Carrying the Academic Mission Into the Future

In spite of the stormy economy, Notre Dame is sailing into the future as an academically relevant college without compromising its historic mission. By naming Dr. Mary Breckenridge as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Andrew Roth found a co-captain to help navigate the College on its “Voyage of Discovery.”

Dr. Mary BreckenridgeDr. Breckenridge comes to Notre Dame from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she served as the Associate Vice President in the Office for Academic Affairs and as the Director of the Organizational Leadership Graduate Program. In charge of academic program development, Breckenridge facilitated the development of four graduate and several associate degree programs at Mercyhurst. Her vision for Notre Dame is no less ambitious, coinciding with the entrepreneurial spirit of President Roth.

“I feel like I joined Notre Dame at just the right time,” Breckenridge said about her shared ambitions with Dr. Roth. “To remain competitive academically and to continue to attract students, we must offer them areas of study that meet market demands and provide them with a strong liberal arts foundation. Working on new initiatives excites me.”

Breckenridge and the business faculty will launch the international business major in fall 2009. She is working with the Dean of Online Educational Services to introduce new online classes and with the history and political science faculty to add an online degree in policy and security studies. The College is further exploring a hospitality management program. Breckenridge also hopes to use additional funding toward growing the Dwyer Learning Center into a center for learning and teaching excellence.

“We are on the cusp of achieving recognition in different academic areas,” Breckenridge said. “We are known for our strong teacher education program, but are also proud of our many business programs. Some of our other majors, led by talented faculty, need energy and attention in order to grow. I am here to help do that.”

With rapid growth come challenges. Some policies and procedures haven’t been sufficient to meet student demands and the College is exploring better measurement tools to evaluate the faculty. “What we haven’t done is step back to reflect how we are performing in the classroom in a systematic way. If there are areas that need some development, we’ll concentrate on them. Our charge is to help our students meet their academic goals – and we accomplish this by being excellent instructors.”

Breckenridge earned her bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech, her master’s at the University of Southern California and her doctorate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at the Reading and Study Skills Center at West Point, at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Big Bend Community College, Duquesne University, and Mercyhurst College.

“I’ve always admired what the Sisters of Notre Dame have done for women in education,” said Breckenridge, who has published on Women and Leadership. “In order to have the legacy of the Sisters live on, we should continue to put our energy into our teaching, our program development, and our relationships with our students.”

Christian Taske ’07 graduated Notre Dame College with a BA in Communication. He also holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.

E.g., 06/22/19
E.g., 06/22/19