Academic Leadership

Executive Director, Strategic Planning/Academic Initiatives

Mara HermanoMara Hermano, executive director of Strategic Planning and Academic Initiatives, oversees the implementation of RISD’s strategic initiatives and is responsible for facilitating institutional accreditation and assessment.

Born in Manila, the Philippines, Hermano initially left her native country to study art history – from more than just slides. She earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Hermano went on to pursue her interests in cultural intersections, art and design at New York arts organizations – including the auction house Christie’s and the Frick Art Reference Library –before discovering the opportunities and challenges of art school administration, first at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and then at RISD, where she initially served as special assistant to the president.

Hermano is the editor of Spanish Artists from the Fourth to the Twentieth Century: A Critical Dictionary, vols. 3–4 (GK Hall, 1996) and Lamesa: The Filipino Table (Santa Barbara Publishing, 1999) and co-author of At Home with Filipino Art and Artists (Anvil Publishing, 2001).

In informal crits, students are called on to defend their own work and provide constructive feedback to each other.