Category Archives: Academics
The U.S. Army’s tuition assistance program, which was suspended in March, is up and running.
Active-duty military personnel can once again take college classes with tuition dollars from the federal government.
For more information about the reinstatement of tuition assistance, go to the Pierce College Military Program blog.
Starting Monday, April 8, writing consultants will give a series of 15-minute talks on the Puyallup campus to help students sharpen their writing skills and tackle the term paper.
The consultants are students with proven writing skills, and they all work in the Puyallup tutoring center.
Pierce College officials are spreading the word to soldiers: Paying for college is possible despite federal budget cuts to a military tuition assistance program.
Soldiers can cover tuition using the GI Bill, federal financial aid and other alternatives to the popular military program.
The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps recently announced they were suspending the tuition assistance program that helped thousands of active-duty soldiers take college courses. The suspensions were the result of automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that began nationwide March 1.
Every few months, the oddest things pop up on the walls and floors at the Fort Steilacoom campus.
Consider what’s appeared in the past couple weeks: A red-nosed clown peering out of a trash can. Bloody handprints and a body outline in the welcome center. An archaeological dig amid the greenery of a Rainier building atrium.
Four Pierce College students will be honored as members of the 2013 All-Washington Academic Team in a ceremony Thursday, March 21, featuring Gov. Jay Inslee. The award recognizes top scholars from community and technical colleges throughout the state with scholarships.
The ceremony will be at noon March 21 in the Student Union Building at South Puget Sound Community College , 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia, Wash.
The 2013 team members representing Pierce College Fort Steilacoom are Eileen Papale and Theresa Carr. The Pierce College Puyallup team members are Hannah Lampert and Colin Williams. Here is more about the award-winners:
When Pierce College Chemistry Professor Ted Wood takes the podium, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, former Vice President Al Gore and even artist Pablo Picasso are due for some ribbing.
That’s what happened when Wood recently delivered an irreverent yet insightful talk as this year’s winner of the Pierce College Distinguished Faculty award. His lecture was called “A Healthy Relationship With Science,” something that Wood said people should have, but don’t.
A video of Wood’s talk is now available – and it’s both easy to understand and entertaining.
The quarterly Pierce College Faculty Lecture Series will use a new format based on “Ignite” events held around the world since the first one debuted in Seattle in 2006.
Pierce College is receiving national attention for its innovative approach to faculty training.
The college’s “Master Teaching” program, which aims to improve instruction, is cited in a publication just released by The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program.
“Our Master Teaching program works because the faculty in our district decide what they want to improve in their instruction and assess whether it makes a difference in student learning,” said Denise Yochum, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “We are so pleased the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has cited our district program as an example that may help other community colleges create a faculty culture of continuous improvement.”
The Aspen Institute is a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. Last year, the institute’s College Excellence Program named Pierce College as one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation based in part on the college’s high learning standards and college completion rate. While the faculty development program is a district program and involves both of Pierce College’s campuses, the award went specifically to the Fort Steilacoom campus in part due to their unique demographics.
The newly released guide, “Creating a Faculty Culture of Student Success,” spotlights Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and several other of the top colleges in the nation for creating cultures in which faculty members consistently work to reform and improve their teaching to advance student learning.
The guide explains how Pierce College’s Master Teacher program incorporates the union contract to boost base salaries by $2,500 for those who complete a year of professional training. As part of the training, participants implement a project they developed to improve their teaching, assess and document its effect on student learning and share their findings on college-wide training days.
To read about Pierce College, go to page 13 in the guide, “Creating a Faculty Culture of Student Success,” at: http://bit.ly/VKmRAx
After submitting more than 100 scholarship applications and essays, Elisa Hardesty has her reward: nearly $20,000 to use towards her education.
“I knew I was going to run out of money before I got to nursing school,” explained Hardesty. “I ended up spending a couple hours a week researching scholarships and applying for everything I could. I knew I wanted to go to nursing school and I knew scholarships were the only way I was going to pay for it.”
Hardesty has spent the last three years at Pierce College completing the prerequisites for the nursing program. In November, she was accepted into the competitive program. When she finishes, she plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing and continue working to become a midwife.
The scholarships she’s earned so far will make that dream come true.
“I was so stressed out about school and how I was going to pay for it,” she said. “I can’t be a single mom, a full-time student, and work full-time, so scholarships are critical for me. I can’t even tell you how big a relief it is.”
Hardesty’s largest single award, a $10,000 Pearson Prize, a national scholarship that honors community service, included a trip to New York City for a leadership conference in August. There, Hardesty completed team building workshops and took part in activities that inspired her to continue her community service efforts locally.
Her favorite service is as a volunteer doula at St. Joseph’s Hospital. As a future midwife, this work solidifies Hardesty’s resolve and keeps her motivated. She loves helping new mothers and bringing babies into the world.
“I love being a doula,” she described. “I get to be with a mom from the time she checks in to the time her baby eats. I give mostly on-the-spot support to women who come in alone or who don’t have adequate support. I just love being part of it. I know that’s what I was meant to do.”
Hardesty is a mother herself and gives as much time as she can to Cameron, 8, and Natalie, 6. It’s a difficult juggle between home, school, and the hospital, but Hardesty and her children know it will be worth it in the end.
“I want to be able to give my kids everything other kids have, but, right now, my answer is always ‘when I graduate,’” she said candidly. “Being a parent adds up and I know it’s hard on them, but I know they understand. I think they’re proud of me. My daughter tells everyone, ‘My mommy is going to be a baby doctor.’”
Even with $20,000 in scholarships in-hand, Hardesty still spends several hours every month completing applications and working towards securing additional funds. She is especially driven towards scholarships that cover basic living expenses. She wishes more scholarships offered that kind of flexibility. She sees it as a huge funding gap that affects many students.
“We’ve already proven we’re dedicated and focused on finishing, and we’ve earned the trust that we’ll use the money responsibly,” she said. “There are so many dedicated students out there who have the ambition and the drive to keep going. They just don’t have the money.”
Hardesty’s advice to other struggling students is to apply for everything, especially local scholarships. The Pearson Prize was her only national award; everything else came from local sources and in denominations of $200-2,000 each. Several small scholarships can add up to big money, if students take the time to apply, said Hardesty.
“Don’t be afraid to tell your story,” she advised. “That’s what makes you stand out. And, don’t get discouraged. If you keep trying and keep putting yourself out there, it will happen. You just have to be willing to try.”
Pierce College is searching for student representatives for the 2013 All-Washington Academic Team.
Chosen students, two each from Pierce Fort Steilacoom and Pierce Puyallup, will each receive a $750 scholarship and be eligible to win a national prize. Winners will be honored in a special reception in March in Olympia.
Students are selected by the college presidents, but they must first apply for consideration through the Phi Theta Kappa website. Phi Theta Kappa is the honors society for two-year colleges.
Deadline to apply is Monday, Dec. 3.