Office of the Provost

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Purpose Statement

The Academic Division of Fairfield University seeks to create and support a scholarly community that, in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, cultivates intellectual curiosity, advances human potential, and seeks truth.

Fairfield’s scholarly community is:

  • Rooted on campus, and extends to local, national, and global contexts
  • Enacted through outcomes-focused undergraduate and graduate degree programs and professional studies offerings that prepare servant-leaders for citizenry in today’s complex world
  • Sustained by the scholarship, research, creativity, and community engagement of our faculty and students
Provost Christine Siegel, PhD

Provost Christine Siegel, PhD

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Provost Christine Siegel, PhD

Christine Siegel, PhD, became Fairfield University’s provost in July, 2018. Dr. Siegel joined the Fairfield University faculty in 2005 as an assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Development. Granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2008, she assumed increasingly significant administrative responsibilities at the University, including School of Education and Human Development associate dean and associate vice president, before being named vice provost. As vice provost, Dr. Siegel contributed significantly to writing the University’s strategic plan, establishing frameworks for student learning assessment, and advancing inclusive excellence initiatives.

When Dr. Siegel was named interim provost in January, 2017, she assumed leadership for the Academic Division, working directly with the academic deans and faculty governance committees. In this role, her vision was instrumental in leading a number of significant initiatives, including hiring key academic personnel, reshaping the role of Fairfield’s academic centers, enhancing classroom technology resources, leading a successful accreditation process, revising the core curriculum, and refreshing the Honors Program.

Dr. Siegel earned a PhD in educational psychology and statistics in 1998 from State University of New York at Albany. A licensed psychologist, she worked in a variety of K-12 educational settings prior to transitioning to higher education. Her academic expertise in developmental psychology, learning theory, and educational assessment supports her scholarly work on teaching and learning, which has yielded numerous publications and professional conference presentations. Based on the recommendation of Fairfield’s Committee on Rank and Tenure following a 2018 review of her accomplishments, Dr. Siegel was granted the rank of professor.

Principles that Guide Free Expression

Fairfield University understands that academic freedom applies to all faculty engaged in those activities (eg. classroom teaching, published research, production of artistic artifacts) that reflect the academic expertise of a faculty member. Unlike the narrower purview of academic freedom, freedom of expression applies to all of our community members, including students, employees, administrators, campus organizations, and invited speakers. These guiding principles for the freedom of expression at Fairfield University are to be understood and applied in such a manner.

Civil Discourse

Fairfield seeks for its members to model civil modes of discourse, a practice through which our students will learn to be proficient and integral citizens of a healthy democracy. We identify civil discourse to be respectful and considerate of the opinions of all individuals involved. Our University strongly encourages speech that adheres to this mode of discourse; and further identifies speech acts that fall short of these standards of civility to be antithetical to our Jesuit and intellectual commitments.

Fairfield's Intellectual Mission

Our mission statement identifies Fairfield University as a coeducational institution of higher learning committed to producing liberally educated persons able to assimilate and organize facts, to evaluate knowledge, to identify issues, and to use appropriate methods of reasoning. As a consequence, the free and rigorous exchange of ideas, debate, discussion, and disputation is vital to the intellectual mission of the University. However, such exchange ought to be grounded in and guided by the strictest standards of intellectual inquiry. Therefore, Fairfield University is a place where opinions are not just expressed, but tested and advanced through reason and study. We hold all speech on campus to this standard of rigorous intellectual inquiry; and see no place for discourse that directly challenges the values of intellectual inquiry expressed in the mission statement. We do not limit public discourse only to credentialed speakers, or those with formal training.

Respect for Basic Human Dignity

Our Jesuit mission acknowledges our obligation to respect the basic human dignity of all people, as we carry out our intellectual mission. Thus, we identify speech acts that denigrate the basic human dignity of members of our local and global community as both unwelcome and unprotected by free speech privileges on our campus.

Hate Speech

Hate speech, defined as any expression, spoken or written, in any public forum, which intimidates or threatens any group, or promotes violence against any group in the University community, contravenes the fundamental commitment of the University to the shared human dignity of all peoples, and is not acceptable at Fairfield.

Fairfield University's Jesuit Mission

Fairfield University's principles that guide free expression are have as their foundation our Jesuit Catholic mission. As stated in our mission, "Fairfield University, founded by the Society of Jesus, is a Catholic institution of higher learning devoted to developing the creative intellectual potential of its students and fostering in them ethical and religious values and a sense of social responsibility. Jesuit education, which began in 1547, is committed today to the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. Fairfield University is Catholic in both tradition and spirit. It celebrates the God-given dignity of every human person. It therefore welcomes those of all beliefs and traditions who share its concerns for scholarship, justice, truth, and freedom, and it values the diversity which their membership brings to the University community. Strong differences of outlook and opinion are the lifeblood of an intellectual community, and Fairfield welcomes any and every voice that respects the basic human dignity of all people."

Adapted from the work of the Provost's Task Force on Free Expression:

Kris Sealey (Coordinator)
William Abbott
Gayle Alberda
Catherine Giapponi
Alison Kris
Paul Lakeland
Jamie MacBeth
Thomas Murray
Nels Pearson
Adam Rugg
Stephanie Storms

Endorsed by the Board of Trustees (November 2018) and the Academic Council (April 2019).

Fairfield University’s Four Strategic Priorities

Four strategic priorities drive Fairfield University’s evolving and innovating academic portfolio: preparing for the advent of big data, engaging industry and community partners, extending our geographic reach, and exploring new instructional modalities. Amid the powerful forces shaping higher education today, we strive to ensure the transformative learning experiences necessary for our students to meet the world as it is and will be.

Evolving and Innovating the Academic Portfolio

Four strategic priorities drive Fairfield University. Amid the powerful forces shaping higher education today, we strive to ensure the transformative learning experiences necessary for our students to meet the world as it is and will be. Chief among these interconnected forces are:

  • Demographic changes, including a steady decline in the college-aged population
  • The economics of supply and demand coupled with the economics of the labor market that will increase the cost of delivering a college education
  • Advances in technology, particularly related to expanding the graduate student market

Overall, demographic trends forecast shrinking demand for the expansive and expensive supply of higher education as it races to keep up with rapid advances in technology. These forces, decades in the making, currently compound each other to create pressures that threaten the existence of certain institutions.

To meet these forces, Fairfield can harness its innovative spirit so that we can grow in reputation and national prominence, grow in connection with community and industry, and grow in educational offerings. Related to these growth avenues, four strategic priorities shape our collective pursuit over the next three to five years: preparing for the advent of big data, engaging industry and community partners, extending our geographic reach, and exploring new instructional modalities.

  1. Big Data Advances in technology disrupt the world in which we live and work, as we become saturated in data. Fairfield already is responding to the need to educate students in interpreting and using big data to inform decision making. These include a slate of new programs related to data analysis. In addition to a new Master’s of Science in Marketing Analytics and Strategy in the Dolan School of Business, the School of Engineering has a set of five-year programs in Applied Data Analysis, including tracks in Psychology, Sociology, and Biology. We will build on this strength to position the School of Engineering as our nexus for big data in ways that will grow our reputation. Also essential to the School of Engineering’s growth will be increased emphasis on applied research through enhanced industry partnerships.
  2. Industry and Community Partners Meaningful connections with community and industry partners in ways that shape our student learning experiences is an important differentiator for programs across the University. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Departments of Communication, Visual and Performing Arts, and English are developing opportunities for their students with an eye to engage industry partners in the field of media. The new Media Center represents one way that growth in communication and media studies will build Fairfield’s reputation and national prominence. The Center for Social Impact, among other Centers and Institutes, connects academics to the community to create deep, reciprocal, and sustainable partnerships grounded in shared mutual learning.
  3. Geographic Expansion We will pilot opportunities to bring the excellence of a Fairfield education to new geographic areas around the United States. The Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has, for instance, partnered with Creighton University on midwifery training. The Egan School also pioneers our efforts at geographic expansion as we look to establish our second-degree nursing program in an area of the country facing a nursing shortage. Moreover, we hope to use the learnings from the geographic expansion of nursing to identify other distinctive Fairfield programs well-suited to help meet urgent community needs around the country, and, in doing so, grow Fairfield’s impact. We have restructured Global Fairfield to advance our reach well beyond national borders to the international community.
  4. New Modalities Our fourth strategic priority is to explore delivering a Fairfield education to new populations of graduate students through online and hybrid programs. Over the next five to seven years, we aim to build the infrastructure at Fairfield University to grow our graduate online program offerings from current programs serving approximately 100 students, to 15 to 20 programs serving approximately 2,000 students. The curricular development, vetting, approval, and delivery of these programs is being done by Fairfield faculty. To support our efforts to recruit and admit online learners, we have entered a relationship with Collegis, an online program manager, for a specified time period. Simultaneously, we are building our internal capacity to develop, launch, and deliver online instruction. Critical to this effort are advanced capacities in marketing, recruitment, and admissions.
These four strategic priorities position Fairfield University to meet a daunting future, a situation which presents us with both the responsibility and opportunity to continue Fairfield’s growth trajectory. Emerging from our collective work, these priorities focus our efforts and broaden our horizons – positioning our School of Engineering as the nexus for big data and applied research; connecting with community and industry to enhance student learning through our Centers and Institutes and in communication and media studies programs; expanding our geographic footprint, nationally through the Egan School, and internationally through Global Fairfield; and exploring new modalities as we enlist partners to help recruit and enroll students in our uniquely developed online graduate programs. These four guideposts will chart our course through uncertain times while we keep our eyes clearly set on the horizon, on the magis, as we always strive for the more.

Senior Leadership & Administrative Staff

Senior Leadership

Jennifer Ewald headshot

Jennifer Ewald

Associate Vice Provost for Global Strategy

Administrative Staff

Kim Baer headshot

Kim Baer

Program Coordinator, Office of Scholarly Development
Tracy Garthwaite headshot

Tracy Garthwaite

Manager of Academic Budgets and Operations
Fran Levine headshot

Fran Levine

Assistant to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Excellence
Tasha Mehne headshot

Tasha Mehne

Operations Assistant, Scholarly Engagement
Joan Millen headshot

Joan Millen

Assistant to the Provost & Manager of Faculty Operations
Sandy Richardson headshot

Sandy Richardson

Program Coordinator
Michael Tortora headshot

Michael Tortora

Assistant Vice President for Business Operations & Administration

Academic Affairs & Student Life

Academic Units

Undergraduate Excellence

The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Excellence works closely with the deans in each school to ensure that the undergraduate programs offered at Fairfield University are rigorous and relevant, thus maintaining Fairfield’s distinct reputation. The following student academic support and development resources are under the purview of the Vice Provost: Academic Advising; Academic Support and Retention; Career Center; Honors Program; Office of Accessibility; Project Excel.

Further, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Excellence oversees assessment and effective communication and branding of the University’s Magis Core Curriculum, which marks every Fairfield undergraduate with an arts/humanities/sciences foundation that enables students to realize their talents and further discern their vocations.

Graduate, Professional & Continuing Studies

The Office of Graduate, Professional & Continuing Studies conducts research and development for the creation and launch of new academic programs; implements and enforces academic policies approved by the faculty; identifies campus resources for students; coordinates summer and winter intersessions; and serves as the liaison for accreditation, state, and online compliance offices.

Scholarly, Creative, & Community Engagement

The Associate Vice Provost for Scholarly, Creative, and Community Engagement collaborates with partners on and off campus to advance Fairfield University’s pursuit of academic excellence by ceaselessly reaching for the magis, the more. These on-campus partners include: the Presidential Working Group on Inclusive Excellence, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation Committee, Center and Institute Directors, Office of Research and Grants, Institutional Research Board, Office of Scholarly Development, E. Gerald Corrigan Chair, Elizabeth DeCamp McInerney Chair in Health Sciences, and Upward Bound.

The Associate Vice Provost for Scholarly, Creative, and Community Engagement coordinates efforts to promote diversity and inclusive excellence; cultivate and support faculty and student scholarly research; and build and sustain community partnerships locally, nationally, and internationally.

Centers & Institutes

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Faculty Awards

Student Research

Pedagogical Innovation & Effectiveness

The Office of Pedagogical Innovation and Effectiveness promotes and supports the continuing exploration and implementation of successful new approaches to teaching and learning. Operating in a highly collaborative way, the office works with the various school and college deans and associate deans; with faculty committees such as the Faculty Development and Education, and Educational Technology committees; and with campus partners such as ITS’ Academic Computing, the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, and the University Centers and Institutes.

With direct oversight of the Center for Academic Excellence, the office leads shaping of innovative curricular practices on campus, the integration of technology into teaching, the design of classrooms and their technology, and the University’s unique approach to highly engaged online instruction.

Online Learning

Fairfield University’s innovative approach to online learning and its pioneering use of digital collaboration tools have positioned our University on the cutting edge of online learning. By utilizing the latest technologies to develop an interactive, media-rich curriculum, we continue to create virtual environments that facilitate improved access to peers, teachers, and support structures while helping students learn more efficiently and effectively in an online space.

Global Strategy

The Associate Vice Provost for Global Strategy works in close collaboration with Deans, Departments and Divisions on global initiatives that attract, retain and develop our students across a range of academic programs. The following services and resources are within the portfolio of the AVP for Global Strategy: Global Fairfield; Global Partnerships and Agreements; Faculty Resources for Global Engagement; and International Jesuit collaborations.

In addition, the AVP for Global Strategy has oversight of Global Fairfield Governance, Articulations & School of Record compliance, and International Travel Policy & Procedures management.

Global Fairfield

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Global Fairfield

Learn how Fairfield is expanding the opportunities, horizons, and perspectives of our students by engaging them in exceptional experiences abroad. Global Fairfield works with select partners across the globe to provide students with opportunities to become globally-aware leaders through a variety of study, internship/work, and service programs abroad. Students who partake in a global experience are able to contribute to their classroom, society, and future workplace through a broader global lens. Spending time abroad, whether it be for credit or for mission, also helps students discover what a completely different culture can teach them about their own.

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Faculty Resources for Global Engagement

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Faculty Resources for Global Engagement

The Office for Global Strategy is available to support Faculty, Departments and Deans with international agreements and program development to ensure regulatory and institutional compliance and risk mitigation. Our commitment to the safety and success of your international initiatives is a priority.

Faculty interested in pursuing Erasmus, Exchanges, International collaborations, or Faculty Led programs are invited to contact the Associate Vice Provost for Global Strategy at jewald@fairfield.edu.

Faculty Exchanges/Erasmus

Our current partnership agreements support faculty exchanges as well as the promotion of joint programming. We are available to research Erasmus options with you, review and draft agreements, and work to ensure that international research objectives are optimally supported.

Faculty-Led Programs

Through the Center for Academic Excellence, we provide workshops each fall and spring to help faculty develop proposals for programs based on their unique expertise and interests. We work with you on logistics, we develop the budget and process the program fees and payments, and we advise on risk mitigation.

The Faculty-Led Handbook (PDF) is designed to provide you with step by step assistance as you develop, and then lead, a Faculty Led Program. In it you will find information outlining the responsibilities of both the faculty and Global Fairfield, travel guidelines, suggestions for dealing with behavioral problems, procedures to follow in the event of an emergency, and other important resources.

Faculty Developing International Programming

Faculty who wish to explore virtual options, imbedded experiences, study tours, joint programs, pathway programs or bespoke programs are encouraged to meet with the AVP for Global Strategy. Working with you to identify which partners or locations abroad will best meet your goals and objectives, the Office of Global Strategy is able to source a broad range of options and resources best suited to your particular interests. In addition, the AVP for Global Strategy is available to help you navigate our Center and Strategic Partners network and to expand collaborations that support your academic interests.

Global Partnerships and Agreements

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Global Partnerships and Agreements

Fairfield’s Global Strategy is to design and implement global partnerships, programs, and projects that compliment and supplement the academic offerings of the schools and colleges we serve.

The AVP for Global Strategy oversees the processes and procedures for implementing and maintaining agreements with international and domestic partners for academic programs and services and for Customized Partnerships. Academic Deans, Departments and Divisions interested in developing international agreements are invited to contact the Associate Vice Provost for Global Strategy at jewald@fairfield.edu.

Following is a summary of our current partnerships and agreements by type and location.

Center Program Agreements

Fairfield University Centers are premier sites for study abroad developed by Fairfield over the past 30 years. Fairfield works with local universities and institutions to develop collaborative curricular offerings tailored to our students’ needs and customized for our sending partners.

  • Aix-en-Provence, France – IAU France
  • Florence, Italy – Florence University of the Arts
  • Galway, Ireland – National University of
  • Ireland, Galway
  • London, UK – Queen Mary University London
  • Madrid, Spain - Comillas Pontifical University
  • Sydney, Australia - Australian Catholic University

Strategic Partner Agreements

Strategic Partner programs are tailored to specific academic needs of students in a particular program or major.

Student Exchange Agreements

Fairfield is pleased to partner with the following institutions for Erasmus and Student Mobility Exchanges:

  • Australian Catholic University
  • Instiut Quimic de Sarria - Barcelona
  • Maastricht University
  • National University of Ireland - Galway
  • Sogang University
  • Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas

International Internship Agreements

We partner with Global Experiences to provide internships in the following Program locations:

  • Australia
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Spain

We partner with the following organizations to provide unique summer internship and service opportunities with a focus on social justice, environmental stewardship and development work.

  • Brazil - Iracambi Research Center
  • Gambia - Starfish International
  • Tanzania – Academic Solutions

Global Policies, Procedures, and Compliance

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Global Policies, Procedures, and Compliance

Helpful information on the policies, procedures, and compliance protocols for Global initiatives at Fairfield University.

For information on Fairfield University travel policy and procedures for individuals and groups, read through the International Travel Policy & Procedures (PDF).

For information on resources and support for Faculty Led proposals, risk management training, and required forms, read through the Faculty-Led Travel Policy (PDF).

Information on course articulation procedures and on School of Record programs and processes will be available soon.

For information on Journal of Record for Global Fairfield programs and processes, read through the Global Fairfield Governance record (PDF).

Accreditations & Certifications

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