When prospective students toured Point Park during Open House days in fall 2014, some had a particularly enthusiastic guide: President Paul Hennigan, Ed.D. He also pops up to work during the Pioneer Experience, pedals alongside students on his annual bike tour of Pittsburgh, and helps families haul belongings into the dorms. As an educator and as a parent of two college-age sons, Hennigan understands the needs of students and families in the rapidly changing environment of higher education. And, at a time when many important student-focused initiatives have been rolled out on campus, he says, there’s never been a better time to be a Point Park student.
Leading the Way
Point Park initiated its first doctoral degree, an Ed.D. in Leadership and Administration, at the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year. Thirty-eight doctoral students began their studies last fall, filling the new program to capacity. The program educates leaders who will be able to: function as a skilled instructional and/or organizational leader in an educational, non-profit or business environment; understand the interrelationships among stakeholders; use the six performance domains of authenticity, vision, culture, quality, service systems and communication to lead and effect change; and understand the role of research in guiding assessment and progress.
Point Park’s Bison Rugby Club, formed by just a few enthusiasts in 2010, has grown rapidly to become a dedicated squad of about two-dozen players that kicks off against universities such as Carnegie Mellon and Robert Morris in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference. In the collegiate rugby conference, the Bison and other players compete in a seven-week season with teams from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Named Student Organization of the Year in 2014, the Bison Club has gained recognition not only for its prowess on the pitch (a rugby field) but also its commitment to community service.
Professor of psychology Sharna Olfman, Ph.D. explores better treatment for children's mental health issues in her latest book, The Science and Pseudoscience of Children’s Mental Health. Aimed at mental health practitioners, concerned parents, and child advocates alike, Olfman’s book is an effort to better understand the causes of children's psychological disturbances—and as a result, the proper treatment of these issues. A native of Montreal, Olfman has been teaching at Point Park for 22 years. She spoke with The Point about her work and the importance of connecting with children in a meaningful, thoughtful way.
Past Is Present
Preservation is a key element in plans for the new Pittsburgh Playhouse, a 92,000-square-foot cultural and educational hub that will be located on a 1.6-acre parcel between Forbes and Fourth Avenues in Downtown Pittsburgh. Point Park will soon embark on the first phase of the Playhouse construction process: meticulous deconstruction of three historic façades that will be reconstructed as major focal points in the new building. Led by preservation architects at Landmark Design Associates, the façades at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes Ave. were documented in preparation for careful dismantling, cataloging, storage and eventual reinstallation in Playhouse courtyard.
Title IX at Point Park
Awareness of personal rights and responsibilities related to sexual misconduct, particularly on the nation’s college campuses, has increased significantly in recent years. With this heightened awareness has come a corresponding increase in questions and reports related to Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in any program of a school that receives federal funds, and requires schools to respond to knowledge and reports of sex discrimination in a specific manner. Point Park places great importance on the safety and security of its students and employees and does not tolerate sexual misconduct. The University has implemented measures to ensure that campus members are not only safe, but also knowledgeable about what steps can be taken if any sexual harassment or assault is experienced or observed.