Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College was recently recognized as one of only 16 colleges, out of 1,200 community college
Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College was recently recognized as one of only 16 colleges, out of 1,200 community colleges nationwide, to be published in the 2019 edition of Civic Scholar. The Civic Scholar is the Phi Theta Kappa Journal of Undergraduate Research, and the nation’s only journal recognizing and celebrating the undergraduate research and community engagement of community college students.
“This publication helps us demonstrate to others what we have always known-that an investment in community colleges is s a wise one. It celebrates students who are digging the deepest into their community college experience by engaging more deeply with students, instructors, and the institution in meaningful ways,” says Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner.
The overarching objective of RACC’s submission, “The Powers of Connection: Creating a College Website to Promote Inclusivity” was to evaluate the effectiveness of the connections formed through various types of communication, with the intention of improving communication within the RACC campus.
"Overall the impact of our project is significant in that it has initiated a dialogue among faculty, staff, students and community members. I am very proud of the thorough academic research and writing that the students completed. In their journal submission, the chapter members skillfully connected their research findings to the major actions of their project, "says RACC PTK advisor and faculty member Dr. Danelle Bower.
The Civic Scholar serves as a national platform to celebrate the hard work and talent of the PTK students.
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa at Reading Area Community College, please call 610.372.4721.
Reading, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller visited Reading Area Community College (RACC) on July
Reading, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller visited Reading Area Community College (RACC) on July 12 to highlight the department’s Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) program. KEYS assists students who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits pursue certificates, degrees, or credentials at Pennsylvania’s community colleges. The visit was the first stop on a statewide tour of KEYS programs at each of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.
“The KEYS program is doing incredibly important work around the commonwealth to help Pennsylvanians in low-income situations access post-secondary education and training in a way that addresses and helps overcome the unique challenges and barriers students face,” said Secretary Miller. “This collaborative effort has a transformative impact on a person’s personal and economic trajectory, helping them truly achieve a better life.”
KEYS is a collaboration between DHS and Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. First established in 2005, KEYS has helped more than 15,300 people access post-secondary education and training.
"The fantastic work our staff is doing through KEYS and various training programs at RACC is very important to students who are becoming emotionally and intellectually independent," says KEYS Program Coordinator and Student Facilitator Mary Turner. “The students at RACC show what individuals can do when they are given the tools to succeed."
KEYS programs provide supportive services to students like assistance with school supplies, transportation, and child care. Students are also connected with mentoring and peer support relationships critical to helping them ease the transition back into school and overcome barriers to success in education. The KEYS program has an 82 percent retention rate and 78 percent of KEYS participants are in good academic standing.
“Too many single-parent families in Pennsylvania and around the country feel limited by their economic situation. We are committed to giving them the tools and supports necessary to help them change their family’s path and, most importantly, to help them realize that they are not alone in this journey,” said Secretary Miller. “Each of us can play a role in supporting parents and families seeking better lives, and KEYS and the Parent Pathways initiative will give us a vehicle to make this work possible in more communities.”
For more information, please contact the RACC KEYS Program at 610-372-4721.
Sharibel Urena was born in New York City and moved to Berks County with her parents when she was in elementary school. She loved studying chemistry, biology and French in high school, so when she graduated from Wyomissing Area High School in 2011, she was eager to continue these studies in college.
Due to her excellent high school academic performance, Sharibel received a full scholarship to RACC. She enrolled in RACC as a science transfer major. “RACC gave me the opportunity to experience college close to home before deciding which four-year institution was right for me.”
With the guidance and support of RACC faculty and staff, particularly Jane Dietrich and Jodi Corbett, Sharibel’s transfer process was smooth. “RACC’s great selection of academic programs and ease in transferring to four-year institutions was very helpful. Having knowledgeable mentors and excellent counselors at RACC allowed me to stay on track with my academic goals.” Sharibel transferred to Albright College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a minor in French within four years of graduating high school.
In addition to immersing herself in trigonometry and chemistry her first year at RACC, Sharibel took advantage of the various opportunities to get involved on campus and in her community. She was a chemistry and math tutor and continued to do so at RACC even after transferring to Albright. She was a member of the International Club where she made great connections with people from around the world. There, she participated in the annual International Festival, and spent several hours volunteering to help RACC raise over $15,000 for Caitlyn’s Smiles, a local charity. Sharibel got her first taste of the performing arts when she participated in RACC Idol and won 2nd place in the competition. “I developed an even deeper passion for performing at Albright by joining the Women’s Chorale and I continue to sing with a local select chamber choir and volunteer in a community performing arts organization, Barrio Alegria.”
Sharibel also took advantage of the cross-registration program to continue her French education at Albright while taking classes at RACC. “I was placed into a 300 level French course at Albright as I attended classes at RACC and excelled at it for the next three years. Plus, I was also able to study abroad for a month in Paris.” Sharibel ultimately earned a 3.9 GPA in French, was inducted into the National French Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi, and became fluent in her third language, in addition to English and Spanish.
Thanks to the excellent education and experiences she received, Sharibel was well prepared and qualified to work professionally in the scientific field. Her first position after graduating was at a pharmaceutical laboratory as a chemist in Lancaster. The technical experience Sharibel gained there made her a perfect fit for a position much closer to home at Carpenter Technology, where she currently works as an environmental chemistry laboratory technician. “The STEM courses I took at RACC were the foundation for the higher-level science courses I took later in my academic career. The literature and speech classes and the diverse backgrounds of the people I met at RACC helped me grow from a very shy, quiet student, into one that was comfortable speaking in front of a classroom and performing on a stage.”
RACC’s new quarterly print and digital publication ALIVE features timely news and events about RACC s
RACC’s new quarterly print and digital publication ALIVE features timely news and events about RACC students, faculty, staff, programs and workforce development. Each issue of ALIVE illustrates RACC’s commitment to enhancing the educational and economic vitality of Berks County and its residents.
American Association of Community Colleges appoints Reading Area Community College President Dr. Susan D. Looney to the Commission on Student Success
Reading, PA. – The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is proud to announce the appointment of Reading Area Community College President Dr. Susan D. Looney to its Commission on Student Success, effective July 1, 2019.
The Commission on Student Success focuses on student access and success, and organizational transformation. The commission may examine subject areas which include degree completion and two-year to four-year transfer. In addition, the commission may focus on initiatives that facilitate the implementation of the 21st-Century Initiative and Implementation Guidelines, showcase cutting-edge innovation with proven outcomes, and improve student success.
“It is a particularly exciting time to be appointed to the Commission on Student Success. The AACC is truly the ‘voice of America’s community colleges’ and I am honored to be selected to assist in providing advocacy, leadership, and service for community colleges. The mission of the AACC aligns closely with my personal hallmarks of access, opportunity, excellence, and hope in guiding our students to success,” says Dr. Looney.
In her 20 years as a full-time community college educator, eight as a faculty member and 12 years as a senior administrator, Dr. Looney has worked in diverse roles including: assistant to the campus director and director of corporate and community programs at Delaware Technical Community College, and interim assistant vice president of academic affairs, arts and sciences at Colorado Mountain College. Dr. Looney was named dean of instruction at Reading Area Community College in 2014 and named senior vice president of academic affairs/provost at RACC in 2015. She became the 6th president of RACC in July of 2018.
After completing her AA at Brookdale Community College, Dr. Looney went on to earn her BS and MBA in business administration from Monmouth University, JD from Widener University School of Law, and ultimately an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from Nova Southeastern University.