Editor’s Note: For adults interested in fitting a bachelor’s or master’s degree program around an already-busy work and home life, the Keuka College Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) may offer the shortest route to reach their goal. Here, five of our graduates describe the primary benefits of pursuing their respective degrees at sites across Western New York near where they live and work, and the steps they are taking into the future.
Why she pursued her degree through our ASAP program: Getting a master’s degree was one of my life goals. After a recent promotion into management at work, I knew that I needed to prioritize that. As a full-time professional, I needed a program that would fit my schedule, while providing a fantastic education. The Keuka College ASAP MSM program offered me exactly what I needed to achieve my goals.
Notable highlights of her KC degree program: Seeing my hard work come together into a data-driven paper for the Action Research Project (ARP) was a form of personal validation that I had not experienced before. I am also passionate about my job so having a project that contributed to what I do each day motivated me.
Personal benefits? The course work exposed me to ethics, leadership, and business law, which I have been able to translate into my personal life. I use the theory discussed in the leadership course almost every day, both at work and at home.
Next steps: I will continue in the same position, but through completing my degree, I see lots of opportunity for growth in my career.
Why he pursued his degree through our ASAP program: I have been an active instructor at the police academy since 2008, and thoroughly enjoy teaching. The next logical step was to obtain my master’s degree. Another reason I returned to college was the personal satisfaction of achievement, and the hope to inspire my five daughters to never settle or make excuses against hard work.
Notable highlights during the program: I received the 2015 Rochester Area Colleges’ Continuing Education (RACCE) Outstanding Adult Student Award. My Action Research Project (ARP) directly related to work I do instructing in defensive tactics and helped me to better understand and explain portions of the police recruit training curriculum.
Next steps: I am looking for positions as an adjunct professor at local colleges and also looking for a Ph.D. program.
Why she pursued a Keuka College degree through the ASAP program: This lifelong desire had been derailed by life’s challenges.
Notable highlights of her KC degree program: I have a higher standard in my personal work ethic now. Having six of my grandchildren at my graduation was another highlight. My grandson watched in awe. After the ceremony he told his mother he “came from a family of hard workers.” We now have a family benchmark: everyone has to have at least a bachelors’ degree.
What she most valued in her Keuka College education?: I had a stroke two months prior to starting the program so this was a challenge because my speech and mental capacity had been affected. Having supportive teachers who were willing to work with me after hours when needed was a huge benefit and it contributed to my success.
Why she pursued her degree through the ASAP program: After accepting a new position at work, I believed an advanced degree would help me excel and achieve future professional goals. I have always been interested in nursing education, and the Keuka College ASAP program offered that component which many other online and hybrid programs did not.
Notable highlights of her KC degree program: My Field Period™ allowed me to put to use many of the techniques and concepts we had learned in class. I learned a lot about the nursing academia field, and I made connections with experienced nursing instructors who were eager and willing to share their experiences and be a resource for me both in and outside of the classroom.
I was also inducted as a Nurse Leader to Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society
What she most valued in her KC education? The experience and professionalism of all the professors. They are all masters of their content areas and approachable, so I felt that I truly was learning from the best of the best. I also value the relationships forged with my cohort. I love that we all stay in touch and continue to support one another personally and professionally!
Personal benefits? The location and class times were easy for me to accommodate while working full-time and having a newborn at home.
Next steps: I have accepted a full-time position at Corning Community College as a clinical instructor and am very excited to start in the fall! The Field Period™ really helped me to realize that this setting was where I excelled. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity so soon after completing my degree.
Why she pursued her degree through our ASAP program: As a stay-at-home mother of three young children, I was motivated to brighten the future of our family and be a role model in continuing education.
Notable parts of her KC degree program: The social work values taught throughout the program were extremely valuable. Returning to school as an adult and a parent felt like a daunting task, but the ASAP program made it practical.
What she most valued in her KC education? Flexibility, awareness of working adults and family along with some wonderful professors.
Next steps: I recently completed my MSW in an advanced standing program and currently work at the University of Rochester as a psychiatric therapist.
Newark resident Johnathan Murray, assistant director of the One Stop department at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in Canandaigua, received the Keuka College/FLCC Joint Presidential Scholarship at a May 1 reception attended by his FLCC colleagues and representatives from Keuka College.
The Joint Presidential Scholarship gives an FLCC employee the opportunity to pursue a Keuka College degree tuition-free through an Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) cohort meeting for weekly evening classes at FLCC. When one employee completes the major requirements of his or her degree program, another can apply. Murray will begin a program to earn a Master of Science degree in management (MSM) Aug. 27.
He was selected for the award by Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College, and Dr. Barbara Risser, president of FLCC. Both were on hand during the presentation, when Murray received a standing ovation.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected for the Keuka College/FLCC Joint Presidential Scholarship, and touched by all the support I have received from my friends and colleagues,” said Murray. “Thank you!”
Keuka College partners with several community colleges across upstate New York to offer ASAP courses at each host campus; some of the partner schools also offer the Joint Presidential Scholarship to their employees. At FLCC, the most recent recipient was Jon VanBlargan, a financial aid counselor who received his Keuka College MSM in 2014. Lynn Freid, director of workforce development for FLCC, received the Joint Presidential Scholarship to pursue a Keuka College bachelor’s degree in organizational management, graduating in 2012. In addition, Mike Fisher, registrar/director of the One Stop department and Murray’s supervisor, received his Keuka College MSM in 2010.
Murray got his start at FLCC as a student aide at the Wayne County Campus Center in 2003. After earning his associate degree from FLCC in 2005 he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration/accounting from Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2005, he also became the evening coordinator of FLCC’s Newark facility. He became a One Stop department specialist for FLCC five years ago, and since December 2011, he has served as the One Stop assistant director. In his free time he enjoys bird-watching, digital photography, cooking and baking with friends.
“My work is an important piece of my life,” said Murray. “I enjoy working in higher education and watching students mature and find their passion. The MSM program at Keuka will permit me to improve upon our service to our students and came highly recommended from my peers who have completed the program before me.”
Leadership and service are core components of Keuka College’s MSM program, which was recently ranked as one of the top 50 MSM programs in the country by The Financial Engineer. Candidates are evaluated for admission based on, among other things, their prior academic experience, volunteer and community service history, and leadership potential.
Keuka College’s MSM program is offered at nearly a dozen partner locations across western New York, including GCC’s Batavia campus. The program features a rigorous accelerated format designed for working professionals, allowing them to earn their degree in 18 months. For more information, visit http://asap.keuka.edu/.
Two format options will prepare nursing students to take national exams for Adult/ Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification.
Continuing on a 72-year tradition of graduating the very best that nursing has to offer, Keuka College is proud to announce the launch of its Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program, and will begin admitting its first group of students at the Keuka Park campus this September 2015.
Recently approved by the New York State Higher Education Office of the Professions, the Keuka College program will be offered in two formats. The first is a 42-credit master’s degree program designed for Registered Nurses (RNs) holding a bachelor’s degree. The second is a 19-credit post-master’s degree certification program designed for RNs already holding a master’s degree in nursing. Both formats prepare students for entry into advanced practice as an Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) and both qualify graduates to take one of two national certification exams for NP certification.
Adult/Gerontology primary care NPs serve as primary health care providers in many settings. Keuka College’s program focuses on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver primary health care to all ages of adults. Classroom sessions are held one night a week, one course at a time, and the program consists of face-to-face and online instruction as well as 500 hours of clinical practicum.
Keuka College’s addition of the program is a reflection of the ever-increasing need for nurses and advanced-practice nurses in an era of aging populations and the changes in health care delivery under the Affordable Care Act. According to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Forestell, the current and future demand for Adult/Gerontolgy NPs is expanding rapidly and dramatically.
“Keuka College’s long record of excellence in educating nurses gives us confidence that we can help meet this need with outstanding graduates of our program,” he said. “The program combines a dynamic, world-class group of doctorally-prepared faculty; an innovative curriculum that will meet the needs of our students; and an extensive network of professional practice relationships that will enhance our students’ access to real-world experience.”
According to Dr. Debra Gates, a nurse practitioner herself and chair of the Keuka College Division of Nursing, organizations such as the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) further suggest a three-fold approach dubbed “Triple Aim” to address current health care needs. The IHI advises a need for professionals who will improve quality patient care and satisfaction, improve the health of populations and reduce per capita costs of health care. The new Keuka College NP program will ready nurses to meet these challenges, she said.
“Our faculty members are very excited to offer this program. It’s been a long-time dream and we’re hopeful to meet the anticipated need for nurse practitioners in the communities we serve,” Dr. Gates said, adding that the College is eager to build on existing partnerships with regional health systems, especially those in rural areas serving these populations.
Providing an edge to the Keuka College degree is the depth of experience among the faculty, including eight of nine core instructors and another 15 adjunct professors all certified NPs. This means in addition to an education rooted in theory, students will glean hands-on experience from seasoned professionals.
Praising the potential in the College’s baccalaureate and master’s degree students, Dr. Gates added: “When they finish our R.N/B.S. or M.S.N. program, they already have tremendous capacity and expertise in so many clinical areas, we know they would be excellent candidates as nurse practitioners. We look forward to working with them.”
Applications are now being accepted, with a submission deadline of July 1, 2015. For more information on how to apply, please contact Admissions Counselor Patricia White at email@example.com or (315) 317-8455.
Three adult students enrolled in Keuka College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) degree programs earned Outstanding Adult Student awards during the 32nd annual awards ceremony of the Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) network last month.
The Outstanding Adult Student award recognizes adult students who have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career, and the community.
The three Keuka College recipients are Victor resident Matthew Carpenter, Andrea Cicero of Perry, and Maria Velazquez, who lives in Rochester. They will be among those in caps and gowns at the College’s 107th Commencement set for Saturday, May 23.
“Matthew is pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice administration program and will graduate later this month with an impressive 3.72 GPA,” said Lindsay McGloon, student services manager for ASAP and the College’s RAACE representative.
Carpenter, who attends classes at Monroe Community College, works as a police officer for the Rochester Police Department. He volunteers with the Police Activities League, which helps create stronger bonds between children in the community and the local police force.
“By continuing his education, Matthew hopes to better train, mentor, and coach other police officers,” said McGloon. He also aspires to serve as an adjunct instructor for the field.”
Cicero, whose classes were at Genesee Community College, recently completed her organizational management program and will graduate with a 3.98 GPA.
“With more than 10 years experience in learning and project management, Andrea has used her Keuka College education to enhance her career,” said McGloon. “Andrea, who will earn her bachelor’s degree, works closely with organizations in her community that promote healthy and positive self esteem in young girls. Her personal and professional goals include being a mentor to other women who have faced challenges, as well as being the best role model for her daughters and to always instill in them love, confidence, and independence.”
Velazquez is pursing her bachelor’s degree in social work program earning a 3.92 GPA.
“For more than 20 years, Maria has worked her way up the ranks at Unity Health System,” said McGloon. “Maria’s life has not been without adversity, but with the support of her children and grandchildren, she has been able to reach her goal of completing her bachelor’s degree.”
McGloon adds that Valezquez spends her free time advocating for the homeless, working with the HIV population, and giving back to those less fortunate. She also plans to earn a master’s degree and “continue her love of learning and making a difference in the lives of others,” said McGloon.
The RACCE consortium of area colleges promotes and advocates for continuing education to adult and other non-traditional students in the greater Rochester area. RACCE’s extensive network of college administrators provides information about educational programs to students and fosters collaboration and professional development opportunities among its membership.
Including Keuka College, this year’s recipients come from 11 Rochester-area colleges including University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Empire State College, The College at Brockport, Genesee Community College, Monroe Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, and Roberts Wesleyan College.
During Shannon Engle’s social work practicum as a job developer for Challenge Workforce Solutions in Ithaca, she noticed there wasn’t a training manual for those in her position. Her solution? Create one.
As a job developer, Shannon, a social work major in Keuka College’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) helps prepare adults with disabilities to enter and remain competitive in the workforce. Specifically she assists individuals in identifying their skills, goals, and strengths within the realm of competitive employment.
At her practicum, Shannon was charged with creating, implementing, and evaluating a curriculum called the Pro-Skills Workshop. The challenge was to help job seekers with disabilities and other such challenges learn about “soft skills” they would need to be successful at their job.
“The series of nine training sessions focuses on interpretation and use of appropriate professional engagement and nonverbal communication such as tone of voice, body language, appropriate eye contact, as well as understanding and responding to employers,” said Shannon.
Shannon and Emily Koester, another job developer spent 40 hours creating the first six lessons, totaling 12 group hours. Now, the Pro-Skills Workshop series covers nine subjects and 27 group hours, and participants receive a certificate of completion.
Recently, Challenge Workforce Solutions received a $364,186 grant from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities through the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) Transformation Fund. The award will support the transition of workers from sheltered to community-based employment, and will expand outreach to students to support their transition from school to work.
According to Shannon, the Pro-Skills Workshop series she helped create will be utilized within the grant as one of the expanded offerings for area high schools, along with helping prepare recent graduates for entering the world of work. Another key aspect of the BIP grant is to help transition individuals from contract production departments into rewarding community-based services.
As it happens, community-based services are something Shannon is quite familiar with. Raised by her grandparents, she grew up watching her grandmother work for a non-profit agency that supported individuals with developmental disabilities, give back to the community, advocate for “at-risk” populations and strive to make a difference.
Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Shannon worked for one non-profit agencies upon graduating from high school.
“I worked with individuals with disabilities for six years, but began to feel stuck,” she said. “So I changed professions and did something totally different, but the work was not as enjoyable for me. After three years, my department was outsourced and I had the opportunity to go back to college. I saw earning my bachelor’s degree as an opportunity to advance my skills, knowledge, and employability.”
Shannon had some challenges of her own to face. Prior to enrolling at Keuka College, Shannon said she enjoyed working on the micro level and was hesitant to work in a group. “Group work was going to be new professional territory for me, as I felt intimidated in that setting,” said Engle. “But I took a group process class which helped prepare me for the planning and collaboration that occurred during the development of the Pro-Skills Workshop series. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed collaborating with my classmates, and my Challenge colleagues.”
Another course she credits for preparing her was a research class. And while she admits she struggled with the terminology and the research process, “[Assistant Professor of Social Work] Dr. Gretchen Rymarchyk was supportive and available to answer my questions. What I learned helped me approach my senior practicum with a critical eye and focused intent on my research assignments.”
Said Dr. Rymarchyk: “Shannon is a high-energy, proactive, and eager student who embraces big opportunities. She will be an asset to any agency.”