“This didn’t start with an elaborate plan,” President Christopher Hopey recounted to an audience of college trustees, Apple executives, faculty and administrators. “This started with a bold vision of ‘what is possible’ to move education forward at Merrimack, and the faculty picked it up and ran with it.”
Hopey recounted the college’s trajectory over eight years, from a college that was still using electric typewriters and would not provide technical support to Apple products, to today’s deployment of iPads to every student, as well as faculty and staff, for use in classes and curriculum, as well as admission efforts and athletic recruitment and player development.
He especially praised Provost Allan Weatherwax and Kathryn Nielsen, associate provost and director of strategic initiatives, for their work in inspiring and motivating faculty. He also thanked the Davis Educational Foundation, which provided grant support to the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and for experiential education at the college.
“When you are an Apple Distinguished School, it’s recognition of creating a culture of continuous innovation in teaching and learning on your campus,” said Nielsen. “It’s an impressive designation in higher ed.”
Mary Jane Blatt, Ian Camera, Paul D’Ascoli and Cheryl Low of Apple joined the ceremony, praising Hopey and lauding the work Merrimack has done in creating a “center of leadership and educational excellence.”
As an Apple Distinguished School, Merrimack will be able to share its story of using technology in the classroom on a national and international stage. There are 23 Apple Distinguished higher education institutions around the globe and only two others in New England.
“It’s about demonstrating a vision for learning with technology that inspires creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking inside and outside the classroom,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen led a team of education leaders in presenting to Merrimack’s board of trustees the day after the designation ceremony, demonstrating ways in which Mobile Merrimack particularly has transformed teaching and coaching.