Pottstown >> Alvernia University has joined Montgomery County Community College’s University Center and will offer two advanced degree programs at the college’s west campus in Pottstown.

As part of the University Center, Alvernia will offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master in Education (MED) — with certification in either English as a Second Language (ESL) or Special Education (PK-8 or 7-12). The courses will be taught by Alvernia faculty at the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College.

Alvernia and MCCC leaders met in Pottstown June 7, at an event that culminated with Alvernia’s team taking a tour of the campus.

MCCC President Kevin Pollock told the group that the new partnership supports the college’s vision of being an innovative educational hub where students can achieve their educational goals.

“As we continue to grow the west campus we continue to work toward new programs to benefit the community,” he said. “The MBA provides an incredible opportunity for local community members to return to college to achieve their personal goals.

“It’s also a wonderful pathway for our students who can begin with a business administration associates degree, move to Albright’s bachelor degree and then Alvernia’s MBA. What an amazing pathway for people right here.”

Alvernia Provost Jerry Greiner said the college has become a “national model in many ways” for community colleges.

“This partnership is one more example of forward thinking and the opportunity to bring together multiple partners to accomplish more than any one of us would be able to do alone,” Greiner said. “Not only are we excited about the programs we’re launching now, but we’re also looking forward to thinking about other things we might do cooperatively and collaboratively in the future.”

Alvernia’s ethics-driven Master of Business Administration degree program can be completed in as little as one year at regional locations in Reading, Pottsville and now in Pottstown. The university’s wide-ranging business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The 30 credit hour program is flexible, according to Donald Schalk, Alvernia’s director of business and corporate development, who added that students can go through the program as fast as they want.

“If they do not have a business degree there are a couple of courses they will need to take. But students can complete the program in one year, or it might take three or four,” he said.

Schalk added that business organizations need to think about succession planning, because the country is basically at full employment — but older workers will be leaving the workforce.

“In order to keep the community and businesses functioning at a very high level, this workforce development needs to take place. We’re excited to be in a partnership with Montgomery County Community College,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with you in helping this community continue to thrive but also improving the workforce and the opportunity to attract businesses here.”

Students can also pursue Alvernia’s master in education degrees with certification in either English as a second language (ESL) or special education (PK-8 or 7-12) in Pottstown. Alvernia’s ESL program prepares teachers to instruct and support both culturally and linguistically diverse populations. In addition to coursework that focuses on young students with special needs such as learning disabilities, social/emotional disorders and autism, the special education certification program also includes coursework in technology, literacy and teaching strategies, and methods for the instruction of students.

Rudy Ruth is Alvernia’s director of business development, and is the retired superintendent of the Wilson School District in Berks County.

“This partnership with Montgomery County Community College is one where we can work together for the benefit of the people that are right here in the community,” he said. “What I’ll be doing with the help of others, is visiting local school districts and talking with the superintendents to see what we can do to make things happen.”

“We’re excited about this partnership. This is something the community should be excited about, and the teachers in the community should be very excited about,” Pollock added.

MCCC’s University Center offers advanced degrees — bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral — on its campuses through its partnerships with Albright College, Alvernia University, Cabrini University, Chestnut Hill College, Immaculata University and Penn State (Abington) University. To learn more about the University Center, its partner institutions, locations, hours and programs, visit http://www.mc3.edu/universitycenter.

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