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Peirce College to Revolutionize Higher Education for Philadelphia Region's Adult Learners


Peirce College to Revolutionize Higher Education for Philadelphia Region's Adult Learners

New Course Formats, Business Partnerships Meet Demands of Today's Non-Traditional Students

PHILADELPHIA, March 17, 2015 -- Through one of the only programs of its kind in the country, Peirce College students will no longer have to choose between watching their child's basketball game or an unexpected late night in the office and attending their on-campus class.

Beginning this fall with four degree programs and then rolling out across the rest of the curriculum over the next year, Peirce students can decide from week to week whether their busy schedules will allow them to attend their classes in person or online.

The new flexible class environment is one of several initiatives that are part of the a comprehensive and overarching strategic plan approved this year during the institution's 150th anniversary. After months of exhaustive research, Peirce, over the next three years, will make several major changes to its offerings that will allow its students to earn a degree at their own pace and on their own schedule.

A non-profit, four-year college specializing in career-focused education for working adults, Peirce will be the first institution in the Philadelphia region -- and among the first in the nation -- to roll out a flexible class environment over its entire curriculum.

"The needs of the marketplace are changing and higher education needs to change with it," said President Jim Mergiotti. "The size and scope of Peirce College has allowed us to be nimble in meeting the needs of adult learners over the past 150 years. Our ability to quickly adapt is how we'll continue to be successful for the next 150."

Additionally, Peirce College will launch a pilot program in May that allows students to complete accelerated courses over the span of three weekends as another way they can speed up the amount of time it takes to complete a degree.

"We heard quite clearly from our adult learners that it is difficult for them to conform to a traditional, rigid class schedule, since they have personal, professional and community obligations to attend to," Mergiotti said. "Since Peirce's first online programs were introduced in 2000, our students have been able to take any course in person or online, but they had to commit to their choices through the entire course. Based on the market's needs, it is clearly time to take this flexibility to the next level."

Beyond these new offerings, the Peirce College strategic plan sets into motion several other initiatives that reinvigorate its focus on adult learners, as well as its commitment to offering an adaptable and speedy path to a college degree that instills valuable work skills and develops relationships with potential employers.

  • Competency-based learning: Instead of basing college credits on traditional examinations and class assignments, this future initiative will recognize the skills and knowledge students have acquired through their professional, personal and academic experiences to determine their understanding of subject matter. This path to a degree will be more affordable to an adult learner who is able to show mastery of a specific skill to earn college credits outside of a traditional course.
  • Expanding business partnerships: Peirce College will hire a senior level employer relations leader, who will strategically expand upon the college's connections with companies such as Comcast, Independence Blue Cross and SEPTA in an effort to strengthen the Philadelphia region's workforce by helping its students find jobs and employers develop or find talent to successfully grow their businesses. This individual also will work to develop corporate fundraising and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Guidance and support: With new programs and offerings that many may have never seen before, Peirce will offer a new support model customized to each student's individual academic, career and life management needs. The College plans to invest in new resources to ensure every learner has the best chance for success.

Each of the college's new initiatives underscore its commitment to non-traditional students, securing its place as the national leader in the education of working adults -- a focus since Peirce was founded in 1865. 

"There are thousands of people in this region who have been disconnected from opportunity and are on a path that won't lead to a sustainable career unless they can get an appropriate education," Mergiotti said. "They represent a segment of the American population with a huge amount of earning potential that has been generally overlooked by higher education. Through our strategic plan, Peirce will play a significant role in helping to develop this part of the population and help improve our region's and our nation's economy and society."

View the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan here.

About Peirce College
In 2015, Peirce College celebrates 150 years dedicated to providing higher education to working adults. In celebration of this momentous occasion, Peirce will host a year-long series of events surrounding the theme, "Many Years, One Purpose." Peirce College offers bachelor's and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology and Legal Studies and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in thee hart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults, many of whom work full time and are raising families. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104 (phone: 267-284-5000). Additionally select programs are accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs the American Bar Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

For more information about Peirce College, call 888.467.3472 or visit

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