Boston College has named Mara Hermano, the vice president of integrated planning at Rhode Island School of Design, as vice president for institutional research and planning, effective September 1. She succeeds Kelli Armstrong, who became president of Salve Regina University in July.
Hermano has served as RISD’s founding vice president of integrated planning since 2015, where she conceived and established an office dedicated to evidence-based integrated planning, assessment, and continuous improvement for the Providence-based college of art and design.
At RISD, Hermano led a wide range of planning and assessment efforts to achieve maximum efficiency with the school’s financial, human, and space resources, while promoting the effective use of data for institutional decision-making. She also redesigned the academic program review process to align with the school’s accreditation and multi-year resource planning, and oversaw two strategic planning processes at RISD, the most recent of which seeks to creatively reimagine organizational and financial models to support the school’s goals of contributing to a just local and global society and a sustainable planet, and engaging in new levels of research, creative practice, and critical scholarship.
Prior to being named vice president at RISD, she served as associate vice president of planning and effectiveness and chief of staff to the school’s president, and as executive director for strategic planning and academic initiatives.
Earlier in her career, she served as special assistant to the dean of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
“I am pleased to announce Mara’s appointment as vice president for institutional research and planning,” said Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead. “Mara brings with her a fresh perspective and strong resume of accomplishments and related experience that will greatly benefit Boston College and build upon the success of the Office of Institutional Research & Planning. I am looking forward to welcoming Mara and working with her as she makes the transition from Providence to Chestnut Hill.”
Hermano said she is excited for the opportunity to come to Boston College in September to join a university that is an established leader in the areas of research, planning, and assessment.
“Part of my work has involved thinking about the value of higher education—given the rising cost—and how we give greater access to deserving students and regain public trust,” said Hermano. “From my experience, institutions that have a robust planning culture and use data effectively are better able to respond to the challenges facing higher education. It allows us to be agile, to make adjustments, and respond to issues and new opportunities. Boston College has recognized strengths in these areas and strong ambitions to address the critical issues facing higher education. I am excited to join this effort as a member of the BC community.”
Hermano received her master’s degree in art history from The Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and bachelor’s degree in art history from Sarah Lawrence College. A native of the Philippines, she is fluent in three languages—English, Spanish, and Tagalog.
She is the co-editor of The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice (Wiley, 2013) and co-author of At Home with Filipino Art and Artists (Anvil, 2001). She also served as editor of Spanish Artists from the Fourth to the Twentieth Century: A Critical Dictionary (GK Hall, 1996) and Lamesa: The Filipino Table (Anvil, 1999).
Her professional activities include membership on the Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and service on visiting teams for the New England Commission of Higher Education and NASAD. She has also spoken nationally on critical issues in art and design education.
Hermano lives in Providence with her husband, Paul Crenshaw, a professor of art history at Providence College, and their college-age children, Angela and Lucas. An avid swimmer, she enjoys travelling with her family, contemporary fashion and design, and international cuisine.
“BC’s Jesuit tradition has been a part of my upbringing, as my father and other family members attended Jesuit schools in the Philippines,” said Hermano. “BC’s clear and focused mission and values are resonant and compelling to me. I am very interested in framing the work of institutional research and planning in the context of the Jesuit traditions of intellectual rigor and inquiry, service, and social justice. My work with data is deeply informed by my training as an art historian. Being able to focus on the details and then zooming out and relating them to a broader context has helped me build a more data-informed culture at RISD. I will always advocate for making data highly visible and digestible in new and interesting ways.
“I have heard that BC is a very special community and I look forward to ensuring that the Office of Institutional Research & Planning contributes to the University’s goals and ambitions in meaningful ways.”
Jack Dunn | University Communications