New Structure Spurs Innovation at Gannon University
Posted: May 2, 2017
New challenges and opportunities changing the landscape of
higher education call for new and creative responses. At Gannon
University, an innovation in the way that new ideas in academics
are planned and implemented will prepare the University to capture
opportunities and bring them to students with greater speed and
A highlight of this new approach is the rethinking of the Office
of Academic Affairs with Steven Mauro, Ph.D. serving as vice
president for academic administration and Walter Iwanenko, Jr.,
Ph.D. as vice president for academic affairs.
The new office was formed in recognition of the accelerating
pace of growth in academic programs at Gannon, and created by the
demand for new programs and initiatives. The goal was to create
parallel paths to innovation and to shepherd multiple high-impact
projects to completion so that they can be offered to students.
Evidence of the effectiveness of this new approach will be on
display at the upcoming commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 6,
which is expected to be one of the largest in the University's
Mauro and Iwanenko each bring unique and complementary strengths
to their respective responsibilities. Mauro reviews current data
and assessment results to recommend the creation and implementation
of new programs and procedures and the optimization of current
programs and procedures. Iwanenko evaluates these recommendations
and manages the process that brings them to Gannon's growing
portfolio of program offerings.
"What we've done at Gannon University is to turn the vertical
structure of the provost's function into a horizontal structure,"
Mauro said. Iwanenko added, "This is not a hierarchy but a
partnership that helps us pay attention to the important things,
namely people: our students, faculty and staff."
The recent formation of the Our West Bayfront community
initiative was illustrative of the advantage of the new University
structure. "Within a single semester, we formed a corporation,
approved bylaws, did a nationwide search and hired an executive
director," said Iwanenko, who oversees the University's community
and government relations functions. Mauro added, "If there weren't
two of us, we couldn't have assisted with the advancement of this
project while also creating new academic programs at our Ruskin,
Florida, campus and making progress on other projects."
"This new structure allows us to work on the quality of the
education and support the hundreds of people here, faculty and
staff, who deliver a memorable Gannon University experience for our
students," Iwanenko said.