PNC American Sign Language Club Lunch Social

The Purdue University North Central American Sign Language Club will host an ASL Lunch Social on Thursday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 144. The event is free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to bring a lunch or purchase one in the nearby PNC cafeteria.

The ASL Lunch Social will present a relaxed atmosphere and the playing of games such as Skip-bo, Uno, Bingo, Checkers, Spot-It, Yahtzee and card games such Rummy and others. Participants are asked to use American Sign Language to communicate, providing an ideal opportunity to practice ASL to better communicate with friends, co-workers or family members.

Information about the Purdue North Central ASL Club may be found at Information about other events in the community is posted at:

Further information about this event may be obtained by contacting Karen Donah, PNC continuing lecturer and coordinator of American Sign Language at 785-5200, ext. 5432, (219) 785-8892 (video phone) or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Donah.

PNC Non-Credit Memoir and Creative Nonfiction Writing Class

The Purdue University North Central’s Office of Graduate and Extended Learning and Department of English and Modern Languages will offer a non-credit program for anyone who wants to explore methods of writing about true events, including autobiography and historical narrative. It is open to writers of all ages and skill levels.

The class will take place at PNC on Thursdays from June 25 through August 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. The registration fee is $219 and includes all required materials. Discounted rates are available for PNC and Purdue Calumet students, alumni and employees. The deadline to register is June 9 by 4 p.m. Seating is limited.

This class will delve into ways that students can access memories and research historical and cultural information in order to craft memoirs, personal and observational essays, and literary nonfiction. Students will complete a wide variety of writing exercises designed to generate ideas and develop unique, engaging nonfiction pieces. The class will also use a workshop format to review and improve individual essays and memoirs.

“Everyone has stories they’d like to share, but people often don’t know where to begin. There may seem to be too many obstacles to writing. How do you make bare facts interesting? How can you convey your ideas and emotions to a reader? How do you find a narrative arc in the middle of your own life? There are a surprising number of ways to answer those questions and begin creating amazing pieces.” explained Dr. Bethany T. Lee, continuing lecturer of English, who will be teaching the class.

Lee’s work has appeared in “Gulf Stream,” “Cream City Review,” “32 Poems,” “Literary Mama,” “Crab Orchard Review” and other journals. A memoir piece published in “Hayden’s Ferry Review” was listed as a “Notable Essay” by the editors of the “Best American Essays series.” At PNC, she teaches creative writing, composition, professional writing and theatre.

To register or obtain further information, visit or contact Cassandra Boehlke, coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5200, ext. 5748, or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact (219) 785-5748.

PNC Honors Students Present at Butler Research Conference

photo of group at Butler University

Sam Irzyk, History; Kelsey Tabbert , English; Eileen Long, English; Stephanie Perry, Biology; Tasia Williams, Computer and Information Technology; Matt Variot, Biology; Dr. Heather Fielding, assistant professor of English; Ashley Pezan, Behavioral Sciences; Stefanie Nanney, Psychology; Tiffany Briesacher, Psychology; Courtney Armacost, Psychology; Cali Young, Psychology; Dr. Hui Chu, assistant professor of Psychology and Assen Kokalov, assistant professor of Spanish.

Purdue University North Central students who are part of the Honors Program presented their research at the recent Butler University Undergraduate Research Conference in Indianapolis.

Fourteen PNC students presented projects in psychology, biology, chemistry, gender studies and English. They were among 590 presentations and 950 participants from colleges and universities across the country.

Courtney Armacost, a Psychology major, presented her research on how the sense of belonging to one’s institution impacts students’ motivation to excel in school. She is a research assistant in the Behavioral Sciences Lab and her project came from her work there.

Armacost was grateful to have been able to have the opportunity to present at the conference, “I was really nervous presenting for the first time, not knowing what to expect. Once I presented I was so thankful for the experience. I think I may even do it next year if I get the chance to again. I feel blessed to have been able to have this experience, especially because I am considering graduate school. I feel like my confidence boosted as soon as I finished the presentation, because most students are afraid to make such a big step.”

Eileen Long, an English major, presented research on Salman Rushdie’s novel “Shame” and whether it can be considered a feminist narrative. Her paper argued that Rushdie successfully writes a feminist narrative that portrays four women who subvert the rules of their patriarchal society.

She said, “It was great being able to present at an academic conference, since many of these opportunities are only open to graduate students or faculty. Another great aspect of the conference was to be able to listen to so many varied presentations. Probably the most nerve-racking, yet rewarding part was the question and answer portion of the presentation when the moderator and audience would ask specifics regarding our research. It was so much fun taking part, asking questions, and flexing our scholarly brains.”

Three freshmen who exhibited research. Stephanie Perry, a Biology major, presented a literature review about innovations in genetic engineering, and looks forward to presenting the results of her own original experiments in the future. Tasia Williams, a Computer and Information Technology Major, and Matt Variot, a Biology major, presented their original analyses of the television show “The Walking Dead.” For Variot and Williams, the conference connected their personal interests to the world of scholarly research and encouraged them to pursue research outside of their home disciplines.

PNC presenters included Tiffany Briesacher, Sam Irzyk, Nate Kennedy, Jasmine Moore, Stefanie Nanney, Ashley Pezan, Stefanie Rigg, Melanie Shebel, Mary Steele, Kelsey Tabbert, Alexis Ulrich, and Cali Young.

Students in the PNC Honors Program pursue extra research projects with their faculty mentors to earn honors credit in their courses. A number of PNC presenters developed their research projects in honors courses.

The Honors Program also supports student research through its research assistant program, which hires students to work with faculty mentors on advanced research for publication.

To learn more about the PNC Honors Program, please visit


PNC Offers Non-Credit “Drawing by Observation” Class

The Purdue University North Central Office of Graduate and Extended Learning will offer a non-credit program for people who want to discover or improve upon their artistic and drawing skills this summer.

The program welcomes artists of all skill levels. Classes will meet at PNC – Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso on Wednesdays from June 10 through July 15 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Registration is $179 and includes all art materials. Special rates are available for Purdue Calumet and PNC students, alumni and employees. The deadline to register is June 3 at 4 p.m. Seating is limited.

The course will be taught by Connie Kassal, a PNC limited-term lecturer of Art and artist with a history of exhibits in Northwest Indiana, Chicago and Austria.

Students will learn something new in each session of the six-week program, learning through hands-on practice and exercises, lecture and note-taking. The instructor will provide an overview of the purpose of creating color wheels with a focus on complimentary color mixing, and students will learn how to shut off one’s “logical brain,” instead drawing what the eyes truly see.

They will learn techniques in line and shading to create three-dimensional images on flat paper and tips for successfully drawing realistic portraits. Students will learn about drawing figures in action and will become equipped with tools for creating visual perspective through their drawing or painting.

To register or obtain further information about this program, visit or contact Cassandra Boehlke, coordinator of Graduate and Extended Learning, at (219) 785-5200, ext. 5748, or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact (219) 785-5748.

Karen Schmid, Purdue University North Central Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Adds Interim Provost Responsibilities for Purdue University Calumet

Peggy Gerard

Peggy Gerard, Purdue Calumet

Karen Schmid

Karen Schmid, Purdue North Central

Succeeds Peggy Gerard at Purdue Calumet, who is resigning the position for family reasons July 1

Karen Schmid, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs for Purdue University North Central, also will assume responsibilities as interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost for Purdue University Calumet, following the recent resignation of Purdue Calumet Provost Peggy Gerard for family reasons. Thus, Schmid will serve both campuses in anticipation of the unification into Purdue University Northwest.

The Purdue Calumet and North Central campuses are working through a process of unification from which Purdue University Northwest will emerge, pending approval of the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits both universities. The unification is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

Schmid will assume her responsibilities for Purdue Calumet on July 1, 2015.

5th largest Indiana public university

Purdue University Northwest would become the fifth largest public university in Indiana, enrolling approximately 16,000 students, employing more than 1,500 faculty and staff, and offering more than 45 undergraduate and graduate programs of study on two vibrant campuses.

“Dr. Schmid is an experienced educator and administrator with a long record of accomplishments,” Purdue North Central Chancellor James D. Dworkin said. “She is committed to higher education and academic excellence. Dr. Schmid joined PNC at a time of unprecedented academic growth. Under her leadership PNC enhanced its academic programming and strengthened its commitment to service learning and community engagement. I am confident that she will continue to be an outstanding academic leader for both of our Purdue campuses.”

Gerard announced her resignation as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost to Purdue Calumet Friday (5/8), citing increasing family concerns. Gerard, who has served Purdue Calumet since 1982 as a faculty member, dean of the College of Nursing, vice chancellor and provost, will return to the College of Nursing faculty.

Gerard is accomplished leader

“Dr. Gerard is a highly accomplished leader, educator and innovator in both academic and health care fields,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “Throughout her tenure she has, first and foremost, been focused on the success of our students. She has built a dedicated and collaborative team of academic leaders who I am confident will continue to work with Dr. Schmid to move forward the shared vision of excellence for the academic programs.”

Among her numerous accomplishments, Gerard has led teams that established the Purdue University Calumet College of Nursing as a national Center of Excellence and advanced the university’s first doctoral degree in nursing practice. In 2013 she received the Indiana Hospital Association’s Award of Merit for her contributions to health care statewide.

Her leadership also has contributed to establishment of the Indiana Center for Evidence Based Nursing Practice at Purdue Calumet and escalation of the university’s Honors Program to Honors College.

Schmid’s achievements numerous

Additionally, Gerard and Schmid collaborated to establish a joint Office of Research and Graduate Studies between Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central.

Schmid came to PNC in 2008 after six years as associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University. Since then, PNC has added seven bachelor’s degree programs; various student success initiatives, including supplemental instruction; more online courses; and expanded the first-year experience course.

Under her leadership, an Honors Program also was developed; the concurrent enrollment program was enhanced; and PNC became one of 92 colleges and universities accredited by the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

Purdue Launches Search for Purdue Northwest Chancellor

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has launched a national search to hire the first chancellor of Purdue University Northwest, an institution that will officially come into existence on July 1, 2016, as the result of the unification of Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central.

The chancellor will oversee the integration of the two campuses and be the first chief executive officer of Purdue University Northwest with an opportunity to lead the faculty and staff in shaping the new institution.

“The inaugural chancellor of Purdue University Northwest is facing an extraordinary opportunity to build one great university for Northwest Indiana, completing its transformation and establishing an institutional anchor in the region that will positively impact students and businesses for generations to come,” said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.

Gary Lehman, a member of the Purdue Board of Trustees, will chair the search committee charged with providing in early fall a slate of outstanding candidates capable of completing the integration of Purdue Calumet and Purdue North Central.

The new chancellor of Purdue University Northwest will be responsible for working with stakeholders from the two existing campuses to form a new set of shared values and priorities as well as to advance academic quality, student success and affordability. The chancellor also will meet with local employers and community leaders to ensure the new institution is meeting the needs of the regional economy.

In order to accomplish these goals, the new chancellor should have proven leadership ability and a strong record of organizational building in their field.

Once unification is complete, Purdue University Northwest will be a comprehensive university enrolling approximately 16,000 students, employing more than 1,500 faculty and staff, and offering more than 45 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two campuses. The two campus locations will be respectively identified as Purdue University Northwest-Calumet and Purdue University Northwest-North Central.

Last July the Purdue Board of Trustees approved the creation of Purdue University Northwest, reflecting the university’s commitment to finding administrative cost savings and promoting student affordability and accessibility.

Interested applicants should apply to The full job description is available at

Members of the search committee:

Gary Lehman (Chair), Purdue trustee

Jeff Shires, PNC Faculty Senate chair and associate professor of communication at Purdue North Central

Janusz Duzinkiewicz, Intercampus Faculty Council member and associate professor of history at Purdue North Central

Staci Trekles, clinical assistant professor of instructional technology at Purdue North Central

Feng-Song Wang, outgoing Faculty Senate chair and associate professor of biology at Purdue Calumet

Geoffrey Schultz, professor of educational psychology and special education at Purdue Calumet

Peter Dragnev, speaker of the Purdue University faculty for the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Senate, and professor and chair of mathematics at IPFW

Levon Esters, University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee chair and associate professor of youth development and agricultural education at Purdue West Lafayette

Simon Rhodes, dean of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and professor of biology

Audeen Fentiman, special assistant to the president, associate dean of engineering for graduate education and interdisciplinary programs, and professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue West Lafayette


Source: Gary Lehman, 765-494-9710,

PNC Offers New Certificate in Economic Development

Purdue University North Central is accepting registration from members of the community interested in earning a graduate level certificate in Economic Development.

The program, designed in collaboration with economic development professionals, will equip leaders and practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the performance of area economic development activities. This in-depth series is academically rigorous to meet graduate-level standards, yet emphasizes practical application of concepts to our region’s resources and capabilities.

Courses may be taken for credit as a stand-alone certificate or for non-credit for those working in the field, participating in economic development activities, or interested in learning more.

The three-course series will begin June 6 and meet on Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. at PNC – Porter County, 600 Vale Park Road, Valparaiso.

The courses are:

  • The Competitive Advantage of a Region, offered June 6 through Aug. 15.
  • Economic and Social Analysis, Sept. 12 to Nov. 21.
  • Introduction to Economic Development, Dec. 5 to- Feb. 20.

The curriculum will concentration on:

  • Northwest Indiana & Southwest Lower Michigan
  • Factors which measure the economic performance of a region
  • Analyzing the growth of a region and comparing this to peer counties/regions
  • Apply principles of economic development to understand differentials in growth performance

The instructors will be PNC faculty members Anthony Sindone, continuing lecturer Economics and Dr. Derek Bjonback, associate professor of Economics and Finance.

To obtain further information or to register, contact Jaclyn Barnhill, MBA Coordinator at 219-785-5557 or Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the program office.

PNC Day of Giving Generates $161,456

Olga Pecanac and Dr. James B. Dworkin

Olga Pecanac, PNC Alumni Board member and PNC Chancellor James B. Dworkin.

The Purdue University North Central participation in the second Annual Purdue Day of Giving generated $161,456 in donations, earning PNC 17th in money raised of the 42 Purdue University units participating in the fundraising event.

The Day of Giving provided a 24-hour opportunity for Purdue alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends to come together for an online fundraising event to make donations that will transform the lives of Purdue students.  At Purdue North Central, a Day of Giving headquarters was created where live minute-by-minute standings were shown on a large screen. Donors stopped by for donuts in the morning and pizza in the afternoon as the headquarters celebrated the generosity of donors. Leaderboards displayed the results of social media challenges where students, alumni, employees and others participated by posting photos, videos and random statements on social media platforms using the handle @PNC_ALUMNI and hashtags #iampnc and #PurdueDayofGiving.

The donations received will go to benefit PNC academic colleges, student scholarships, PNC athletics, the Student Services Activity Complex and many other areas.

PNC Commencement to be May 18

The Purdue University North Central 2014-2015 commencement ceremony will be Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in the Valparaiso University Athletics – Recreation Center. No tickets are necessary to attend.

The Class of 2015 will earn an anticipated, 498 bachelor’s degrees, 56 associate degrees and 13 Master’s of Business Administration degrees.

The traditional commencement ceremony will feature the conferring of degrees by Purdue North Central Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., is expected to be in attendance.

The new graduates will be welcomed to the ranks of Purdue alumni by Michael Weaver, chair of the Purdue North Central Alumni Association Advisory Board. Weaver is director of Inpatient Services at Porter Starke Services Inc. in Valparaiso. He earned a degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from PNC in 2006 as well as his Master’s in Business Administration in 2012.

The response on behalf of the 2014-2015 graduating class will be presented by Therese R. Manta, who is earning her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading.

Following the ceremony, graduates and their guests are invited to enjoy a reception in the Harre Student Union on the Valparaiso University campus.

Further information about commencement can be obtained by contacting the PNC Office of the Registrar at 219-785- 5299. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact ext. 5299.

PNC Student’s Grant Funds Oral History Celebration Reception

by Katelyn Mosher

Purdue University North Central student Katelyn Mosher recently received a Student Community Service Grant from Indiana Campus Compact to fund a reception to celebrate the completion of a two-semester long project headed by the Department of English and Modern Languages.

The reception will on Friday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City it is free and open to the public. The event will celebrate the Preserving Oral History project that included students in various PNC English courses. The students interviewed residents of Rittenhouse Assisted Living in Michigan City. They used information from their interviews to write poetry, creative fiction and non-fiction stories and other original texts. The bulk of these stories depict the lives of those who grew up in the Michigan City and Long Beach area, emphasizing the difference in the region between the past and present.

The reception is a cooperative effort of PNC College of Liberal Arts and Rittenhouse Senior Living in Michigan City and is made possible by students and faculty volunteers from the Department of English and Modern Languages, the Communication Department, and the Panther News Network.

The history celebration is an opportunity for the students to provide their audience with a picture of what life was like in this region as early as the 1930s.

The grant will support the cost of renting the Lubeznik Center for the evening as well as provide refreshments for those who attend.

Further information may be obtained by contacting Bethany Lee at or Sarah White at