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Academic News Brief August 7

August 7, 2014

Round up of what is new in the world of Academic Affairs published by the Office of the Provost at Saint Francis University. August 7, 2014 Edition



The Saint Francis University Education Department received authorization (May 2014) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide certification courses and practical experiences designed to meet requirements for the special education certificate. The B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education/Special Education leads to teaching certification for preschool through fourth grade and special education for preschool through eighth grade. The teaching certificate enables graduates to teach children identified as having intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or behavior disorders in placements from kindergarten through grade eight. The intensive 131 credit program can be completed in four years.

The Saint Francis University Education Department received authorization (July 2014) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer dual certification in Middle Level, grades 4-8 English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Special Education PreK-8.


Two economics majors presented their papers at an interdisciplinary professional conference in St. Paul, Minnesota on July 18, 2014. Timothy Keith (Senior) presented his paper "Inflation and Income Inequality" and Caleb Brantner '13 presented his paper "The Role of Technology in Growing Income Inequality." The conference was organized by the Society for Values in Higher Education and was focused upon the topic of income inequality. The conference featured speakers from many disciplines including philosophy, mathematics, and religion. Student travel was financed by a grant from the Charles Koch foundation. Dr. Edward Timmons, Associate Professor of Economics, accompanied the students on the trip.

SFU's Francis Fund has made its first loan! An aspiring entrepreneur approached the Francis Fund for a loan of $3,500 to purchase a zero turn mower for his lawn care business. Todd Hurst is the owner of Hursty's Lawn Care, and resides in Cassville, PA with his wife Cathy. Hursty's Lawn Care has the marketing slogan "Looking Good is Understood" to emphasize the level of quality that Hursty's Lawn Care intend to deliver to its customers. Todd has aspirations of expanding his business and hiring workers from the local community. Read more: http://francis.edu/francis-fund-grants-first-loan/


Exercise Physiology - The University welcomes Ms. Dawn Shedlock to the position of part-time administrative assistant for the Exercise Physiology department effective August 4, 2014. Ms. Shedlock earned an Associates of Applied Science as a Business Office Technician from Cambria County Area Community College.

MMS/MHS - Dr. Melissa Kagarise, Associate Professor in the Master of Health Science program and clinical lipid specialist, attended and presented July 18 – July 19, 2014 at the Nova Southeastern University Interprofessional and Multidisciplinary Educational Forum in Tampa, FL. Her presentation titled, Then and Now: New Cholesterol Guidelines and the Implications for Treatment, outlined the 2013 ACC/AHA cholesterol clinical treatment guidelines in comparison to the longstanding NCEP ATP treatment recommendations. The presentation identified the four major patient groups benefiting from statin therapy for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk reduction and outlined the specific statin treatment recommendations for each group. Attendees applied the ACC/AHA guidelines to case scenarios and discussed the implications in applying these guidelines to clinical practice.

Nursing – Ms. Camille Wendekier and Dr. Rita Trofino presented at the Drexel University Nursing Education Institute in Myrtle Beach, NC, on June 17 - June 20, 2014. Their presentation was entitled: "Enabling Senior Nursing Students to Deliver Evidence Based Patient Education in the Rural Community via iPads." This presentation was a culmination of the NIH NN/LM grant (Janie Rager, Camile Wendekier, Cindy Drenning, Rita Trofino) at Saint Francis University. The purpose of the pilot project was to improve the ability of nursing students to provide evidence based patient education the local rural population via iPads. The target population for this pilot project was senior nursing students at SFU enrolled in NURS 405, Nursing Care of Human Communities, taught by Cindy Drenning. The senior nursing students learned to apply information literacy skills to evaluate health-related information retrieved using iPads in the community and then taught patients how to retrieve evidenced based information using mobile technology. The uses of iPads at the site of patient care more easily allowed the comparison of information and helped student nurses provide evidenced based patient education.

Student Health Center - The University welcomes two new employees to the Student Health Center/DiSepio Institute for Rural Health & Wellness: Ms. Geri Cronauer, RN, BSN, to the position of Registered Nurse and Ms. Sandra Rea to the position of Medical Assistant . Ms. Cronauer earned her BSN from Pennsylvania State University and Ms. Rea earned an Associate of Science Degree in Medical Assistant from Mount Aloysius College.


Chemistry - The SFU Chemistry Club was awarded a Community Interaction Grant from the American Chemical Society for chapter projects that focus on educational and scientific interaction with the community. The proposal, written by Chemistry Club officers, will partially fund a community outreach project with the Gloria Gates Memorial Foundation (GGMF). The goal of the GGMF is to encourage school performance and to build self-esteem and moral character so that youths will grow up to be contributing members of society. The goals of the GGMF are achieved through an after school program held for children living in low-income housing developments in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Saint Francis Chemistry Club members will visit GGMF sites six times during the 2014-2015 school leading hour-long science activities for 5-12 year old students with the hopes of igniting their interest in science.

Environmental Engineering - Dr. Bill Strosnider, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, just published a paper titled "Evaluating locally available organic substrates for vertical flow passive treatment cells at Cerro Rico de Potosi, Bolivia" in the journal Environmental Earth Sciences. The work was lead-authored by Beatriz Santamaria of Trinity Consultants. Other co-authors were Maria Apaza Quispe of the Centro de Investigacion Mineria Ambiental and Robert Nairn of the University of Oklahoma. The paper characterizes the feasibility of using three organic substrates for sustainable acid mine drainage treatment at one of the world's most famous (and environmentally-impacted) mining sites.

Science Outreach Center

Saint Francis University and the Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 have been awarded a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant (2013-2016) to provide professional development to secondary mathematics teachers in the IU8’s region. The 2014-2015 activities kicked off for 31 teachers with the RAMP (Reflection and Application of Mathematical Practice) Summer Institute held July 14-18, 2014 and July 21-25, 2014. Dr. Kate Remillard led multiple sessions on mathematics pedagogy with special focuses on the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice and formative assessment lessons. Teachers additionally enjoyed research sessions led by Dr. Ying Li (Fractals and a Numerical Method), Dr. Joel Bandstra (Does Occam’s Razor Still Apply to Math Modeling in an Age of Unlimited Computational Power? A Case Study from the Application of Fractal Models to Geological Weathering ), Dr. John Harris (Picnics, Pooches and Predictions: Which of these Things is not Like the Other?), and Dr. Bill Strosnider (Stream Flow Measurements: Applied Geometry and Calculus). The teachers will return to the SFU campus for three follow-up professional development days throughout the 2014-2015 Academic Year: October 8, 2014, November 19, 2014 and March 25, 2015.

The Laurel Highlands Mathematics Alliance, with support from the Saint Francis University Science Outreach Center, held its first annual Book Discussion and Summer Dessert Social on Tuesday July 29, 2014 in the JFK Lounge. Under review was Stanford University math specialist Jo Boaler’s What’s Math Got to Do with It? How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. Participating in the discussion were early childhood, learning support, secondary and university teachers from across the region. Dr. Kate Remillard currently serves as LHMA President and Dr. Pete Skoner serves as LHMA Treasurer.

The Environmental Engineering Design summer academy was held during the week of June 22. A total of 11 talented rising junior and senior high school students from Pennsylvania and New Jersey attended the Environmental Engineering Design summer academy, which was taught by Drs. Bill Strosnider and Rachel Wagner. The students were supervised by SFU students Sarah Makin and Dalton Mack. The students went on field trips to the Tytoona cave and Coal Tubin’ down the Stonycreek River. The students in the academy learned about environmental engineering and science concepts relating to the construction and refinement of a microbial fuel cell system. Students also earned 2 credits toward Engineering 101 and Engineering 102.

The Chemistry Summer Academy: Investigations into Protein Chemistry was held during the week of June 16, 2014. A total of 8 talented rising junior and senior high school students from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Texas attended the Chemistry Summer Academy, which was taught by Mrs. Stacey Scott and Drs. Rose Clark, Edward Zovinka, and Michele Hargittai. The students were supervised by SFU students Shannon Adams and Matthew Wong. The students went on a field trip to Lampire Biological in Everett, PA. The students in the academy learned about the chemistry of proteins by working with hands-on models using a variety of state-of-the-art chemistry techniques. Students also earned 2 credits toward Science 102.

The Gaming Summer Academy was held during the week of June 16, 2014. A total of 12 talented rising junior and senior high school students from Pennsylvania attended the Gaming Summer Academy, which was taught by Mr. Jonathan Miller and Dr. Dan Wetklow. The students were supervised by SFU students Sarah Makin and Dalton Mack. The students in the academy experienced aspects of game design and production, including programming, story mapping, and graphic design. Students also earned 2 college credits toward Computer Science 240.