Alvernia creates new position to support faculty, staff and students in scholarly activities

Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development brings its entrepreneurial resources to the university’s faculty and students through a newly created position, the Director of Academic Services.

Associate Professor of Business, Mary Ellen Wells, has been appointed to the position for the 2021-22 academic year and will help create and manage services focused on supporting Alvernia faculty, staff and students in scholarly activities.

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“Faculty and student research and innovation are essential to the O’Pake Institute’s entrepreneurial model,” said Alvernia University Vice President, Interim Dean of STEAM and Chief Operating Officer of the O’Pake institute Rodney Ridley.

“Professor Wells will lead the way in opening a new path of resources to support the research and other scholarly activities already being conducted by our faculty and student researchers.”

Wells is tasked with mentoring O’Pake Institute staff and students and developing and maintaining relationships with external partners to facilitate collaboration in various scholarly activities, including direct funded projects, internships, faculty research and certificate programs. Wells will serve as a member of the O’Pake Institute’s Executive Leadership Team.

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“Over the past year, the O’Pake Team has done incredible work in supporting local entrepreneurs and spurring economic development through the student-powered entrepreneurial lab with the help of the many talented student fellows,” said Wells.

“I look forward to working with our internal community to support faculty scholarship, making the O’Pake Institute a vital resource for faculty and student researchers in their academic pursuits, and establishing mutually beneficial connections with community partners.”

Wells will oversee the Ph.D. Fellow of Health, Research and Innovation, currently held by Caitlin Long PA-C, who fosters continuing education, professional development opportunities, research, scholarship, innovation and entrepreneurship, facilitates internal relationships with community and industry partners and collects and interprets data O’Pake initiatives.

Wells specializes in law and negotiation courses at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. Her legal courses focus on the laws affecting businesses, schools, employment and health care.

She holds an advanced degree in Taxation, and is an EPFP Fellow through the Education Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg, and completed a Negotiation Pedagogy seminar at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, enabling her to also specialize in teaching Federal Taxation, Organizational Leadership, and Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

The O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship fosters the development of entrepreneurial programs and economic growth in both the Reading and Pottsville communities and in higher education.

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