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California University


Faculty Asked to Complete Survey


Decades of work by Cal U’s Dr. Carol Bocetti and the recovery team she leads has restored the Kirtland’s warbler so effectively that the birds may soon be taken off the endangered species list.

More Than a Wing and a Prayer Professor’s Work Helps Rare Songbirds Rebound


r. Carol Bocetti’s off-campus work is clearly for the birds, and her goal is to put herself out of business. Bocetti has spent 23 years with the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team, leading an effort to save one of the rarest songbirds in the world. An assistant professor in Cal U’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, she has been working to rebuild the habitat of the Kirtland’s warbler, a 6inch bird with a streaked yellow breast and a distinctive, melodious song. The warbler nests only in a small area in and around Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, where forest fires naturally thin and regenerate the jack pine forests. The warbler shares those forests with the brown-headed cowbird, an aggressive bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other species. In spring, young cowbirds hatch before the smaller warblers, often pushing the endangered Kirtland’s hatchlings from their nests. By 1987, habitat loss and cowbird parasitism had reduced the number of Kirtland’s warblers to just 167

nesting pairs. Bocetti’s recovery team — the first ever appointed under the Endangered Species Act — has tracked the warbler population and modified its habitat, planting and harvesting trees in patterns that replicate the patchy growth after a wildfire, and removing cowbirds. More than 1,800 pairs of Kirtland’s warblers now are nesting in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan and adjoining areas of Wisconsin and Ontario. The birds fly to the Bahamas for the winter. “ Now we have a success story,” said Bocetti, who began working with endangered species as a graduate student at The Ohio State University. “The goal was 1,000 breeding pairs for five years running, spread across the landscape. Well, we’re there. As soon as we started the habitat management program, it was one of those ‘if we build it they will come’ situations.” Bocetti hopes the warblers eventually can be “de-listed” as an endangered species, although the birds’ survival still — continued on page 2

alifornia University’s Office of Continuous Improvement will be administering the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) this spring. Coordinated by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) at Indiana University-Bloomington, FSSE is designed to measure faculty expectations of student engagement in educational practices that are empirically linked with high levels of learning and development. The survey also collects information about how faculty members spend their time on professorial activities and the kinds of learning experiences their institutions emphasize. FSSE results can be used to identify areas of institutional strength, as well as aspects of the undergraduate experience that may warrant attention. The information is intended to be a catalyst for productive discussions related to teaching, learning and the quality of students’ educational experiences. The survey will be administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB). It parallels the NSSE student survey that also is being administered this spring. Through IUB, all full-time and parttime faculty will be invited to participate. The survey should be completed online. Administration will be overseen by Cal U’s Office of Continuous Improvement. President Angelo Armenti, Jr. has authorized this survey at Cal U. “I encourage all faculty members to participate,” he said. “The results will allow us to assess and improve the quality of our academic offerings, while at the same time letting us see how we stack up against comparable universities across America.” All responses are anonymous; survey — continued on page 4

Cal Hosts Conference for PASSHE Student Leaders


ore than 120 student government members from across Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education visited Cal U Feb. 6-8 for the PASSHE Board of Student Government Presidents Leadership Conference. The board consists of Student Government Association presidents from all 14 of the PASSHE institutions. The BSGP holds an annual leadership conference at one of the participating institutions. Cal U played host to a number of presenters, including keynote speaker Steve Toprani, a 2001 Cal U grad who is

district attorney for Washington County. “Having the Washington County DA really fit in with the theme of the conference, which was value-based leadership,” said Ryan Jerico, Cal Student Government president and one of three students who serves on the PASSHE Board of Governors. “(Toprani) spoke about his campaign, but the whole moral compass he brought really added value. Afterward, he answered questions from the students for more than half an hour. Being an alumnus, he gave a great reflection on the University, and — continued on page 4

Washington County District Attroney Steve Toprani ’01 delivered the keynote address at the PASSHE Board of Student Government Presidents Leadership Conference hosted by Cal U.

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County Commissioner Awarded Medallion


President Angelo Armenti, Jr. presents Cal U’s Medallion of Distinction Award to Washington County Commissioner Lawrence O. Maggi ’79 during a special luncheon in November.

ashington County Commissioner Lawrence O. Maggi ’79 has been awarded Cal U’s Medallion of Distinction Award, which is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves and brought credit to the University through their professional and personal achievements. A lifelong resident of Washington County, Maggi is serving his second term on the Board of Commissioners for Washington County. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Cal U, Maggi served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a Pennsylvania State Police trooper for 24 years. Maggi’s political career began in 1998, when he was elected sheriff of Washington County. He was re-elected in 2002 and served until 2003, when he was elected a county commissioner. “Larry Maggi has long been a model leader and mentor in the southwestern Pennsylvania community and has accomplished much in his career,” said Cal U President Angelo Armenti, Jr. “His dealings with the community at large have been something that we here at Cal U have long admired.” Maggi and his wife, Mary Jeanne, are the parents of four children and live in Buffalo Township. Maggi is an active member of his church in Claysville, where he serves on the Board of Trustees and as a Sunday school teacher. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and Community Action Southwest, and he is active with numerous veterans and community service organizations. “Larry Maggi’s exemplary military service, work and volunteer service is proof positive that he lives by California University’s core values of integrity, civility and responsibility – and has been doing so throughout his life,” President Armenti said.

Professor’s Work Helps Rare Songbirds Rebound — continued from page 1 manage themdepends on a selves out of a carefully managed job,” Bocetti said. habitat. Still, this To accomplish program’s active this, she is working habitat manageto establish a ment creates conservation numerous job partnership that opportunities, she would include a said, and the work private endowment By 1987, there were only 167 finds its way into and a series of nesting pairs of Kirtland’s her classroom. agreements with warblers. Through Bocetti’s work, In Ornithology public land more than 1,800 pairs of warblers now inhabit the Upper Peninsula class, she uses the management of Michigan and adjoining areas of warbler as a case agencies. Wisconsin and Ontario. study when One group that discussing could help is the population decline. The Endangered National Fish and Wildlife Species Act is covered thoroughly in Foundation, which has agreed to match non-government contributions her Law and Policy class. Her work with warblers also crops up in the if the Kirtland’s warbler can be Wildlife Management Techniques designated as a “keystone course. management” species. She also engages her students in “This paradigm shift from public field experience in Michigan, taking funding to a public-private 12 students into the jack pine partnership has attracted much ecosystem over the past four years to attention nationally,” Bocetti said. “Basically, this is the last piece of the participate in hands-on research and management. puzzle we must have before I can “These students benefit from the consider de-listing. real-world experience that I can “We can’t de-list without bring to the table as a faculty assurances that we can maintain annual management,” she explained. member,” Bocetti said. Thanks to the recovery team, the “Every year, if we don’t generate Kirtland’s warbler has the potential 2,000 acres of habitat and remove to become the first conservationcowbirds, the population again will reliant vertebrate to be removed from decline. It will always need on-thethe protection of the Endangered ground-management to replace what the wildfires are not doing anymore.” Species Act. “In my mind we’re a success Bocetti discussed her work in story, but I can’t claim my success December at the Department of yet, because it’s ongoing and I have Defense Partners in Environmental to defend it year after year,” Bocetti Technology’s Technical Symposium added. “If I de-list the warbler, it’s and Workshop in Washington, D.C. no longer an endangered species, She will give similar presentations at which means it will no longer receive the American Ornithologists’ Union public funding. The private meeting in August, and to a meeting endowment will provide the money of The Wildlife Society in for annual management, and then we September. can celebrate a true and lasting “For me, this is a real Catch-22, success story of the landmark because the goal of any endangered Endangered Species Act.” species biologist is to research and


Enjoying a moment during their computer lab sessions at St. Mary Nativity School are M.D. Sepic, principal; Mary Ann Prah, technology/computer teacher; Matthew Soles; Toni Ardabell; Jeff Sumey, Cal U Applied Engineering and Technology professor ; Jenna Sumey; Chloe Showalter; Jared Beck; Natalie Szewczyk; Chris Pindro; and William Pillar.

Professor Shares Lessons at Uniontown School


hat can eighth-graders learn from a coin toss? Plenty about the practical applications of mathematics, thanks to a collaborative effort between Cal U and a class at St. Mary Nativity School in Uniontown, Pa. Jeffrey Sumey, a professor in Cal U’s Applied Engineering and Technology Department, recently conducted computer labs at the school that involved basic Java programming and included interactive lab projects such as an introduction to statistics using coin-toss simulations, the arithmetic of fractions and percentages. The projects were designed to complement the lessons of eighth-grade teacher William Pillar. “The computer

projects give the students immediate value to the concepts they learn in algebra class,” Pillar said. Sumey, who teaches various courses in the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Robotics Engineering Technology programs, said, “The potential of using computer lab projects to reinforce math concepts provides a powerful opportunity for all students to become more at ease with mathematics.” He praised technology/computer teacher Mary Ann Prah for facilitating the presentations in St. Mary’s computer labs. Added school Principal M.D. Sepic, “Our students need to see early on how important math skills are to their future.”

Trustees Meeting Reminder The Cal U Council of Trustees will hold its first quarterly meeting of 2009 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 25, in the President’s Conference Room, Room 110 of Old Main Hall.

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Big Games Wrap Up Regular Basketball Season


al U men’s and women’s basketball teams are heading into the final week of the regular season with contests that will be significant to the Vulcans. Both teams conclude the regular season at home with a pair of PSAC-West doubleheaders. Slippery Rock will visit Hamer Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 25, followed by conference newcomer Mercyhurst College on Saturday, Feb. 28. Both divisional doubleheaders begin with the women’s games at 6 p.m., followed by the men’s games at 8 p.m. or 20 minutes after the women’s games end. Senior Recognition Night will be held on Feb. 28.

Women’s basketball Cal’s women’s team, under the direction of firstyear head coach Heather Kearney, is hoping to reach the PSAC championship game for an unprecedented ninth consecutive year and make an eighth-straight NCAA Division II tournament appearance. The Vulcan women are the defending NCAA East Regional champions. They advanced to the “Elite Eight” last year after winning the NCAA national championship in 2004 and making the national “Final Four” in 2003. The Cal women won PSAC basketball titles in 2002-2004 and in 2006, with runner-up finishes in 2001, 2005 and each of the past two seasons. As of Feb. 17, the Vulcan women owned a 20-3 overall record and a 9-1 PSAC-West mark. Senior Brooque Williams already has been named PSAC-West Player of the Week four times this season. The 2009 PSAC Women’s Basketball Final Four tourney will be contested March 6-7 at the highest remaining PSAC-East seed’s home court.

Men’s basketball Cal’s men’s basketball team, the defending PSAC champion, is striving for a 23rd consecutive winning season — its 13th straight under veteran head coach Bill Brown. Despite enduring a rebuilding season in 2008-2009,

Brooque Williams’ consistent and dominant play has the Cal U women’s basketball team primed for another memorable post-season run in 2009.

With three years remaining, freshman Kelsey Williams looks to help the Vulcans quickly return to the national prominence that has become a trademark of Cal men’s basketball.

the Vulcans have won eight of the past 11 PSAC-West championships and a year ago won the program’s third NCAA Division II East Regional Championship. Brown is the winningest coach in program history with 270 career victories as of Feb. 17. Cal leads all PSAC-West basektball teams in conference

championships with eight. Freshman forward Kelsey Williams has provided a glimpse into Cal’s exciting future by earning PSAC-West Freshman of the Week honors four times this season. For information on all Cal U athletic teams, visit

Poll: Baseball Team No. 9


Head baseball coach Mike Conte prepares to open his 13th season at Cal U.

al U’s baseball team was ranked ninth in the pre-season National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division II Atlantic Region Poll released earlier this month. The Vulcans open the PSAC-West season by hosting Slippery Rock University on March 13 in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington, PA. Under the direction of 13th-year head coach Mike Conte, the Vulcans have achieved nine consecutive seasons with at least 25 wins, including a 28-18 overall record last season. Shippensburg earned the top spot after finishing last season ranked No. 4 nationally. West Chester was No. 2, followed by West Virginia State, Pitt-Johnstown and Kutztown. Concord was ranked sixth, followed by IUP, Slippery Rock, Cal U and Shepherd. The Vulcans were one of eight PSAC teams in the NCBWA Atlantic Region Top 15. Mercyhurst and Millersville landed at No. 12 and No. 14, respectively. Cal U also received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division II preseason top 40 national poll. One of just three Cal U head baseball coaches in the past 49 years, Conte owns a 328-237-4 career record with a 151-88-1 cumulative PSAC-West mark. Two seasons ago, the five-time PSAC-West Coach of the Year guided the Vulcans to their first NCAA II post-season appearance in 24 years. In 2004 he coached the Vulcans to their first PSAC baseball title since 1979. Preceding Conte as Cal’s head baseball coach were emeriti professors and University Hall of Fame members Chuck Gismondi (1980-1996) and Mitch Bailey (1960-1979).

Talk Addresses Asian ‘Bondage’


Cal U’s Black History Month celebration continues Thursday when Dr. David Obermiller discusses ‘Yellow Bondage in America.’ The talk is set for 2 p.m. in Room 210, Duda Hall.

al U’s Black History Month celebration continues this week with a lecture by Dr. David To-baru Obermiller, an expert on Asian-American history and Japanese and Chinese studies. Obermiller, an assistant professor of history at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., will discuss “Yellow Bondage in America.” The talk is set for 2 p.m. Thursday in Room 210, Duda Hall. Obermiller’s teaching focuses on the social constructions of gender, race, ethnicity and class; East Asian film; and transnational environmental/sustainability issues. His research focuses on the U.S. occupation of Okinawa from 1945-1972. He currently is exploring a comparative approach to the occupation of Okinawa with the current U.S. occupation and civil service efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Major sponsors of Black History Month include the Black Student Union (BSU), Frederick Douglass Institute, Black History Month Programming Committee, History and Political Science Department, History Club and Peace Studies Club. For more information, contact Dr. Kelton Edmonds (, Cindy Speer ( or Timothy Williams ( at 724-938-4054.

Thank you


ilo Messenger (Custodial Services) would like to thank the university community for all of their support, generosity and acts of kindness following the loss of his mother, Barbara Roberta (Bobbi Messenger). The thoughtfulness is sincerely appreciated.


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PSSHE Board OK’s changes for Teacher Education


he Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has approved changes to teacher education programs offered at 11 of the 14 PASSHE universities. The changes were made to comply with new guidelines developed by the state Department of Education to enhance the training of early childhood, elementary and middle school teachers. The guidelines establish separate certifications for pre-K through fourth grade and grades 4 through 8. They also require all special education teachers to be certified in grades pre-K through 4, 4-8, or 7-12. PASSHE universities are moving ahead with program changes now to help ensure that students enrolling in teacher education programs will have adequate time to meet the requirements for certification when the new guidelines take effect. The Board approved program revisions developed at California, as well as at Bloomsburg, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg and West Chester universities. Cheyney, East Stroudsburg and Slippery Rock are in the final stages of preparing materials for approval. The revised programs also must be approved by the Department of Education before they can be implemented.

Norman Hasbrouck, special assistant to the president and director of the Office of Continuous Improvement, will be administering the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement this spring.

Faculty Asked to Complete Survey — continued from page 1 administration will conclude in mid-May. The data will be analyzed by IUB, and the 2009 reports will be sent to participating universities, including Cal U, in August. Resources intended to help with the use and interpretations of FSSE data are available online at Past FSSE and NSSE results are posted on the Cal U website in the Continuous Improvement area, Comparing NSSE and FSSE results yields information from both the students’ and faculty’s perspective. The Faculty Professional Development Committee uses the information for continuous improvement. For more information about FSSE, faculty should contact Norman Hasbrouck, special assistant to the president, at Ext. 1561; or call the Office of Continuous Improvement, Ext. 1673.

The new certification requirements are intended to improve the knowledge, skills and dispositions of all teachers to provide instruction effectively to diverse learners in inclusive classroom settings. The new certification requirements are intended to improve the knowledge, skills and dispositions of all teachers to provide instruction effectively to diverse learners in inclusive classroom settings. Teachers graduating with the new certificates also will have significantly more knowledge in content, teaching technique and human development. “The faculty and administrators at each of our institutions are to be commended for the incredible work they have done under a tight timeline in redesigning their education programs to better address the needs of Pennsylvania’s children,” said Dr. Jim Moran, PASSHE’s vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.

Cal U student Jamie Perchinsky is surrounded by her class at Bomar Elementary School last spring while student teaching. PASSHE has approved changes to teacher education programs offered at 11 of the 14 PASSHE universities, including Cal U.

Cal Hosts PASSHE Student Leader Conference — continued from page 1 everyone was impressed with his poise and honest answers.” Jerico and BSGP Chairman Larry Brink of Slippery Rock offered welcoming remarks, along with Cal U President Angelo Armenti, Jr., who greeted the students via video. Presenters from Cal U included Drs. John Cencich, Joyce Hanley, Ron Paul, Dan Rota, Michael Hummel, Loring Prest, Emily Sweitzer and Scott Helfrich. “Our administrators and teachers gave the conference participants exceptional insight, and walking tours of the campus in the midst of the presentations worked well,” Jerico said. Also presenting was Dr. Peter Garland, PASSHE’s executive vice chancellor, who praised Cal U’s teamoriented effort. Among those who played a significant role in coordinating the conference were the Student Association Inc., Student Development and Student Services, University Conference Services, University Welcome Center, AVI Food Service Inc. and the Office of the President. “My hat is off to California University,” Garland said. “From the many faculty and administrators who presented on timely topics to the quality of meeting space and food service, the conference was a success. As a result, student leaders throughout PASSHE not only learned

Ryan Jerico, Cal U Student Government president, led the charge that brought the PASSHE Board of Student Government Presidents Leadership Conference to campus.

important skills in leadership but were very impressed with Cal U. It will be hard to top this conference.” The conference concluded with a series of round-table discussions. “Sunday was a think-tank of sharing ideas,” Jerico said. “We discussed many different issues, such as how to structure elections, competitions, community service and how to deal with student apathy and get students more involved. I believe all of us got a good feeling of what we could take from this conference

and use at each of our schools.” The 14 PASSHE Student Government presidents meet in Harrisburg every two or three months. In October, Jerico was one of several presidents who made a bid to host the conference. “Everybody left with a ‘wow’ experience,” he said. “Hosting this was a big deal for California University. It was phenomenal what we were able to put on, thanks to the commitment of many people and departments on campus.”

The California Journal is published weekly by California University of Pennsylvania, a member of The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Dr. Angelo Armenti, Jr. University President

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Christine Kindl Editor

Geraldine M. Jones Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

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Cal Hosts Conference for PASSHE Student Leaders Professor’s Work Helps Rare Songbirds Rebound California University V OLUME 11, N UMBER 7 FE...


Cal Hosts Conference for PASSHE Student Leaders Professor’s Work Helps Rare Songbirds Rebound California University V OLUME 11, N UMBER 7 FE...