Wilson, Vermont Law Offer Dual Degree Plan

Posted: April 1, 2014
Wilson College and Vermont Law School, the top-ranked environmental law school in the nation, recently forged an agreement that will allow qualified students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Wilson and a master’s degree from VLS in just four years.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Wilson College and Vermont Law School, the top-ranked environmental law school in the nation, recently forged an agreement that will allow qualified students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Wilson and a master’s degree from VLS in just four years.

Through an articulation agreement between the two colleges, Wilson students who qualify can pursue a bachelor’s degree in environmental sustainability at Wilson, followed by guaranteed admission to Vermont Law’s Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) program.

Some credits would be shared between the two institutions and to expedite the master’s program, students would take two online courses from VLS while attending Wilson. After their junior year, they could enter Vermont Law’s summer program. Both degrees would be completed at the same time.

“This agreement with Vermont Law School offers our students an incredible opportunity to earn a degree from Wilson, as well as from one of the top environmental law schools in the country, in just four years,” said Wilson President Barbara K. Mistick. “This is Wilson’s third 3+1 program, which allow students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at a cost that is less than a four-year bachelor’s degree alone, and dovetail with our efforts to make a quality education more affordable for students and families.”

The agreement will give Wilson students a distinct advantage in gaining admission to Vermont Law.

“We are pleased to offer Wilson students an opportunity to earn a MELP degree from Vermont Law, where they’ll not only learn the law but also how to use it to effect change,” said Cheryl Hanna, vice president for external relations at VLS. “By studying advocacy, legislation, regulations and markets, they will have the tools they need to create a more sustainable world.”

A master’s degree in environmental law and policy can lead to a variety of career options, according to Edward Wells, director of Wilson’s Environmental Studies Program, who facilitated the articulation agreement.

“It prepares graduates for jobs ranging from public service or working at a federal agency like the EPA to running a nonprofit environmental organization” said Wells, who also teaches environmental studies. “Graduates could work as an energy consultant or an environmental educator, or they could continue their studies and obtain a law degree.”

Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two master’s degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-J.D. degrees — LL.M. in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LL.M. in Energy Law, and LL.M. in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

The 3+1 agreement builds upon the existing relationship between VLS and Wilson, which is known for its environmental studies programs and has a commitment to environmental sustainability as part of its mission statement. The two institutions signed an agreement in 2008 that guaranteed Wilson graduates admission to VLS if they meet standards in grade-point average and entrance exam scores.

For more information, contact the Wilson College Office of Admissions at 800-421-8402 or visit www.wilson.edu.

For more information about Vermont Law School, visit www.vermontlaw.edu

Wilson College aims to promote updated image

By Jim Hook Public Opinion
Apr. 11 2014
Chambersburg>> Wilson College administrators have stepped up local promotion of the small liberal arts, co-ed campus.

“I look at it as changing the myths of Wilson College,” said Eric Michael, director of Wilson’s Master of Education program. It’s a myth that Wilson College is only for rich girls, or that its educational programs are severely restricted.

“I was just as guilty,” Michael said. “I grew up in the community, and that’s what I thought about the educational opportunity at Wilson College.”

Michael has been trying to change perceptions and forge new relationships in recent months.

Chambersburg area municipal and business leaders on Tuesday will discuss with college administrators the latest changes at the college and its economic impact on the region.

“They are constantly recruiting businesses to come into this area, so we want to make sure they completely understand all the opportunities that are available here at Wilson,” Michael said.

“They know Wilson’s here but they really don’t know what all Wilson offers, and that’s what we want to make sure they understand completely.”

Representatives from the Borough of Chambersburg, Franklin County Area Development Corp., Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and the office of state Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Chambersburg, are expected to attend the session at the Harry Brooks Science Complex.

In November, the college had invited area school administrators to a similar gathering in an effort to enroll more local graduates and to foster partnerships with local schools.

The Wilson College Board of Trustees in January 2013 adopted a set of recommendations aimed at expanding enrollment. The measures, known as the Wilson Today plan, include new academic programs, reduced tuition, a student debt buyback plan and coeducation across all programs.

In recent months, the college has added new programs in animal studies and graphic design, as well as a new master’s degree program in accounting. Wilson has also added 3+1 programs, which allow students to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just four years in humanities, accountancy and other subjects.

Pennsylvania has 44 small private colleges, but nearly all are located in cities.

“We are one of the unique towns to have a college,” Michael said.

The Wilson College had a fall 2013 enrollment of 662, which includes students from 20 states and 14 countries. The college’s aim is to double enrollment.

Colleges are potent economic engines in a community besides adding to the quality of life, according to Michael.

Wilson contributed $31 million in 2010 to the Pennsylvania economy, according to a study by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania — including employee salaries, employees’ local income taxes, fees paid to area vendors and money spent by Wilson students and their families.

Founded in 1869 as a women’s college, Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 25 majors and master’s degrees in education, the humanities and accountancy.

For more information, contact Michael at 717-264-4141, Ext. 3109, or eric.michael@wilson.edu.

Wilson College Officials Dispel Myths

Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:41 pm Herald Mail

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Wilson College officials met with local business leaders Tuesday to dispel some myths about the college.

“We wanted to make sure people were aware of the resources that are here at Wilson College and dispel any of the myths that are out there,” said Eric Michael, director of Wilson’s master of education program. Many believe Wilson is an expensive, elite institution, one of many myths about Wilson, Michael said.

Mary Ann Naso, Wilson’s vice president for enrollment, said Wilson recently reduced its tuition.

“We lowered it (tuition) by 17 percent, which translates to $5,000,” Naso said. “So students entering Wilson this coming fall will be paying $23,745 in tuition.”

However, with the financial package, Naso said the average tuition is less than $15,000.

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., asked why the college doesn’t advertise the $15,000 tuition price upfront.

Naso said the college’s job is to show the value of the college upfront.

“Our average class size is 13 students. You’re getting every penny that you’re paying for,” Naso said. “There are no teaching assistants. Faculty members know the students.”

She said the median family income of parents for students coming into Wilson is $74,833.

That dispels the second myth that Wilson is only for wealthy girls with horses, Michael said.

Most people look at Wilson as offering programs for just veterinary tech, equestrian sciences and animal sciences, but Wilson offers much more, he said.

“We want to make sure that Wilson is on the radar screen,” Michael said.

Wilson has 25 majors and 41 minors.

Carolyn Hart, Wilson’s program director of nursing, joined the discussion by introducing the college’s new registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program, or RN to BSN.

She joined Wilson last September and said her sole purpose was to bring nursing to Wilson.

“We are starting an RN to BSN program that opens in the summer,” she said.

Hart had her first recruiting day last week and said she already has 10 people on board to fill out an application.

“I think it just speaks to what’s needed here in the community,” Hart said.

“We are doing the RN to BSN online because that is what suits most nurses’ schedules,” she said.

Hart said the college is already looking ahead to a master’s program, and an RN to MSN program.

James Hay, Wilson’s assistant professor of accounting, discussed a new master’s degree program in accounting, as well as a 3+1 program, which allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting in just four years.

“It’s actually cheaper than getting the BS in accounting in four years,” he said

The college will admit male residential students to the liberal-arts college this fall.

“It is a co-ed world — to open the doors to young men, I think, was a very important thing for this institution to do. Whether some people were not happy with it or not, the reality is they were not sending their daughters here,” Naso said.

David G. Sciamanna, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, asked about enrollment projections.

“We have over 900 applications (right now for the freshman class). All of last year, we had 500.

We’re hoping to enroll 160 students up from 100” (to the traditional undergraduate college), Naso said.

In five years, college officials would like to see enrollment figures at 600 to 800, she said.

Michael said Tuesday’s meeting was beneficial, and he asked that the dialogue continue.

“Sometimes you don’t realize what’s in your own backyard. There are a lot of things that are overlooked,” he said. “Some of it is Wilson’s fault, and we are trying to get that word out of the changes we’ve made in both program and offerings.”

Wilson College dispels five myths Misconceptions of school addressed

By Jim Hook Public Opinion

UPDATED: 04/10/2014 07:03:36 AM EDT

Chambersburg >> Wilson College administrators took a big step Tuesday toward dispelling five myths about Chambersburg’s small private college.

They and a handful of local business leaders discussed the college’s plan for the future. “The fact they are reaching out to us is a very progressive step and something that candidly never took place effectively in the past,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.

Wilson, founded in 1869 as a women’s college, has expanded its academic programs and widened its enrollment to include resident male students for the first time.

The college could see up to 800 undergraduate students living on campus in five years, according to Mary Ann Naso, Wilson vice president for enrollment. About 300 are currently resident students.

Already 900 students have applied for the fall semester, up from 500 all of last year, she said.

The freshman class is expected to have 160 students, up from the usual 100.

The college in recent months has marketed the campus to local high school administrators and community leaders.

Eric Michael, master of education program director, named five myths that persist in the community:

* Wilson College is expensive.

* The college is for rich, white girls with horses.

* The courses deal only with animal science.

* There’s nothing to do at the college or in Chambersburg.

* Wilson College is not involved in the community.

The college offers 25 undergraduate majors and 41 minors. Average class size is 13 students, and professors know the names of their students. “Our faculty is here for one reason,” Naso said. “They love to teach.”

Nursing and accounting are among the programs that Wilson administrators highlighted for the guests.

“I think they’ve identified areas that are growth areas,” said David G. Sciamanna, president of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. “I think they have a good plan, vision and team in place and a dynamic leader on President Barbara Mistick. For the most part they have the support of the alumnae and staff. I think they’re doing everything right.”

One statistic troubled Ross. Parents glancing at the Wilson College literature would see tuition listed at more than $23,000. But the average student’s tuition plus room and board at Wilson amounts to $15,000, about the same as at Shippensburg University, according to Wilson administrators. More than 100 scholarships, including ones based on a student’s performance, make the difference. Students also can earn up to $10,000 in buyback of federal student loans.

The median family income of a Wilson undergraduate is $74,833. Students come from more than 20 states and a dozen countries.

Administrators and business leaders spoke briefly about getting Wilson students more involved in the community.

“If we want to keep kids involved in the community, the internship is absolutely the way to go,” Sciamanna said.

The Hospice Tree of Life is an example of getting students to help in the community, according to Melanie Furlong of LIFE Lutheran Services Inc.

Students could help with a proposed non-profit riding therapy center, Leg Up Farm based in York County, according to Ross. The farm caters to children with special needs.

He also urged administrators to study how Dickinson College has become a key part of the Carlisle community.

Alumna gives Wilson College $2.3 million to repair library

Feb. 28, 2014 Public Opinion

Chambersburg>> Wilson College has received a $2.3 million gift to repair the college library.

“The gift is in recognition of the fact that I love Wilson very much,” said Wilson alumna Sue Davison Cooley, a philanthropist from Portland, Ore. “I am a very, very big fan of Wilson. I think it has much to give for women, and men too. It’s a great place.”

Cooley’s gift to the Reimagining the John Stewart Memorial Library fund raiser will net the college a total of $4.6 million, under the terms of a matching gift provided last year by Wilson alumna Marguerite Lenfest of Huntingdon Valley.

With the donation and match, the campaign has raised $9.6 million in cash and pledges for the $12 million library project.

Cooley’s “extraordinarily generous gift” means that the college has hit its target of having 80 percent of total costs in hand before breaking ground on the library project, according to Wilson College President Barbara K. Mistick.

“I want to express gratitude on behalf of everyone at Wilson to Mrs. Cooley for investing in the future of the college and helping make our plans for a comprehensive, state-of-the-art library a reality,” Mistick said.

The college plans to repair and restore the original 1924 library building. The 1961 addition also is to be razed and replaced with a contemporary learning commons. The learning commons will house the Sue Davison Cooley Gallery in honor of her “transformational gift.”

The library will include academic support and information technology services, writing labs, two “smart” classrooms, a commuter lounge, bookstore and outdoor plaza.

“Our goal is to have the library re-opened for fall 2015,” said Brian Ecker, college vice president for finance and administration.

The Wilson College Board of Trustees voted on Feb. 21 to authorize the preparation of construction documents and the demolition of the library annex. The library has been designed. Construction, which is expected to take about 14 to 15 months, could begin as early as July or August, according to Ecker.

Wilson’s library building has been closed since the fall of 2011 when the heating system failed. Its functions have been relocated to the lower level of Lenfest Commons.

An updated library configured to meet expanded enrollment will be an important component of Wilson’s revitalization, according to a press release from the college.

Cooley said she was interested in the library and making sure that students have other places on campus for convening and quiet study.

Cooley, who attended Wilson from 1940 to 1942, is a longtime supporter of the college. She donated $1 million in 2005 to establish a scholarship for participants in the Women with Children Program in honor of her friends and Wilson alumnae Sylvia Scalera Davison and Mary Meinecke Dee, both with the Class of 1944. Cooley has also been a regular contributor to the college’s annual fund.

Over the objections of several alumnae, Wilson College trustees voted a year ago to admit male residential students in the fall 2014. The school was founded in 1869 as one of the nation’s first colleges for women.

The private college offers bachelor’s degrees in 25 majors and master’s degrees in education, the humanities and accounting. Its enrollment for the fall 2013 was 662 students from 20 states and 14 countries.

Wilson in one year has matched the $3.6 million Lenfest gift, which had been broken into three, $1.2 million matching elements, according to Camilla Rawleigh, college vice president for institutional advancement. Prior to and independent of the Lenfest gift, Wilson had raised $2.4 million for the library project.

“The deep commitment of our alumnae and alumni to their alma mater and to this project is gratifying,” Mistick said. “And as the college moves forward with our Wilson Today plan to revitalize the college, wehave continued to experience wonderful support from those closest to the college.”

The Wilson Today plan aims to transform the college into “a thriving liberal arts institution” by adding programs in the health sciences, expanding coeducation across all programs and improving infrastructure, according to the press release. It also offers incentives to students for lower tuition and repayment of up to $10,000 in federal loans.