Our faculty are always engaged in interesting academic projects such as conducting research, publishing articles/books, and participating in academic conferences. Below is a sample of program-level and faculty highlights from the 2020/21 academic year.

2020/21 Academic Program Highlights

  • The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program administered by the Accounting program within the Business Department had another productive tax season.  Seven volunteers prepared a total of 222 state and federal tax returns from 2/15/2021 through 4/30/2021.  The total refund amount was $262,812, for an average refund of $1,222.
  • American Sign Language/English Interpreting faculty implemented SignOn, a “Virtual Immersion Tool,” that connects the hearing and Deaf communities through authentic learning interactions. SignOn gives ASL/EI students the unique opportunity to synchronously communicate one-on-one with a Deaf ASL Ambassador.  Learners gain the confidence needed to engage with the Deaf Community while practicing language techniques.
  • We began offering an American Sign Language course for high school students at Forest Hills High School this semester.  These efforts were funded through a $27,000 grant from UPMC, which has allowed participating students to earn 3 college credits at no cost to them.  The class is full and the Principal is so pleased that he plans to continue offering the course next semester.
  • The Business Department developed a new Marketing major and a new specialization in Supply Chain Management this year.
  • The faculty in Diagnostic Medical Sonography recently completed a two-day virtual reaccreditation visit with the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS).  The evaluators gave the program and those involved with it a very positive review.  The next step will be responding to any post-visit concerns raised by the site team.  The site visitors’ report and our response will be forwarded to the JRC-DMS Board for a final decision on reaccreditation.
  • The Future Heroes Nursing Initiative, a collaboration between Mount Aloysius College and UPMC Altoona, UPMC Somerset, and UPMC Bedford, was launched.  Through this initiative, students are eligible for up to $54,000 in funding for their education and guaranteed employment at UPMC Altoona, UPMC Bedford, or UPMC Somerset.  Details of the initiative are available here.
  • Faculty in the Information Technology Department are in the process of hiring a Cyber Defense Coach, with responsibilities for setting up a virtualized lab environment in which students could run cyber defense exercises and activities to enhance their skills.
  • The Information Technology Department submitted an application to become a “Center of Academic Excellence” through the National Security Agency (NSA).  The submission is under review.
  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) notified the Nursing Department of “continuing accreditation as the program is in compliance with all accreditation standards and criteria reviewed during the focused visit following implementation of a new pre-licensure program.”
  • All 22 Nursing students who graduated from the ASN program in December 2020 and completed the NCLEX have passed on their first attempt.
  • The Nursing Department recently completed a comprehensive self-study of the new BSN program and submitted their report to the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
  • The Physical Therapy Assistant Program will host the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE) for a site visit June 12th through 15th.
  • The Theatre Department produced Monty Python’s Spamalot (socially distanced concert-ish version).  It was available for live streaming by the campus community on March 4, 5, and 6.  The show was directed by Mr. Nathan Magee.

2020/21 Faculty Highlights

  • Dr. Danny Anderson (Arts, Communication Studies, and English)
  • Dr. Merrilee Anderson (Science & Mathematics)
    • attended the Allegheny Branch of the American Society of Microbiology Teaching Summit on April 17, 2021, a three-hour virtual workshop featuring discussion of best practices in open access, diversity and inclusion, and engaging students in a virtual learning environment.
    • completed a 5-week, virtual, Winter Tree Identification course through Eagle Hill Institute.  The course used a series of lectures, discussions, and iNaturalist app entries to teach participants how to use characteristics of twigs, buds, bark, and other features to recognize shrubs and trees of the Northeast in winter
  • Dr. Matt Arsenault (Justice, Law, and Society)
    • presented a paper titled “Coercive Theory in Counterinsurgency: The Case of Rhodesia” at the Southern Political Science Association annual meeting.
    • served as chair and discussant on two panels about online education at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in April.
  • Dr. Julie Decker (Nursing)
    • provided a short presentation on May 10 for Nurses Week 2021 at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona, PA.  The presentation focused on the challenges faced by female veterans in relation to the recognition of military service, military sexual trauma, ability to access female veteran-focused health care in the VA, and in non-VA healthcare areas.
    • served as a book chapter contributor along with retired US Navy Nurse Corps Lt.  Commander, Dr. Carma Erickson-Hurt for the newly published textbook Veteran-Centered Care in Education and Practice (2021).  Their chapter focused on environmental and occupational exposures of military service.
  • Dr. Juan Diaz (Science & Mathematics) was acknowledged (and the College was mentioned) for reviewing Dennis Zill’s Advanced Engineering Mathematics (7th edition); he also reviewed the 6th edition years ago.
  • Dr. Mike Engle (Science & Mathematics) proctored the NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) Biotechnology certification exam for high school students at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center.  This is a hands-on exam requiring students to perform specific tasks in the laboratory.
  • Dr. Jessica Jost-Costanzo (Arts, Communication Studies, and English) contributed a poem entitled “Beneath Route 32” to Tiny Seed Literary Journal on April 28, 2021
  • Dr. Elizabeth Mansley (Justice, Law, and Society) co-authored a book with Katie Mirance (a former Criminology student).  The book is currently under contract and scheduled for release in January 2022.  They also worked together on “Father still knows best: Exploring the construction of traditional masculinity as depicted in portrayals of fatherhood in Disney princess movies” in Hobbes’ Mediating the Mouse: Disney and the Fan Experience (2020).
  • Ms. Amanda Minor (Surgical Technology) presented “Mentoring: Utilizing Peer Resources” at the 24th Annual Surgical Technology Educators Conference on February 12th.  She also attended the virtual event on February 12th & 13th, which included sessions on Clinician to Classroom, Assessment for Surgical Technology, Revisions to the Core Curriculum, ARC/STSA Updates, Implementing AST Guidelines in the Lab, AST Study Guide Revisions, and The Virtual Program Advisory Committee.  In addition, she attended the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs Webinar “The Advisory Committee” on February 17th in which she learned strategies to engage advisory committees and hold successful committee meetings.
  • Dr. Sara Rutledge (Education and Sign Language)
    • attended the virtual Pennsylvania Association for Colleges and Teacher Educators Annual Spring Conference on April 13, 2021, which included an address and discussion with Noe Ortega, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, on the theme of “The Charge to Recruit and Retain Diverse Teacher Candidates as a Matter of Equity in our Classrooms, Colleges, and Communities,”
    • attended the virtual 2021 Teacher Education Day (“Day on the Hill”) on April 20, 2021, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Colleges and Teacher Educators.
    • reviewed two journal manuscripts for the Kappa Delta Pi RecordJournal of the International Honor Society in Education  as a member of the KDP Editorial Review Panel.
    • became a Google for Education Certified Educator: Level 1 and was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE) for a term running from June 1, 2021, until May 31, 2024.
  • Mr. Mike Ryan (part-time faculty in Justice, Law, and Society) had an article entitled “Beware Beijing’s Long Term Strategy of Division” published in the February 14th edition of The National Interest, an influential foreign policy periodical.
  • Dr. Michael Shipman (Business) completed his dissertation and earned his Ed.D. from Drexel University.  His dissertation is entitled “A Mixed Methods Case Study: Investigating Effects of Authentic Assessment for Accounting Students in a Postsecondary Institution to Determine Experiential Learning Effects on Students’ Career Preparation.”
  • Dr. Don Talbot and Mrs. Nancy Way (Arts, Communication Studies, and English) created and presented a musical and artistic crossover event for digital distribution entitled “A Work of Heart: An Audio-Visual Experience” in which works of art were paired with music selections
  • Dr. John Whitlock (Science) was featured in the Smithsonian Magazine (for more information, go to and had two papers published: one in Palaeontology entitled “Tooth replacement in Manidens condorensis: baseline study to address the replacement pattern in dentitions of early ornithischians,” and one in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology entitled “The Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur ‘Morosaurus’ agilis Marsh, 1889 reexamined and reinterpreted as a dicraeosaurid. ”
  • Dr. Antoinette Petrazzi Woods (Counseling) presented on issues related to distance education at the 13th Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy™, which was held virtually and sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at Virginia Tech, on February 4-5, 2021.