Thiel College Rolls Out New Initiative
Jan. 19, 2010
GREENVILLE, PA—Thiel College announces the Thiel Commitment, a new initiative that showcases the
advantages a Thiel education offers before, during and after a student’s undergraduate experience.
“The Thiel Commitment embodies an aspect of Thiel College that so many of our alumni already know – that Thiel is for life,” said President Troy VanAken, who was installed as the College’s 19th president in 2009.
Yet another aspect of the Thiel Commitment is a co-curricular transcript and an e-Portfolio system, allowing students to demonstrate in tangible ways to future employers and professional schools what they’ve learned and accomplished.
Thiel continues to offer a liberal arts education that can be completed in four years, that allows students to individualize their education and that prepares them for successful careers. Thiel is also one of the most affordable private colleges in western Pennsylvania. Because of generous scholarships and financial aid, Thiel is often competitive with the price of public universities.
The idea to articulate the Thiel Commitment sprang from VanAken’s research last March, just before assuming his responsibilities at Thiel. As president-elect, VanAken made 250 phone calls to prospective students and their parents, seeking a sense of what they wanted from a college.
After arriving at Thiel, VanAken quickly went to work with faculty, staff, alumni, students and board members to address the prospective students’ concerns. Focused career guidance, “before, during and after” a student’s tenure at Thiel, was first on the list.
While few colleges offer career guidance to students before they arrive on campus, Thiel College invites admitted students during their senior year of high school to attend Career Discernment Seminars or schedule individual appointments with the Thiel Office of Career Services staff. During these meetings, students work with staff to discern their goals, talents and aspirations so that when they begin at Thiel, they have a clear plan for their coursework.
Additionally, Thiel has created a new enrollment category, called “exploratory,” that encourages students to explore a major like biology or history without locking them into a field of study. Faculty and career advisers mentor these students as they investigate their areas of interest.
While attending Thiel, all students are encouraged to participate in Thiel’s four-phase career development plan, which runs in conjunction with its academic programs. Thiel’s career guidance support, which also extends to Thiel alumni seeking to change careers or jobs, is one of the benefits distinguishing Thiel from other private or public schools.
While generating ideas for the Thiel Commitment, VanAken and staff also discussed how to address the concerns of prospective students and their families about being able to graduate in four years.
“It is as possible as it always was to graduate from Thiel in four years,” said VanAken, “but now we’re saying to our students, ‘You’re not penalized if you decide to study abroad or complete a semester-long internship or change your major late in the game.’ The bottom line is that if you need the ninth semester to finish up your undergraduate degree, and you’re in good academic, social and financial standing, Thiel will offer you the chance to do so free of tuition.”
President VanAken is enthused about the way the Thiel Commitment conveys his passion for student learning. “I’ve been in higher education for 20 years,” he says. “I knew I’d be a students’ president, and I feel such a responsibility to help shape their lives. Before too many years, I’ll be sending my own children to a college. Like other parents, I know I’m going to feel better if I’m sending them to a college that works tirelessly to help them achieve success. Thiel College is just that— committed to its students…for life.”
For more information about Thiel College’s new Thiel Commitment, visit www.thiel.edu/commitment.
About Thiel College
Founded in 1866, Thiel College is a liberal arts, sciences and professional studies institution located in Greenville, Pa., that provides a great balance of academic challenge, personal and social involvement, and exceptional value to its 1,000 students. For more information about Thiel College, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, visit www.thiel.edu or call 800-24-THIEL.