New academic innovations task force takes on the campus

Saint+Anselm+College+seeks+to+expand+program+offerings+through+the+Academic+Innovation+Working+Group

Courtesy/Tom Canuel

Saint Anselm College seeks to expand program offerings through the Academic Innovation Working Group

Grace Bolinksy, Crier Staff

Every summer, different departments have put forward proposals and propositions for new majors and minors to be offered at the college. These are usually based solely on word of mouth or ideas from professors. Over the summer, a committee known as the Academic Innovation Task Force was formed under the advisory of President Favazza. This group, also known as the Academic Innovation Working Group, was created to execute a more formal process to facilitate new academic programs. In past years, ideas for new academic programs have been harder to identify and expand upon, but this new group has better ways of developing new academic programs.

With the help of an outside consulting group, the Working Group is working to find data analytics about job trends and job skills that are sought after by employers and how that can be translated into the campus offerings. As much as it is about future employers and what jobs are making their way up on the market, it is also important to develop new programs that are tailored to students’ interests. 

 Dr. Mark Cronin, the dean of Saint Anselm College, and also the chair of the Academic Innovations Working Group, says that the main idea of this group is to create a more formal process to create new programs at the school. 

“The president wanted a formalized way of developing new academic programs,” Dr. Cronin states. “The academic working group was going to facilitate the process of developing new programs, actively solicit from departments new ideas from programs, and then it would support those other individual faculty and departments. I think of it as facilitate, solicit and support.” 

The group is composed of nine members, varying from faculty, administrators, and professors from different departments while being chaired by Dr. Mark Cronin. The eight faculty members include the following: Nicole Eyet (Chemistry and Faculty Senate), Josh Tepley (Philosophy), Ward Holder (Theology), Michael Matheis (Business and Economics), Carolyn Weinreb (Chemistry), Joyce Larson (Institutional Research), Michael Iorio (Enrollment Management), and Erica Dobler (Finance). 

While the new ideas and academic programs are new and exciting, the most important aspect of developing them is making sure they align with the values of the school. 

Dr. Mark Cronin says that “anytime we’re looking at a new program, we ask, how does this fulfill the mission of the college?” 

While creating new academic programs may seem easy, it must go through a long process, starting with relating to the values and mission of Saint Anselm and its rigorous and traditional school environment. The Academic Innovation Working Group will be a formalized way of creating and developing new academic programs that are not only tailored to students’ needs and interests but also the job market and the trends that are arising with employers.