Penn State Beaver Roar
Campus welcomes new chancellor ALEXA DIPIETRANTONIO Senior Staff Writer
Penn State Beaver was nearly “love at first sight” this summer for newly named chancellor, Jenifer Cushman. Cushman remembers coming through the main entrance the first time, past the pond and geese and up the hill where she could begin to see the classroom buildings. Her first reaction? “It’s a lovely campus,” she said months later. While the campus is beautiful, she said, everything is not all about looks. There’s much more for her to be optimistic about in this new job she began July 1, ending a more than two-year lapse since the last permanent chancellor retired. She said that the campus and the people in it are very welcoming. And it’s those welcoming people that Cushman believes are going to help her lead this campus to the next level. Although quiet at first, Cushman lights up when speaking about different initiatives she has planned. She’s taught German and is passionate about international learning. Penn State Beaver has a large number of international faculty, as
The Roar/Ty Cole
Chancellor Cushman talks to Lion Ambassadors about their experience giving tours to prospective students.
well as some international students, but Cushman would like to build upon that. She has the idea of Beaver students doing projects with other students around the world. Cushman’s friendly personality fits well with Beaver’s small, tight-knit community, almost like a family. Having most recently served as dean of Ohio University’s Zanesville regional campus, Cushman has a love for small campuses. She said small
campuses are “able to provide better personal support for each student.” One of her first tasks was to meet with faculty, staff and students. Cushman has met with different clubs and organizations throughout the semester. During her visit with resident assistants and coordinators in Harmony Hall, Cushman asked about their hometowns and favorite hobbies. She did the same in a meeting with Lion Ambassadors, asking
what they liked about the campus and what could be improved. “I thought she was very down to earth,” said senior Allison Crouse, who attended the Harmony Hall meeting. Crouse said Cushman came across as someone she could reach out to because she’s approachable. “I like how she wants to connect to the students and that’s something Penn State Beaver needs to make it an even better campus,” Crouse said.
Instructor leaves industry to join IST faculty EVAN M. PINCHOT Staff Writer
Penn State Beaver has welcomed a new faculty member, Ashu Kumar, to the IST department this fall and he is feeling right at home. Kumar has been in a corporate setting for years and looks to make his transition to academic life a smooth one. Kumar, instructor in Information Sciences and Technology, has made a big change from the corporate world to his new job at Penn State Beaver. He has worked for companies such as Mylan Pharmaceutical, but now looks forward to teaching at Penn
State Beaver full time. Kumar admits it’s a big change for him. “Because what I was doing is nothing like what I am doing now, it was like a new career for me.” Kumar has been an adjunct faculty member here since 2014, and he’s also taught for a year in New Delhi. He said that he likes teaching and that when the full time position was open he thought, “It would be fun.” Carey McDougall, director of Academic Affairs, said the campus hired Kumar “because of his teaching and industry experience that matches well with the IST program needs.” Kumar has worked with McDougall and other campus officials to
develop the recently launched Lion's Den competition, similar to TV’s Shark Tank, which encourages students to develop a new product to pitch to a panel of judges. “He is already excelling and I believe he will continue to excel,” McDougall said in an email to The Roar. “Instructor Kumar is innovative and responsive in continually improving his pedagogy.” Kumar said he is happy to be here full time. “I am much more connected with students,” says Kumar. He likes this, and thinks that he can use his experience from his corporate jobs to help prepare students for the work ahead of them.
The Roar/Chris Rotondo
IST Instructor Ashu Kumar
Cushman said she is looking forward to getting to know even more students and understanding what they like about Penn State Beaver and any concerns they have. The chancellor position became vacant after longtime Chancellor Gary Keefer retired in 2014 after being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Keefer died in December 2015. Former Director of Academic Affairs Donna Kuga postponed her own planned 2014 retirement to become interim chancellor, a role she held until she retired in January. Director of Academic Affairs Carey McDougall replaced Kuga. She said she enjoyed her time as interim chancellor, but was anxious to show Cushman around. Cushman said she wants to develop a vision to keep Penn State Beaver growing and to stand out. Her first step is to connect with the community and industry nearby to establish relationships for student internships, jobs and scholarships. McDougall said Cushman values everyone’s ideas, experiences and input. “She wants to be a community player and get involved.”
Retirement brings on staff changes A retirement in Student Affairs has resulted in some staff members shifting positions. Jill Bender, the staff assistant for residence life and student activities, moved into the job left vacant when Denise Turyan retired from Student Affairs last summer. Then Billie Brown, a staff assistant in Continuing Education and Athletics, filled Bender’s vacant position. Both Bender and Brown have been longtime employees on campus.
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