Anderson University, named to U.S. News & World Report's 2018 list of "Most Innovative" universities, is developing a new Office of Technology, Online Learning and Academic Innovation in an effort to better serve the needs of students, faculty and staff.
"At Anderson University, we believe higher education must adapt to the rapid changes taking place in the information age," AU President Evans P. Whitaker said. "While we've established a reputation of innovation in the way we deliver learning experiences to our students, and resources to our faculty and staff, it's crucial that we continue to look to the future. This new initiative will continue our journey as an innovative and entrepreneurial institution."
The needs of today's college students are different from a generation ago. Millennials and Generation Z students make up the bulk of AU's traditional and adult students, and their success in today's job market requires new approaches to learning.
Understanding that dynamic is at the heart of several initiatives in recent years.
2011 saw the launch of the Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI), which positioned AU as a national leader in the use of mobile devices and digital learning; MLI provides all undergraduate students and faculty members with iPad pros as a common technology platform.
AU is also home to the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning (CIDL), which aims to enrich teaching and learning by: promoting active, engaged learning; learning supporting the integration of learning technologies; developing 21st century learning spaces; and designing and delivering online and blended programs.
In January, AU's College of Arts and Sciences and CIDL launched a Coding and App Development minor, in collaboration with Apple's "Everyone Can Code" curriculum.
AU has the distinction of being twice named an Apple Distinguished School - one of only 400 institutions to receive the prestigious designation.
In 2013, Anderson received grant support of $600,000 for the creation of the South Carolina Center of Excellence for Mobile Learning, housed in the College of Education, that has supported more than 250 educators from the Upstate
U.S. News & World Report in January listed AU among the best schools offering online bachelor's degree programs, ranking it the best among all schools in Upstate South Carolina, and No. 3 statewide.
The Anderson University Office of Technology, Online Learning and Academic Innovation will be serve as the home of the CIDL, Information Technology and a unit dedicated to online and continuous learning. This development comes as the school seeks to hire a Chief Information Officer to oversee information technology on campus. Whitaker announced the retirement of Vice President of Information Technology Peter Harvin, effective May 31, 2018.
"The entire AU family offers its gratitude to Peter for his dedication and commitment, and for helping us successfully address our IT needs during a period of rapid growth," Whitaker said.