University College Dean: Continuing Education More Important Than Ever
November 15, 2011
When Philip DiSalvio graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1971, he never would have imagined that he would be returning in 2011 as founding dean of University College.
When DiSalvio was an undergraduate student, UMass Boston hadn’t yet moved to the campus on Columbia Point. Still, whether in Park Square or Columbia Point, DiSalvio says the university feels like home.
“It’s a place that has enormous diversity, excitement, and passion for education,” he says.
Since arriving at UMass Boston in August, DiSalvio has spent much of his time getting to know the campus, interacting with colleagues and students, and blending into the academic life of the university with membership in key senior administrator groups such as the Chancellor's Leadership Group, the Deans Group, and the Academic Council.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult students are the fastest growing educational demographic, and these numbers are steadily increasing. For most adult learners, University College (formerly the Division of Continuing, Corporate, and Distance Education) is the point of entry into UMass Boston.
“At a time when adult ‘non-traditional’ students are a growing presence on college campuses, University College, as UMass Boston’s newest college, plays a vital role in the future of UMass Boston. Today, the new 'traditional' student is not the 18- to 21-year-old; instead it is adult learners who comprise the majority of students in higher education,” DiSalvio says.
In addition to serving the adult, non-traditional learner, University College coordinates and administers summer and winter sessions at the university and its off-campus locations, assists the university in developing innovative new programs, and facilitates interdisciplinary efforts across the campus. With its expertise in online learning and a focus on international and study abroad programs, University College provides learning opportunities to students across the campus, region, and the world.
DiSalvio’s short-term goals include working with the provost and his colleagues to further the university’s strategic plan and to identify the learning needs of students. This would mean working toward the development of degree and certificate programs in emerging professions, such as sustainability and instructional design, and identifying new ways to help adult and professional students advance their careers.
“The University College mission is to provide a wide range of professional, relevant, and personally fulfilling courses; to provide flexible learning options through online learning and technologically progressive programs; and to focus on certificates and degrees centered on the needs of the adult student,” DiSalvio says.
DiSalvio has more than 25 years of experience in professional education, graduate teaching, and program development. He most recently worked at Seton Hall University, where he served as dean of the Division of Continuing Education; the director of SetonWorldWide, Seton Hall’s online campus; and an assistant provost. He joined the Seton Hall faculty in 1985, serving as first assistant professor, then tenured professor, graduate director, and chairperson.
In addition to a BA in psychology from UMass Boston, DiSalvio holds an EdD from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in administration, planning and social policy, a post-doctoral faculty fellowship in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University, and a MEd from Northeastern University.
DiSalvio’s primary goal for University College is to provide students with access to a high quality-educational experience that will enrich their lives and to help them attain their personal and professional goals.
“University College is committed to providing a quality education to adult learners with a diversity of interests and needs,” he says.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley is hosting a reception for University College on Tuesday, November 15, at 2:30 p.m. in the Alumni Room on the second floor of the Campus Center. It’s a chance for the UMass Boston community to hear Provost Langley’s vision for the college and to meet Dean DiSalvio.