Mara Hemano Appointed New VP for Institutional Research and Planning

Boston College continued the summer’s trend of high-profile administrative changes Monday by announcing Mara Hermano as the new vice president for institutional research and planning. The first-ever vice president of integrated planning at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Hermano takes over for Kelli Armstrong, who left BC this month to serve as president at Salve Regina University.

The role—formerly called the vice president of institutional research, planning, and assessment—is responsible for collecting and organizing data concerning University performance and satisfaction. Under Armstrong, who helped found the office in 2007, the University utilized that information to evaluate and reform academic programs and campus life. Last year, the office developed and executed the first-ever Student Experience Survey, which measured student satisfaction on a variety of issues. 

Her duties in her previous role included managing their accreditation, directing their institutional planning, and handling operations within the president’s office. Hermano devised and established the office herself, which focused on data-driven financial, personnel, and infrastructure management.

RISD is a small private art and design school in Providence—it serves just under 2,000 undergraduate students and nearly 500 graduate students—and is consistently ranked as one of the field’s best educational institutions. RISD borders Brown University, and the two schools share resources and allow students to cross-register for classes.

She also worked on the University’s curricular planning so that it better aligned with the school’s plans regarding accreditation and financing.

An alumni of Sarah Lawrence College and NYU, Hermano spent the last 10 years at RISD, after working at Washington University in St. Louis for six years. She is also a member of the Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Hermano believes that given the rising of higher education, universities need to think carefully about the challenges of access and public trust.

“From my experience, institutions that have a robust planning culture and use data effectively are better able to respond to the challenges facing higher education,” Hermano told BC News. “It allows us to be agile, to make adjustments, and respond to issues and new opportunities. Boston College has recognized strengths in these areas and strong ambitions to address the critical issues facing higher education. I am excited to join this effort as a member of the BC community.”

Hermano was born in the Philippines, where members of her family attended Jesuit institutions. She credited that connection for drawing her to Chestnut Hill.

“I have heard that BC is a very special community and I look forward to ensuring that the Office of Institutional Research and Planning contributes to the University’s goals and ambitions in meaningful ways,” Hermano said.

Featured Image Courtesy of University Communications

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