Gannon recognized in several awards


Michael Guido, News Editor

Gannon University has received several awards and notices of recognition by nationally  recognized newspapers and other outlets.

The Wall Street Journal included Gannon as part of its 2021 college rankings, ranking the university among the top 25 percent in one specific category and the top 50 percent in another.

The rankings included 800 schools across the country and were based on 15 individual performance indicators in line with four designated categories: resources, engagement, outcome and environment.

Gannon received its strongest score in the engagement category, coming in at No. 177.

According to the press release, the ranking “evaluates how immersed students are in the academic experience and is based on results of survey responses on student engagement, student recommendation, interaction with teachers and students and number of accredited programs.”

Elsewhere, the university received a resources ranking of 386th, which serves as a measurement “of the university’s capacity to deliver effective teaching, based on the school’s financial health and the ratio of faculty to students, as well as research papers per faculty.”

The outcomes and environment rankings both fell below the midpoint.

The university was also recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a national university for the second consecutive year.

The recognition, which was featured in the recent release of “America’s Best Colleges,” ranked Gannon 91st out of 220 top schools and universities in the United States that offered undergraduate degrees in engineering, which is decided “based solely on judgments of deans and senior faculty at peer institutions.”

The report also ranked Gannon 209th out of 389 top schools and universities for social mobility, which “measures how well schools enrolled and graduated students who were awarded Pell Grants.”

Since first being recognized as a national university last fall, Gannon has added new programs for master’s degrees related to several fields, including biomedical engineering, speech-language pathology, strategic communication and business analytics.

Beyond that, bachelor’s degrees added include communication sciences and disorders, and applied exercise science.

Aside from academics, Gannon was also recognized as a 2020 Great College to Work For, a program that recognizes colleges that have garnered high ratings from the university’s employees pertaining to workplace practices and policies. The program per a Gannon press release, is “one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country.”

As part of the recognition, Gannon received top rankings in three categories: facilities, workspace and security; professional/career development programs; and tenure clarity and process for a four-year college.

The facilities, workspace and security category was written to describe a campus in which “facilities adequately meet needs, the appearance of the campus is pleasing, and the institution takes steps to provide a secure environment.”

The professional/career development programs category used the basis that “employees are given the opportunity to develop skills and understand requirements to advance in their careers,” to determine rank.

Finally, the tenure clarity and process for four-year colleges category is based on the rule that “requirements for tenure are clear, according to faculty members.”

In the press release, university President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., attributed the recognition to Gannon’s “WIG Fully Engaged” initiative, which was started with the goal of enhancing employees’ well-being through means of listening, training and developing policies.

Building on that recognition, Gannon was also named as “Workplace of the Year” by the Erie Times-News as part of its 2020 Commitment to Erie Awards during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 23.

According to the press release, these awards “honor employers and individuals for their investment and commitment to their employees, community and customers.”

The Times-News, in explaining the recognition, pointed to Gannon’s $26 million commitment to transforming the Knight Tower and adding a new cybersecurity program, as well as the university’s established goal of addressing employee concerns and creating a system to celebrate and recognize employees.

Staff agreed with the rankings and explained how they felt Gannon was a place they enjoyed working.

Jessica Mando, access services librarian for Nash Library, said that Gannon makes being an employee great for several reasons.

Mando listed generous benefits, upward mobility, travel opportunities, service, professional development, good supervision and COVID-19 management.

“During the COVID shutdown, not a single employee was laid off due to COVID-19,” Mando said. “We all continued to receive pay and benefits, regardless of the amount of productivity we were able to maintain at home.”

Mando said morale was boosted by regular check-ins by the president and other administrative personnel to inquire about any questions and to inform staff on new updates pertaining to the university.

The summer planning for the fall semester was also greatly appreciated, Mando said, as reopening would allow the school to keep everyone employed and return to a sense of normalcy.

“I think there are few workplaces and universities that can say the same,” Mando said.

Students appreciated the news of the awards.

Kyle Shank, a junior biomedical and mechanical engineering major, said he was happy to hear of the award Gannon received for being a top university that offers undergraduate degrees in engineering.

“Gannon has a great engineering program,” Shank said. “I’ve gotten a lot out of my major in terms of engineering and Gannon’s liberal arts program adds even more to the engineering curriculum to make us well-rounded students.”

Shank said he attributed his success to the small class sizes and professors who engage in a one-on-one experience.


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