Office of Professional and Graduate Studies

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Office of Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) bi-annual newsletter. Each fall and spring this publication will allow us to stay connected with current and former students, alumni, faculty, and friends of PGS. We will share PGS news, showcase our programs, share our growth, and highlight the accomplishments of our exceptional students.

Meet the staff members who
make up our PGS team.

Paul Bowers '78
dean, Professional and Graduate Studies

Paul is currently working to expand the College's adult and online learning programs. A Hiram College alum himself, Paul earned his B.A. in theatre, then his M.A. in broadcasting and film from the University of Iowa. Paul's previous experiences include being director of eLearning at Cleveland State University and associate dean of external programs at Buena Vista University. Paul was also a tenured media studies faculty member for many years at Buena Vista University. Prior to joining Hiram College in May, 2011, Paul served as solutions director for Blackboard Consulting, where he helped clients across the globe develop and grow online and adult learning programs. He possesses a broad range of experience in higher education in both faculty and administrative roles. He has worked extensively in higher education and distance learning for 30 years, starting successful online learning programs in private and public higher education institutions. Paul has helped established campus faculty development and support centers, campus computing and e-learning initiatives, and statewide distance learning networks.

Jennifer McDonough
associate dean, Professional and Graduate Studies

Jennifer earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in higher education administration from Kent State University. She has served various institutions of higher education for over 20 years. Her interests include academic program assessment, postsecondary accreditation and strategic planning, and she has filled roles in records and registration, academic advising, and enrollment management, to name a few. She enjoys working with students and faculty and has served the Hiram community in various roles since 2005. She came to Hiram College because of the strong commitment to liberal arts and the strong sense of community within the campus environment.

Michael Hollenbaugh
assistant dean, Student Services

Michael earned a B.A. in music from The University of Akron, where he played the tuba. He also earned his M.Ed. in K-12 educational administration, his Ed.S. in higher education administration and is currently in the dissertation process for his Ph D. in higher education administration, all from Kent State University. His research interests include higher education law and the public policy surrounding for-profit colleges and universities. He expects to graduate in the fall, 2013. Michael is married to a professor at Kent State University at Stark who teaches in the Communication Studies department. They have a two-year-old son named Jack. Before coming to Hiram College, Michael worked for the city of Barberton in their Parks and Recreation department, at Stautzenberger College, InfoCision Management Corporation and at Kent State University. He and his family reside in Barberton.

Caryl Lopez '08
program coordinator, Community College Partnerships

Caryl's passion is helping students achieve their goal of completing a college education. She earned a B.A. from Hiram College in business management and her M.Ed. in higher education administration from Kent State University. Prior to making her way to higher education, Caryl has accumulated a multitude of knowledge from the many positions she held in the business sector, including head teller in a bank, store manager of two major food franchises, personnel manager of a steel company and assistant purchasing manager for Timken Latrobe Steel. The current veteran member of the Professional and Graduate Studies staff, Caryl began working in the Weekend College as an administrative assistant in February 2006. She intended it to be an interim job while she completed her degree - but it quickly turned into a career path. Over the past seven years, Caryl has held many positions in the Weekend College including administrative assistant, operations coordinator and admission counselor for the undergraduate program before moving to her current position as program coordinator for our new partnership programs. She has three children, four grandchildren, and three Labrador retrievers. When she's not working, she enjoys camping, scuba diving, travelling and spending time with her family and dogs. Originally from Massachusetts, Caryl relocated to Garrettsville, Ohio in August of 2003.

Elizabeth Simeral
senior instructional designer

Elizabeth has over 30 years of experience in training, education, writing, software development and instructional design. She holds an M.A. in education with a concentration in instructional technology from The University of Akron and a B.A. in English literature from The Ohio State University. Elizabeth joined Hiram College in October 2011. She supports faculty development in using Moodle and guiding faculty through the online course design process. She is the College's institutional representative to Quality Matters, a national course design quality assurance initiative.

Rachel Walter
program counselor; VA certifying official

Rachel earned her B.S. in communication (media studies and theatre management) from Ohio University. While there, she worked with students on academic probation and first-year students in their orientation course. She then sold pre-employment background checks and nannied before going to graduate school at Kent State University for her Master of Education in higher education administration and student personnel. Rachel completed internships at Ursuline College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Notre Dame College where she worked in a plethora of positions with students on academic probation, new student orientations, and in career services. Her graduate assistantship at Kent State University was in the Center for Adult and Veteran Services. In this position, she created and sustained a large network of community partners to assist in her recruitment of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder into a program to assist in their transition back into civilian life and college. She came to Hiram College in April 2012 because she enjoyed working with adult students, but wanted to work at a smaller school to have a bigger impact on those she with whom she came into contact. Going to art shows, antiquing, and watching the Browns are some of Rachel's passions. She currently resides in South Euclid.

Lana Whitehead
program counselor

Lana holds a B.S. in education in human development and social policy from Northwestern University and an M.S. in education in student affairs leadership and practice from Youngstown State University. Lana entered higher education administration after serving many years in educational capacities in business and teaching in primary and secondary schools. Prior to joining Hiram College, she worked as an academic intervention specialist in the Center for Student Progress at Youngstown State University, as well as an adjunct faculty member. Her business experience includes work as a business consultant for Andersen Consulting (NKA Accenture) and business systems analyst for Kemper National Insurance Company. Lana joined PGS in November 2012. She resides in Canfield with her husband and six children.

Tony Isaac '09
admission counselor and business liaison

Tony earned his A.S. from Community College of Allegheny County and his B.S. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, both in food service management before earning his B.A. from Hiram College in accounting and financial management. Tony spent nearly 30 years in the restaurant business - 12 managing multi-million dollar restaurants across the country including Marriott International, Fuddruckers and Au Bon Pain. Additionally, Tony had careers as a financial consultant with Fortis Investors, and worked for six years as a financial analyst for new business development at AVI Foodsystems' corporate headquarters. He returned to Hiram in March 2011 because he feels an education adds value to not only the student, but the company that will employ that student. Tony encourages students to obtain their degrees to show companies perseverance and persistence. Earning a Hiram degree does that while giving corporations something they desperately need: creative interdisciplinary thinkers. Hiram changed Tony's life; this is his opportunity to pay it forward.

Emily Cole
admission counselor

Emily received her B.A. in art history from The College of Wooster. She started her career in higher education at Albion College in undergraduate admissions from 2001-2004. Emily then served in a number of roles at Case Western Reserve University from 2004-2011. Most recently, she worked in University Alumni Relations as assistant director of affinity programs. She also worked as assistant director of Alumni Chapter and Regional Programming and as assistant director of Undergraduate Admissions. She was a volunteer assistant coach for the CWRU varsity women's soccer team for three years. Emily then worked as production maven and community connector at The Civic Commons where her work centered on community engagement, project management and video production. She served as community outreach director for the National Talent Dividend Network. Lastly, Emily served as a board member and president of the board of directors for a non-profit in Northeast Ohio, Girls With Sole.

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What's New?

For starters, over the past year we've changed our name from simply the "Weekend College" to "Professional and Graduate Studies" - of which Weekend College is part. Our new name encompasses all of our new business endeavors as well as the Weekend College. Because much of our greatest pool of new adult learners come from current or graduated Weekend College students, keeping this wide network informed is very important. We'll keep you abreast of all that is happening in Hinsdale!

We are very proud of our heritage. Thank you to all who have recommended students to us; know they will continue our traditions and help create new ones.

Business Changes in Professional and Graduate Studies

A new year brings new partnerships, course delivery methods and new degrees! With these additions comes the potential to help Hiram College grow in ways it has never seen before. Each of these new revenue streams individually secures Hiram College's future little by little. Collectively, they provide a great outlook for a long, bright future on Hiram Hill!

Online Classes

We are constantly evaluating and looking for ways to create more flexibility for students in the Weekend College program. Our blended learning initiative will combine the flexibility of every-other-weekend face-to-face courses, eight-week online terms, and soon, fully online programs. We have already succeeded with our face-to-face courses that students love. However, eight-week mini-terms and more online classes and programs give students much more flexibility to create a customized way to learn according to each individual's schedule. Instead of having to wait 12 weeks if one needs to take the first half of a semester off, one can simply wait eight weeks for a new online term to begin. This will not only be great for staying full-time more easily, but will also create a quicker timeframe to graduate.

We have 12 online courses for summer and at least eight for the fall semester. Each subsequent semester will have a larger offering of these new courses. Expanding Hiram College's domestic and global reach is another key component of online courses and programs. This will make us more military-friendly; available to students who may have moved out of the area, but would love to stay part of the community; and help us reach those who may have never otherwise heard of the College on the Hill. The availability of a 24/7 helpdesk will allow students in any part of the world to get immediate assistance with issues they may be having online.

Community College Partnerships

The Office of Professional and Graduate Studies had a very exciting year in 2012! We began embarking on a new venture with community colleges through degree completion partnerships. The goals of these partnerships are twofold:

  1. to expand our reach and take Hiram's quality degree programs out to the community college students, and
  2. to support community college students with opportunities to pursue a four-year degree.

In the spring semester of 2012, PGS launched its first partnership with Lorain County Community College. Hiram's accounting and financial management major is now being offered to current LCCC students or those who have graduated with their LCCC associate's degree. These students can complete the degree entirely on the LCCC campus by taking classes in a variety of course formats, including on-ground, blended, online and though two-way interactive video distance learning (IVDL) - all taught by Hiram College faculty. Students can complete this program in as little as four semesters.

To date we have 42 students in the partnership at LCCC and are excited to announce 10 of those students will be earning their B.A.s in accounting and financial management in May, 2013. We are continuing to work with Stark State College, Butler County Community College (in western Pennsylvania), Cuyahoga Community College and Lakeland Community College to identify partnership opportunities with their campuses, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


In the summer of 2013, Hiram College will host an innovative new summer international exchange program for undergraduate and graduate degree candidates from India, focusing on global business management, business IT and e-commerce. The program will be presented in partnership with 9Global Institute of Applied Technology Inc., a global educational services and placement company based in Cleveland and New Delhi, India. 9Global is coordinating relationships with several universities in India, who will be sending 100 students to participate in the program.

Students will attend workshops in a variety of business-related topics coupled with cultural and global business experiences outside the classroom. The exchange program is designed to give the international students a taste of the American diverse education practices and liberal arts experience that fit with their aspirations and career paths in global professional environments. The program will offer visiting undergraduate and master's candidates workshops with Hiram faculty in areas of English comprehension, business management, information technology, management of multinational corporations and Internet marketing. Students will live on campus, will visit other universities, attend cultural events, visit landmarks and interact with businesses and business leaders in northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania and beyond.

New Graduate Programs

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program is one of a kind and has a very appealing draw to professionals from all backgrounds. However, some fields require a very specific degree depending on the job. Therefore we are looking to expand our graduate degrees into different fields. Stay tuned for developments coming soon!

Student Advisory Board

Finally, we have put together an undergraduate student advisory board to help the PGS staff better understand our students' needs and to be a sounding board for ideas for the future. In the near future we will be looking to create its graduate counterpart. These boards will be the first of their kind for PGS, and will serve a very important purpose. We want students to be able to provide constructive criticisms or accolades to the student advisory board, who can then bring that input to the staff. Currently there are two students from each major; one newer student and one veteran to ensure an excellent sample of students. We are here to serve your interests, so please let us know how we can better do so!


The Office of Professional and Graduate Studies would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading our first bi-annual newsletter. We hope these updates will help keep you informed and feel closer to our community. Please let us know if you have questions about our new staff or business ventures - we welcome the opportunity to get you excited about our changes, too! Take care and have a great spring!


Office of Professional and Graduate Studies
330.569.6111 |