New dean envisions expansion and growth in graduate programs

Apr 09, 2014

North Central College has named Pamela Monaco, Ph.D., as dean of graduate and continuing studies. In this role, she will oversee the admission, marketing and further development of current and new graduate programs, including applications of technology for instruction.

“North Central has great potential for growth in graduate programs and this was very exciting to me,” says Monaco. “I see a great opportunity to build on the programs that are already in place and taught by faculty with strong credentials and experience.”

Monaco was previously vice president and chief academic officer for professional studies at Southwestern College in Wichita, Kan. She focused on the delivery of academic programs for online and adult students, which included meeting the needs of returning veterans.  She had built expertise in this area previously as dean at Brandman University, which served more than 10,000 adult and nontraditional learners within Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

Monaco will be investigating “blended options” for North Central’s graduate programs, which means that courses could include both classroom teaching and online delivery. The trend in online learning is toward synchronous, she says.  “This allows graduate students, who are busy with work and travel, to participate in real-time, online discussions. This is very different from posting course content online that students complete at 2 a.m.”

Another option for graduate programs includes “low residency” schedules that result in students coming to campus for weekend instruction two or three times during a term, for example.

“Throughout my career, I’ve served nontraditional students, and because of this passion I understand the ways in which technology, life choices, experience, career and family demands influence what an adult brings to the pursuit of education,” she explains.

Monaco holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English from the Catholic University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from George Washington University, both in Washington, D.C. She also attained a certificate from the Institutes for Higher Education at Harvard University. Her academic credentials include teaching and serving in administration for English, foreign languages and theatre departments. She was a Fulbright Scholar in 2002 at the University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia, where she taught American drama, American culture and regional literature.

One of the attractions of moving to Naperville was the access to Chicago theatre. “Location, location, location. My husband Don and I flew up for theatre quite frequently,” she says. “But I view this position as a tremendous opportunity to put my skills to work for a college eager to expand its reach and build high-quality programs.”