President, Fairfield University
On July 1st, 2017 Mark R. Nemec, Ph.D. became the 9th President of Fairfield University. Additionally, Dr. Nemec joined the politics department as a professor within the College of Arts and Sciences.
A graduate of Loyola High School, Jesuit College Preparatory in Los Angeles, Dr. Nemec earned a PhD in Political Science and an MA in Education from the University of Michigan and a BA in English from Yale, where he was an All-Ivy League rugby player. Early in his career, he taught American politics as a visiting assistant professor at Davidson College, and as an instructor at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Ivory Towers and Nationalist Minds: Universities, Leadership, and the Development of the American State (University of Michigan Press, 2006) and a contributor to The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson (University of Virginia Press, 2012).
Beyond his research on the role of higher education in American political development, Dr. Nemec has been a frequent speaker on the current and future state of higher education and has presented to a diverse array of audiences including the White House’s Forum on College Affordability, the British Council’s Going Global, the New England Board of Higher Education’s Summit on Cost in Higher Education, and the annual meetings of numerous higher education associations.
Most recently, Dr. Nemec served as the dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. As dean, Dr. Nemec led the school’s significant growth and evolution by focusing on extending the university’s reach to ever broader student populations in ever more innovative ways.
Building upon the University of Chicago’s commitment to rigorous inquiry in all its offerings, Graham reaffirmed its commitment to lifelong learning in the liberal arts by reinvesting in its core programs for adult learners. By committing resources to both long established and newly created programs ranging from the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, which celebrated its 70th anniversary during his tenure, to working with leading global employers to develop liberal arts offerings for professionals, Nemec helped the school advance its academic goals.
During his tenure, Graham invested in professional programs in newly emerging, multi-disciplinary fields recognizing their significance to higher education’s continued relevance including master’s degrees and certificate programs to insure career development with rigor. In just three years, Graham greatly expanded its Master of Science in Analytics program and developed a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics both of which have generated significant impact with students and employers in a short amount of time.
Recognizing that not every student’s path in higher education is linear, Graham School, with Dr. Nemec’s guidance, established outreach and scholarship programs to increase access for students from a variety of backgrounds. Most notably, the school created the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Bridge Scholars Program which offered exceptional students an opportunity to explore paths to graduate or professional school after their college graduation, and to support them in their eventual applications to graduate or professional degree programs.
Under Dr. Nemec’s leadership, Graham explored, developed, and implemented new modalities and approaches to teaching and learning and served as an instrument of innovation in areas of university-wide strategic importance, with a particular emphasis on online pedagogy and digital engagement. Graham has been the steward on the university’s partnerships with innovative online course providers such as Coursera, edX, FutureLearn, and GetSmarter. Additionally, Graham partnered with the University of Chicago’s Alumni Relations and Development group to launch UChicago AlumniU, an online digital engagement platform which engaged over 1500 unique alumni (many for the first time since graduation) in its first year through courses and discussion forums.
Prior to his tenure at the University of Chicago, Nemec turned from academia to the use of data and analysis to help global organizations including institutions of higher education operate more strategically and effectively. He joined the University of Chicago after serving as president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, a Boston-based information services firm providing research and advice to the higher education community. He previously had been a member of the executive team of Forrester Research, a provider of similar services to the technology industry.
Dr. Nemec joined the Fairfield community as president and as professor in the department of politics with his wife, Suzanne, and their four children Alex, Teddy, Philip and Kit.
Dr. Mark R. Nemec
President, Fairfield University
Dr. Mark R. Nemec has served as president of Fairfield University since July 1, 2017.