NORWICH RECORD | Summer 2021
A measure of any great university is the success of its graduates. Norwich must always strive to ensure our students are useful to our nation and are able to drive positive change in the global community. To these ends, we must innovate continuously to ensure our academic programming is current and relevant, and that our student experiences develop the kinds of leaders and citizens needed in the 21st century. Our military, industries, service sectors, and economy are going to demand an increasingly high level of technical savvy. We must ensure the Norwich experience continues to evolve so our graduates keep pace with current and future needs.
There’s also a patriotic element of our mission: To produce citizens who want to make the United States a better country. In 2021, it means our graduates need the skills to bring maturity to difficult conversations and elevate how we talk about our differences. Part of that maturity comes from leadership training and experiences, elements that are hallmarks of a Norwich education. We are working now on expanding and formalizing that leadership training, evaluating academic leadership programs, increasing experiential learning, and evaluating options for a Leadership Center to inform and develop a “next level” student experience. We must and will ensure Norwich remains the gold standard in developing the kinds of leaders needed by our nation and the world.
As my first year as president comes to a close, I am happy to report the innovative spirit is alive and well through the dynamic energy of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Beyond our main campus, our new hub in Denver now serves as a western foothold for the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies’ online baccalaureate and master’s programs, and our Norwich Pro professional certificate courses. The outpost is also enabling our staff to better serve and attract students from around the country and the world. Many more students from our Northfield campus will visit Denver in the semesters ahead. We will support Denver-based internships with leading companies and government agencies for students to gain work experience in one of the most tech-savvy and innovative regions of the country. In the process, these interns will attain the kind of hands-on experience needed to be competitive and relevant upon graduation.
These initiatives matter more than ever given the rapid pace of change driven by emerging technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) has already begun to infiltrate nearly every industry. Norwich must launch relevant programming tied to AI to build understanding and skills into our alumni base. We have already started the evaluation of how to bring AI into our student experience; fortunately, it is not a stand-alone discipline. We will be evaluating and developing courses on the nexus of AI across disciplines: health sciences, leadership, ethical decision making, criminal justice, engineering … all fields to help facilitate efficient and elevated solutions to increasingly complex problems. Stated succinctly, Norwich will teach and demonstrate the interplay of AI with all areas of instruction.
Beyond AI, many have heard me speak of quantum computing as the most important emerging technology of our time, arguably as important today as the pursuit of nuclear weapons in the 1940s and ’50s. Our country must invest fully in the research and application of quantum computing, and Norwich must be relevant in that conversation. I hold similar passion for the domain of space, which is as important today as understanding naval power in the 1800s. As the country’s Space Force grows, Norwich must produce officers who are ready to serve in this increasingly vital area of operations and commerce. We have begun the conversation of how to bring space into our academic curriculum so that our graduates are ready to speak with authority on its importance.
While increasing our relevancy in these emerging areas, we will continue to provide innovative, hands-on learning experiences for our STEM majors, especially in engineering. Thanks to the posthumous gift of iconic engineering professor Don Wallace, PhD, faculty in the David Crawford School of Engineering recently unveiled the newly renovated Wallace Materials Testing Facility, which provides our engineering students with real-world tools for hands-on learning.
Finally, we are moving forward aggressively to internationalize the campus experience for our students. By hosting more international students and creating more overseas experiences for our domestic students, our experiences will be enriching and our alumni will be able to leverage a wide international community for partnerships across all domains.
Many of these expanded partnerships will include East Asia, which has emerged as a primary region of focus for United States foreign and military policy. The ascendancy of China means something for the United States. It means something much more tangible to Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and other nations in the region. Member states of this geographic area strongly desire an educational partner in the United States; they will soon realize the value of Norwich as that partner.
Before closing, I’d like to take a moment to recognize our students, especially our recent alumni from the Class of 2021. The past academic year has been very difficult for all, and especially for them. It was a hard time to complete an education, but they did so beautifully, thanks to grit and resiliency. I’m also proud of all our faculty and staff did to give our students as meaningful an experience as possible during this demanding academic year. I firmly believe our Class of 2021 alumni will have a lifetime of payoff for how they fought through this challenging time. They represent what makes Norwich so special, and I know you join me in celebrating their tremendous achievements.
Norwich Together! Norwich Forever!
Dr. Mark Anarumo, Colonel, USAF (Ret)