Northwestern University School of Professional Studies
Dear Friends of SPS,
Congratulations graduates! As we look back on the 2022 School of Professional Studies Convocation and Northwestern's 164th University-wide Commencement, I am filled with pride and admiration over the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff in the face of the challenges of the past few years. Your dedication, innovation and spirit are truly impressive.
As we conclude another successful academic year and take time to enjoy the summer season, our primary goal at SPS remains — delivering the highest quality education in a dynamic, supportive learning environment. That is my promise, our promise, to each of our students.
Northwestern University School of Professional Studies students are part of a unique and distinguished university community. They learn in a supportive, collaborative environment in courses — offered online and in the evenings on Northwestern's Chicago and Evanston campuses — that enable them to balance their personal and professional lives with the pursuit of learning. Classes in SPS degree and certificate programs are taught by some of the university's most respected and talented teachers — scholars and professionals who value the diversity, energy, and creativity of our students.
One of the 12 colleges and schools of Northwestern University, SPS and adult learning have been a core part of Northwestern’s mission since 1933. SPS is enmeshed in many parts of the University — sharing faculty members, creating innovative programs and setting the standard for higher education for adults. SPS students become part of a university ranked among the nation’s best universities with top medical, law, and business schools, and a faculty that has made pioneering contributions to materials science, nanotechnology, economics, the humanities, and more.
Providing innovative learning opportunities
The mission of the School of Professional Studies is to provide a superior Northwestern education to outstanding students whose academic pursuits must be balanced with professional or personal commitments. SPS strives to be a national leader in continuing and professional education by providing innovative learning opportunities that serve the lifelong learning needs of its students.
Thomas F. Gibbons is the dean of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, which offers adult learners a broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate programs as well as certificate and professional development programs. Dean Gibbons launched Northwestern’s first fully online master’s degree and has since developed many other award-winning distance education academic offerings. He also oversees a variety of special programs, including the Center for Public Safety, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Northwestern’s Summer Session. Dean Gibbons, who is an attorney and also a senior lecturer at Northwestern’s School of Law, teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in conflict resolution, negotiations, mediation, and arbitration. He is also a labor arbitrator and mediator, and past president of the University of Professional and Continuing Education Association, of the Association for Conflict Resolution, Chicago Chapter, and the past chairman of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Dean Gibbons holds law degrees from Yale Law School and DePaul University College of Law, a master’s degree from Drew University, and a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University.