NORWICH RECORD | Winter 2022
Norwich is a “small school with a big impact,” an identity developed over the 200-plus years of our storied existence. Our graduates rank among the most impactful leaders in the history of our nation and the world. The incredible success of our alumni and our university’s sterling reputation can be attributed to many qualities, but for me our most remarkable characteristic is our devotion to being relevant. It is through this dedication we create impactful graduates.
The ways we have always committed to relevancy can be easily identified in our foundational programs; for example, we are proud to be the first private university in the country to teach civil engineering. Today, our highly regarded David Crawford School of Engineering continues to attract and prepare talented graduates in civil, electrical and computer, general, and mechanical engineering, along with construction management. Many alumni from these programs are highly sought after by established employers, while other graduates founded their own companies and are trailblazers in emerging industries.
Our School of Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Computing has been similarly impactful, with alumni likewise celebrated. Norwich recognized the nation’s critical need for cybersecurity expertise decades ago, well before most other institutions of higher education. The foundation was laid “ahead of the curve” for what is today an internationally celebrated cybersecurity program.
We also celebrate our pioneering online College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. When launched in 1998, an online MBA program was considered a novelty; it is now ubiquitous across higher education. CGCS continues to innovate and create programs that meet demands for relevancy now and in the future.
These are just some of many examples that spotlight Norwich’s historic role as a leader in higher education. It is from this foundation that we are now moving into a period of renewed focus on innovation and program review to ensure our relevance in a rapidly changing world. We must ensure our graduates are prepared to excel in the application of not only current technologies, but emerging ones. Through our rededication to future relevance, Norwich will not follow trends; we will set them.
There are several fields in which we will begin to apply significant energy—artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning, to name a few. Through intense evaluation of these emerging areas, we will undoubtedly find additional fields in which we will establish ourselves as leaders. This established “future-focus” will be positively transformational to our institution, nation, and the world.
Norwich is ready now to move aggressively. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are performing at the cutting edge of their disciplines. Many in our community are already adapting and applying new technologies to how they teach, create, build, and lead in new and more effective ways. This issue of the Record spotlights some of these influencers.
Among them are David Toomey ’85, a former Air Force Colonel who flew the F-117 Stealth before being asked to lead the USAF 688th Cyberspace Wing in San Antonio, Tex. Today, Toomey is an assistant vice president with SRC, Inc., a nonprofit research and development company that supports the Department of Defense. He also serves on the Board of Fellows for NU’s School of Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Computing. Toomey and others on the board, such as Meta’s Gunjan Shah ’96 and Stephan Rockwell ’96 of Palo Alto Networks, share their insights on realities of present and emerging technologies that will profoundly shape our world. Toomey, for example, offers a précis on the revolution of “edge computing” in space and neuromorphics, circuits modeled on the brain that require minimal power. Closer to home, nursing instructors Sarah Manacek, MSN (featured on the cover of this issue), and Prof. Llynne Kiernan, DNP, will soon incorporate virtual reality to enhance the learning environment and lab experience of students in the School of Nursing, an innovation that will ensure Norwich students remain highly prized upon graduation.
Several smaller-scale innovations are proving to have a big impact on our campus community. A fascinating example comes from Scott Caulfield, NU’s newly hired Strength and Conditioning Program director, a creative force in his own right. Since joining the Norwich athletic program in August, Caulfield has transformed the conditioning experience for Norwich coaches and our 600+ student athletes. As you’ll read in this issue, one of the tools Caulfield has introduced to campus is an AI-powered app, Volt Athletics, that lets him provide personalized, sport- and athlete-specific workouts at scale. Volt gathers real-time data on the physical metrics of our athletes and tailors workouts to achieve optimal individual effect. Men’s lacrosse coach Neal Anderson uses similar methods to ensure his athletes are ready to perform at their peak, not only on the field, but in the classroom and at work. These creative applications of emerging technologies are preparing our students to perform at optimum levels, reducing injuries and providing a foundation for a lifetime of health and fitness.
Wherever they work—on campus, in the private sector, our military, or else¬where—Norwich students, alumni, staff, and faculty are exploring and applying new technologies. As we move forward as a university, we must leverage their insights to learn, adapt, and innovate. We are actively applying our core values and rich history to increase our organizational agility; we will become more tolerant of risk to achieve a state of perpetual innovation. We must be prepared to respond strategically and effectively to the emerging technologies that will transform the lives and careers of our graduates.
Norwich is reclaiming our identity as a future-focused university. This commitment is being formalized in the new strategic plan that will be implemented in Fall 2022, the pillars of which are innovation, relevancy, agility, and student success. We will be passionately focused on preparing our graduates to not just succeed, but to lead, in fields that do not yet even exist. Our proud history and legacy of excellence demand such boldness. We are excited to not just be part of the future, but to shape it, as the exceptional community that has earned the Norwich name.
Norwich Together, Norwich Forever!
Dr. Mark Anarumo
Colonel, USAF (Ret)