GREENVILLE, PA – Thiel College students now have a “one-stop shop” where they can find academic and career advice and guidance—and faculty can find support when engaged in teaching and advising—the new Center for Learning and Advising (CLA).
Located on the first floor of the Langenheim Memorial Library, the CLA will host an opening celebration on August 29 from 1 to 5 p.m. Faculty, staff, students and the Greenville community are welcome to attend. The celebration will include refreshments, entertainment, prizes and a chance to explore the Center’s facilities and services and meet the new staff.
The CLA’s director is Dr. Oscar T. Lenning, who was appointed to the position in late January. Lenning has extensive experience in higher education institutions and has led Title III grant-funded initiatives at several schools, including Waldorf College, Roberts Wesleyan College and Bacone College. Lenning holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology/college student personnel administration/higher education/statistics from the University of Iowa, as well as master’s and bachelor of science degrees. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Wartburg College and an associate’s degree from Waldorf College. He has authored more than 130 professional publications and has served as a consulting editor and reviewer for higher education journals.
“We are looking forward to this academic year very much,” says Lenning. “We believe that the CLA will have a major impact on student satisfaction and retention and on how faculty and staff interact with our students. This promises to be an exciting year for the CLA and for Thiel.”
The CLA has two full-time academic advisors and career counselors, Kateri Linn and Melissa Philson, on staff. Linn holds a master’s of education in higher education student services from Youngstown State University and a bachelor of science degree in parks and recreation from Slippery Rock University. She most recently served as the assistant director for career services at Thiel. Philson holds a master’s of arts degree in student personnel and a bachelor of science in business administration from Slippery Rock University. She most recently was a student services specialist and a part-time instructor with Butler County Community College.
In order to provide a seamless transition from school to work, the Thiel College Career Center is now part of the Center for Learning and Advising. The interim director for career services is Heather Achenbach Balas ’01. Balas holds a master of art in counseling and educational psychology, with an emphasis on student personnel, from Slippery Rock University and a bachelor of arts in communication and business communication from Thiel College. She was most recently coordinator of orientation and transitional programs and director of student activities at Thiel. Also now a part of the CLA is Thiel’s Internships Program, coordinated by Dean for Educational Outreach John Rindy.
Balas and Rindy will work closely with the other CLA staff members to guide students through their academic years and into an appropriate and meaningful career, says Lenning.
The Center for Learning and Advising is funded by a nearly $1.8 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Program grant, which Thiel was awarded in September 2006. The grant is designed to help colleges and universities by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability of eligible institutions. The Title III Strengthening Institutions Program is a competitive grant program established by Congress as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to strengthen colleges’ capacities to make substantial contributions to the higher education resources of the nation.
Thiel College, located in Greenville, Pa., is a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies college related to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.