Links We Love: October 7, 2015

October 7th, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Can color affect your motivation when it comes to exercise?

2. Penn State Career Services offers you the opportunity to mock interview using InterviewStream, a web based tool that is available 24/7.

3. A 20-pound French Bulldog sends two bears running!

4. Relive the Penn State Blue Band’s patriotic halftime show from last week’s football game. (photo by Annemarie Mountz)

5. Three things the military community should know about online learning.


October: Disability Awareness Month

October 5th, 2015 by

October is Disability Awareness Month at Penn State. The theme of the month is “Diversability,” which emphasizes the various abilities and talents of people with disabilities. Penn State has put together several events to promote an atmosphere where individuals are comfortable discussing and exploring questions about accessibility, equality, and inclusion for people with disabilities. The events are sponsored by Penn State’s Disability Advisory Group, a consortium of individuals from across the University working together to enhance disability initiatives at Penn State. World Campus Disability Liaison Terry Watson sits on the committee to make sure that World Campus students have the opportunity to learn and participate in events from a distance.

Several opportunities will exist throughout the month of October for your participation via Adobe Connect, webinars, and recordings. Here’s the schedule of events:

Accessibility Workflow for Websites

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. (ET)
Register at
Penn Staters will share their processes for building and maintaining a more accessible web presence in their College websites.

Accessibility and MathML: Leveraging LaTeX, MathJax and Equation Editors to Build Accessible Equations

Monday, October 12, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Register at
Creating and displaying accessible math equations on the web is not difficult if some simple steps are followed. Instructors and others will be able to store equations digitally and generate MathML equations as needed by including an equation editor in their workflows. The equation editor can also convert most LaTeX equations to MathML if necessary. The webinar will also discuss how to connect MathML content to the MathJax rendering libraries.

Identifying and Remediating Accessibility Blockers

Monday, October 19, 2015, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. (ET)
Register at
Blockers are deficiencies in a document or tool that block or severely inhibit the ability of a person with a disability to use the document/tool. This session will identify these blockers and present strategies to repair them. Many techniques are surprisingly simple once learned.

Accessibility Workflow for Online Course Materials

Friday, October 23, 2015, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Register at
Three learning design specialists from various Colleges at Penn State will share their processes for creating accessible online course content.

Panel Discussion on Learning Disabilities

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Do you know anyone with a learning disability? Want to learn more about how people with learning disabilities access material? Hear stories from people with learning disabilities about the accommodations they use in college classes and the work environment. You’ll even hear tangible examples of how you can support people with learning disabilities.

Universal Design for Accessibility and Diversity

Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Register at
In our session, we will recount the challenges of teaching all learners, share the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and illustrate the concepts with real-world examples. We provide a variety of perspectives in the instructional design process, from the accessibility consultant who actually evaluates courses with assistive technology, the instructional designer who learned to apply UDL from a Harvard course taught by the person who coined the term, to the multimedia specialist who understands how to communicate effectively through media.

Optimizing Accessibility for Sites at Penn State

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Register at
This session will review techniques in the Sites at Penn State WordPress platform to maximize accessibility for both content writers not familiar with code and webmasters proficient in HTML and CSS.

For more information about these events, please contact Penn State’s Office for Disability Services at 814-863-1807.

Links We Love: October 1, 2015

October 1st, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. 100 time, energy, and attention hacks to be more productive.

2. A portable pizza necklace! Perfect for those on-the-go study sessions…

3. From cow to cone: a great video about Penn State’s Berkey Creamery!

4. Penn State IST professor part of effort to map aurora borealis using Twitter.

5. Helpful habits to make you a better morning person.

Faculty Focus: Jeffrey Brownson

September 28th, 2015 by

We recently caught up with Jeffrey Brownson, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering/materials science and engineering in the Penn State John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. Jeffrey teaches courses for Penn State World Campus and offers insight into his background and interests.

Jeffrey Brownson

Jeffrey Brownson

Please give our readers a sense of your teaching background and how you arrived at your current position at Penn State.

I arrived in fall 2007, to Penn State’s Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, where I research and teach now, as well. A few years later, I was approached to develop new online programs in sustainability online, and that drew me in to the online experience, partnering with the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. And so I have been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in solar energy for the duration. I come from a family of educators, and so I really enjoy creating a rich and compelling experience for my students, both online and residential. As I entered into teaching online course materials, though, I was exposed to additional teaching and assessment strategies through my learning design team members, which have really increased my satisfaction in the process of teaching and hopefully also improved the environment that all of my students experience each year.

What are the current courses that you are teaching for Penn State World Campus?

I currently teach EME 810: Solar Resource Assessment and Economics, as a part of the Solar Option in the intercollege online Master of Professional Studies in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS). EME 810 is a required course for the RESS program and is geared toward students working on graduate study part-time and from a distance. EME 810 provides students’ context for the drivers, frameworks, and requirements of solar energy evaluation that lead up to solar project development professionally.

Your current research focuses on solar resource assessment. Could you give our readers a sense of what that means?

All solar project development is local — there is no “best region” for solar in the country, and the American Southwest is not necessarily an ideal place to deploy solar for electricity production. In fact, some of the best opportunities for solar are in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast regions of the United States. But you would not really know that without my field of study in solar energy. Solar resource assessment deals with the collection and analysis of the flow of light coming down to us from the sun, called “shortwave irradiance.” Solar resource assessment is done to assess the investment opportunities and risk for solar project development (like solar photovoltaic projects to convert sunlight to electricity) in the face of economic constraints like energy policy, code, and the local price of electricity. We can also use solar resource assessment to inform the smart controls on the newer generation building controls systems (like the “Nest”) for better comfort in our homes and workplace. Finally, solar resource assessment can be used to inform agriculture and susceptibility of regions to forest fires. It has a pretty broad platform to provide services to society!

What can students who aren’t in your courses take away from your research? How do your studies impact them? How does this impact the world on a larger scale?

My research team regularly works at the intersection of solar energy systems assessment and associated fields, and as I mentioned, I have taught undergraduate and graduate students in solar project design in the context of a rapidly shifting energy context. Solar photovoltaics (PV) are now established global commodities, we buy PV modules internationally, and the cost of the technology is dropping dramatically every year. Also, solar electricity is being planned at the gigawatt scale internationally (major nuclear and coal power plant scales are 1 GW), a phenomenal success story. For those of us in the field, however, the term “solar” is inclusive of but goes far beyond “solar photovoltaics.” In my research and writings, I describe a broader field of “solar ecology” emerging in society, where solar energy is framed within the context of the environment, society, and technology — connecting science with design, business, lifestyle, health, and well-being. In solar ecology, we find that the important topics of food, water, and energy are linked, and solar energy is a dominant positive vehicle to support society as we transition to a low-carbon society of the next century.

In fact, solar ecology has been with us for all of human history. Three distinct cultures of design have evolved to address the systems question of solar energy: the culture of architecture and the built environment; agriculture (and, in turn, forestry) for food, structural materials, and bioenergy; and the culture of solar energy conversion systems (SECS — energy engineering) for heat and power — like solar photovoltaics. Each of these cultures is place-based, flow-based, and fully engaged with the water cycle as well as our food systems. Each of these cultures are on a path to be aligned and integrated within the framework of solar ecology. So I feel our research and teaching in my team is pretty neat, and important to society and the supporting environment in the long run. I hope others will come to see those same exciting opportunities, too, in the future.

You traveled to Iceland with both Penn State World Campus and resident students last year for a project. Can you explain some more details about that trip?

That trip was a part of the GREEN Program, a private firm hosting travel for students interested in a 10-day international experience that also holds important content in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) and cultural relevance of the site being experienced. One of our Penn State alumni, Adam Phoebe (EME, Energy Engineering), is a leader in the program, and so this was a great experience to learn more about the program, as a faculty member, while seeing how our graduates can excel. The Iceland experience is focused on renewable energy from hydropower, biomass, and geothermal energy, as well as bringing the cultural relevance of Iceland’s energy policy strategies to bear. I also happen to have Icelandic heritage, and so this was a pretty great opportunity to also see a part of my cultural history.

Can you tell us about your work on SOLAR 2015?

I had the great opportunity to serve as the Conference Chair for SOLAR 2015, the National Solar Conference for the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), hosted at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel from July 27 to 30. ASES has worked with Penn State representatives to form an innovative affiliation, out of which the 60-year ASES Archives of solar literature will now be held in trust and curated by the Penn State Special Collections Library, and out of which we plan to expand opportunities for our new Emerging Professionals in Renewable Energy. ASES and Penn State hosted more than 200 solar and sustainability participants/speakers/students from around the nation, and from as far away as Burkina Faso in West Africa, which was great!

What have you learned from teaching Penn State World Campus students?

I have learned that World Campus students are as charged up and ready to be Penn State graduates as anyone in residence at any of our other campuses. The professionalism and drive of my graduate-level online students are exciting and extremely rewarding. I set the bar high for performance in all of my courses, and my Penn State World Campus students are right there, ready to do their best. It’s really a great way to connect to a bigger world out there, and to expand my own learning enrichment as I teach others.

What inspires you as a teacher?

I am inspired by the group creativity that I find in the process of growing living classroom environments with a team, from course concept up to active adaptation of a class cohort while teaching. I am inspired by my learning design peers who keep pushing me to shift my perspective and make the teaching experience fun, as well as efficient. I am inspired by my teaching colleagues who also openly share successes and challenges along the way to excellence. Finally, I am inspired by the enthusiasm that my students bring to my online classes, and the way that they embrace an open discussion to be a part of shaping the educational experiences that they are in.

What makes you smile?

My family makes me smile. I like the way that my whole family is in education one way or another, and it allows me to bring my work experience into my family experience in rewarding ways. That, and I do love it when someone whom I have taught finds that somehow their experience with me helped to land a solar energy career, and they send me a note of thanks. That’s some pretty special stuff too.

Links We Love: September 24, 2015

September 24th, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”–Yogi Berra  Learn 8 ‘Yogi-isms’ that the Hall of Fame catcher definitely said!

2. Using ‘fitness’ labels on foods may cause consumers to eat more and exercise less.

3. Students who are pregnant and may have complications with pregnancy can get help with courses thanks to the newest ADA provision.

4. How to choose the perfect password.

5. How to write emails that will land you a job.

Getting the Most from Your College Textbooks

September 22nd, 2015 by

If you are taking a Penn State World Campus course, you probably have at least one textbook. Whether it is an online textbook or one that you can hold in your hands, it is a very important part of your course and a resource that should not be ignored. The strategies you use when reading your textbook can be the key to either a stellar course performance, or lead to an unproductive waste of time. The following are some great strategies for getting the most out of your college textbook.THEMACGIRL*, Flickr

Strategies for managing your reading:

  • Be Prepared: Make sure you complete the reading prior to the class when it is due. You cannot participate in the discussion if you have not read the material.
  • Plan Ahead: Take the number of pages to be read and divide it by the number of days available to read it. This will give you the number of pages you must read each day.
  • Test Yourself: Take the section headings and turn them into questions. As you read through the section, try to answer the question in the margin.
  • Take Notes: If there are chapter questions or key points at the end of the chapters, make a notecard with each question. When you find the answer in the reading, note the page number on the card. Come back to it after you complete the reading and try to answer the question.
  • Highlight Sparingly: Manage your highlighting. Highlighting too much can result in choosing information that is not relevant. This is a difficult skill to master and one that requires a lot of focus and attention.
  • Study Images: Make sure you look at the pictures, charts, graphs, and any other information that is in the margins. Sometimes the most useful information comes from a place other than the actual reading!
  • Note Text Changes: Look for bold or colored words, any text in italics, parentheses or brackets, and lists. These are visual cues that indicate the information is important.
  • Use Mnemonic Devices: Try to relate what you are reading to your prior knowledge ­­— something you already know. Think of an example or an analogy that will help you understand the reading and retain the information.
  • Start a Conversation: Discuss the reading with your classmates. This allows you to hear other points of view and to share yours. The discussion might generate a connection to the material you did not have when you read it.

The most important resource you have to determine the best way to approach the textbook reading is your instructor, who knows exactly how the textbook fits in with the course. Reach out to your instructor and let him or her know that you are looking for good strategies for reading and studying your textbook. This will show that you are motivated to do well and be successful.

By using good time management and effective reading strategies, you should be off to a great start to the semester!

Faculty Focus: Istvan Albert

September 22nd, 2015 by
Istvan Albert

Istvan Albert

Dr. Istvan Albert is an associate professor of bioinformatics in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, director of the Bioinformatics Consulting Center, and director of the Penn State World Campus Graduate Certificate in Applied Bioinformatics. Istvan sat down with us to explain the field of applied bioinformatics and how his teaching is making an impact. Here’s his story:

Please give our readers a sense of your teaching background.

I started at Penn State in a research oriented position in Bioinformatics but soon recognized the need to teach computational skills to biologists. The new millennium brought substantial changes to life sciences, enabling high throughput data acquisition by directly measuring DNA. This, in turn, requires computational skills that traditional life sciences curricula did not cover at all. Based on this observation, I proposed launching a new, graduate-level computational elective titled Practical Data Analysis for Life Scientists. The course was approved for one year and turned out to be very popular!

The success of the Practical Data Analysis course and its reception over the next two years demonstrated the need to develop it to the next level and refocus it from purely computational skills to those that related to the study of the analysis of the genome of living organisms. The course has become a standard fixture of the Bioinformatics and Genomics Program and, starting in 2015, I reworked it for the online format.

Can you explain the field of Applied Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is the science that studies how to extract and interpret the information encoded in genomes. It is a new and fast-developing domain of scientific discourse that borrows from and relies on other fields of science, such as computer science, information technology, and statistics. Applied bioinformatics targets the application of the advances of bioinformatics to biological problem solving. It focuses on choosing the correct methodology and application of it on a dataset, as well as on interpretation of the results produced by a given methodology.

Can you explain how this field incorporates the areas of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biomedical engineering, medical science, scientific programming, and software development?

Genomic data interpretation is very complex. The complexity is caused by the sheer amount of data, by the way information is encoded, by the biological phenomena that may be captured, and by the interactions between the various components of the cell. Hence, to decode and interpret this information we have to simultaneously apply methods from various fields of science. Computer science directs us toward choosing the right algorithm, visualization techniques allow us to identify relevant components, biological sciences help us describe the phenomena that take place, and medical sciences tell us the effects on health-related outcomes.

Can you provide a real-life example of how Applied Bioinformatics impacts our daily lives?

There is an ever-growing field of applications that integrates this scientific field into society as a whole. The number of applications will continue to grow. For example, applied bioinformatics methods allowed scientists to trace the evolution and find the origin of the geographical spread of the Ebola virus that caused the 2014 West African outbreak. It has been reported that the FDA will require that, within a few years, all foodborne bacterial and viral contaminations be detected and tracked with sequence-based and, hence, bioinformatics methods. The most visible applications will come from medical applications. There is a strong movement to make every person’s genetic sequence part of his or her health record — so that analyzing and mining that data will produce early warning signs of clinical importance. This analysis will be performed with applied bioinformatics methods.

Tell us about the book you’re developing.

I am now developing an applied bioinformatics textbook called the Biostar Handbook. The name refers to the Biostars Q&A: Bioinformatics question-and-answer site,, which I have created and am maintaining as well.

The Biostar Handbook specifically targets online learning and attempts to augment online education with a collection of information as an e-book, as well as with additional web resources.

The book at the publisher’s website is

The analytics code will be shared via

This is necessary because bioinformatics, as mentioned, is a complex and fast-moving science where new discoveries are adopted at a dizzying pace. Practitioners need to have a strong understanding of the core concepts, and they also need to keep up with the latest developments, a task that can be daunting. The book and accompanying website will be integrated in the online materials and will become complementary elements of the online course. They will serve in the future as the repository of the updated knowledge as well.

What specific courses do you teach for Penn State World Campus?

I teach 852 Applied Bioinformatics in residential instruction as well as online.

What unique learning characteristics do Penn State World Campus students bring to the classroom environment?

I believe that courses designed for the online environment require understanding and accommodating a far more diverse audience than what we typically observe in resident instruction. This requires course materials to be more focused and offer more alternatives to empower students to resolve/clarify issues themselves.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to take rugged day hikes in somewhat remote locations. For example, hiking down into the inner canyon from the North Rim of the Black Canyon of Gunnison, or hiking up to the Golden Horn in the San Juan Mountains (both in Colorado), have been unforgettable experiences.

What’s the best part about being a Penn Stater?

For me, being a Penn Stater is being in a place and environment that allows one to become who they want to be.

Penn State World Campus Takes a Stance against Cyberbullying

September 18th, 2015 by

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered,” says Michael J. Fox about bullying, but his statement is not so easy to remember if one is being bullied. Recently I conducted an interview with Rebecca Bywater, director of Threat Assessment at Penn State University’s Police and Public Safety Department, to ask her what we as World Campus students can do if bullied online. She made it very clear that Penn State has a zero tolerance for cyberbullying. She explains in the following interview how seriously the University considers the safety of Penn State World Campus students, the procedures in place for documenting infringements upon one’s character, ways to lessen exposure to bullies, what to do if bullied, and she provides us with excellent sources to read further.

Do you think cyberbullying is not understood and is in need of a more definitive definition?

I think a lot of times, when individuals think of cyberbullying, they think of students in a K–12 school environment. While cyberbullying does occur in that environment, it can and also occurs within the collegiate environment as well.

Can you clearly identify for us what constitutes cyberbullying?

“Cyberbullying is willful and repeated harm inflicted through use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Harm is inflicted when an individual is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened, or tormented using digital technology. Cyberbullying is not limited to mainstream social media platforms; it also includes using cell phones for text messages and photos, or computers to transmit emails and instant messages. Cyberbullying is also known as electronic bullying (e-bullying), mobile or digital bullying, and online or Internet bullying. It differs from traditional bullying in that victims can be bullied at any location, any time, and the perpetrators can be anonymous. Also, cyberbullying messages and/or images can be distributed immediately to a wide audience.” (International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2012).

Do you think it is easier to document cyberbullying?

Yes and no. If something is posted, you should take a screen shot of the post before it is removed or deleted. However, sometimes, you might not even know who is posting, or it can be posted from fictitious or anonymous accounts.

What about the capabilities to remove posts and delete emails? Does this make it easier to get away with it?

Yes, posts, accounts, and emails can be deleted or changed. This can make it harder to track. Screen shots should be taken as soon as possible to capture the statements/comments.

If someone uses your posts and makes snide remarks with references to your posts, is this a form of bullying? For example, you write a post about art, and your bully posts about how art is useless. Is this a form of bullying when it is done consistently?

In a country such as ours that values free speech so highly, many people genuinely believe they can say whatever they want, to whomever they want. We know that is not true, but it isn’t clear where exactly the line is. And just because we “can” say certain things, doesn’t mean we should. State laws can also play in a role in what is considered harassment.

What steps does Penn State have in place to help stop bullying through their Penn State email?

IT Security Operations and Services has a great website that addresses how to report. It can be found at

Do students have any recourse if they are bullied inside of groups that are located outside of Penn State domains, but within Penn State groups, e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.?

Regardless of where and by whom the bullying is occurring, there may be recourse.

What advice can you give us to help prevent cyberbullying?

Taking some smart precautions can help you stop cyberbullying before it starts.

How to Protect Yourself (Delete Cyberbullying. A Stop Online Harassment Project):

  • Make the most of privacy settings. Investigate what measures you can take to keep content private on the websites you use. On Facebook and other social networking sites, you can adjust your settings so that only the people you select are able to see your personal information and posts. It’s important to check these privacy settings frequently, because sites sometimes change their policies.
  • Think before you post. Never forget that the Internet is public. What you put out there can never be erased. If you wouldn’t say something in a room full of strangers, don’t say it via the Internet. Even letting someone know sensitive or embarrassing information about you via email can have unforeseen consequences.
  • Keep personal information personal. Don’t reveal identifying details about yourself — address, phone number, school, credit card number, etc. — online. Passwords exist for a reason; sharing them with friends is like passing out copies of your house key to friends and strangers alike. If anyone besides you knows your passwords, it should be your parents and your parents only.

Connect Safely (2013) offers further steps to secure your safety online:

  • Know that it’s not your fault. What people call “bullying” is sometimes an argument between two people. But if someone is repeatedly cruel to you, that’s bullying and you mustn’t blame yourself. No one deserves to be treated cruelly.
  • Don’t respond or retaliate. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what aggressors are looking for, because they think it gives them power over you, and you don’t want to empower a bully. As for retaliating, getting back at a bully turns you into one — and can turn one mean act into a chain reaction. If you can, remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t, sometimes humor disarms or distracts a person from bullying.
  • Save the evidence. The only good news about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You can save that evidence in case things escalate.
  • Tell the person to stop. This is completely up to you — don’t do it if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing it, because you need to make your position completely clear that you will not stand for this treatment anymore. You may need to practice beforehand with someone you trust, like a parent or good friend.
  • Reach out for help — especially if the behavior’s really getting to you. You deserve backup. See if there’s someone who can listen, help you process what’s going on, and work through it — a friend, relative, or maybe an adult you trust.
  • Use available tech tools. Most social media apps and services allow you to block the person. Whether the harassment’s in an app, texting, comments, or tagged photos, do yourself a favor and block the person. You can also report the problem to the service. That probably won’t end it, but you don’t need the harassment in your face, and you’ll be less tempted to respond. If you’re getting threats of physical harm, you should call your local police (with a parent or guardian’s help) and consider reporting it to school authorities.
  • Protect your accounts. Don’t share your passwords with anyone — even your closest friends, who may not be close forever — and password-protect your phone so no one can use it to impersonate you. You’ll find advice at
  • If someone you know is being bullied, take action. Just standing by can empower an aggressor and does nothing to help. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking a stand against it. If you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied. If the person’s a friend, you can listen and see how to help. Consider together whether you should report the bullying. If you’re not already friends, even a kind word can help reduce the pain. At the very least, help by not passing along a mean message and not giving positive attention to the person doing the bullying.

Cynthia Roebuck is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree with a Life Science option from Penn State World Campus. She is a member of Psi Chi, Blue & White Society, the American Association of University Women, and the International Blind Tennis Association.



Connect Safely. (2013). Tips to Help Stop Cyberbullying. Retrievable from

Delete Cyberbullying. A Stop Online Harassment Project. What you can do to help prevent cyberbullying. Retrievable from

International Association of Chiefs of Police. (2012). Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. Law Enforcement and Cyberbullying Face Sheet. Retrievable from

Faculty Focus: Greg Filbeck

September 18th, 2015 by

Greg Filbeck is a Samuel P. Black III professor of finance and risk management, the associate director for the Black School of Business, and the department chair for Finance and Business Economics. We recently caught up with him to discuss the courses that he teaches for Penn State World Campus.

Greg Filbeck

Greg Filbeck

Please give our readers a sense of your background; what interested you in becoming a professor?

I have always had an interest in education — and a desire to work with college students, as it is such a critical time period in life. So many key decisions are made that will impact what follows. My undergraduate work was in Engineering Physics and Math at Murray State University (1985). I pursued an MBA program at Vanderbilt, but after the first year, I decided to transfer into a doctoral program in finance at the University of Kentucky, where I completed my degree in 1990. Finance was a great choice based on my quantitative skills and background.

How did you arrive at your position at Penn State?

I accepted the endowed professorship position in 2006 and have been with Penn State since that time. We have three sons and were entering a two-year window at that time when we could entertain such a move without disrupting their high school years. I was senior vice president of Kaplan Schweser, a positioned I loved — but I missed the academic environment. I still do instructional work for professional designations for Kaplan Schweser, which gives me the best of both worlds!

What specific courses do you teach for Penn State World Campus?

I teach the capstone course in the iMBA program (iMBA 574 – Financial Decision Making). All faculty members in the finance program at Behrend have a portion of their courses in the online environment.

You teach both residential and nonresidential students. What can each student population learn from one another?

The residential students bring a natural collaborative environment, as most of our course work involves extensive teamwork. The nonresidential students often bring a wealth of work experiences and geographic diversity that broadens horizons for all.

Can you provide some examples of ways that you’ve expanded the course experience for Penn State World Campus students?

It was very important to me for our Penn State World Campus students to feel that they were a part of our residential program at Behrend. As a result, we broadcast all our Financial Management Association meetings and the presentations from our Finance Speaker Series. This allows our World Campus students to not only view the broadcasts in either real time or on an archived basis, but also for those viewing in real time to pose questions through a student representative who is fielding their questions in a chat room environment. Currently, we are in the process of finding ways in which World Campus students can participate in decision making for the Intrieri Student-Managed Fund through stock pitches virtually. We will eventually introduce our World Campus students to competitions sponsored through professional organizations, which will allow them to come together in person at these competitions after working at a distance in preparation.

What are some unique learning characteristics that Penn State World Campus students bring to the classroom experience?

Most notably a combination of real-world experiences for those who are nontraditional in nature — and a wide range of perspectives for those geographically disbursed.

What makes you smile?

I truly and sincerely enjoy helping people succeed — to facilitate positive change, whether through professional or personal interactions.

Working in Erie, Pennsylvania — what’s the best way to survive the cold, harsh winters near Lake Erie?

Honestly, the winters rarely bother me. The Erie people are very hearty — and as long as the roads remain drivable, rarely does anything shut down.

What do you love most about being a Penn Stater?

The system truly offers the benefits of a high-touch environment here at Behrend, but the broader opportunities of a large system in Penn State. I find the Black School of Business at Behrend to be filled with forward-thinking educational leaders who propose incredible programs that are cutting-edge in nature. I love the fact that our finance program is tied so closely to financial designations as a means of bringing theory to practice.

Links We Love: September 17, 2015

September 17th, 2015 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Four things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. 27 pumpkin desserts that are perfect for fall.

2. THON 2016 promo video

3. The most productive day of the week is…

4. Penn State research group uses iBeacons to help children learn more about The Arboretum.