Zeigler Institute for Professional Development (ZIPD)


Contact Information

As a unique comprehensive educational experience designed through the Zeigler College of Business, the Zeigler Institute for Professional Development (ZIPD) builds the personal and professional capacities necessary for career success.

Learn. Experience. Grow. Demonstrate.

Commonwealth University business students gain a competitive edge in the job market or acceptance in graduate and professional school via knowledge, demonstrated professional skills, and networking experiences through ZIPD — a comprehensive, holistic, educational experience that provides CORE professional development elements each student is required to complete to achieve ZIPD success.

The CommonwealthU Difference

ZIPD Benefits

  • Graduation Stole
  • Transcript Notation
  • Appreciation Award Breakfast
  • Exclusive Networking Invitations
  • Program Certification of Completion
  • Recommendation Letter for Internships/Jobs
  • ZCOB Graduation Awards Ceremony and Recognition
  • High Point Earners = Professional Development Grant Money
  • ZIPD Business Conference Networking Reception — ZIPD Core Requirement

ZIPD Focus

  • Leadership
  • Independence
  • Sense of Self
  • Collaboration
  • Clarified Values
  • Community Service
  • Intellectual Growth
  • Enhanced Self-Esteem
  • Social Responsibility
  • Business Career Choice
  • Effective Communication
  • Appreciating Diversity
  • Realistic Self-Appraisal
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Personal and Educational Goals
  • Global, Cultural, Ethical Awareness
  • Satisfying and Productive Lifestyle
  • Meaningful Interpersonal Relationships
  • Business Functions Interconnectedness
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Initiative and Drive

ZIPD Level I

(Freshman/ Sophomore Year) 0-60 Credits

Must be completed prior to Graduation. Suggested timeframe - 4 Semesters

REQUIRED CORE- Proof of Attendance / Submission  

  • ZIPD Elite Edition Success Session – (1 Point)  
  • Intro to Business (BUSED101)/ Transfer Equivalency – BIC & Career Assignment (2 points)  
  • Annual Business Conference- Attend 2 sessions minimum each Fall (4 points)  
  • Dining/Business Etiquette WKSHP – Attend 1 or complete Business Etiquette Module (1 point)  
  • Networking Event – Attend three (3) (3 points)  
  • Career Fair/Expo– Attend two (2) (2 points)  
  • Complete PDA (Professional Development Assessment) – FR1st semester (1 point)  

SO2nd semester (1 point) 

REQUIRED - Self Report Documentation  

  • Resume Basics WKSHP – Attend 1 & submit resume to Resume Assignment-I drop box (1 point) 
  • Submission of Resume to drop box earns the core point  
  • Community Service - Complete 6 hours & submit to Com. Serv. Assignment drop box (6 points)  
  • ZCOB Professional Club or Organization – Active membership 3 semesters (3 points)  

Award of the 25 Points above will complete ZIPD Level I. Students are encouraged to complete Level I before beginning Level II ZIPD core requirements.  


(Junior/Senior Year) 61+ credits  

Must be completed prior to Graduation. Suggested timeframe - 4 Semesters  

REQUIRED CORE- Proof of Attendance / Submission  

  • Annual Business Conference- Attend 3 sessions minimum each Fall (6 points)  
  • Networking Event – Attend four (4) (4 points)  
  • Career Fair/Expo– Attend two (2) (2 points)  
  • Complete PDA (Professional Development Assessment) – SR2nd semester (1 point)  

REQUIRED - Self Report Documentation  

  • LinkedIn Profile Session - Attend 1 & submit LI Profile Link to LI Assignment drop box (1 point)  
  • Submission of LI Profile Link to drop box earns the core point  
  • Resume Critique - submit Revised Resume to Assignment-II drop box (1 point)  
  • Submission of Resume to drop box earns the core point  
  • Professional/Mock Interview-submit to Interview Assignment drop box (1 point) 
  • Submission of interview experience to drop box earns the core point  
  • Community Service – Complete 6 hours & submit to Com. Serv. Assignment drop box (6 points)  
  • ZCOB Professional Club or Organization – Active membership 3 semesters (3 points)  

Completion of the 25 Points above results in ZIPD CERTIFICATE notation - “Met Expectations”

Point Booster - Internship and/or Work Experience Aligned with Major (50 points)

Completion of the 26 Points above in addition to a 50-point internship/work experience results in ZIPD CERTIFICATE notation - “Exceeded Expectations”

Becoming a professional is a process that takes time. The ZIPD Elite Program helps students gain a competitive advantage in today’s job market by allowing them opportunities to practice professionalism in a “safe” environment where they can develop qualities employers’ desire.

Crystal Skotedis, Director of Boyer Ritter, LLC

“I’m noticing students are using ZIPD on their resumes; it tells me they believe it's a selling point worthy of mention on the one page they have to talk about themselves. ZIPD provides so many real-life tangible business experiences and connections. I’m a fan, and I thank you so much for all you do.” — Crystal Skotedis, director of Boyer Ritter, LLC

No other PASSHE school offers this type of comprehensive, holistic, high-impact program for students to learn, experience, grow, and demonstrate professionalism. Some characteristics of professionalism are:

  • Grit
  • Empathy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Responsiveness
  • Positive Mindset
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

Preparing for Success

Figure 1: Employers Rate the Essential Need of the Career Readiness Competencies
CompetenciesWeighted Average Rating
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving4.62
Professionalism/Work Ethic4.46
Oral/Written Communication4.30
Digital Technology3.73
Career Management3.46
Global/Multicultural Fluency3.01

Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers.
*5-point scale, where 1=Not essential, 2=Not very essential, 3=Somewhat essential, 4=essential, 5=Absolutely essential.

Dress for Success

  • Make a positive, professional first impression by leaving your jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, flip flops and sneakers in your closet.
  • Remember, professional dress is REQUIRED for this event
  • Men: dress pants, dress shirt, tie and blazer
  • Women: suit, dress, or skirt and blouse
  • Avoid strong cologne or perfume — many people have allergies
  • Neat hairstyle; trimmed facial hair
  • Conservative jewelry, make up and cover tattoos

Make a Positive Impression

  • Turn off your cell phone
  • No side conversations
  • Listen actively by looking at the speaker
  • Stay for the entire presentation
  • Ask questions

Connect with Class

  • Offer a firm handshake
  • Make and maintain eye contact
  • Do not chew gum or mints when talking with others
  • Take the initiative and introduce yourself — include your name, year, major and career interests.

Focus on what the other person is saying and ask questions such as:

  • What interests you in this type of work and how did you get started?
  • Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?
  • What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfaction connected with your occupation?
  • What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying?
  • Most challenging?
  • What do you like and not like about working in this industry?
  • To what professional associations do you belong?

Dining Etiquette

  • Work from the outside in — the first courses will always use the outer silverware
  • Always rest silverware on a dish — never on the table
  • Your drink glasses are to the right of your plate; your bread plate is on your left
  • Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down
  • Take small bites and chew with your mouth closed; don’t talk until your mouth is empty
  • Say please and thank you
  • Do not begin eating until everyone at your table has been served

Networking and Finger Food Etiquette

  • The focus is meeting people, not eating
  • You want to keep your right hand free so you can shake hands as you meet alumni
  • Choose simple foods and fill only half your plate; make sure to grab a napkin
  • To be safe, eat first, put down your empty plate and then get a drink; you will then not have to worry about trying to balance two things in your left hand

Don’t Forget the Follow Up!

  • Reach out to the alumni you met or whose presentation you attended and thank them for their time.
  • Mention what you learned and how the information was helpful to you.
  • If you have alumni business cards, send an email or a hand-written thank you card to each person.
  • If you don’t know how to contact alumni, email gazipd@commonwealthu.edu for assistance.
Illustration of Mountain
ZIPD Business Conference

ZIPD Business Confrence

The ZIPD Business Conference annually hosts hundreds of top-notch business professionals, a majority of whom are successful alumni willingly sharing their business expertise, connections, and wisdom with students. Each professional takes on the role of mentor during the conference and provides invaluable insight for students to grasp, gauge, and grow.

Terry Zeigler '76, president and CEO of Datacap Systems Inc., and wife, JoAnn Schultz Zeigler '77

A New Approach to Business Education

Terry Zeigler '76, president and CEO of Datacap Systems Inc., and wife, JoAnn Schultz Zeigler '77, endowed ZIPD to help students cultivate professional skill sets, while developing a deeper understanding of how the functional areas of business interrelate. Terry Zeigler's experiences as co-founder of a small company convinced the couple of the importance of interconnected business education. Zeigler was in his 20s when he and two partners started Datacap Systems, which develops and markets E-payment interfaces. In 2016, the Zeiglers and the Zeigler Family Foundation collectively contributed the largest philanthropic gift to the Bloomsburg University Foundation to name the university's College of Business.

ZIPD Contacts