Get to know Sister Ann Heath in this interesting spotlight.
By: Alyssa Nelton, Staff Writer.
AN: How did you work your way up to Academic Affairs?
AH: I came to Immaculata in 1982 and I was a teacher in the mathematics department. I had the pleasure of teaching students that were studying general math and math majors. I also taught a little bit of computer science, which was called computer literacy at the time. I did work with students who were interested in becoming secondary education teachers in math. Then I became the chair of the mathematics department, which includes mathematics, computer science and physics. The next role I took on was as Dean of the Graduate Studies. I was the Dean for 13 years. Then this past July I moved into this position.
AN: Where did you attend school?
AH: I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Immaculata in mathematics and theology. After Immaculata I got my Master’s Degree at Villanova in mathematics. Then I received my Ph.D. in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College.
AN: What are your roles and responsibilities as the Vice President?
AH: My responsibilities involve all of the academic affairs of the institution. A big part of that is trying to ensure our students are successful in their endeavors. Everything more or less centers around the academic success of students and I think everything flows from that. We have to look at what programs we provide for students. That involves the programs we have now and the programs we hope to have in the future. When we think of the programs which best serve our students we have to look at all three programs- Undergraduates, Graduates, and the College of Lifelong learning. We are always looking at what types of programs will best serve our students. Then we have the faculty. Another area of responsibility I have is called the Dean of the Faculty. I work with the Faculty so that they have resources available to them so they can advance their own careers and become better members of the teaching staff here. I am involved in the hiring of new faculty members and we provide the new faculty orientation. We are involved in faculty evaluations. So it is fostering growth and a lot of learning so the faculty can provide the best service for our students.
Then we have all the ancillary services provided for the students. We have the Gabriel Library where we generate ideas on how the library can benefit our students. I have all of the recruitment areas- Admissions, CUS, and the other two colleges. We have the academic support areas, the registrar. Then we have a whole other area called Curriculum Development and Support which is an area where we look at new or existing programs and that area helps departments either improve their curriculum or create a new curriculum.
AN: Do you have any changes in mind you wish to act upon?
AH: We would like to focus on some ideas which will help students have a better experience at Immaculata. I’m always interested in what makes students happy here with the curriculum, with the services we provide, with the faculty they meet. I would like to help students do more with faculty student research. We are also looking at a few new Bachelor’s programs, Master’s programs and a few new Doctoral programs. We are hoping that the programs will come to fruition and will be successful with students. We are also looking at some new affiliations, like Thomas Jefferson where students can go for allied health already. I’m also really interested in developing the internship area and the idea of expanding our international study program. I think the more opportunities students have to be introduced to a global perspective, the more prepared you are to live in the world.
AN: Did you envision yourself in this position?
AH: I always loved teaching. I was interested in finding new ways in helping students learn math. That was really my big goal when I came to Immaculata. Then we put in a few new programs and as you continue to do things like that you start to say to yourself, what else can I do that springs from what I have just done? So when the position of Dean of Graduate Studies opened it just seemed like a perfect fit. When this position of academic affairs opened it seems like a wonderful opportunity to take what I had done from a small area and share some ideas and gifts in a larger area. You have a bigger impact in this position because you affect such a broad audience.
AN: Do you have any advice for students?
AH: Well, my advice to students is if you can find one thing that you are passionate about then you have a very rich treasure. Your passions will drive you. I think college should be a time for growth, no matter your age. Students should use this time to explore and find things about themselves they did not know.
AN: What do you do in your free time?
AH: I like to be with people. I like to do things. I have a great passion for museums. I love to go to places like Marsh Creek and spend time outside. I love walking and I am also someone who arranges flowers. It is wonderful to have things where you can bring people together and share talents.