The Provost’s Award for Extraordinary Service has been issued to Dr. Jennifer Pyles, assistant professor and graduate program coordinator for early childhood education.

The award was announced last Wednesday at the annual campus-wide meeting to start the school year. The meeting was held through a virtual presentation due to social distancing measures in place on campus.

Dr. Tom Ormond, university provost, credited Pyles for her work in securing an $11,800,000 grant from Pennsylvania’s Office of Childhood Development and Early Learning. Pyles is now the Director of the Early Care and Education (ECE) Professional Development Organization (PDO) at PASSHE.

Ormond said: “Through the PDO, Dr. Pyles’ work will reinvent the way Pennsylvania’s early childhood education professionals advance their careers – and in turn enhance the quality of early childhood education throughout the Commonwealth.”

The grant, announced last fall, will fund multiple pathways for the workforce through higher education partners across the four regions that the PASSHE PDO serves. Among its many goals are to enhance the preparedness of educators working with students from birth to 5 years old and to standardize certification for early care and education workers in Pennsylvania.

Pyles said: “I am honored to be able to secure this grant and bring the work to the innovative faculty and administration at Shippensburg University. The ECE PDO at PASSHE will truly change the educational outcomes for the ECE field while impacting the equity and access to quality childcare across the Commonwealth. I thank the University for the Provost Award in recognition of my work.”

Shippensburg will partner with Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg and Edinboro universities to design, deliver and coordinate credentials for childcare professionals across the state.

Pyles has been instrumental in securing grants for Shippensburg University over the last four years.  In February 2019, Shippensburg University was awarded a $60,000 PASmart grant, the result of collaborative work in developing and launching the South Central Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program that she now directs. In January 2018, Pyles was awarded a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant from Governor Wolf to develop a Center for Early Childhood Education at Ship.