• Matthew Bodenschatz Appointed Director of Recruiting & Admissions

    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is proud to announce the appointment of Mr. Matthew Bodenschatz as the college’s new Director of Recruiting and Admissions.

    In his role as Director of Recruiting and Admissions, Mr. Bodenschatz will lead all efforts associated with the planning, development, modification, implementation, and evaluation of new student recruiting, including admissions processes and procedures.

    “I’m thrilled to be joining Pennsylvania Highlands Community College at such a crucial time in higher education,” stated Matthew Bodenschatz. “I look forward to working with the great people in Admissions and the college as a whole, while also building strong relationships throughout the communities we serve.”

    Mr. Bodenschatz has over 10 years of experience in higher education and admissions. Prior to Penn Highlands, Matthew was most recently the Director of Graduate and Continuing Education Admissions and Coordinator of Out-of-State Admissions at Mount Aloysius College. He also held the positions of Associate Director for Transfer and Adult Admissions, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and Admissions Counselor while at Mount Aloysius College.

    Mr. Bodenschatz holds a M.A. in Education Leadership: Adult and Higher Education from the University of South Dakota and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

  • Black Bear Athletes Receive National All-Academic Team Honors

    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    The National Junior College Athletic Association has announced its All-Academic Teams, and 10 student-athletes from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College have been recognized for their achievements in the classroom.

    The NJCAA All-Academic Teams are broken down into three tiers: First Team is a 4.0 GPA, Second Team is a 3.80-3.99 GPA, and Third Team is a 3.60-3.79 GPA.

    Students who earned a 4.0 GPA during the 2019-2020 academic year and First Team honors include Brooke Elliott of Windber (women’s volleyball), Isabella Nagy of Portage (women’s volleyball), Alayna “Rosie” Plaza of Saint Michael (women’s volleyball), and Christopher Weld of Richland (men’s bowling).

    Second Team honorees include Caitlyn Guercio of Bedford (women’s bowling), Katie Swank of Friedens (women’s volleyball), and Angela Weber of Williamsburg (women’s bowling).

    Third Team honorees include Maria Engleka of Berlin (women’s volleyball), Joseph Guercio of Bedford (men’s bowing), and Evan Orr of Homer City (men’s bowling).

    “Despite a quick move to online learning due to COVID-19 and in uncertain times, I am so proud of our student-athletes who persevered and excelled in the classroom,” said Director of Student Activities and Athletics Sue Brugh. “I personally want to thank our coaches, faculty, and staff for their diligence to make sure our student-athletes finished strong last semester.”

    In addition to individual awards, the Penn Highlands men’s bowling and women’s volleyball teams earned All-American Academic status for their respective team GPAs. The men’s bowling team had a team GPA of 3.40, while the women’s volleyball team boasted a team GPA of 3.18. The men’s bowling team had the second highest GPA in the nation.

    “NJCAA student-athletes proved that no obstacle is too difficult to overcome,” said NJCAA President & CEO Dr. Christopher Parker. “These difficulties pushed our student-athletes to the limit this year, but the opportunity to overcome these challenges presented itself and our student-athletes flourished academically. The association commends all individuals for their continued success on the playing surfaces and in the classrooms.”

    Penn Highlands is a chartered National Junior College Athletic Association member college, competing in Region XX. The Black Bears are a part of the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference.

  • Cambria County College Fair Canceled Due to Pandemic

    Posted July 7, 2020 at 8:50 am

    The 18th Annual Cambria County College Fair, sponsored by Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, has been canceled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This event, held annually in September, brought in high school students from across the region to explore educational and career opportunities.

    “We are certainly disappointed that we had to cancel this year’s college fair,” stated Trish Corle, Vice President of Student Services. “We know that the students and our higher education colleagues look forward to this annual event.”

    Corle continued, “I encourage all students to contact colleges and universities and speak with admissions counselors, faculty, and other staff members. This will provide a great opportunity to have questions answered and make an informed decision. We hope to see everyone back for next year’s event.”

    The mission of the College Fair is to promote higher education and future opportunities to not only high school students and their families, but to the public as well. The Cambria County College Fair helps local community members find and discover the many educational and career opportunities that are right in their back yard.

    For more details, contact Penn Highlands Community College at 1.888.385.PEAK, or email Daun Boyle, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Services, at dboyle@pennhighlands.edu.

  • Education Key Driver For Social Change

    Posted June 29, 2020 at 10:04 am

    The original column appeared in the Tribune-Democrat , written by Dr. Steve Nunez. Click here to see original sourced column. 

    I write this column on June 19, or “Juneteenth,” a day that commemorates the end of slavery in our country.

    I’ve spent the past several weeks reading, listening, and watching as others spoke of the social unrest that is occurring throughout the United States.

    Being a white person and being surrounded by mostly white people for much of my life, I have been generally insulated from the reality of racism.

    Racism is just not something I understand. I’ve always lived by the motto to treat all people with kindness and respect – the color of one’s skin or ethnic differences are meaningless when it comes to how I treat someone. Instead, I judge people by their actions, by how they treat others.

    This motto, I believe, has served me well throughout my life.

    And because my own personal experiences with discrimination are rare and frail, I can only try to understand the impact of discrimination through the experiences of others – by what I read, hear, or see.

    When I was working on my doctorate degree from Ferris State University, I had the privilege of learning from amazing instructors and, as importantly, 30 other students who were community college professionals like myself.

    I particularly remember my first course, called Critical Issues in Community Colleges, as it was the most impactful for me as a leader and professional.

    At the end of one of our classes, our instructor insisted that the entire class visit the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia located on Ferris State’s campus. Considering that nearly one-third of the cohort of students were Black, I found the tour and the follow-up discussion incredibly uncomfortable.

    As we walked through the museum, we encountered example after example of racist signs, films, cartoons, books, art, and pictures. After the tour, most of the white students were quiet as we listened to our fellow Black students vividly recall how they and their family members had consistently experienced racism in modern-day America.

    Honestly, I was distraught as I listened to and then absorbed their stories.

    That single lesson was one of the most powerful I’ve ever experienced as a student, and it taught me that racism is still very real in America.

    I am a proud leader of a higher-education institution, and so it should come as no surprise that I think that education is the best way to positively impact people’s lives and to change society.

    When I ponder what action Penn Highlands can take on these issues, I’m reminded of both the college’s mission to provide affordable, quality education to our community and of the core values adopted by our employees.

    Two core values of consequence to this discussion include:

    • Informing and involving members of the college community in discussion and problem-solving at all levels in an atmosphere marked by civility and cordiality conducted with respect for personal and professional differences.
    • Developing innovative and creative responses to the region’s dynamic economic, workforce, and social needs based on interactions with all segments of the community.

    Honestly, when it comes to these complex issues of racism and discrimination, I have more questions than answers.

    While I certainly have my own thoughts and ideas on how we can advance this conversation, I have always believed the best ideas come from collaboration.

    I’m lucky that, at Penn Highlands, I am surrounded by passionate, caring, and intelligent folks. And so, using the mission and core values of the college as our guideposts, I pledge that I will use their collective intellects to discuss what the college’s next steps should be.

    I recognize that this is only a small step on a long journey, but I’m embracing the journey and I look forward to the discussions.

    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. 

  • Flexible Class Formats Coming For Fall

    Posted June 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has developed five different types of classroom instruction into their fall 2020 course offerings. The new offerings were created to ensure that all students feel comfortable and safe within their preferred learning environments.

    Dependent upon individual preference, students may register for the following five different instructional formats: split section, virtual classroom, online, in-person, and hybrid.


    • Split Section Instruction (1/2 Face-to-Face and 1/2 ZOOM instruction)
      Split section classes are offered two days per week, where part of the class is on-campus one day, while the other day is conducted via ZOOM at the student’s preferred location. Below is an example of a Monday/Wednesday schedule.
      • Mondays: Half the class meets in-person, while the other half meets via ZOOM.
      • Wednesdays: Half the class meets via ZOOM, while the other half meets in-person.
    • Virtual Classroom Instruction
      Students will participate in class virtually through ZOOM at a scheduled day and time each week. Students will get to choose their preferred day of the week when registering for classes.
    • Online Instruction
      Online classes will be taught 100% online and will not be scheduled to meet on specific days or times. Online classes will have weekly assignments, readings, forums, tests, and activities. These classes are reading and writing intensive. It is recommended that students enrolling in these classes have strong time management, reading, and writing skills.
    • In-Person Instruction
      In-person classes meet physically on-site each week. Classes will meet one, two, or three days per week at scheduled times, with smaller class sizes in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.
    • Hybrid Instruction
      Hybrid classes are a combination of in-person and online instruction. Students must attend class physically on scheduled days and times. They must also complete online assignments, readings, activities, and projects.

    “Split section classes are a new concept for Penn Highlands,” stated Barbara Zaborowski, interim Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This format will allow us to have students on-campus and face-to-face with faculty while maintaining mandated social distancing rules. In addition to social distancing, students will need to wear face coverings while on-site.”


    In order to adhere to social distancing mandates, class sizes have been reduced to allow for both students and faculty to interact in a safe environment.

    Access to the college’s computer labs and the library will be readily available for students at the Richland Campus. All computer lab and library areas will be monitored and sanitized regularly, while every other computer workstation will be available for use in order to maintain proper social distancing.

    Students are required to wear face coverings at all college locations. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available at each entrance; students will be encouraged to use them prior to entering any college facility.


    For questions pertaining to the new classes listed above, please contact Admissions at 814.262.6446 or admissions@pennhighlands.edu. Summer office hours for Admissions are Monday through Thursday, from 8am to 5pm.