Smeal Lifelong Learning Encourages Growth in All Stages of Life

Smeal Lifelong Learning sees education as a limitless spiral of knowledge that caters to self-improvement as it ebbs and flows to the advancements of the world around us and therefore offers webinars, podcasts and networks for students, alumni and sponsors alike.

Too often, education is considered a finite tool, its culmination of degrees an end to the journey of arduous study and number two pencils. 

The Smeal College of Business, however, grasps the process of learning quite differently, where education is a limitless spiral of knowledge that caters to self-improvement as it ebbs and flows to the advancements of the world around us. 

Lifelong learning has been a continued focus of Smeal leadership, commencing with the Board of Visitors supported by the Dean and carried through in partnership with Professional Graduate Programs and Alumni Career Services.

Keleigh Christine Asbury, the director of Alumni Career Services, finds lifelong learning to be a “constant process of stimulating a natural propensity for curiosity,” and the program itself to offer exactly that to alumni, as they progress into leaders in their industry.

Asbury carries out the vision and strategy of growing such services for more than 85,000 alumni around the globe, spearheading Smeal Lifelong Learning along with Cindi Satterfield, senior programs manager, Jennifer Nicholas, assistant director and Doreen Glenning, remote career coach based in Boston.

“We offer career-coaching programs, podcasts and webinars and piloted digital executive coaching that offer advice and support for professional growth,” Asbury said. “We live and breathe lifelong learning here at Smeal, especially after rebranding and refocusing on career and talent development.”

When it comes to engaging with students and alumni, the best way is through connecting on LinkedIn and posting opportunities for alumni on nittanylionCAREERS, according to Nicholas.

“We would love to engage with corporate recruiters and stay current with their hiring needs,” Nicholas said. “We are very open and accepting!”

Beyond these media and university channels, Satterfield encourages students and alumni to take advantage of Smeal Lifelong Learning tools as they help foster self-improvement in their personal career goals. Moreover, they can share their own stories and journeys by leading the podcasts and webinars, even partaking in the Smeal Weekly Recap where they can showcase the company’s mission and values as well as gain interest from future graduates and current alumni.

“Our programs are for everyone— they can be shared in a classroom, at meetings, or for personal development— as anyone can tune in to a webinar or podcast and ultimately enhance their skill set,” Satterfield said, smiling. “We recently had Smeal alumna, Rebecca (Becky) Savikas, a global HR partner at PPG Industries, lead a webinar titled, “A Retrospective Review of A Global Transformation.’ She had successfully led a global transformation for PPG knowing that 77% of these fail.”

Through the program, Savikas was able to share her inspiring story while also reaching back out to Smeal to connect and engage with students for capstone projects involving supply chain as well as other job opportunities.

In this way, Savikas exemplifies perfectly “how lifelong learning bridges opportunity and education for both students and corporate sponsors,” Satterfield said.

Glenning finds the program to serve as a vital tool for alumni, hiring managers, students, and sponsors to stay up to date on developments in their industry.

"In business, as in life, it's important to make sure that your skills are as current as possible," Glenning said. "Lifelong Learning allows you to keep up with the latest trend in your business at large."

And when it comes to supply chain, Asbury cannot thank the CSCR® Corporate Sponsors enough for providing the platform, foundation, and patronage for its research here at Smeal, as “supply chain touches many aspects of business and life and is the field of interest for most alumni.”

Smeal Lifelong Learning has now become an avenue for career advancement and career support as well as a vessel through which alumni can extend a hand back to the students across the “bridge.”

“We’re the only branch that really serves alumni careers,” Satterfield said. “What we really want is for their stories— their voices— to be truly heard.”

Access Smeal's Lifelong Learning webinars and podcast schedule and on-demand library by accessing this link.