Clifford Coppersmith to Become 6th President of Chesapeake College

The Chesapeake College Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Clifford P. Coppersmith to be the school’s sixth president. Dr. Coppersmith was chosen by a unanimous vote of the Trustees from a pool of 72 applicants in a nationwide search that was narrowed down to four finalists who visited the campus in late February.

Coppersmith, 55, is currently Dean of City College, an embedded community college within Montana State University Billings with 1,400 full and part-time students. He’s been the school’s chief executive officer in charge of academics, student affairs, finance and facilities since July 2015.

Dr. Clifford P. Coppersmith

Prior to City College, Coppersmith held several administrative and academic positions including over 19 years at two institutions: Pennsylvania College of Technology, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University; and Utah State University – Eastern, formerly the College of Eastern Utah.

“Dr. Coppersmith’s background and experience were a great match for the qualifications and expectations established at the outset of our national search for a new president,” Chesapeake College Board of Trustees Chair Blenda Armistead said. “We were looking for someone with a proven track record in developing programs to address workforce needs in the community, and he brings that experience to the Mid-Shore. Dr. Coppersmith also understands and has extensive experience with the transfer mission of community colleges. As an individual who began his higher education in a community college in upstate New York, he is committed to ensuring that Chesapeake College will serve as a gateway to further education for all of our residents.”

Armistead noted Coppersmith’s ability to collaborate with public school leaders, local government, and business and industry partners to develop both credit and non-credit programs focused specifically on workforce needs. These have included programs in emergency management, nursing and allied health, computer science, metal and construction trades, diesel technology and automotive repair.

“Cliff has worked effectively with state and local government, and this was one of our priorities in our search for a new president,” she said.

“He understands the economic and social challenges in rural areas similar to the Shore. Moreover, the trustees are confident in his ability to strengthen the sense of community among all constituencies within the College, which was another expectation established for our new president.”

Community engagement will be among Coppersmith’s first priorities.

“Right off the bat, I want to establish those relationships and connections that are so critical to the success of the College,” he said. “I anticipate working closely with the members of the Board of Trustees, civic and public education leaders and the local business network to strengthen Chesapeake and its vital role in serving the five-county region as a center for higher education, cultural activities and economic development.”

Coppersmith met with the Board and participated in on-campus forums with students, faculty, staff and Mid-Shore community leaders last month.

“I had a great exchange with all those groups when I interviewed,” he said. “I was extremely impressed with the quality of the campus and its facilities and the engagement of the faculty and staff, and I considered my meeting with the students the highlight of the visit.”
Coppersmith and his wife Kathleen have strong personal connections to the region.

“Kathy and I are excited to return to a part of the world we love in which we’ve had many great experiences,” he said. “We were married in Kensington outside D.C.; spent the first night of our honeymoon in Chestertown; and for 11 years, the Chincoteague and Assateague Island seashores were our family’s favorite vacation spot. The Eastern Shore has been a special place for us for that reason and others.”

Born in the West Indies, Coppersmith said saltwater is in his blood. He looks forward to sailing, kayaking and canoeing on local waters and visiting the beach.

The Coppersmiths have three adult children – including two living in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – three grandchildren and close family members in Frederick and Northern Virginia.

A former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard and an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, Coppersmith believes strongly in executing the mission of the College which is critical to his vision for Chesapeake.

“It comes from my military background,” he explained. “Almost everything I do on a daily basis is premised on serving the mission of the school and its students. I’ve been successful in figuring out what the strengths of an institution are, what its mission is, and then connecting that to the community I serve.”

His service background also includes 45 years in scouting with the Boy Scouts of America.

Coppersmith holds four academic degrees: A doctorate in history and anthropology from Oklahoma State University; a master’s in history from St. Bonaventure University in New York State; a bachelor’s in political science and Latin American studies from Brigham Young University in Utah; and an associate in social science from Jamestown Community College in New York State.

WC Admissions Won’t Penalize High School Students Who Protest Gun Violence

Washington College today joined dozens of colleges and universities around the country to ensure high school students who protest peacefully against gun violence that their admissions status won’t be affected if they are suspended or otherwise disciplined for their actions.

After the tragic killings of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on February 14, high school students around the country have rallied behind the #NeverAgain movement in an effort to force state and federal lawmakers to pass safer gun laws. Some high schools have suspended or otherwise disciplined students for walking out of class as part of their protest—all at the moment when many high school seniors are seeking admission to college or have already been admitted.

Typically, college admissions officers would look at a disciplinary action like suspension as a mark against a student, but dozens of higher-education institutions, from MIT to Yale and now Washington College, have stated that they will not rescind admissions decisions for these students.

“Washington College was founded on the principles of moral courage, civic engagement, and commitment to action. I applaud these students’ willingness to put their futures in jeopardy in order to stand up for what they believe in,” says Lorna Hunter, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “These are the students who will build upon our strong foundation and carry on the Washington College name for generations to come. We will not penalize them or rescind their admissions status due to any disciplinary action they incur for seizing this moment to peacefully effect change in their world.”

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Valcik is Named Principal at Easton Middle School

Talbot County Public Schools has appointed Mrs. Jaclyn Valcik as Principal of Easton Middle School. Valcik has served as Acting Principal since October 2017, replacing Dr. Norby Lee, who officially retired at the end of January.

Mrs. Valcik earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision I from Loyola University.  She has Maryland Advanced Professional Certification in Elementary Grades 1 – 8 and Administration & Supervision I and II.  She has served as Assistant Principal at Easton Middle School since 2014.

“Mrs. Valcik has demonstrated outstanding commitment and enthusiasm during this interim period,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. “She has proven that she has the background and skills to provide strong leadership at Easton Middle School.”

Valcik began her career with Talbot County Public Schools in 2003 as a long-term Substitute at Chapel District Elementary.  She then taught third grade at Easton Elementary – Moton from 2003 to 2007, first grade at Easton Elementary – Dobson in 2007-2008, and sixth grade English/Language Arts at Easton Middle School from 2008 – 2010.  Mrs. Valcik was Talbot County Teacher of the Year for 2010 – 2011.  She was promoted to Assistant Principal at Easton Elementary School in 2010, where she remained until 2014.

“I am elated about this opportunity,” Valcik said. “The past few months have been both exciting and rewarding, and I consider it a privilege to lead this fantastic, dedicated team of educators and serve the Easton Middle School students and their families.”

Mrs. Valcik resides in Easton, Maryland with her wife Amanda and daughters Brynn and Bryce, who both attend Talbot County Public Schools.

Chesapeake College Announces Four Finalists for President

The Chesapeake College Board of Trustees announced the selection of four finalists in its search for the school’s sixth president. Each candidate will be on campus to meet with faculty, staff, students and Mid-Shore community leaders in a series of forums over the next two weeks.

Following a four-month process that included public input on the qualifications, characteristics and values sought for the school’s new leader, the 14-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Nash McMahan, submitted four finalists to the Board of Trustees:

Clifford Coppersmith

Dr. Clifford Coppersmith, Dean at City College, an embedded community college within Montana State

Keith Cotroneo

University, Billings Montana. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Pennsylvania College of Technology, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, Williamsport, PA; and College of Eastern Utah, Price, Utah.

Dr. Keith Cotroneo, President at Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington, West Virginia. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Quincy College, Quincy, Massachusetts; Broome Community College, Binghamton, New York; Treasure Valley Community College, Ontario, Oregon; and Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown, Maryland.

 

Dr. Ted Lewis, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, Tennessee. He held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Lone Star College-CyFair, Cypress, Texas; and Collin County Community College, McKinney, Texas.

Dr. Lisa Rhine, Provost and Chief Operating Officer at Tidewater Community College Chesapeake

Lisa Rhine

Campus, Chesapeake, Virginia. She held prior administrative and academic affairs positions at: Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky; Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and Sinclair Community College, also in Dayton.

“Under Nash McMahan’s leadership, the Search Committee evaluated 72 candidates and delivered its final choices a month ahead of schedule in response to the community’s desire for an expedited process,” said Blenda Armistead, Board of Trustees Chair. “From our faculty, staff and student representatives to volunteers from business and academia, it was a dedicated team that committed countless hours studying the community focus group and online survey results and reviewing applications from across the country.”

Armistead said the Search Committee interviewed seven candidates last week before making its final selections.
“It’s an exceptional group of finalists with considerable experience serving in administrative and academic affairs leadership positions at community colleges, technical schools and four-year institutions,” Armistead said.

The Board expects to make its final choice by mid-March and hopes to have a new president on campus by July 1.

Mid-Shore Education: Saints Peter and Paul School Rainforest Turns Nineteen Years Old

It may not be that unusual anymore for school to create a model rainforest as part of an introductory science course but when the Spy learned that the Saints Peter and Paul School rainforest is now going on its 19th year. It got our attention pretty quickly.

Ever since Lisa Morrell started to teach elementary science at the Catholic day school in Easton, the annual building of the rainforest has been one of the great traditions at a  school that already has a significant number of them. In fact, it’s safe to say that while only a handful of students create the rainforest every year, it’s also true that literally, every student at Peter and Paul’s lower school will walk through as well.

The Spy caught up with Lisa and a few of her students this week just before the rainforest was to be dismantled and stored while it waits for its 20th anniversary next year.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Saints Peter and Paul School please go here

Good Stuff: The Country School to Receive $250,000 Grant from Zaffere Foundation

The Country School received a generous contribution this week from the Philip A. Zaffere Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for children of significant need. Mr. Zaffere, a Federalsburg native and owner of Zaffere’s Bakery, which became Shoreman Food Technologies, passed away in January of 2016 and left a legacy built on lifelong learning, a love of animals and nature, and a deep commitment to his family and friends. His foundation gifted The Country School $100,000 and will contribute an additional $150,000 within the next 5 years.

The fund will be invested to produce income to be used toward tuition for a child who has demonstrated significant need and who exhibits the same qualities possessed by Mr. Zaffere: a deep curiosity for the sciences, a natural creativity, and an appreciation for the wonders of nature. This award will also recognize the value of diversity of all kinds.

Realizing that his small family bakery could survive only by creating new products and innovative baking processes, Zaffere began experimenting with making a crumb product. He developed and refined the formula, and designed ovens and other equipment to produce a consistently high quality product, which General Foods used in Stove Top stuffing mix. At one time the Federalsburg plant was producing all the crumb for Stove Top as well as breading for Mrs. Paul’s frozen products. One newspaper article dubbed him the “Crumb King.”

Family members and friends remember him as a shrewd businessman who also possessed a playful, mischievous quality. A loyal, compassionate, and generous friend, Zaffere recognized and cared about the needs of others, and worked quietly to meet them however he could. He faithfully visited friends and family who were ill or shut-ins, and even put his college career on hold to take over the family bakery when his father died.

Although the sale of his business left him with significant assets that enabled him to establish his foundation, Mr. Zaffere never lost touch with the ethic of hard work, determination, and persistence developed in his youth. As one whose own college education was never completed, but whose curiosity and thirst for information never ended, he valued education and fine schools highly. It is with these tenets in mind that the Philip A. Zaffere Scholarship Fund was born at The Country School. Zaffere’s nephew, John Orban, was the director of technology for 15 years; John’s wife, Cindy, is the school’s librarian and diversity director. Their sons are alumni of The Country School, as are John’s two sisters.

“Although Uncle Philip never had children of his own, he was deeply interested in quality education for all children. With this scholarship fund, families who share his commitment to education but whose significant need could not be met through standard financial aid, will

be able to make a Country School education possible for their children. I can imagine nothing which would please him more.”

At the Airport: Building a New Hanger with a Design by St. Michaels High School Students

While it remains an overused phrase at times, the words “it takes a village” does have a special ring to a unique mentoring program in the area for students to experience first hand the challenges and fun that come with being an engineer.

A case in point is this year’s project of ACE Mentor Program of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. ACE is an after-school program that introduces young people to careers in architecture, construction management, engineering and other disciplines. And for over thirty years, ACE has been providing Talbot County high school students  with the chance to work on a local engineering project, and this year, thanks to the collective effort of retired engineer and ACE volunteer mentor Jack Dempsey, the Easton Airport, and the “client’ John Galdieri, president of Trident Aircraft, a half-dozen young men and women have been asked to design a new airplane hanger this spring.

As Jack shares in his interview with the Spy, his students never fail to impress him on how quickly they can produce plans that are not only exceptionally well thought out but can equal at times the work of professionals.  Only last year, his team projected the cost of building a new Chesapeake Bridge to be close to $2.5 billion a few weeks before the State of Maryland engineers had calculated about the same cost range.  Not bad.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the ACE Mentor program please go here

WC Announces New Partnership With Georgetown University Medical Center

Mindy Reynolds (left) co-chair of the Department of Biology and associate professor of biology, works with a student.

Washington College students who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in a range of biomedical science and research disciplines have a new opportunity thanks to a strategic partnership the College has developed with Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The new partnership enables qualified WC graduates to receive a 15 percent tuition discount for any master’s programs offered through Biomedical Graduate Education (excluding online programs).

“For pre-med students, this partnership provides an opportunity for additional training before applying to medical school,” says Mindy Reynolds, co-chair of the Department of Biology and associate professor of biology, who helped develop the partnership. “But the breadth of the programs also enables our students to launch a career in health-related and biomedical science and research. For instance, earning a master’s in bioinformatics would prepare a student to do high-level data analysis in a research lab.”

“We are thrilled to officially partner with Washington College and offer their students the opportunity to further their studies on our campus,” says Barbara Bayer, Senior Associate Dean of Biomedical Graduate Education and chair and professor of neuroscience. “Over the past few years, WC alums have successfully graduated from our various MS programs in areas such as Biotechnology and Health Physics, and gone on to start their careers in the metropolitan DC area. I am delighted that our institutions have come together to create a pipeline for bright and talented WC graduates to study biomedical sciences at Georgetown University.”

Charlie Kehm, chair of the Department of Physics who has been leading Washington College’s efforts to develop partnerships with institutions offering post-graduate options for students in the Division of Natural Sciences, says GU’s master’s programs provide excellent opportunities for students who are interested in the science and technology side of emerging social health issues. These include programs in Biohazardous Threat Agents & Emerging Infectious Diseases; Biostatistics; Bioinformatics; Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy; Biotechnology; Complementary & Alternative Medicine; Integrative Neuroscience; and Systems Medicine.

But there are also programs focused on areas more related to the basic sciences and those interested in pursuing medical school, including Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Microbiology & Immunology; Pharmacology; Physiology, the Special Master’s in Physiology; and Tumor Biology.

“We’re very excited about this new partnership with Georgetown because of the diverse possibilities it offers our graduates,” Kehm says. “And, we know that the faculty in these programs work very hard to open doors for their students through their extensive network of contacts and partners in the Washington, D.C., area.”

Washington College students who complete their four years of undergraduate work still must go through the regular application process for the master’s programs at Biomedical Graduate Education. If accepted and enrolled, they will receive a 15 percent tuition discount.

Kehm says he hopes this will be only the beginning of what could become an arrangement similar to dual-degree programs Washington College has developed which enable students to fast-track their way to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Just last fall, the College announced a new dual-degree program for environmental science and studies students at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and other similar programs include one in engineering with Columbia University, and in nursing and pharmacy with the University of Maryland.

For more information about the master’s programs offered by Biomedical Graduate Education at Georgetown University Medical Center, visit https://biomedicalprograms.georgetown.edu/. For more information about how to apply, visit https://biomedicalprograms.georgetown.edu/academics/partnerships.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC Moves Up in Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Rankings

Following a trajectory it has been traveling in similar higher education statistics, Washington College has elevated three points in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings for 2018. The latest rankings, which compare the college alongside all other universities and colleges in the country, list the College at 205, compared with 208 in last year’s ranking. Among liberal arts colleges in the survey, Washington College ranked 75th in the country.

“Moving up at all in these rankings is a difficult task; moving up three points is a terrific achievement,” says Washington College President Kurt Landgraf. “What’s especially gratifying about our performance in this Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education list is that when you break out only liberal arts colleges, we are ranked 75th in the country. That’s an excellent standing, particularly for this survey which relies on real data and student input. We should be extremely proud of what this says about Washington College.”

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings make an effort to quantify how colleges and universities provide a powerful learning environment to students, putting the emphasis on student success. One of the ranking’s most valuable tools is a survey of more than 100,000 current students that examines their opinions on their interaction with teachers, satisfaction with their education, and how engaging their academics and studies are.

Among the survey’s questions were whether students would choose Washington College again, if the College provides an environment where they feel surrounded by exceptional students who inspire and motivate them, and if the College is effective in helping them obtain valuable internships that help them on a career path. On a scale of 0 to 10, 10 representing strongest agreement, students answered between 7.7 and 8.1 for each of these questions.

In specific categories, Washington College ranked 149th in “resources,” which addresses variables including how much the College spends on students and student-to-faculty ratio, and 200th in “outcomes,”which takes into account statistics including graduation rate, salary after graduation, average debt, and the default rate.

“The ranking includes clear performance indicators designed to answer the questions that matter most to students and their families when making one of the most important decisions of their lives—who to trust with their education,” the authors said in describing the survey’s methodology. “These questions include: does the college have sufficient resources to teach me properly? Will I be engaged and challenged by my teacher and classmates? Does the college have a good academic reputation? What type of campus community is there? How likely am I to graduate, pay off my loans and get a good job?”

Washington College’s elevation in the 2018 rankings jibes with its steady climb in other well-known annual examinations of higher education performance. In U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings for 2018, WC is listed 96th among liberal arts colleges across the nation in the 2018 report, up from 99th in 2017, 100th in 2016, and 105th in 2015. And in 2016, for the first time, the College was included in the annual Top 300 Best College Values by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, ranking 232nd among the top 300 institutions out of 1,200 surveyed and 91st among the top 100 liberal arts colleges nationally.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Chesapeake College Foundation Receives Largest Planned Gift

The Chesapeake College Foundation has received the largest planned gift in its history from the estate of Rev. William L. English, an Episcopal priest from Dorchester County.

As stipulated by the estate, an $892,000 endowment has been established to fund W.L. English Nursing Scholarships for Chesapeake students.  Preference is given to Dorchester County residents pursuing a nursing degree.

“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift that makes it possible for students to attend Chesapeake College, earn a degree and pursue a rewarding career in nursing,” said Lucie Hughes, the college’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the school’s foundation.  “As one who ministered to others, Father English understood the power of compassionate care and appreciated the collaborative education and training provided by Chesapeake College and Shore Health to bring along our next generation of nursing professionals.”

(L to R) Nurse Bill Shertenlieb with Pat and Richard Gauen outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Father English’s former church in East New Market.

Rev. English was a patient at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester where the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing team treated him on several occasions in 2015.

According to Pat and Richard Gauen, close friends from East New Market, he often spoke of the excellent nursing care provided during those hospital stays.

“He said they treated him like a king, but they didn’t know he was going to make this donation,” Pat said.  “I never heard him complain that he received bad care in the hospital…not one time.”

Bill Shertenlieb, a registered nurse from Cambridge and graduate of the Chesapeake College nursing program, was one of Rev. English’s regular ICU caregivers.

“He was very easy to take care of and had the ability to bring out creativity and kindness in the care you delivered,” Schertenlieb said. “He made you happy to be a nurse.”

Nursing is a family profession in the Shertenlieb household. His wife Wendy also graduated from the Chesapeake program and became a nurse in 2013. While she was in school and caring for their children, Bill worked three nursing jobs to support the family.

“Father English and I discussed how hard it was, but I didn’t have the slightest clue about the donation,” he said. “I was stunned. Sometimes you get surprises like this…you don’t always know whose day you’ve made.”

Shertenlieb is now a critical care transport nurse with Shore Health Maryland Express Care. Wendy works for Coastal Hospice in Dorchester County.

Nursing care is a critical need in the Mid-Shore region according to Jon Longest, Chesapeake College Health Professions Chair.

Rev. William L. English

“We are in the midst of a significant nursing shortage in the United States that is even more pronounced in rural areas like the Eastern Shore,” Longest said.  “The English scholarship makes a nursing career more accessible to young adults and even older students who are making a career change or looking to advance within the profession.”

Hughes said the number of annual awards given by the English scholarship fund will depend on need and other financial aid students receive. Initial awards range from $350 to $2,000.  She estimates that as many as 25 students a year could receive grants in the future.

Students interested in the nursing scholarships should complete Chesapeake’s general scholarship application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both are accessible at www.chesapeake.edu/financial-aid.

Donors interested in discussing a planned gift with the college can contact Hughes at 410-827-5879. Online donations can be made at www.chesapeake.edu/chesapeake-college-foundation.

Rev. English was born at Dorchester General Hospital in 1936 and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1954. He was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1965 by the Bishop of Easton and from 1965-1966, he was the rector for three Mid-Shore parishes:  St. Stephen’s, East New Market; St. Andrew’s, Hurlock; and the Chapel of the Epiphany, Preston.

Following 32 years of ministry on Staten Island in New York City, he retired to Cambridge where he lived in his childhood home on Radiance Drive until his death in 2015.