A national leader in higher education has taken the academic helm at St. Thomas University, joining a leadership team already working on strengthening the University’s position as the leading Catholic university in the Southeast. New Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Irma Becerra is a demonstrated innovator with a broad educational background that spans the fields of engineering, information technology and business. Since arriving at St. Thomas in October, she has been working with faculty and staff in cementing the University in renewed scholarship, and identifying opportunities for growth in burgeoning academic fields.
With a reputation for understanding and responding to today’s marketplace demands, Provost Becerra is working to expand graduate programs in Business, Science, Theology and the liberal arts, and fast-track the development of undergraduate programs focused on addressing in-demand jobs – such as cyber security and sports tourism. More than two dozen new degree programs are in various stages of approval and implementation, with many of the programs coming online next Fall. These courses join current academic offerings, including the newly expanded St. Thomas Online programs. Additional online graduate courses in Business will also be offered in the beginning of the new year.
Helping students achieve success is a focus of Provost Becerra, and that begins with future University students. Already a partner with private and public high schools through an active Dual Enrollment program, Provost Becerra is expanding Dual Enrollment offerings, and working to implement a Career Academies model for Catholic high schools, providing the schools with the latest college prep strategies that will also accelerate their eventual graduation. Together with the Dual Enrollment Program, the Academies will create a seamless transition for Catholic high school students into college, allowing speedier graduation and advancement into graduate coursework. New dual enrollment courses will cover American Government; Comparative Politics; Political Science; and International Relations.
A published academic, Provost Becerra previously served as a Vice President at Florida International University, following a two-decade career in academia that has included leadership positions in and out of the classroom.