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Point Park hires 19 full-time professors

Written By Alexander Popichak

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Fall semester students were greeted by some new full-time faculty members when returning to class in August. The 19 instructors ranging in departments from dance to business to literary arts were named in an announcement on the University website Aug. 26.

Jason McDole is one of the new full-time faculty members but is no stranger to Point Park or Pittsburgh.

“This is my seventh year teaching at Point Park, I was here from 2007 – 2010, and I took a two year break to go back out dancing professionally and I returned in 2012,” McDole said.

Originally from Aliquippa, McDole said that Pittsburgh “is home… and the fact that I can be with family and share dance as well as be with my family, what a perfect situation this is.”

McDole is an assistant professor in the dance department, specifically within the contemporary concentration.

“Contemporary dance is the fusion of all disciplines,” McDole said. “Anything and everything is accepted and possible with movement with today’s dancing.”

He calls teaching a discovery and said that, “I don’t know if I can necessarily say I was [planning] to be a teacher, I think my focus was to be a dancer, like most dancers. Time, experience, and life certainly redirect your focus and [teaching] was a discovery that I really love.”

He said in teaching, he has discovered a fascination with culture and dynamics. He hopes to connect to students using his experience in the realm of dancing professionally.

“Being a dancer myself, I know what that’s like. I think that sometimes the culture of being a dancer can be challenging,” McDole said.

He compares creating that culture to hosting a party.

“If you want the party to be great, you have to provide the best experience and understanding people and [know] that they enjoy what’s going on,” McDole said.

McDole wants students of all disciplines to know that “the focus is to remember your pulse. We all have a pulse … dance is still my pulse.”

He shared his excitement talking about becoming a full-time faculty member.

“I’m so happy to be here and I love the students and am happy to be a part of this team,” McDole said.

Paige Beal is an assistant professor with the school of business’s sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) program. Like McDole, she is also familiar to Point Park. She taught as an adjunct professor from 2002-2012 before stepping away to lead sales at Comcast Spotlight, a cable marketing firm specializing in location-specific marketing.

“Coming back from just having been at Comcast gives me a super advantage in that I can confirm exactly what’s going on in the workplace,” Beal said. “I like that. I feel it gives [students] really relevant experience.”

She describes teaching as something she “fell into” after working in radio and marketing. She believes her opportunity of getting a full-time position, she cites she enjoys talking to a room of “people who actually think you know what you’re talking about,” she feels she is given an opportunity to learn, and she “feel[s]like this is my opportunity to help.”

“I work real hard to connect people to the workplace and to give them what they need to enter that relatively seamlessly.” Beal said. “I want to be sure that they understand what the expectations are and all of the sort of soft skills that aren’t so overtly evident.”

Beal cites her time in the hiring end of the business world as a determining factor as to what she teaches, defining soft skills as the skills, from dressing professionally to giving eye contact, that allow students to be successful and act professionally.

“Teaching isn’t what I thought it was. It’s not just standing up and talking, it’s engaging students and using them as a part of the learning process,” Beal said.

Originally from Boston, Beal said the reason she chose Point Park was because of the nature of the SAEM program.

“The ability to work in sports, arts, and entertainment management in a culture that rewards connections and professional expertise is unique in higher education,” Beal said.

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