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 Fall 2021 semester.
Academic Program Updates
- The Information Technology Department applied to become a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity through the National Security Agency in August. The College is awaiting approval.
- Justin Williams (Cyber Defense Coach and MAC Adjunct Instructor) created two lab environments to be used for classes, competitions, demonstrations, testing, and research. Both lab environments are expandable to meet student and faculty needs and provide a rich educational experience.
- The first lab is the Mount Virtual Lab or MVL, built off of VMware’s virtualization products installed on 3 servers within the Cyber lab. Any IT class can leverage virtual Windows or Linux environments on the fly and access them physically in the lab or remotely from any location. For example, this fall, online digital forensics students will use enterprise digital forensics tools for various projects and access those tools virtually, as if they were physically in the lab.
- The second lab is the Mount Mini Lab or MML and is built to be portable and scalable. It is separate from the physical lab, on its own network allowing vulnerable environments to be built that students can ethically and safely hack. This lab can also be used for cyber-related competitions and challenges. Since the computers are small, they are easy to transport to other locations if needed.
- The Medical Imaging Department began curriculum changes to make the program comparable in structure to competitors. Students will now complete their review for the registry exam in the Spring semester, as opposed to the currently required summer course. This change will allow our students to graduate in May and complete their exams approximately two months earlier than previous graduating cohorts. Additionally, the department will begin a self-review to prepare for JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology) accreditation during the 2022-2023 academic year. The department intends to seek accreditation for the on-campus program first, then the Dubois program shortly thereafter.
- The Nursing Department has worked to support the implementation of the Future Heroes Initiative with UPMC. Dr. Nicole Custer (Chair of Nursing) holds weekly partnership meetings with UPMC representatives. The department hosted several UPMC representatives on Monday, September 7, 2021, to foster relationship building between UPMC and students who have elected to be part of the UPMC program and to introduce potential students to the benefits of the relationship. Twenty students expressed interest in joining the program following the event. As of September 13, 2021, the department has 40 additional students compared to the number at the official Fall 2020 freeze date. The greatest increase in enrollment was for pre-nursing students in both the associate and pre- licensure programs. The Spring 2022 cohort for the level-one course could be as high as 80 students, which would be the biggest cohort in 7 years. This number is dependent on the success of pre-nursing students in completing prerequisites for full program matriculation.
- The Dual Enrollment Program has experienced some positive change over the past six months. In her role as Associate Dean of Continuing Education and Strategic Partnerships, Dr. Cathleen Golden worked with the Registrar, Admissions, and Communications Departments to create a new Dual Enrollment website. The site provides potential students with valuable information regarding Dual Enrollment and a convenient way to register and pay for classes. Dr. Golden is working on a plan to more regularly include dual enrollment instructors and students in the MAC community.
- Dr. Cathleen Golden (Associate Professor and Department Chair for Business) and Mr. Christopher Mingyar (Assistant Professor of Business) attended the 4th annual Mercy Business Leadership Conference in June. This year’s conference, hosted virtually by Georgian Court University, brought together leaders of Mercy business programs from across the United States, “to discuss issues of common concern and strengthen our Mercy business programs by illuminating challenges, discussing possible solutions, sharing best practices, and supporting business faculty at the Mercy schools.”
- Dr. Juan Diaz (Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics):
- applied for a personal mini-grant designed for individuals or groups who are working on projects and/or developing resources that may be deployed to support physics education in these challenging times. Dr. Diaz was awarded the mini-grant for $1,200 in March 2021, and he donated this grant money to the College for the purchase of a new Celestron telescope.
- served as a Table Reader for the AP Physics Exam (online) from May 30 to June 18, 2021. Readers evaluate the performance of high school students on culminating assessments. Dr. Diaz was also selected as a committee member to choose the winner of the 2022 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award through the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.
- Dr. Danny Anderson (Associate Professor of Arts, Communications, and English) published “Remembering Chris Wall: A Cowboy Poet Passes” on August 12, 2021, on the Pop Matters website. The article was shared by nearly 300 readers..
- Dr. Jessica Jost Costanzo (Associate Professor and Department Chair for Arts, Communications, and English) had two poems (“Infiltrates” and “Listening to Elizabeth Bishop, and the Lost Art of Letter Writing”) published at Poetry and Covid, a project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University.
- David Williams (Adjunct Instructor) created a book of short plays, Disruptions, that has now been published by Montag Press. It’s “a collection of fantasy, horror, and science-fiction plays about the little interruptions that change everything,” and it includes original works and adaptations of short stories by Montag Press authors.
- Dr. Sara Rutledge (Education Professor and Chair of Education and American Sign Language/English Interpreting):
- was nominated for 2021 Female Civic Leader of the Year by the Leader’s Circle of Indiana County. The “Reveal” reception is on September 15 th and is sponsored by the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce. The Leader’s Circle Awards Banquet is on November 4.
- received formal acceptance to present two sessions at the 50th Anniversary PAC-TE Teacher Education Assembly from October 27-29 in Harrisburg, PA.
- co-authored a research article entitled “An investigation of mentor teachers’ and student teacher candidates’ perceptions of co-teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic” that was recently published in School-University Partnerships.
- Sandra Nypaver (Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics) completed the online course Infusing Critical Thinking into Your Courses.
- Dr. John Whitlock (Associate Professor of Science and Mathematics) published the following two papers:
- “Anatomy and systematics of the diplodocoid Amphicoelias altus supports high sauropod dinosaur diversity in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the USA” in the Royal Society Open Science journal; and “Neuroanatomy of a diplodocid sauropod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina” in the Cretaceous Research journal.