This article by Hiba Almasari originally published in The Gannon Knight on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012.
As the university’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, Andrew Novobilski, Ph.D., is the No. 2 person in the university’s chain of command.
However, for Novobilski, learning is an ongoing process, regardless of which side of the desk he’s sitting on.
Born in Pottstown, Pa., Novobilski earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He obtained his master’s degree in computer science and engineering, specializing in machinery from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he also earned a doctor of philosophy degree.
As provost and vice president of academic affairs, Novobilski works to serve the faculty and students and provide the most comfortable setting for them so they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
After spending three months in Erie, Novobilski said he finds the city and its people welcoming and enjoyable.
“Students here are so polite,” Novobilski said in amusement. “And it’s a small community, which is good.”
In an April press release, Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., said he felt confident that as provost and vice president for academic affairs, Novobilski will work to take Gannon’s academic excellence to the next level.
“He will be a champion for garnering the resources students and faculty need to thrive in their studies, research and scholarship,” Taylor said.
Novobilski has his hands full maintaining his duties as provost and keeping track of educational goals like strengthening existing programs at Gannon and adding new and exciting ones as well.
“We need to continue to work with faculty to develop programs so they can continue to give the students the best education they can,” Novobilski said.
“The digital humanities are big right now and they’re growing bigger, and we need to make sure that our students are aware of that.”
Another goal Novobilski said he hoped to achieve was supporting and enabling a sense of global citizenry by giving students the chance to not only interact with people from different backgrounds but also understand and get involved in their culture as well.
“It’s more than just sending our students overseas or inviting international students to come to Gannon,” Novobilski said. “It’s to make sure everybody gets involved whenever they arrive to their destination, and I think that’s where the learning takes place.”
Senior criminal justice major Jonathan Simmons said he was interested in seeing how the university’s platform would expand under Novobilski’s term.
“I hope the university continues to grow as one of the top universities in the region,” Simmons said.
Before joining Gannon, Novobilski served as the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics and as a professor of computer science at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.
Novobilski was also a fellow of the American Council on Education. As a fellow, he served in the office of the chancellor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he was able to observe the staff and interact with people from all across the University of Nebraska and learned about higher education and administration through that program.
He is the author of “PenPoint Programming,” and is the co-author of another book, “Object-Oriented Programming: An Evolutionary Approach.” He has also authored and co-authored a number of journal articles and has participated in numerous national and international conferences.
Novobilski said he was mostly surprised and impressed by Gannon students’ level of commitment to the Catholic mission and faith, regardless of their religious background.
“I see people working hard to figure out where they fit in to the mission and ministry at Gannon,” Novobilski said. “Our mission here is more than just making sure the state gets economic development.
“Our mission here is truly about making sure our students become better individuals.”
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