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Francis Worldwide launches to meet needs of adult students and working professional students

August 12, 2019 Tags: Academics , Francis Worldwide , University News

Dr. Karen Srba, Dean of Francis Worldwide at Saint Francis UniversitySaint Francis University is known for character-building programs that shape young students into competent, caring professionals. What people may not realize is that non-traditional adult learners make up a growing segment of the student body. These adult learners are eager to apply the traditional Franciscan values to their own career journey as leaders in business, healthcare, and law enforcement.

The demand for high quality, transformative education that is flexible enough for an adult’s busy schedule has prompted the university to vision new possibilities for how it serves adult learners both online and on campus.

This summer the university launched of a new school,  Francis Worldwide, dedicated to professional, adult  and continuing education.   Francis Worldwide is a transformation of the former Adult Degree and Continuing Studies (ADCS) department  devoted to innovative approaches to developing programs that merge a “Saint Francis experience” with the needs of today’s workforce. The vision for Francis Worldwide is to serve adult learners how they want to learn through degree and non-degree programs, when they need it with "just-in-time"  badges, microcredentials, competencies, certificates, or degrees; and where they want to learn either online, on campus or blended. 

Dr. Karen Srba  has been named as the school's inaugural Dean effective July 1, 2019.  Dr. Srba comes to Saint Francis with 14 years of experience in education and many more years in information technology and project management. 
“A small private Catholic-Franciscan institution such as Saint Francis offers a great deal of personalized attention for an adult student whether he or she is taking classes on campus or online from the other side of the country,” shared University President Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, Ph.D., T.O.R. 

“Under the leadership of Dr. Srba, we will pay particular attention to the educational needs of adult students. Their needs are very different from the traditional 18-22 year-old-student, yet every SFU student deserves to have an immersive learning environment guided by our Franciscan vision of faith and service,” he continued. 

According to Dr. Srba,  Francis Worldwide will serve as a lifelong learning gateway offering everything from fully online degree programs to credit and noncredit microcredentials, specialty certificates, webinars, summits and more. 

About Dr. Srba:

Dr. Srba earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, her Masters in Distance Education from the University of Maryland University College, where she has also taught, and received her undergraduate degree in Management and Technology. Dr. Srba will relocate to the Loretto area with her husband, Randy. Her daughter Julianna, will graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in nuclear engineering in the spring of 2020.

Prior to her time at Saint Francis University, Dr. Srba was the Vice President of Academic and Instructional Technology, where she created an Academic Program Management Office and led a team of eLearning architects to create several student-centered learning frameworks including, Just-in-Time Remediation, Competency Based Education, Life-Long Learning, and an eLearning Framework that transformed courses into an interactive and engaging learning experience. In addition, she directly supported both the Provost and President in many special initiatives including working with IT on projects to reduce fraud and strengthen academic integrity, simplify and automate licensure and certification programs; launching new programs like electrical engineering and nursing; and obtaining new technology for classroom and admissions and advising teams to both increase retention and enhance the student experience.

 Dr. Srba is a leader and presenter on many topics including project management, higher education, adaptive learning pedagogy, immersive technology (3D and VR/AR), and experiential learning for online adult students. Her latest research projects focus on higher education transformation and the application of the neuroscience of learning. She has presented and has published many of her articles on the various learning frameworks as well as her research in the Neuroscience of Learning.


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