Posts Tagged ‘David Penepent’

BuzzFeed Profiles SUNY Canton’s Funeral Services Administration Program

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

A reporter from the social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed recently profiled SUNY Canton’s Funeral Services Administration program.

Staff writer Katie Heaney investigated the changing attitudes about death, grieving and the changing gender roles in the industry in an article titled Can The Next Generation Of Morticians Breathe Life Into The Death Industry?

The Funeral Services Administration program is one of the very few four-year mortuary science majors in the United States. It is also one of the only programs of its kind within the SUNY System.

Mock Funeral Service

“I love the SUNY Canton funeral service program,” said Katie E. Trombley of Champlain, who was one of the students mentioned and quoted in the article. “We certainly get a lot of hands-on experience and are in close contact with funeral directors from across the state.”

Students tend to be a close-knit group who work with friendly and charismatic professors to learn about the business, according to Trombley. “We are all a family,” she said.

Funeral Services Administration Program Director David R. Penepent spoke very highly of his students, and graduates of the program. “The students in the program are the people that I’d want to take care of me and my family in a time of need,” he said. “Our alumni have a vested interest in the future generations of funeral service professionals, so they are always ready to provide support.

This year, the college completely renovated the program’s classroom space in Cook Science Center, which includes a new chapel space in addition to a combined student lounge and study area. Some classes require students to orchestrate and hold simulated funerals. The new space provides ample access to practice their applied education.

The BuzzFeed article highlights the changing demographic of funeral service professionals. In the past, it has been a predominantly male-led field. Today, more women are choosing to enter the profession, and approximately 60 percent of the 67 SUNY Canton students in the program are female. “Women help bring caring and sensitivity to the industry,” said Penepent, who is authoring his thesis on the gender role characteristics that are unique to funeral directors.

Another changing aspect of the program has been driven by the change in beliefs, according to Penepent. He said as fewer people attend church, the more funeral directors must directly connect with the families to help them say goodbye to their loved ones. To partially address the changes, he runs role-playing exercises to help students interact and understand how to best help the bereaved.

The program and its students have previously been featured by Mountain Lake PBS, and BreakThrough Radio has interviewed Penepent for his thesis topic. The renovated classroom space has been featured on the funeral directors’ blog, SympathyNotes.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.

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SUNY Canton Student Earns Funeral Service Scholarship

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

The American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) has awarded a $1,200 scholarship to a SUNY Canton student.

Ashley Massillon, ‘14, a Funeral Services Administration major from Brooklyn, was among only seven students from across the country to receive the award.

“Ashley has many sensitive and caring qualities; she is an example of what a future funeral director should be when graduating from SUNY Canton,” said David R. Penepent, SUNY Canton assistant professor and Funeral Services Administration program director. “She is an exceptional student and most deserving of this scholarship.”

Ashley Massillon

Ashley Massillon from Brooklyn was awarded a scholarship from the American
Board of Funeral Service Education. She is pictured with David R.
Penepent, SUNY Canton Funeral Services Administration program director,
left, and Barry W. Walch, visiting assistant professor of Funeral Services
Administration.

Massillon is also active in the College’s Funeral Service Administration Club. After graduation, she plans to become a licensed funeral director and aspires to own her own funeral home.

The College’s four-year Funeral Services Administration program is one of the very few mortuary administration majors of its kind in the United States.

The ABFSE serves as the national academic accreditation agency for college and university programs in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science Education. ABFSE is the sole accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation in this field. SUNY Canton’s Funeral Services Administration program received its initial accreditation from the ABFSE in 2012.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton offers a variety of career-driven bachelor’s degrees in addition to its associate and certificate programs. In the past year, the College added two new bachelor’s degrees and expanded its facilities with a new athletic center, nicknamed Roos House, and the Grasse River Suites Residence Hall. The College’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers flexible and convenient online courses and programs. The College’s 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III as well as the USCAA.

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SUNY Canton’s Funeral Services Administration Program Receives Initial Accreditation

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The funeral services administration program at SUNY Canton recently received its initial accreditation from the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).

“By meeting stringent demands of the accrediting agency, we further highlight the strengths of one of our most intensely career-driven programs,” said SUNY Canton Interim President Carli C. Schiffner. “This accreditation is the result of months of work and the cumulative efforts of Program Director David R. Penepent and Interim Dean Kenneth Erickson, with help from many departments and individuals.”

David Penepent and Carli Schiffner

Funeral Services Administration Director David R. Penepent presents SUNY Canton Interim President Carli C. Schiffner with the certificate of accreditation for his program.

The College’s funeral services administration program is one of the very few four-year mortuary science majors in the United States. It is also one of the only programs of its kind within the SUNY System.

“The funeral services administration program has been designed to place a greater emphasis on the skills and knowledge needed to equip graduates with practical information that can be used in the rapidly changing funeral profession,” Penepent said. “Students in the program have an opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom in their practicum and internship experience in a funeral home of their choosing.”

Currently, the funeral services administration program has approximately 40 students. The program is designed for first-time first-year students and working professionals.

Student pouring embalming fluid

Marissa L. Caskinette of Norfolk, James A. (Andrew) Podeszedlik of Highland, and Justise R. DelFosse of Norwood prepare embalming fluid during a funeral services administration lab.

One of the program’s many advantages is that funeral directors who are currently licensed and working in the profession have an opportunity to complete their degree online and complete their bachelor degree at their own pace, Penepent said. The program grants licensed funeral directors life experience credits for their skills and knowledge in the profession.

“I wish a program like this existed when I was going to mortuary school because I would have had an opportunity to see how mortuary theory was applied in a real-life setting before graduation,” the program director said.

Future plans for the program include new classrooms, a restorative art lab, and a new multi-purpose chapel to be used for mock funeral services.

The ABFSE serves as the national academic accreditation agency for college and university programs in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science Education. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognize it as the sole accrediting agency for academic programs that prepare funeral service professionals. Receiving programmatic accreditation ensures that the program has been evaluated and meets, or exceeds, set standards of quality determined by the ABFSE.

The four-year program was unveiled in 2010 and replaced the College’s two-year mortuary science program. Previously it was a candidate for accreditation through the same agency.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Manager, or call 315/386-7527.

 

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