President & CEO of NeighborWorks NEPA to Deliver Commencement Address

Johnson College has chosen Jesse Ergott, President and CEO of NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania (NWNEPA) to give their 2016 commencement address to graduates on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Mr. Ergott has served in the community development field for over 15 years.  During this time, he has used his community planning background on many different types of initiatives, including environmental and conservation projects, educational programming, historic preservation efforts, and the promotion of tourism in northeastern Pennsylvania.JE - Portrait

Prior to joining NWNEPA, Jesse served as Chief Operations Officer for the Lackawanna Heritage Valley State and National Heritage Area where he was responsible for the administration and oversight of the organization’s programs, projects and day-to-day operations.

Mr. Ergott currently serves as the Vice-Chair for the National NeighborWorks Association, a national trade organization representing over 240 organizations across the United States. Ergott was previously selected as the National NeighborWorks Association’s National Emerging Leader of the Year and has also been named one of the Northeast Business Journal’s past “Top 20 Professionals Under 40”.

Mr. Ergott resides in Tunkhannock with his wife, Sara, and their two children.

Katie Leonard Promoted to Executive Vice President

Johnson College is proud to announce the promotion of Katie Leonard to Executive Vice President. Ms. Leonard began her tenure at the College in January of 2007 as the College’s Coordinator of Grants and Annual Fund. From there, she had continued success in the areas of fundraising and community outreach which led her to become the Director of Development, Director of Institutional Advancement, and then on to Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Senior Vice President of College Advancement. Over the last nine years, Ms. Leonard’s KL0007contributions to the College have been innumerable. In her time with the College, Ms. Leonard formed industry relationships, reestablished the alumni program, increased annual giving, and initiated the College’s rebranding in 2011. She executed the College’s first-ever capital campaign in 2013 which raised comprehensively $5.1 million to build the new Health Science Technology Center on campus, the largest building project to date.

Dr. Ann L. Pipinski, President and CEO of Johnson College commended Katie on her leadership abilities at the College. “Katie is flexible and agile, she is also proactive.” Dr. Pipinski also said “when you put a task in Katie’s hands, it always gets done. She does quality work while always keeping things fun and exciting.”

Joseph Durkin, P.E., Chairman of the Board of Directors at Johnson College also shared how Katie’s continued enthusiasm positively influences the College “Katie has demonstrated insight and ingenuity in leading the effort to implement what we call the ‘Four Board Directives’. These are broad directives which fundamentally reformulate how we deliver education to our students. Katie’s energy in managing these changes has been instrumental in the success of this process.”

Ms. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from York College, a Master of Arts degree from Mansfield University, and is pursuing her doctor of education through Rowan University. She held multiple positions working with government officials and non-profit organizations before bringing her talents to Johnson College. In York, she was the Executive Director of Downtown Inc., York’s Main Street Program. Ms. Leonard has also made great contributions to the community outside of her roles with Johnson College. She is on the board of directors of NeighborWorks of Northeastern Pennsylvania, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s Rebranding Committee, and a board member of the Lackawanna Home Builders Association.

Ms. Leonard resides in Scranton with her husband Bill and daughter Sophie.

Office of Online Learning Launches Distance Education


Katie Leonard, Executive Vice President of Johnson College; Joan Bonczek, Sr. Director of Academics and Program Director of the Radiologic Technology program; Laura Little, Director of Online Learning and Division Chair of Business Management; and Dr. Ann L. Pipinski, President and CEO of Johnson College.
Katie Leonard, Executive Vice President of Johnson College; Joan Bonczek, Sr. Director of Academics and Program Director of the Radiologic Technology program; Laura Little, Director of Online Learning and Division Chair of Business Management; and Dr. Ann L. Pipinski, President and CEO of Johnson College.

Johnson College had been interested in making online learning available to students for the past few years. During the 2015-16 academic year, the vision became a reality after forming a new Office of Online Learning and integrating a new learning management system, Desire 2 Learn (D2L) into existing curriculum.

The College is always looking to make its educational experience unique to students and started exploring online class options in the fall of 2012. A task force was assembled and tasked with researching learning management systems which would allow for collaboration between instructor and student, online. The task force first came to the table with about ten options, from those options, they narrowed down to three. Throughout the 2013-14 academic year, the three were tested and the task force decided to take D2L to the sandbox, or testing, stage. During the sandbox, faculty were able to begin using the functions with students for a year. Many students, especially in the business program, had the opportunity to work with D2L which gave great insight for instructors when considering the functionality. The sandbox test phase proved to be a success and in the fall of 2015, D2L went live for the entire College. Currently five courses are available completely online and many are available as hybrid classes. Hybrid classes allow for some class sessions to compliment an online curriculum.

Online learning has made a Johnson College education more attainable than ever. Although no programs are entirely online, the course offerings available are proving to be thorough and convenient for students. Online learning benefits the College’s students in two ways, through added flexibility and expanding capacity. With online classes, students are not required to be on campus, so it is easy for them to read class materials and complete assignments from home during a time that is best for them. Many students have jobs and families and online learning helps them stay enrolled in the required amount of classes and allows them to determine the days and times they can devote to schoolwork. As far as capacity, online learning frees up more classrooms on campus and thus, allows the College to have more students enrolled at one time since they are not all on campus at the same time.

Like many colleges, retention is an important factor when rolling out new education methods. To be sure that distance education will best serve the student, Johnson College has taken a few measures to prepare for student success. First, all freshmen are required to take Student Success Seminar in their first semester at the College. In this class, instructors begin to acclimate students to the functions of D2L and require that all assignments be submitted online. The freshmen begin to utilize uploading functions, discussion boards, and quizzes. After completing Student Success Seminar, students are given an option to complete a training which will qualify them to enroll in online classes. The training can be completed once a student has achieved 12 credits, has a minimum GPA of 2.0 and is granted permission from their advisor as a satisfactory candidate. The one-time, technical training takes approximately one hour and successful completion qualifies them to enroll in online courses. Johnson College has reported that since this vetting process has begun, they are seeing great success of online students.