News & Events

Like Your Desk Chair? Thank A Human-Factors Psychologist

The human factors area of psychology developed at 30,000 feet: World War II pilots, under stress, too often pressed the wrong button, ejecting before they meant to.

Military scientists reconfigured the cockpits, placing related controls in clusters and shape-coding others. By adding circular or triangle-shaped knobs to control toggles, they helped pilots identify the controls by touch. That led to fewer mistakes, which meant fewer pilots dangling from parachutes.

College Begins Construction of 'Innovation Commons'

Penn State Behrend has begun construction of a $112,000 “Innovation Commons,” a collaborative lab where students, faculty members and industry partners can develop product ideas, create prototypes and consult with lawyers, bankers, marketing experts and others who can support entrepreneurial projects.

Penn State Behrend Funds $58K in Summer Research

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, is funding nearly $58,000 in undergraduate research this summer. Forty-nine students will participate in the studies, working directly with faculty mentors.

Psychology students will continue a pilot program with the Cleveland Clinic, working with college athletes and a Wii gaming console to measure the long-term effects on memory and balance as athletes recover from concussions.

Ralph Ford Named Interim Chancellor

Ralph Ford, director of the School of Engineering and associate dean for industry and external relations at Penn State Behrend, has been appointed interim chancellor of the college, effective July 1.

Ford will be the college’s chief academic and administrative officer. He assumes the top leadership post left open by the departure of Chancellor Don Birx, who in May was named president of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

July 23 & 24: Pioneer Reunion for 1948-63 Alumni

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Women in Glenhill Farmhouse dormitory roomThe first students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, are invited to return for a special two-day reunion in July.

Chancellor Birx to Leave Penn State Behrend for Presidency of Plymouth State University

Don Birx, chancellor of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will leave the top post at the college effective July 31 to become president of Plymouth State University, a campus of the University System of New Hampshire. 

An interim chancellor for the college will be named by July 1. A national search to fill the position is expected to begin with the start of the academic school year in late summer.

Read Jonathan Hall's Commencement Address, "Breaking Good"

Penn State Behrend faculty member Jonathan Hall, a senior lecturer in physics, urged the Class of 2015 to seek opportunities for service to others in “Breaking Good,” his address to graduates and their guests at the college’s spring commencement. The ceremony was held Friday, May 8, at Erie Insurance Arena.

Greetings everyone, especially our graduates and their families.

May 11: Black School of Business Banquet

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The top economist for Citigroup will discuss the “new normal” for the global economy during the Black School of Business spring banquet at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 11, in McGarvey Commons, in the college’s Reed Union Building.

A reception for faculty and friends of the school will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will begin an hour later.

Engineering Design Conference Showcases Student Work

An electronic gun lock, a mine-rescue robot and a smartphone app that identifies aquatic invasive species were among the senior design projects that students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, presented at the Richard J. Fasenmyer Engineering Design Conference on May 2.

Approximately 220 students showed their work, much of which was funded by industry partners, including the U.S. Army, the Ford Motor Co., GE Transportation and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Alumnus Shares Cancer Fight at Relay for Life

Glenn Brooks never expected to be invited back to Penn State Behrend to speak to students.

“I changed my major several times, and it took me awhile to determine where I was headed as an adult,” said Brooks, a 1986 alumnus. “And let’s just say that I may have been working on my ‘social skills’ a little too much back then.”

But there are lots of surprises in life. Some are good. Some are not so good.

Cancer, for example.