Online Parents Chat with Dr. Spinelli: 1/20/10

Below is a transcript of Dr. Spinelli's Parent Chat held on Wednesday, January 20, 2010.

Dr_Spinelli (P): Welcome everyone. Happy New Year. I am glad that you joined us this evening and I look forward to answering your questions.

MOMandDad2013 (Q): I see your will be adding the Design, Engineering and Commerce (DEC) major soon - any thoughts on adding a BS in entrepreneurship?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Design, Engineering and Commerce is a major curriculum effort at the University. The three disciplines will not be joined into a degree. Students will receive a degree within their discipline. However our innovative curriculum will focus on collaboration between these three disciplines and a real-world approach to solving problems.

Dr_Spinelli (P): I also want to address question about entrepreneurship. The "DEC" curriculum is a wonderful structure that leads to innovation. Innovation is at the heart of entrepreneurship. We are expanding our offerings in entrepreneurship through the Business School. Look for some announcements about this at the end of the semester.

D._McCleary (Q): What are the plans for freshmen orientation and what is the schedule?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Philadelphia University has a unique and wonderful freshmen orientation program that we call START. But we don't end there. There is a full year of programming specifically designed for freshmen. This includes new freshmen orientation and the First Year Experience program (FYE). This is the best orientation program I have seen in over two decades of experience in higher education.

richelia (Q): I already have another daughter enrolled at the school. What kind of financial break would I be entitilled to?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We encourage all parents to file a FAFSA form. This form helps us understand the specific nature of a family's financial needs.

Brenda (Q): Can students have duel majors?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Theoretically, yes. However, the nature of our professional curriculum is very intense and dives deeply into the discipline. Therefore, double-majoring usually requires additional credits, a dedicated student and real endurance.

D._McCleary (Q): We heard that new dormitories are being built where the apartments are now. When will construction begin and will they be ready for the class of 2015? How many units?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have a project design for 150 beds and are investigating additional options. The economic realities of this recession dictate prudence. I expect enhanced housing options to be available for the class of 2015.

Sara (Q): My child is very pleased to be accepted. My questions is: What do you tell a child who knows where they want to attend , but feels so unsure about which field they are sure they want and therefore, have a hard time committing because they see so many different options that seem great? intriguing?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Congratulations! We have a record number of applications so far this year. My advice is to read the student journals and blogs and to communicate your questions to other students via the PhilaU Facebook page. I would also recommend your child visit some classes. Sit in on those classes that intrigue you, have lunch with students engaged in those disciplines and ask a lot of questions. I would also stop by Career Services and talk to them about the careers that students in those fields pursue.

Debbie (Q) : My daughter is a third-year architect student and since her freshman year has volunteered and applied for various activities (i.e. Rambasador, Habitate for Humanity, etc.) and always seems to be selected as an "alternate." Who makes the selection for these students to become members and how does the selection process work?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Each program is administered by a different office on campus and each process is distinct to the goals of the program. Competition is often quite keen for these prestigious leadership opportunities. If your daughter is frustrated in seeking these opportunities, please suggest that your daughter stop by the Dean of Students Office to talk to Dean Govoni about future opportunities.

rich_elia (Q): Is there a comprehensive program to help graduating studends get a job in their field?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Absolutely! The process starts early in each student's career at Philadelphia University. The Career Services office has a vigorous outreach program for each class and for each discipline. Seniors are afforded close attention as they get close to graduation. Students are challenged to take the initiative to work with a career officer on internships, resume building and other professional activities. We hope by this time in the academic year for seniors they have a very specific job campaign strategy. We far exceed national averages for placement of seniors in jobs or graduate programs.

mswelsh203 (Q): How many freshman applications are you currently processing and when can we expect to hear about acceptance from your admissions team?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have a record number of applications this year and have had to increase our staff for processing purposes. Having said that, you should hear from us within 30 days of submission of a completed application. Don't hesitate to contact the Admissions Office for a progress report.

Christine (Q): In the wake of the economic decline, will tuition be reduced at all?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have worked very hard to increase financial aid and scholarships for our students. This occurs mostly through the generosity of our alumni. While I don't expect tuition reductions, we will continue this important fundraising work to help students defray the comprehensive cost for their education.

Debbie(Q): I understand you taught a course in starting and running a business. Do you still teach that course and is it open to all students or just a specific major?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Thanks for the question! I love teaching entrepreneurship. Each Fall I teach one section of New Venture Creation and expect to do so every year. We are expanding our offerings and hope that all students might be interested. This is very exciting for me.

mps4peace (Q): Hi, I am a freshman parent and I seem to recall an invitation, back in Aug. , to a small session you were to give for the students about handling finances/banking. Can't exactly recall, but I think it was a one time session. Refresh my memory. Did that happen? Will there be another?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have developed a Financial Literacy Program for our leadership programs. We also continue to offer a seminar during our new student orientation program. We are developing a credit bearing course and hope to have this offering available for the coming year.

evamer (Q): What about students who may not be as "proactive" in seeking help for their career goals? Do the career counselors seek out their students to sit down and discuss career goals with them or is it solely the student's responsiblity to do so?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have outreach on a virtual daily basis by email and campus media. We do extensive work with classes in each of the disciplines. Faculty serve as resources to the center and directly to the students. Approaching faculty in the disciplines is a great way to start. There is no substitute for the student seeking out our office so, in candor, students need to take advantage of the many pathways to career counseling.

Anne-Marie_McCartan (Q): Our son has applied to your architecture program for next year. Please describe one aspect of the architecture program that sets it apart from other, more established, programs.

Dr_Spinelli (A): The architecture program has matured over 20 years and has all the requisite national accreditations. It has been very successful in placing students throughout the country in high level architecture positions. We have particular expertise in applied skills, collaborative interdisciplinary perspectives and national acclaim in green building and design. We have been recognized by the United States Green Building Council for excellence in education.

evamer (Q): Dr. Spinelli, in addition to "homecoming weekend" which was very informative and enjoyable for the students and parents, does PhilaU plan any other activities to keep parents "in the loop" as to the school's future plans, keeping up with their children's progress, etc?

Dr_Spinelli (A): Thanks for the question. This chat is one such strategy. I am committed to an open dialogue with parents on our educational perspective and delivery. I would encourage your close connection through the internet and PhilaU Today as well as Innovator magazine. I encourage parents to always simply call any administrator to ask a question, raise a concern or simply provide feedback on how we are doing in educating your sons and daughters.

Brenda (Q): For entering freshman, can you tell us what we should be doing at this point as far as the FAFSA? What scholarships are available?

Dr_Spinelli (A): All parents are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. This is the standard method by which financial need is determined.

D._McCleary (Q): Can you elaborate on "enhanced housing options" for my incoming freshman?

Dr_Spinelli (A): We are currently exploring a variety of options to provide more common space and alternatives for living, learning programs based in the academic disciplines. In addition we hope to expand upper class housing options to provide more on campus housing for all students.

Debbie (Q): Dr. Spinelli: This is not a question but a statement, especially to those students looking to attend PhilaU. My daughter is a third-year architecture student at PhilaU and loves the school as well as her professors. She loves the fact that her class sizes are small and the professors and Deans know her by name. As a parent, I have had nothing but wonderful and positive experiences with everyone I speak to; from the Administration office to the clerks in the book store. Everyone goes out of their way to help, and if they don't know the answer to a question, they will see to it that they find someone that can help. I listen to my daughter talk about her major and it is clear to me that she is getting a wonderful education at PhilaU. She will be applying to go abroad in the Fall and is very excited about the opportunity to be able to study in Rome for an entire semester. Thank you for a very positive experience.

Dr_Spinelli (A): Thank you. This is the reason we are so committed to higher education.

terryb (Q): Good Evening! My son is a freshmen in the Honor's Program. He loves Philly U! He discussed some info with me concerning ABET accredidation over the break and I was wondering if you had any info on this and where or who I could speak to concerning it so we had a better understand of it.

Dr_Spinelli (A): We are pursuing ABET accreditation for the engineering program and expect to have our site visit next Fall by ABET. We fully expect to be accredited at the earliest possible moment following this visit. That's in the hands of ABET but can be no longer than one year from the visit.

anastasia_schepers (Q): Our daughter was accepted to the Interior Design program. what are the strenghts of the PHILAU program?

Dr_Spinelli (A): It would be difficult for me to restrain myself regarding this program. Our expertise in the built environment is world class. In 2009, Kimberly Wannop, alumnae and chief designer for the set of the popular television show "Bones", was nominated for an Emmy award. This fall, in competition with schools from all over the country, our interior design students took a majority of the awards. I believe this is because we have a highly collaborative set of design disciplines that give our students a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Anne-Marie McCartan (Q): I have not had the chance to read the new strategic plan. Does it address how a university that is developing a new model for the professional university of the 21st century still honors and encourages study in the arts and sciences? Thank you.

Dr_Spinelli (A): We have a unique and sophisticated approach to integrating the arts and sciences with the professional disciplines. We are one of the few schools in the country to require study in both the liberal arts and the chosen discipline throughout the undergraduate experience. It is that kind of collaboration that distinguishes our university and empowers students to be leaders in their professions.

Dr_Spinelli (P): Thank you for your questions. We will post a transcript of this chat on this webpage tomorrow. There are a number of questions in the queue that we will answer offline and also post.