Gannon University students can expect some exciting changes when they return from winter break.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Mauro, Ph. D., said that one of those changes is to enhance the way students are placed in internships and outside learning opportunities.
“We’re always trying to be ahead of the curve and be proactive,” Mauro said. “It’s not so much of a change but more of an enhancement or continued emphasis on student success.”
Mauro said that Gannon has hired Brian Collingwood to be the new director for Career and Employment Services.
Collingwood’s role is to work in a way that’s going to allow for better facilitation of internships to students and career placement after graduation.
Mauro said the new program was intentionally designed in a way to increase the amount of collaborations that Gannon has with its external business community members.
“I think it’s going to enhance the experience that students are going to get outside the classroom and to support what students are doing inside the classroom,” Mauro said. “Our end goal is that we want our students to be employable after they leave here.”
Instead of going to Career and Employment Services for an internship, Mauro said that the program is designed to look at a student as a whole and to inform them of outside learning opportunities based on all of their interests.
Mauro said that opportunities will be chosen for students based on individual interests, including their major, courses that they are taking, clubs and organizations that they belong to and past learning experiences that they have had, such as travel courses.
“It all ties into a summary of things,” he said. “We can [now] reach out in a very specific way, not just related to the courses that you’re taking or the major that you’re in but collectively who you are as a person, so that we can match that with all of those opportunities.”
Mauro also said that Gannon previously relied on businesses to come to the university when opportunities became available. Now Career and Employment Services will go to those businesses to learn about what they’re looking for and how Gannon can bring students to them.
Erica Wright, a senior political science major, said that she wishes Gannon would have made this change earlier.
“Erie has plenty of opportunities but they aren’t ever advertised or marketed to students through Gannon, especially in the humanities department,” Wright said.
“I know for political science majors, we really only get emails about summer internships in Pittsburgh that aren’t paid and that just isn’t realistic.”
Wright said she thinks that this new program will be of benefit to future and current students.
“Placement internships would open up so many doors for students,” she said. “Especially now since everyone now needs internship experience to actually have a chance in the real world.”
Another exciting thing that Gannon students can look forward to in the near future is the completion of the renovation of Beyer Hall.
Beyer Hall is expected to be done by the end of winter break, somewhere around the end of December or early January.
Another project that is currently in motion is the renovation of Nash Library.
Mauro said that it is currently in the developmental and conceptual stages but Gannon is definitely moving forward with the plans.
The exact timeline isn’t finished yet and won’t be completed for a while but a committee has been established for the planning of the library.
“We’re really committed to it at this point,” Mauro said. “It’s going to be a new state-of-the-art learning space for students.”
Mauro said the committee is moving away from the concept of a traditional library. Instead, there will be wide open spaces, study areas and more learning areas.
He also said that they are looking to incorporate Student Support Services into the library.
Mauro said that Gannon is always changing in small, unnoticeable ways.
“It all harkens back to our mission that we prepare students to be global citizens and socially responsive,” Mauro said. “It’s part of our Catholic intellectual tradition.”
With all of the changes and new beginnings for Gannon, two things will always stay the same – the focus on students and the focus on the mission.