Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Academic Innovation Team encourages new programs at Loyola

Academic Innovation Team encourages new programs at Loyola

"The only way to attract and retain top tier students is to create in-demand and purposeful academic programs that meet the needs of society and the marketplace," says Phillips.

By Whitney Critten |  Student reporter

“As a university, it’s our job to challenge our students to think critically about the world’s greatest problems—such as poverty, climate change, terrorism, and healthcare—and how they can use what they’ve learned at Loyola to become leaders and effect real change in the world,” says Joan Phillips, PhD, Quinlan professor and associate dean.

Phillips is chair of the new Academic Innovation Team at Loyola, which will support faculty and staff in the creation of new and innovative academic programs. Specifically, the team helps faculty and staff create strong proposals for new academic programs by coordinating existing resources at the University. After the proposals are written, the team evaluates them and submits funding recommendations to the Office of the Provost.  

Phillips has been a member of Quinlan’s marketing faculty since 2008, including serving as a graduate program director and department chair, before being appointed associate dean in 2016. Prior to her appointment, Phillips spent the 2015-16 academic year as an American Council on Education Fellow, where she studied change management as she shadowed top leadership at Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central as these two universities merged to become the new Purdue Northwest.

It was during this appointment that she also had the opportunity to travel to interview over 135 senior leaders at more than 35 diverse higher education institutions.

Here, she discusses how the Academic Innovation Team will serve Loyola.

What is the Academic Innovation Team?

The Academic Innovation Team will help Loyola’s academic leaders create programs that directly meet the needs of a changing, more diverse world and the problems that come along with it. Experts from throughout the University will provide a holistic review of program proposals in key areas critical to academic program development such as market analysis, enrollment projections, diversity and inclusion, budgeting, and staffing requirements.

Central to this team is a focus on how Loyola can best educate the next generation of college students and help them meet market needs and become change agents, regardless of their profession. By doing this, the university hopes to stimulate innovation.

When is the team involved in a proposal?

The process starts with ideas generated by faculty members who have insights into what students want to learn and what the market needs in terms of another academic program.

Next, faculty members present their program idea to the dean of their school for approval. If the dean approves, he or she will refer the faculty members to the Academic Innovation Team for further help in developing a strong proposal.

What makes a good proposal?

Proposals that have a strong rationale and do a good job of explaining how the proposed new program is different from others currently offered at Loyola is key. We’re really looking at the market analysis, program outcomes related to knowledge and skills gained, and what resources, such as faculty and staff, are needed to make a program come to fruition.

The Academic Innovation Team is also looking at how the proposed program aligns with the goals of Plan 2020, the University’s strategic plan for building a more just, humane, and sustainable world.

Why is the team’s mission important?

This initiative is very important for current and especially future students of Loyola as we look to attract those with a strong commitment to innovation, social justice, and faith.

The only way to attract these students and propel Loyola into the future is to create in-demand and purposeful academic programs that meet the needs of society and the marketplace. 

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