ECPI University Impresses APSCU President

APSCU President Steve Gunderson and ECPI University President Mark Dreyfus meet with students Anthony Higa and Wendell Hughes in the Mechatronics Lab

Former Congressman Steve Gunderson just toured ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus and came away thoroughly impressed. Appointed president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) earlier this year, Gunderson is conducting a fact-finding tour to collect information on best practices among member institutions.

Said Gunderson following his meeting with faculty and students, “I am going to call my friends at the White House and ask them to tell the President that if he wants to see a university that really approaches STEM education in a meaningful way, that consistently produces graduates with skills desperately needed in today’s economy and effectively serves veterans and people of color, he should come visit ECPI.”

President Obama has made it a priority to support efforts to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). ECPI University President Mark Dreyfus says previous government efforts, while well-intentioned, have failed to focus on what’s really important. “Every bit as important as the curriculum is the method of delivery,” says Dreyfus. “ECPI’s hands-on approach blends knowledge and classroom learning in a way that resonates with all types of learners and produces graduates who can apply that knowledge the moment they enter the workplace.”

With a large skills gap and many unfilled jobs in the nation’s increasingly automated manufacturing sector, many employers are now looking to educators to step forward and help them address a growing problem: with a significant percentage of manufacturing technologists preparing to retire in the next 10 years, who will replace them? Steve Gunderson believes schools like ECPI University have a great deal to offer. He says “we need to change the conversation and set in place a plan to meet America’s skill demands. If we succeed, we will not only heal our ailing economy but re-establish a vibrant middle class.”

Chris Lassiter – Making the Most of Each Day

Chris Lassiter

 

If life is a gift, then Chris Lassiter demonstrates each and every day that he is possessed with an abundance of gratitude. He entered the Charlotte Campus’ Network Security program as a fresh high school graduate. When he arrived, he was typical of most traditional college students. To pay his way through school, he balanced a full time job at Wendy’s with his class schedule and homework responsibilities.

Half way through the program, Chris became very ill, was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and was forced to withdraw from school. This experience would be terrifying for anyone but was especially so for someone so young. After a six month hiatus, Chris returned to class with a new found drive and maturity seldom found in people his age; and his performance during the last half of his program foreshadowed coming success.

After completing his externship in 2010, Chris interviewed for a position on campus, and it was quickly apparent to all concerned that he stood head and shoulders above all other candidates. “Chris has a fantastic combination of people skills, abilities and motivation,” says Help Desk Administrator Supervisor Mike Martin. “He comes to my office and says ‘hey Mike, I was thinking….,’ and what follows is almost always a great idea for improving our operations or his own performance. He is truly an outstanding employee.”

With a talent for troubleshooting, this Help Desk Administrator is always searching for solutions. Possessed of the “I want to do more” attitude, Chris is the personable face of IT that students and faculty meet. Some of his duties include helping with password resets, phone support and software/hardware maintenance campus-wide. It is his enthusiasm for going beyond what is required, however, that makes him exceptional.

Quiet and understated, Chris becomes animated when discussing some of the money-saving work-overs he has implemented at the Charlotte campus, claiming he is just “tinkering here and there.” One of his more notable projects is the configuration and installation of FOG, a program that can distribute and install software to all the school computers simultaneously and remotely. FOG eliminates the need to service each machine separately, saving time and money. For a campus that uses extensive technology in addition to computers, streamlining maintenance and troubleshooting service adds up fast.

Chris Lassiter is an example of the enthusiasm, dedication and pursuit of excellence that ECPI students bring with them. His advice to new students: Don’t get behind and don’t miss class!

High School Students Learn to Develop Web Application through STEM Camp

The Youth Center of Hampton Roads hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp at ECPI for 20 enthusiastic Hampton Roads teens. The five-day program in July introduced students to mobile technology and included an opportunity to learn and develop a web application (APP).

There is a national movement to encourage more students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. The “Change the Equations” national initiative pledges to create literacy in science, technology, engineering and math as an investment in the nation. One of the goals of the initiative is to inspire student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers to increase success and achievement in school and opportunities for a collegiate education.

ECPI Academic Technology Associate Dean, Gerry White, works with the kids to teach them APP development.

“We were really excited about introducing and reinforcing the STEM initiatives to participating youth,” said Paul Dockery, Business Development Specialist for ECPI University. “It was a great partnership to share with the youth the cool aspects of the technology field. These same areas are those that will allow the Hampton Roads community and beyond to remain the technological leader in the marketplace of the 21st century.”

The course, taught by Gerry White, covered beginning Mobile Web APP development. Students learned to design icons and buttons and facilitate the coding to launch their own Mobile Web APP. At the end of the program students created an individual APP to showcase their resume and writing samples with links to their social networks.

The program was through the Youth Career Center of Hampton Road operated by Opportunity Inc., which provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth aged 14-21. Area businesses that supported the workshop included ECPI University, STIHL and We Are Titans.

Two workshop participants show off their custom built APPs.

The Changes of Fall

Fall is the time of year that traditionally most students return to school. For some of you this may be the case, but for the majority who choose ECPI University for the convenient year-round schedule, fall is just another change in seasons that hopefully finds you closer to your goal of graduation. This year we encourage you to focus more closely on our communities and the holiday season.

At all ECPI campuses, students and staff are engaged in helping the community by finding ways we can give back to those in need. There are many people who, during these difficult economic times, need a helping hand. ECPI University supports many community charities and organizations including: the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, community blood drives, “Christmas Angel Tree“ program, Food Bank, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer, American Heart Association Heart Walks, Diabetes Walks, blood pressure and glucose screenings for diabetes awareness, book drives, Girls Get IT, and many others. Ask about the activities at your campus and join us in helping the community.

Fall has brought other changes at several of our campuses across Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In Virginia Beach, our first master’s degree students started their program pursuing the Masters of Science in Information Systems. The program, taking less than 15 months, will also be offered online beginning in January 2012. At the school of health science campus in Newport News, Virginia, students started a new associate’s degree program in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. This program, which can be completed in 18 months, incorporates hands-on clinical training in local hospital and clinical settings, and prepares the student to take the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers board exam.

Also, three of ECPI University campuses serve as Certified Assessment Centers for the Virginia Manufacturers Association. In October the Innsbrook campus in Richmond, Virginia became the fourth site in the state to provide exclusive industry assessments. Not only do ECPI students benefit, but the entire manufacturing community will be able to make use of this assessment.

Along with change, some things remain constant at ECPI University, and one of those is our commitment to support the military. ECPI University was again honored by G.I. Jobs in its 2012 Military Friendly School list. The ranking honors the top 20 percent of colleges and universities that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students. We make every effort to assist military students in getting their degree, including our military distance learning partnerships with every branch of the military and our unique partnership with the Wounded Warrior Program to provide on base training.

As 2011 comes to an end I encourage you to remain persistent in your pursuit of higher education and know that everyone at ECPI University is here to support you in your efforts and goals.

Sincerely,

Mark Dreyfus

Moncef Baazaoui: Real Student. Real Story.

We hear so many great success stories from our students and graduates. We wanted to share one that appeared on the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) YouTube page. APSCU is a voluntary membership organization of accredited, private, postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs.

Moncef shares his pursuit of the American dream.