Manor College Hosts Ukraine’s Top Education Leaders and has Dialogue about Ukrainian Education as the Battlefront of Democracy

Manor College hosted a dialogue featuring Minister Serhiy Kvit, Alex Kuzma and Dr. Andriy Zagorodnyuk discussing the most crucial areas of educational reform needed in Ukraine today. Over 100 members of the Ukrainian-American community traveled from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania to gather in the Manor College auditorium to be apart of Ukraine: Education as the Battlefront of Democracy. The dialogue examined the most crucial areas of educational reform needed in Ukraine in order to protect and preserve free and democratic ideals. Dialogue moderator, Dr. Albert Kipa, Former Rector (President) of Ukrainian Free University in Munich, Germany, and Professor Laureate of Comparative Literature, Muhlenberg College opened the dialogue by sharing a few well-known quotes defining the word “education” and said, “education tries to bring the best out of … humankind.” Kipa went on to say that the purpose of this dialogue is to talk about what the United States can do offer Ukraine greater stability in our world. The first speaker, Dr. Serhiy Kvit, Former Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine and current Director the of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy School of Journalism focused his remarks on the reform of Ukrainian universities and colleges. Kvit noted that Ukraine’s main reform concept is rooted in internationalization. Kvit shared the main contributing factors on why Ukrainian universities and colleges are not where they ought to be. Kvit said, “No generation change has taken place yet in higher education administrators. The current administrators grew up in soviet times and are not aware of contemporary western standards of higher education.” Other speakers included Dr. Andriy V. Zagorodnyuk, Vice-Rector of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, who focused on the challenges his university faces. Zagorodnyuk shared some impressive statistics indicating that the Precarpathian University is ranked 4th in Western Ukraine and 16th in Ukraine. Zagorodnyuk also discussed the happenings at Science Park, a brand of the university that focuses on scientific research. One project that he is currently working with is focusing on the effects of aging of neurons when calories are restricted. This was demonstrative evidence that while some educational corruptions exist in Ukraine, the Precarpathian University can be a model for the other 900 or so institutions of higher education. The third speaker, Alex Kuzma, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation which supports the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) located in Lviv, Ukraine, focused his remarks on how UCU faculty, administration and students are truly in the battle for educational reform. Kuzma shared a heartbreaking story about how one of UCU’s community members was shot and killed from a sniper bullets during the 2014 Kiev protests while trying to drag another injured UCU member to safety. Kuzma also noted that while we are here today to talk about educational reform in Ukraine, he said, “We have to approach this issue with a certain level of humility – knowing that even here in the United States, higher education is in crisis and we have something to learn from the students and faculty in Ukraine in terms of forcing economic, political and educational reform.” The dialogue concluded with an impromptu speaker, Dr. Leo Rudnytzky, a retired Professor from La Salle University and former Rector (President) of Ukrainian Free University, who was called up from the audience by President Peri to offer remarks. Rudnytzky reflected on his days as President of the Ukrainian Free University and said, “Much progress has been made. I remember the days when I was rector and there were rectors and professors from other universities in Ukraine who would ask me: what’s the most important thing that we can do in terms of education reform?” Rudnytzky shared with the audience that he would continually answer, “Decentralization.” Meaning that it should be up to each individual university about how they wanted to run their university. This suggested a break from a time when government intrusion was part of the culture. Rudnytzky also posed a question to Kvit (his former student) asking about student rights in Ukraine: whether students have a say in the curriculum and if their ideas are being considered. Kvit answered Rudnytzky’s questions by saying, “the problem is we can’t change the system because there are too many higher education institutions. There are about 900 institutions of higher education, most of which are not actual universities, and … Ukraine needs to consolidate the number of higher education institutions in order to really change the system completely.” The dialogue concluded with a brief Q&A period where several audience member questions were answered courtesy of Dr. Kipa’s moderation, followed by some light refreshments and a meet and greet with the honored guests. President Peri closed the dialogue by saying, “if it’s not us who begin to address the issues presented in Ukraine, then who will? We can really make a difference and it’s just a matter of collaborating.” As president of America’s only institution of higher education founded by Ukrainian religious sisters, President Peri later said, “Most folks probably don’t know enough about Ukraine, other that it borders Russia, and that’s true, but what needs to be known is that Ukraine is struggling to be westernized because it has cultural lag from soviet times compounded by Russia’s war with Ukraine. This cultural lag, along with pay-for-GPA corruption and a weak economy, slows Ukraine’s westernization, and therefore, harms Ukraine’s upcoming students. Our program today was about what we can do to help. The answer we got was: We need partnerships with American institutions. We’re glad we can be at the forefront of that conversation.” Stay tuned! Manor College is going to continue host Ukrainian focused dialogues every semester and on May 25, 2017 at 5pm, Congressman Brendan Boyle along with some fellow members of the Ukrainian Caucus will be having a congressional hearing / town hall styled event on Manor’s campus open to the community. To watch the full dialogue – please click here

Manor College announces 2017 Commencement Speaker – Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera

Pedro Rivera The Manor College 2017 Commencement is set for Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 1:00pm in Mother of Perpetual Help Hall Auditorium on Manor’s campus On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the graduating class of 2017 will gather at 1:00 pm in the Mother of Perpetual Help Hall Auditorium on the Manor College campus, surrounded by family, friends, faculty, staff and alumni for the commencement processional. 100+ students, who have shown their efforts through hard work and dedication, will receive their long-awaited diplomas conferring Associate degrees in Science and Arts. Pedro A. Rivera, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, will be this year’s commencement speaker. Raised in the Huntington Park section of North Philadelphia, Rivera is a lifelong educator and very familiar with Manor College. From 2008 – 2015, he served as the superintendent of the School District of Lancaster. His position as Secretary of Education was appointed to him by Governor Tom Wolf and was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate in 2015. “Secretary Rivera has to be among Pennsylvania’s most dedicated Secretaries of Education.  Having had the chance to sit around the table with him in multiple venues, I can say without pause that he is incredibly down-to-earth and devotionally focused on improving education for  Pennsylvania’s students,” said Manor College’s President Jonathan Peri, “we are blessed that he will be our commencement speaker for 2017.” Prior to his title as superintendent, Rivera spent 13 years in the education field as he worked his way up. He served as a teacher, a staff member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, an assistant principal, a principal and the executive director for the School District of Philadelphia. His extensive experience in education and a career of helping students is heavily utilized in his role under Governor Wolf. During his time as superintendent, Rivera and his team created a new PreK-12 curriculum, an aggressive professional development plan and innovative teacher observation tools. Under these changes, the district’s graduation rates and state assessment scores improved, including noticeable increases in math, writing and science, along with heightened participation in college-aimed programs. Rivera also served on the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, which created a funding formula to reinvest in Pennsylvania’s schools that was signed by Governor Wolf in June 2016. In September of 2014, Rivera was one of only ten nationwide to be honored as a Champion of Change by the White House. Rivera’s district has also been recognized by the Washington Post for having one of the top twenty high schools for academic rigor in the United States. Manor College welcomes Rivera as its 2017 Commencement speaker, and is looking forward to hearing his thoughtful remarks to the Manor College Class of 2017.  

3 Reasons Why You Should Attend An Evening at Manor

3 Reasons Why You Should Attend An Evening at Manor 1. Support the exciting initiatives at Manor College By supporting the gala, you are supporting programs, scholarships, renovations and everything in between that is happening on campus. 2. Cocktails, dinner and dancing,  need we say more? After you have enjoyed the signature cocktail and a delicious meal, a stellar classic rock cover band will get you up on your feet to a night of movin’ and groovin’! 3. Win beautiful benefit “raffle” baskets! With over 20 fully stocked raffle baskets, having a variety of themes such as “A Taste of Italy”, “Summertime”, “Lucky Lottos” and more – there will be something that everyone wants to take their chances on! Buy your tickets for An Evening at Manor here or email development@manor.edu for more information.

Manor Hosting Daniel Crofts Book Presentation

On April 25, Daniel Crofts, a respected Civil War Historian and retired professor emeritus from The College of New Jersey, will be at Manor College discussing his latest book, The Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union.  The book presentation will consist of an introduction at 11AM and will be followed by a question and answer session at 11:30AM.   Matthew Smalarz, History and Social Sciences Coordinator at Manor College stated, “Professor Crofts will offer the Manor College community a closer look at the complex and turbulent history of the 13th Amendment during the American Civil War.  We encourage everyone interested in learning more about the history of race, slavery and American politics to attend.” Crofts has written five books about the North-South sectional crisis that led to the Civil War.  Included in the books is Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (University of North Carolina Press, 1989).  His latest book has received great reviews; Kirkus Reviews described the book as “Meticulously detailed… a thorough look at the dissension that tore the country apart.” Choice expressed, “A highly readable account of a seldom-remembered feature of early Civil War history.  Highly recommended.” Manor College is thrilled to welcome Daniel Crofts and is anticipating a very informative discussion.