Vice President for Academic Affairs announces New Schools and College of Professional Studies

Reviving the School of Nursing and introducing the new School of STEM

June 23, 2020 Academics

Olivet Nazarene University is restructuring the organization of Academic Affairs this summer. Based on the recommendations of Dr. Stephen Lowe ’88, who transitioned into the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) earlier this spring, the changes are meant to streamline leadership and allow for more school and departmental flexibility. The reorganization will take effect on July 1, 2020.

For most of the last decade, the organizational structure of Academic Affairs comprised seven instructional units, including the College of Arts & Sciences and the Schools of Business, Education, Engineering, Life & Health Sciences, Music, and Theology & Christian Ministry. These units all reported directly to the VPAA, along with Academic Operations, the Center for Academic Excellence, the Library, Online Learning, and the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies.  

This summer, the structure will evolve so that only three instructional units report directly to the VPAA: the reorganized College of Arts and Sciences; the existing School of Theology and Christian Ministry; and the newly formed College of Professional Studies. The remaining current schools will be brought into one of the two colleges or, in the case of Life and Health Sciences, cease to exist.  

The College of Arts and Sciences will be expanded to include the School of Music and a new Martin D. Walker School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), which contains the four departments of biological sciences, chemistry and geosciences, engineering, and mathematics & computer science. Remaining in this college are the departments of art & digital media, behavioral sciences, communication, English, history & political science, and modern languages. 

Adding a college for professional programs reflects Olivet’s significant curricular evolution over the last half century. The College of Professional Studies will include the Center for Academic Excellence; the Mick McGraw School of Business and a revived School of Nursing; and the departments of education, exercise & sports science, family & consumer sciences, military science, and social work & criminal justice.  

Academic Operations will now be the umbrella under which Benner Library, Assessment, Institutional Research, and the Office of the Registrar are located. Rounding out the VPAA’s Deans Cabinet is Online Learning for the residential campus and the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. 
In all, the new structure reduces the number of deans who report directly to the VPAA to five from the previous range of 12-16, depending on the year. Because both schools and departments can be located within colleges, one advantage of this framework is that it will allow for future expansion and contraction. For example, departments can grow into schools without becoming free-standing units that necessarily report directly to the VPAA. 

The Deans Cabinet of this restructuring will include: Dr. Lowe and Dr. Dale Hathaway, College of Arts & Sciences; Dr. Amber Residori, College of Professional Studies; Dr. Mark Quanstrom, School of Theology and Christian Ministry; Dr. Jonathan Pickering, Academic Operations; Dr. Jay Martinson, Online Learning; and Professor Jeremy Van Kley, School of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Dr. Lowe says, “This new structure has been streamlined and more sharply focused with Olivet’s history and mission in mind. The tighter structure at the top will result in efficient decision-making and more responsive lines of communication. It should also help in developing longer-term reforms and strategies for Academic Affairs.”

For more information about the more than 140 areas of study offered at Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Published 6/23/2020

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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