Professor James Anderson has devoted his entire career to Franciscan University. In his 40-plus years here, he has held many positions. He was a key player as the College of Steubenville evolved into a university. Even in semi-retirement he continues to make a name for Franciscan in the field of education.
Jim, a graduate of St. Francis College, came to Steubenville in 1965 as a Spanish instructor. (He would later get his master’s in Hispanic languages and literatures from the University of Pittsburgh.) In the 1970s, he became associate dean of Humanities and was acting dean for a time as well. This was a turbulent period when enrollment at many small colleges dropped sharply.
“There were a couple of desperation years. Like a million other small schools, we tried one thing after another to attract students,” Anderson recalls. “Finally, Father Mike [Scanlan, TOR] came on board and made our Catholic identity the point of attraction.”
Next came growth into university status. Jim was put in charge of the graduate program in education, originally affiliated with the University of Dayton, which became a Franciscan program in 1992. With this position, Jim inherited responsibility for the Creative Cornerstones Conference, a summer program for continuing teacher education.
“It’s a week-long refresher course that brings teachers up to date on new technology and curriculum, plus lots of creative, teacher-made things to do in the classroom,” says Jim. Originally offered for one week, the conference has grown in popularity and is now offered three times per summer.
Jim switched from graduate education to chair the Foreign Language Department in 1993. Although he retired from this position in 2002, he still teaches Spanish part time and still runs Creative Cornerstones. Jim and his wife, Esther, make their home in Wheeling. Of his nine children, four are Franciscan alumni. The Andersons are proud grandparents of 28!
Originally published in the Spring 2007 Baronette newsletter. Since then, Professor Anderson has retired from Franciscan University.