurrent enrollment programs at colleges and universities nationwide. This brings the total number of NACEP accredited programs across the country to 134, spanning 26 states.
One of the programs granted re-accreditation was the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Accelerated College Education (ACE) program. ACE focuses on high school students and their ability to earn college credits while in high school through dual enrollment coursework.
The Pennsylvania Highlands ACE Program has a far-reaching impact, serving students throughout Central and Western Pennsylvania. ACE currently partners with 49 school districts throughout Pennsylvania and, over the past 10 years, has helped 10,000+ high school students earn college credits.
As the nation’s only accrediting body for these unique and impactful educational partnerships, NACEP’s standards serve as the model criteria for ensuring parity in faculty, course content, student outcomes, and support. Receiving NACEP accreditation means an institution has met the nation’s most rigorous standard in concurrent enrollment program development, management, and evaluation across multiple, multifaceted program areas.
To earn NACEP accreditation, concurrent enrollment programs conduct a self-study, document how their programs adhere to NACEP’s sixteen standards, and undergo a rigorous peer-review process conducted by a team of representatives from NACEP accredited programs as well as the NACEP Accreditation Commission. NACEP’s accreditation is valid for five years for initial accreditation and then seven years for reaccreditation, during which time programs commit to uphold NACEP’s standards and report annually on program practices.
“On behalf of the Accreditation Commission, I want to congratulate all of the newly accredited and re-accredited programs,” stated NACEP Accreditation Commission Chair, Michael Beam. “These programs have successfully demonstrated that they meet the NACEP standards for high-quality programming for concurrent enrollment, and college-provided faculty models. Many thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who make this process possible, specifically the Accreditation Commissioners and the Peer Reviewers. None of this work and support is achievable without their amazing contributions.”
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
About National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships
The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) is the leading membership organization supporting programs that successfully transition students from high school to college through college credit-bearing courses. NACEP promotes quality programming through national standards, accreditation, and professional development. Members offer college courses to high school students through a variety of delivery methods and use a range of terms such as concurrent enrollment, dual enrollment, dual credit, and early college. NACEP’s national member network of close to 500 institutions includes colleges and universities, high schools/school districts, and state agencies actively share the latest knowledge about best practices, research and advocacy.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is proud of its rich history in Huntingdon, dating back to the first set of classes being held in the county in August 2009. Our impact within the Huntingdon community has only grown since then, with more than 900 students being served in the county over the past 10 years.
In addition to providing accessible and affordable academic options in the form of degrees, certificates, and diplomas, Penn Highlands provides high school students in both the Mount Union and Southern Huntingdon County school districts with dual enrollment and associate degree in high school options through the College’s robust dual enrollment program.
This July, our connection with Huntingdon County will continue to strengthen as Penn Highlands Community College will partner with Juniata College on a new venture. The two institutions have already been working together for years to ensure that post-secondary educational opportunities are available to Huntingdon County residents. Now, their commitment to student and regional success connects even more as Penn Highlands Community College relocates its Huntingdon Center to the Sill Business Incubator at Juniata College.
“We are looking forward to this collaboration with Juniata College,” stated Dr. Steve Nunez, President of Penn Highlands Community College. “This partnership allows Penn Highlands to continue providing accessible and affordable quality education and service to residents of Huntingdon County.”
The Penn Highlands Huntingdon Center will begin operating in the Sill Business Incubator (419 14th Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652) in July 2022. In this new location, Penn Highlands will guide students to academic success through its robust online program offerings.
“We are excited to welcome Penn Highlands Community College Huntingdon to the Sill Business Incubator here at Juniata College,” stated Dr. Jason Moran, Vice President of Enrollment at Juniata College. “This move builds on an established partnership of collaboratively building curricular pathways and transfer options to better serve college students throughout our region who are in pursuit of a post-secondary education.”
Penn Highlands Community College has been serving the region since 1994 and is looking forward to serving the residents of Huntingdon County for many years to come. Fall classes begin this August.
The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges recently honored the 28th Annual All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, a remarkable group of community college students who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities.
Seven of those honored were from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. The following students were honored and are members of the All-Pennsylvania Academic Transfer and Workforce Pathway Teams:
Kirstin Emerick (Beaverdale, PA)
Matthew Gaul (Irvona, PA)
Brooke Marek (Cairnbrook, PA)
Julie Mitchell (Berlin, PA)
Kethan Satterfield (Altoona, PA)
Sydney Sheredy (Northern Cambria, PA)
Joseph Stringent (Johnstown, PA)
Overall, the 2022 awardees included 46 outstanding community college transfer scholars and eight exceptional workforce pathway scholars from across the Commonwealth. Transfer students must have completed at least 36 credits at a community college and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher to be considered for these awards. Workforce students must have a minimum of 12 college-level credit hours at a community college and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Pennsylvania’s community colleges partner with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities to provide scholarships to eligible All-Pennsylvania Transfer Team members at PASSHE institutions, providing two years of tuition at any PASSHE school.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College congratulates these students on their academic achievements and looks forward to what each of their futures will hold.
About Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.