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Penn State classroom on military base offers LER course

Penn State’s new classroom at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego will help further its commitment to military students and expand their access to higher education, leaders said during a recent dedication of the facility. The University will teach the first course at the on-base classroom during the fall 2015 semester. The course is from the labor and employment relations degree program, a joint offering from World Campus and the College of the Liberal Arts.The goal is to transition students to complete their degrees online through Penn State World Campus. The classroom is the University's first on a military installation. Click here for full story.

Mullin named marshal for summer commencement

Erin Mullin, daughter of Brian and Stephanie Mullin of the State College area, has been selected as the student marshal representing the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State’s summer commencement ceremony, set for Aug. 15 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Mullin is graduating with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and a bachelor's degree in Global and International Studies, along with a minor in Labor and Employment Relations and a teaching certificate in English as a Second Language. Click here for the full story.

Graduate certificate helps HR staff with international employees

A new Penn State online graduate certificate is aimed at helping human resources professionals understand the law, policy and best practices for companies with employees outside the United States.

The 12-credit graduate certificate in international human resources and employment relations (IHRER) is offered through Penn State World Campus by the School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER).

“There is a huge need for people to understand international HRER,” said Antone Aboud, professor of practice in LER and team leader for the online program. “We know from talking to our alumni and our students and from the research of our faculty that there’s a huge amount of activity at the international level.”

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Sociologist analyzes school expulsions

Poor schools that have more black and minority students tend to punish students rather than seek medical or psychological interventions for them, according to a Penn State sociologist.

"There's been a real push toward school safety and there's been a real push for schools to show they are being accountable," said David Ramey, assistant professor of sociology and criminology. "But, any zero-tolerance policy or mandatory top-down solutions might be undermining what would be otherwise good efforts at discipline, and not establishing an environment based around all the options available." Click here for full story.

College welcomes new area heads

The College welcomes four new department heads, a new director, and interim and acting heads, starting Fall Semester 2015:  

Amy Allen, formerly Parents' Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities and chair of the women's and gender studies program at Dartmouth College, is joining us as head of the Department of Philosophy.

Tom Beebee, Professor of Comparative Literature and German at Penn State, heads Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Barry Ickes, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Research on International Financial and Energy Security at Penn State, is head of Economics.

Melissa Wright, professor of geography and women's studies, is the head of the newly renamed Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Bill Dewey, Associate Professor of Art History and African Studies, is the new director of African Studies. 

Bob Edwards, Sparks Professor of English and Comparative Literature, is interim head of Comparative Literature.

Kathryn Gines, associate professor of philosophy, is the interim head of the Department of African American Studies.

Bill Blair, the Ferree Professor of Middle American History and Director of the Richards Center for the Civil War Era, is acting head of History for 2015-16.

Bénédicte Monicat, Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is acting head in French and Francophone Studies for the fall semester.

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College to offer new bachelor's degrees

The College of the Liberal Arts will launch five new degrees for residential and World Campus students, starting Fall Semester 2015 and beyond. The new degrees are: B.S. in Social Data Analytics; B.A. and B.S. in Global and International Studies; residential and online B.S. in Political Science; and online B.S. in Integrated Social Sciences.

"I’m very pleased we can offer these new opportunities for our students, degrees that combine the virtues of a liberal arts degree with specific preparation for a global world of instant communication, problems that need new ideas and scalable solutions, and issues that cry out for better understanding of cultural differences," said Susan Welch, the Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts.

Social Data Analytics Major (B.S.) is designed to prepare students for careers that use big data to tackle social and political problems. This interdisciplinary major will provide a unique combination of data analytic skills and social science knowledge that can be applied to various questions. It integrates courses in the social sciences with relevant ones in statistics, mathematics, information science, and computer science to hone skills necessary to analyze and contextualize large data, whether it be data pulled from internet communications or visualizations of the brain or the solar system.

Global and International Studies Major (B.A. and B.S.) combines expertise from various humanities and social sciences disciplines to understand the dynamic issues facing humans around the world. This interdisciplinary major helps prepare students for lives and careers in an increasingly interdependent world. The emphasis will be on global perspectives, foreign language study, and international study or work experiences.  Students may choose from one of six options:  global conflict, human rights, wealth and inequality, health and environment, culture and identity, or a personalized option.  

Political Science Major (B.S. residential and World Campus) emphasizes scientific and applied aspects of political science. In addition to broad coursework in political science, students will complete courses in statistics and research design,  social science methods,  and advanced political science courses that provide opportunities to apply quantitative research skills to substantive problems.

The Integrated Social Sciences Major (B.S. World Campus) synthesizes the broad sweep of the content, theories, and methodologies of the social sciences. The program draws on core social science disciplines: Anthropology, Communication Arts and Sciences, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. A final capstone portfolio will document integration and synthesis of major themes explored in the program.

College of the Liberal Arts appoints associate dean

The College of the Liberal Arts has appointed Paul C. Taylor, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of African American Studies, as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies.

 “I am happy to welcome Paul to the College's leadership team.  He has the vision and experience to be an outstanding leader of this key college unit.  Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies is dedicated to helping our faculty and programs provide a first class education for our students.  Paul is committed to that mission,’’ said Susan Welch, the Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. Click here for the full story.

Historian finds impact of Head Start on civil rights

A federal preschool program did more than improve educational opportunities for poor children in Mississippi during the 1960s. The program also gave a political and economic boost to the state's civil rights activists, according to a Penn State historian.

A key provision of the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which paved the way for several federal anti-poverty programs, was aimed at empowering the poor and sidestepping black disenfranchisement in the south, according to Crystal Sanders, an assistant professor of history and African American studies. Sanders said that Title II of the act created the Community Action Program that would be operated with "maximum feasible participation" of the poor.

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College, University combat cyberattack

Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts network and systems have been successfully repaired and returned to service, after being taken offline on June 26 in response to two cyberattacks.  Dean Susan Welch thanks our IT staff and its leadership for their dedicated work, not only this weekend in executing the remediation, but in the weeks leading up to this weekend as they prepared for the work necessary to complete this monumental task. 

Starting Monday (June 29), College faculty, staff, and graduate students will be prompted to change their college ID password to enhance network security and better prevent and respond to future cyberattacks. Your user ID will be the same for your College and University accounts, but you will need to change your College password. More information can be found here.

Nina Jablonski elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nina Jablonski was among 197 scholars and leaders to be elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s premiere honorary societies.  Read more at: and at: )

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