Pathways - The Magazine of Community College of Philadelphia

Campus Currents

Community College of Philadelphia News, Ideas and Trends in Brief
Campus Currents

Improvements at the West Regional Center are under way

Renovations are taking place at the West Regional Center facility, as well as an expansion into a neighboring building that will allow Community College of Philadelphia to add instructional space and learning resources for students.

Expected to be finished in summer 2011, the renovations to the buildings will add two computer classrooms and create a Learning Commons for students, which includes collaborative services of the Library, Learning Labs and Student Academic Computing Center. These new features will offer West Regional Center students more research resources, free tutoring and computer access to further support their educational goals.

Other changes to the Regional Center will include an integrated façade between the two buildings, a covered and ADA-compliant walkway leading to a new entrance, and a new foyer and security desk. Modifications to the outside of the buildings will enhance visibility for the Center on 48th Street.

The renovation and expansion of the West Regional Center supports several critical Master Plan goals for the College: ensure that all of the College’s instructional centers offer comprehensive academic and student support services in a manner that reflects best practices in higher education; provide students with full access to current computer-based technology inside and outside of the classroom; and provide an environment that maximizes opportunities for student collaboration and engagement with faculty and other students outside the classroom.

New Partnerships Expand Access to Four-Year Degrees

President's Letter

Rosemont College and Saint Joseph’s University are now members of the College’s Dual Admissions program. This initiative helps students seamlessly transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at one of the participating colleges and universities. Students that meet established requirements can take part in this free program. Dual Admissions enables students to reserve a place at one of 11 local colleges and universities and prepare for transfer with advisors from those schools, all before graduating with an associate’s degree from Community College of Philadelphia. Students will transfer with junior standing, and they may be eligible for scholarships. Spending two years at Community College of Philadelphia on the
way to a bachelor’s degree can mean significant savings for students. Since the tuition rate at the College is lower than at four-year colleges and universities, students will spend less for their four-year education.

Dual Admissions

The College’s additional Dual Admissions partners are Cabrini College, Chestnut Hill College, Cheyney University, Drexel University, Eastern University, Holy Family University, La Salle University, Peirce College and Temple University.

Beyond the Dual Admissions program, the College also helps students transition to a bachelor’s degree program through the dozens of transfer agreements it holds with many colleges and universities in the region, including Arcadia University, Moore College of Art and Design, Rowan University, WestChester University and Wilmington University.

Faculty Honors & Achievements

Anne sciolla

ANNE SCIOLLA, a voice instructor at the College and adjunct assistant professor of voice at the University of the Arts School of Music, provided backup vocals on Joey DeFrancesco’s album, “Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson,” which was nominated for a Grammy this year in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category. Sciolla and Samantha Aurielo, one of her students at the University of the Arts, provide backup vocals behind DeFrancesco on “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Sciolla’s own recordings include her 1998 debut album “Jerome Kern: Lost Treasures,” which she recorded on Centaur Records with fellow College faculty member Brian Kovach. She is currently working on her second album, “Diva Free Zone,” a selection of jazz classics.

Margaret Stephen

MARGARET STEPHENS, associate professor of Social Science and faculty advisor for the College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, has been named a 2011 Phi Theta Kappa faculty scholar for the academic field of Environmental/Earth Science/Geography. As a scholar, she participated in Phi Theta Kappa’s 2011 Faculty Scholar Conference Feb. 2–6 at the Center for Excellence at Phi Theta Kappa’s headquarters in Jackson, Miss. Conference speakers included Helen Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent, and Ron Nief and Tom McBride, creators of the Beloit College Mindset List, which catalogs the rapidly changing worldview of each generation. Faculty scholars are chosen by application. The Scholar Conference prepared Stephens for her role as a seminar leader for the Honors Institute, which will be held June 13–17, 2011, at Boston University.

Diane BurkoDIANE BURKO, former Art department faculty member, received a 2011 Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 12 for her many years of service at the College and in the art world as a leader in the feminist art movement. Burko started at the College in 1969 as an instructor. She became a full professor in 1985 and retired in 2000. She currently works as a landscape painter and photographer. The WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards celebration was held in New York City during the annual Women’s Caucus for Art and College Art Association conferences. Burko helped found WCA in 1972 in connection with the College Art Association. She currently chairs the association’s committee on women in the arts. WCA is a national member organization of artists, art historians, students, educators and museum professionals.

Colonials Achieve Success

The 2011 Colonials men’s basketball team won their second straight Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference(EPCC) title on Feb. 13 but fell short in an effort to repeat as state champions, losing to Community College of Beaver County 108 to 97 in overtime. The Colonials captured the Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association (PCAA) state title in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

The Lady Colonials women’s basketball team, after a late season surge, also earned a spot in the Feb. 13 regional finals but lost their bid to play for the state title in a heartbreaking 51-50 defeat to Harrisburg Area Community College.

Community College of Philadelphia’s women’s cross country team repeated their double championship victories for the fifth straight year, capturing the 2010 EPCC championship on Oct. 16 and the 2010 PCAA championship on Oct. 23. The Lady Colonials cross country team was undefeated in league competition for the season, as they were in 2009 and 2008. Coaches Rogers Glispy, Ephener Green, El’Phant Eure and Robert Taylor were awarded Coach of the Year honors for the sixth consecutive year.

The men’s cross country team—EPCC and PCAA champions in 2009—finished second in all league races for 2010.

Basketball Coach Robert "Dondi" Deshields scores 300th win

In the decade since Robert “Dondi” DeShields became head basketball coach at Community College of Philadelphia, the men’s team has won at least 300 games, eight regional and six state championships.

This impressive record makes DeShields possibly the “winningest” basketball coach in the region. No one can say for sure, however, because the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (EPCC) and the Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association (PCAA) do not keep official records on individual coaches.

basketball team

But no one can quarrel with DeShields’ impressive record. On Jan. 19, the team defeated Luzerne County Community College 83-40, giving DeShields his 300th win in 11 seasons as the College’s head basketball coach. His teams have lost just 71 games during that time.

For DeShields, a College alumnus who played hoops as a freshman and sophomore, the 300th win was a landmark in his professional career. Building a championship basketball team has not been easy. The College does not have scholarships or other enticements to offer promising student athletes. “At Community College of Philadelphia, we do not get the polished student athlete,” DeShields said.

A number of awards recognize his coaching expertise. He was named EPCC basketball coach of the year for nine out of the last 10 years, and in 2007, he shared the Small College Sam Cozen Coach of the Year Award with David Pauley of the University of the Sciences.

“He had me go to the library to study for at least two hours a day and hit the computer lab. Before that, I never knew that studying helps you take it to the next level.”

Tyreece R. Brown,
2003 graduate who went on to graduate from Fayetteville State University


As a coach, DeShields places strong emphasis on academics. Players must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average as freshmen and a 2.3 grade point average as sophomores if they want to remain on the team. He and his assistant coaches conduct tutoring sessions for players and monitor their classroom performance weekly.

Tyreece R. Brown, a former Colonial who graduated in 2003, transferred to Fayetteville State University (FSU) and played basketball for two seasons, said DeShields’ message helped him succeed both on the court and in the classroom.

Brown said he was a good player but a poor student before coming to play for DeShields. “He had me go to the library to study for at least two hours a day and hit the computer lab. Before that, I never knew that studying helps you take it to the next level.” Brown maintained a 2.7 grade point average during his two seasons with the Colonials and a 3.3 grade point average at FSU, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

DeShields, 53, grew up in South Philadelphia, where he played basketball at Barrett Middle School, Marian Anderson High School and the Christian Street YMCA. He played two years at Community College of Philadelphia while earning an associate’s degree in Communications. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Communications at Temple University, but did not play basketball there. He chose instead to focus on his studies.

After graduation, DeShields worked as a sports writer for the now defunct Philadelphia Bulletin and later as a part-time basketball coach in South Jersey before being hired as head basketball coach at his community college alma mater.