2021 Summer Council: Speakers

Johnson O. Akinleye

Johnson AkinleyeJohnson O. Akinleye was elected as the 12th chancellor of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) on June 26, 2017. The NCCU legacy of Truth and Service continues to thrive under his new platform, "The Eagle Promise," which focuses on six strategic priorities: embracing student success; expanding the institution’s portfolio of academic offerings and research initiatives; expanding partnerships with higher education institutions, community colleges, K-12, private industry and nonprofit organizations to recruit, support, and employ students; facilitating the development of innovative strategies within the surrounding community; reinforcing and investing in improved security measures on campus; and improving and building new infrastructure to better accommodate the growing NCCU community.

Heidi M. Anderson

Heidi Anderson

Heidi M. Anderson is the 16th leader of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She is a first-generation college student, having earned three degrees from Purdue University in her home state of Indiana. She holds a Ph.D. in pharmacy administration, a master’s degree in education, and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. 

As a college administrator, Anderson has managed multi-million-dollar budgets, raised money for major academic facilities, guided institutions in forging new degree programs, supported targeted efforts to improve student achievement and faculty development, and negotiated collaborative agreements with community colleges. 

From 2013 to 2015, Anderson was provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, where a signature achievement was leading efforts that increased minority enrollment to record levels. 

As the University of Kentucky’s associate provost for institutional effectiveness (2011-2013) and associate provost for faculty affairs (2006-2011), Anderson managed a $25 million budget and created and led new policies, practices, and programs for faculty recruitment, appointment, promotion, and retention. She also served that institution as assistant dean for educational innovation and as a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science. 

F. Javier Cevallos

F. Javier CevallosF. Javier Cevallos began his tenure as president of Framingham State University in Massachusetts on July 1, 2014. Cevallos earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. From Puerto Rico, he moved to Illinois where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in 1978 and 1981, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He began his career in education in 1981 as an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Maine, Orono. In 1984, he moved to the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Amherst, where he was asked to serve as faculty advisor to the provost in 1994. In 1996 he completed an American Council on Education fellowship, after which he returned to UMass. Soon after, he was appointed vice chancellor for student affairs, a post he held until 2002, when he became president of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, a position he held until June 2014.

Michelle Asha Cooper

Michelle Asha Cooper

Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., currently serves as the acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education and deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. In these roles, she oversees the department’s work to support and strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities to promote innovation and improvement for students and broaden the attainment of global competencies that drive the economic success and competitiveness of the nation. 

Cooper brings more than 20 years of experience to this work. Most recently, she served as the president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, where she managed the organization’s expansive research portfolio and advocacy agenda. She has also held leadership positions at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Independent Colleges, and King’s College (Pa.). Cooper served as the deputy director for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance at the U.S. Department of Education. 

A recognized advocate for racial and economic equity, experienced practitioner, and demonstrated leader, Cooper is a champion of access and success for all students in higher education. 

Christina Cutlip

Christina Cutlip

Christina Cutlip is a senior managing director for the Institutional Financial Services division of TIAA.  She is the head of the Client Engagement & National Advocacy team, which is responsible for expanding relationships with industry and government associations, while also focusing on client engagement.   

In 2011, Cutlip was recognized as TIAA’s Working Mother of the Year by Working Mother magazine and received an Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2016 from The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) State Fund Network for her contributions to higher education. She was appointed by the Secretary of Labor to the Department of Labor ERISA Advisory Council for a three-year term. Cutlip is on the board of CIC and chairs the board of Almasi Collaborative Arts. She serves on the board of retirement healthcare provider Emeriti, the Board of Trustees for Grinnell College, and on the advisory councils of WISER and ERIC.   

Cutlip earned a B.A. in Economics from Grinnell College, an MBA from Regis University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Northcentral University (Calif.). 

Karrie G. Dixon

Karrie G. DixonKarrie G. Dixon was named 12th CEO and seventh chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) (N.C.) on Dec. 14, 2018. She previously served as interim chancellor since April 9, 2018. Prior to this appointment, Dixon was a senior administrator at the University of North Carolina System Office since 2008. She was promoted to serve as vice president for academic and student affairs as well as chief student affairs officer, where she oversaw and shaped systemwide policy to ensure overall success for the more than 220,000 students enrolled across the state. Since Dixon’s arrival at ECSU, enrollment climbed nearly 40% in just 18 months and degree program offerings expanded, which included launching an unmanned aircraft systems degree program, an online master’s degree in education, and an online bachelor’s degree in homeland security. Under her leadership, the university increased its fleet from two to 12 aircraft for ECSU’s signature aviation program.

Berenecea Johnson Eanes

Berenecea Johnson EanesBerenecea Johnson Eanes assumed the presidency of York College, a member institution of The City University of New York (CUNY), on June 1, 2020. This appointment marks Eanes’ return to CUNY, having served for six years as vice president for student affairs at CUNY’s John Jay College (2006–2012). Eanes immediately began assessing the needs of the college and devising a strategy to grow the college as “One York,” where everyone feels valued for their contribution to the academic enterprise. To this end, she embarked upon a listening tour of the college community as well as meetings with external stakeholders whose support York has always depended upon to survive and thrive. Within only several months at York, Eanes accomplished a number of long- and short-term goals, including the completion of York’s strategic plan.

Michelle Elrod

Michelle Elrod

Michelle Elrod leads the Strategic Learning & Organizational Excellence Team at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The team consists of Human Resource Information Systems, the Customer Service Center, and the Strategic Learning group. She is responsible for the annual campuswide leadership retreat and has successfully implemented a badging program for aspiring leaders in an effort to create internal opportunities for future leaders. 

Elrod currently serves on the California State University-wide Workforce Planning Pilot program and is on the safer return task force and the repopulation workgroup. She is certified in DISC, EQ, Emergenetics, Franklin Covey’s Leading at the Speed of Trust, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Employee Engagement by Blessing White, and Crucial Conversations by Vital Smarts. 

Jennifer Engle

Jennifer Engle Jennifer Engle, deputy director of Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s United States Program, leads the foundation’s team responsible for using postsecondary data, measurement, learning, and evaluation to help reach its strategy goals to close attainment gaps to increase social mobility and to prepare the modern workforce. Engle is a noted national expert, leader, and advocate in the field. From the Pell Institute to the Education Trust to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, she has focused on improving college access, affordability, and completion for underserved students throughout her career. For her, it is a professional passion that comes from her personal experience as the first in her family to go to college. Engle holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Education from American University (D.C.). 

Kristin G. Esterberg

Kristin G. EsterbergKristin G. Esterberg was appointed as the 16th president of State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, effective June 30, 2014. Trained as a sociologist, Esterberg received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in sociology at Cornell University (N.Y.). She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from Boston University. Prior to her appointment at SUNY Potsdam, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Salem State (Mass.), and deputy provost and associate provost at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She was previously chair of the sociology department and a tenured faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and director of the women’s studies program and a tenured professor of sociology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is the author of three books and numerous articles and publications on qualitative research methodology, gender, and sexuality. Her most recent book (with co-author John Wooding) is Divided Conversations: Identity, Leadership, and Change in Public Higher Education (Vanderbilt University Press 2013).

Marion Ross Fedrick

Marion Ross Fedrick

Marion Ross Fedrick was appointed as the 10th president of Albany State University (Ga.) in August 2018, after serving as both the interim executive vice president and interim president for the university since October 2017. Fedrick is an accomplished senior leader whose proven expertise spans more than 30 years. Her professional background includes higher education administration, strategic planning, crisis management, and strategic partnership management in both the private and public sectors. 

As president of Albany State University, Fedrick continues to apply her diverse experiences and commitment to drive initiatives that ignite excellence. Under her leadership, the institution has undertaken several critical initiatives that include a redesign of the institution’s academic colleges, approval of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) first nexus degrees, and the design and implementation of the university’s integrated student success model. 

The intersection of her vision, passion, and broad leadership capabilities have placed her in key leadership roles throughout her career. Serving as the USG vice chancellor of human resources, Fedrick has led strategic initiatives relating to effective university administration, leadership development and all human resources planning efforts at Clark Atlanta University, Emory University Hospitals, State of Georgia’s Office of State Personnel Administration, AT&T, and the former BellSouth Corporation. 

Andrew Feinstein

Andy Feinstein

Andrew “Andy” Feinstein became the 13th president of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in July 2018. He has devoted a career to teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and student success, which is his top priority at UNC. 

Throughout his presidency, Feinstein has sought to enhance the fundamental characteristics and commitments that make UNC a great place to live and learn by making intentional decisions that put students first. He has recommitted the university and its leadership to design and activate new approaches that honor and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion, ensuring that UNC sustains a nurturing and supportive environment where all students, faculty, and staff thrive. 

Feinstein has worked tirelessly to ensure UNC is well positioned for future success. In fall 2019, he marshaled a collaborative process resulting in the articulation of a new vision for the university: Rowing, Not Drifting 2030.

He most recently served five years as provost and senior vice president at San Jose State University. Prior to that, he served in roles including professor, department chair, associate dean, dean, and senior advisor to the president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. 

Mildred García

Mildred GarcíaMildred García assumed AASCU’s presidency on Jan. 22, 2018.  
 
As AASCU's president, García is an advocate for public higher education at the national level, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of nearly 400 member colleges and universities; serving as a resource to presidents and chancellors as they address state policy and emerging campus issues; developing collaborative partnerships and initiatives that advance public higher education; directing a strategic agenda that focuses on public college and university leadership for the 21st century; and providing professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors, and their spouses. She is the first Latina to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C.  
 
Prior to joining AASCU, García served as the president of two minority-serving institutions: California State University (CSU), Fullerton—a nationally ranked university for its full range of academic offerings and research, the largest university in the CSU, and the third-largest university in the state—and at CSU Dominguez Hills, where she was the first Latina president in the largest system of public higher education in the country. Before her arrival in the CSU, García served as the CEO of Berkeley College, where she was the first systemwide president for all six campuses.

Ralph Gigliotti

Ralph Gigliotti

Ralph Gigliotti, Ph.D., is assistant vice president for strategic programs in the Office of University Strategy and director of the Center for Organizational Leadership at Rutgers University (N.J.), where he provides executive leadership for a portfolio of signature academic leadership programs, consultation services, and research initiatives. He engages directly with academic and administrative leaders in strengthening the center’s role as a hub for leadership development research and initiatives. He also serves as a part-time faculty member in the Department of Communication, Ph.D. Program in Higher Education, and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. 

Gigliotti’s research and consulting interests explore the intersection of organizational communication, leadership, crisis, and training and development within the context of higher education. 

Rick Gonzalez

Rick GonzalezRick Gonzalez, a native of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, has worked as a staff member in higher education for 10 years in both student affairs and university advancement at both Texas State University and The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Since moving to Pueblo in 2017, Gonzalez has invested hundreds of hours volunteering at Southern Colorado Spay & Neuter and Adoption Clinic in the feline unit as well as Colorado State University-Pueblo. At CSU-Pueblo Rick contributes to the university by volunteering and providing administrative support to a variety of units on campus. He also hosts numerous dinners and receptions for donors, alumni, and students. Gonzalez serves as a member of the Parkview Medical Center Foundation in Pueblo, Colorado. Gonzalez and his spouse, Timothy Mottet, have two shelter cats (Emily and Birdie). They enjoy scuba diving, international travel, and exploring the music and art scene in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Lisa Hunter

Lisa Hunter Lisa R. Hunter, Ph.D., a certified yoga teacher and wellness coach, is the founder and CEO of Leading Heart Wellness. She helps high-achieving women leaders manage stress, anxiety, and burnout so that they thrive in their leadership. During her career in higher education as a professor and senior administrator, Hunter noticed a significant gap in support for women in leadership positions. Many sacrifice their own health and wellness to the detriment of their full leadership potential. Through wellness coaching, yoga, mindfulness, and other modalities, Hunter is passionate about breaking down stereotypes for women in leadership to seek support, ask for help, and show up in their leadership healthy and well. She also serves as vice president of education at Ad Astra, where she continues to pursue her passion of supporting student success in higher education as an educator, consultant, and student success advocate.

Jacquelyn R. Jones

Jacquelyn R. JonesJacquelyn R. Jones is the senior director of AASCU’s Frontier Set & Student Success Strategy where she provides strategic vision and leadership for developing and contributing to the student success strategy work in the Center for Student Success and the Frontier Set. Jones also serves as the connection bridge for learning across the segment and up through the Frontier Set network through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, providing support to AASCU and supporting student success nationally. Prior to working at AASCU, Jones worked at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as the director of retention initiatives, working to increase retention and completion rates, as well as improving the student success platform on campus. She has worked in both academic and student affairs and has extensive experience establishing rapport and cultivating relationships with campus stakeholders. Jones, originally from the Cleveland area, is a first-generation college student and the first in her family to receive a Ph.D. Jones earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Toledo (Ohio) and her M.S. in Higher Education Administration and B.S. in Sport and Exercise Science from The University of Akron (Ohio).

Ellen Junn

Ellen JunnEllen Junn is president of California State University (CSU), Stanislaus, a comprehensive public institution located in California’s central valley. Throughout her 35-year history with the CSU, she has demonstrated a focus on supporting diversity and inclusion and implementing institutional equity and inclusion action plans.

Paula Kerger

Paula Kerger

Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest noncommercial media organization, with more than 330 member stations throughout the country. Having joined PBS in March 2006, Kerger is the longest-serving president and CEO in PBS history.

Under Kerger’s leadership, PBS has grown its audiences across genres and platforms. PBS has moved from the 14th most-watched network in America to number seven in the past decade. Over the course of a year, 86% of all U.S. television households watch PBS, and each month, Americans view an average of 255 million videos across PBS’ web, mobile, and connected device platforms.

Bao Le

Bao LeBao Le is the director of data analytics & impact at AASCU's Center for Student Success. She provides direction for the center's overall data strategy goals, program and curriculum development, and supports for strengthening member institutions' culture of evidence. Prior to joining AASCU, Le served as an associate education research analyst for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education. She worked on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which collects data from every college, university, and vocational and technical school that participates in Title IV financial aid programs. Prior to her tenure on IPEDS, Le served as a research associate at the American Institutes for Research, contracting for NCES’s International Assessment Program and focusing on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study.

L. Jay Lemons

L. Jay LemonsL. Jay Lemons became president of Academic Search in 2017, after serving for 25 years as a college president in both public and private higher education. A recognized leader in the academy, Lemons has been particularly devoted to supporting leadership talent by working with new college presidents on the faculty of the new presidents’ programs of AASCU and the Council of Independent Colleges and through the professional development programs for aspiring leaders of the American Academic Leadership Institute. This passion for working with new and emerging leaders and the opportunity to help them build teams and their institutions was what led him to accept the presidency of Academic Search. 
 
Lemons was president of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, from 2001 through June 30, 2017, and prior to that served as chancellor of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) College at Wise, UVA’s public liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia. Both institutions experienced highly generative periods of growth and development under his leadership. He understands colleges and universities and the leadership needed to propel institutions into the future.

Charlene Li

Charlene Li

For the past two decades, Charlene Li has been helping people see the future. She’s an expert on digital transformation, leadership, customer experience, and the future of work and the author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership and the co-author of the critically-acclaimed book Groundswell. Her latest book is the bestseller The Disruption Mindset.

She’s also an entrepreneur—the founder and senior fellow at Altimeter, a disruptive analyst firm that was acquired in 2015 by Prophet. Li was named one of the Top 50 Leadership Innovators by Inc. and one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company. She serves on the regional board of YPO, a global network of 28,000 CEOs. Li graduated magna cum laudefrom Harvard College and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in San Francisco.

Luis Maldonado

Luis MaldonadoLuis Maldonado was appointed vice president for government relations and policy analysis at AASCU effective July 8, 2019. He aids the president of AASCU in this position by directing and coordinating activities that advance the mission of the association, serving as the direct liaison with government officials, federal agencies, and other educational organizations to develop policies and positions that support regional comprehensive state colleges and universities. Maldonado has more than 25 years of combined experience in government relations and advocacy efforts with various organizations in the Washington, D.C., region. He has worked in advocacy for three nonprofit organizations, most recently with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, in two former positions from 2002–2005 that included serving in a legislative affairs capacity and as chief advocacy officer from 2014–2019, and in senior advocacy positions with the Council on Foundations and the American Diabetes Association.

Michael Mills

Michael Mills Michael Thomas Mills has been a presidential spouse for six years and is married to Denise Battles, president of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo. He spent 25 years as an English faculty member at the University of North Carolina WIlmington, University of Northern Colorado, and Georgia Southern University before being named as the present director of national fellowships and scholarships at SUNY Geneseo.

Jose Minaya

Jose Minaya

Jose Minaya is the CEO of Nuveen, responsible for its vision, strategy and day-to-day operations. He and his leadership team set and execute key growth initiatives and provide oversight of all investment management teams and client businesses. He also chairs the Nuveen Executive Committee.

Minaya previously served as president and CIO of Nuveen, responsible for overseeing all investment activities for more than $1 trillion in assets spanning the globe and covering equities, fixed income, real estate, private markets, natural resources, other alternatives, and responsible investments. Prior to that, he led TIAA’s global real assets division, where he was responsible for setting strategy and developing investment capabilities across real estate, agriculture, timber, infrastructure, energy, and alternative credit strategies.

Minaya currently serves on multiple boards, including the Robert Toigo Foundation, the National Forest Foundation, and the Investment Company Institute. He is an executive sponsor for the Inclusion and Diversity initiative at TIAA, working to build and promote a diverse and inclusive environment throughout the enterprise. Minaya holds a Bachelor’s in Finance from Manhattan College (N.Y.) and an MBA from Dartmouth’s (N.H.) Amos Tuck School of Business.

Timothy Mottet

Timothy Mottett

Timothy Mottet is the 15th president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. As a higher education leader, he is recognized for designing innovative learning systems that allow all students to be successful. 

Mottet has a record of success in developing high-performing educators, aligning people and processes to enhance organizational sustainability, facilitating and implementing strategic planning processes, and building consensus among diverse groups of individuals. As provost at Northwest Missouri State University from 2014–2017, Mottet worked to keep higher education accessible and affordable by developing strategic partnerships and pathways with area high schools and community colleges. 

Mottet has coauthored four books and published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His research examines the intersections of communication, personality, and cognition and their application to instructional, organizational, and interpersonal contexts. Most recently, he has researched the communication effectiveness of pediatric trauma team members in hospital emergency rooms. 

Mottet and his spouse, Rick Gonzalez, enjoy entertaining friends, spending time with their families, exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans, volunteering at animal shelters, collecting art, and scuba diving. 

Barmak Nassirian

 Barmak Nassirian

Barmak Nassirian joined AASCU as its director of federal relations and policy analysis in 2013. In this role, he coordinates federal relations and legislative, regulatory, and public policy at the federal level. 

Nassirian returned to AASCU after having served the association from 1990–1998 as the director of federal policy analysis. This was followed by nearly 15 years of executive management experience with the Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Nassirian is a nationally known policy analyst and expert on federal student aid. He has an extensive network of contacts on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill and within key federal agencies, as well as with the media and the broader national higher education community. 

In his prior service with AASCU, Nassirian provided analytical support, designed federal cost estimation models, and participated in policy development and advocacy for the 1992 and 1998 Higher Education Act reauthorizations. He has been successful in building coalitions with other stakeholders and serving as a voice on major higher education issues, illustrated, for example, by his testimony before House and Senate education committees. 

Mel Netzhammer

Mel Netzhammer

Mel Netzhammer has served as the second chancellor of Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver since July 2012. He is passionate about growing the number of students who successfully complete their academic degrees and expanding access to higher education—especially for the underrepresented. He values campus and community engagement and has developed a number of strategic partnerships to support economic development and grow the workforce in Southwest Washington and the greater metropolitan area. 

Under Netzhammer’s leadership, WSU Vancouver developed a 2016–2021 strategic plan focused on research excellence, student success, growth, diversity and equity, and contributing to the betterment of the community. The plan is the foundation for all decision-making at the university. 

Netzhammer’s civic engagement is extensive. Locally he serves on the boards of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Greater Portland Inc., the STEM Governance Committee for Southwest Washington and the Vancouver Public Schools’ Management Advisory Task Force. Nationally he is a member of the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education Board and the National Steering Committee for the American Democracy Project, an initiative to advance the civic learning of undergraduates about the role of citizens in a democracy. 

Alison N. Nooks

Alison Nooks

Alison N. Nooks is the proud first lady of Gordon State College (Ga.). She also serves as the online academic program coordinator (OAPC) for the School of Arts & Letters (SOAL) and teaches media and communication for the Media, Culture and Arts Department. As the SOAL OAPC, she provides training and support for online teaching and works on a range of special projects. She also serves as Middle Georgia State University’s Affordable Learning Georgia Design Champion and a Momentum Champion. Nooks has more than 21 years of experience in higher education with additional years working in government and industry.

Nooks has used her skills in communication, marketing, graphic design, event planning, fundraising, and project management over her career. She has also chaired several curriculum committees; developed growth mindset training; and presented at several regional, national, and international conferences. She holds a B.B.A. in economics and an MBA in finance, both, from Mercer University (Ga.) and an M.A. in public communication from American University (D.C.). Nooks and her husband, Kirk A Nooks, have three beautiful children—a daughter who will be a junior in college this fall and twins who are rising fourth graders. They reside in Forsyth, Georgia. 

Scott R. Olson

Scott R. Olson

Scott R. Olson was appointed the 15th president of Winona State University (WSU, Minn.) on May 16, 2012. He replaces Judith A. Ramaley, who served as WSU's president from 2005-2012. 
 
Prior to joining WSU, Olson served as provost, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, and professor of Communication Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. During his time at Minnesota State Mankato, it saw significant growth in enrollment, diversity, innovation, industry partnerships, international programs, system collaboration, and applied research. 

He served as dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media at Ball State University (Ind.) and as a faculty member at Central Connecticut State University. He also served for one year as interim vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. 
 
He has published two books, 30 book chapters, and 22 journal articles in publications in the United States, Canada, China, Korea, Poland, Russia, and India. He has delivered over 100 papers at conferences in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Korea, Poland, Taiwan, and the United States. 

Karla Oty

Karla Oty Karla Oty became a presidential spouse in 2013, when her husband accepted the presidency of Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. She has worked full-time in higher education for more than 25 years at three institutions, since receiving her doctorate in mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. At Cameron University, she has served as the chair of the Department of Mathematical Science and the interim dean of the School of Science and Technology, and she has been the director of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Accountability since July 2010. Oty met her husband, John McArthur, while they were both graduate students at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and the two married in 1990. Oty's personal interests include travel, gardening, and playing the French horn in the university and community bands.

Corie Pauling

Corie Pauling

Corie Pauling, a leader at TIAA since 2006, became the organization’s senior vice president, chief inclusion and diversity officer in July 2018. Pauling was instrumental in the launch of the diversity and inclusion (D&I) function at TIAA more than 10 years ago and served as a primary legal and business adviser and thought leader in this area since that time. In her prior role, Pauling held the position of senior director, associate general counsel in the Employment, Benefits & Labor Law Group.

In the D&I space, she has extensive experience in strategy development, board interface, equal employment opportunity best practices, policy development, training/learning, metrics, data analysis and reporting, external partnerships and sourcing, pay equity, global workforce compliance, talent acquisition, workforce development, employee resource groups, culture surveys, federal contractor compliance, and workplace investigations. Pauling’s experience includes counseling financial services institutions and other Fortune 500 companies and representing individual employees in employment and civil rights litigation.

Pauling was incredibly honored to be named on the 2019 Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity list and to be recognized as a TIAA Working Mother of the Year with the national magazine Working Mother and recipient of the Young Civic Leader Award by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

David P. Richardson

David P. RichardsonDavid P. Richardson is managing director of Research at the TIAA Institute. Before joining the institute, he served as senior economist for Public Finance at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and held the New York Life chair in Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State University. Previously, he worked as a financial economist in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury and was an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Davidson College (N.C.).

Richardson’s research interests include public pensions, employer retirement benefit plans, and household financial security. He has served as a research fellow for the China Center for Insurance and Social Security Research at Peking University, a research fellow for the Center for Risk Management Research, and a research associate at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He also is a member of the Pension Research Council Advisory Board, the American Economic Association, the American Risk and Insurance Association, and the National Tax Association.

Richardson earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Boston College, and a B.B.A. from the University of Georgia.

Jamey Rorison

Jamey Rorison Jamey Rorison, a first-generation student and native of Pittsburgh, is a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Rorison started his job teaching at a middle school in Maryland, diving headfirst into the physically and emotionally demanding role. After five years as a teacher, Rorison was drawn to a job writing SAT prep curriculum. That first step toward change prompted a large-scale reshaping of his career, starting with returning to the University of Pennsylvania for graduate school. Rorison began with the pursuit of a master’s degree in higher education. After receiving his degree in 2009, Rorison continued on to earn his Ph.D. After the University of Pennsylvania, Rorison worked at the Institute for Higher Education Policy, before eventually finding his way to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In his current role on the Data/Measurement, Learning, and Evaluation team, Rorison focuses on the Postsecondary Success team’s data portfolio, works with the foundation’s P–16 Community Investment team, and leads the foundation’s support of the Postsecondary Value Commission. It’s ideal work for a former K–12 teacher who understands the difficulties teachers and first-generation college students face firsthand. 

Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth Ross Elizabeth G. Ross is the former first lady of Central Michigan University and Alcorn State University (Miss.). In her role as first lady, in addition to supporting her husband, Ross was an advocate for student success through mentoring and fund/friend raising, and she established First Impressions, a free clothing store for students to ready themselves for job interviews, etc., at Central Michigan University. Ross began her career as a high school vocational business education teacher and business club advisor for eight years. She taught business education at Trenholm State Technical College in Montgomery, Alabama, for more than 18 years. Additionally, she developed and implemented a NASA grant to interest and encourage minority students to study STEM in college. After retirement, while working for the City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Community Technology, Ross developed, implemented, and managed 15 cyber centers throughout the city to teach adults how to use technology. Ross earned an MBA from Troy University (Ala.), Adult Education Certification from Auburn University (Ala.), and a B.S. from Alabama State University. She enjoys cooking, singing, entertaining, and playing golf.

Brian Schueler

Brian Schueler As a member of EAB Research, Brian Schueler combines data analysis with qualitative insights from EAB's partners. Schueler works on the Blueprint for Growth team, which focuses on identifying market trends and future growth opportunities for colleges and universities.

Schueler became interested in higher education as student body president at the University of Wyoming. As a member the board of trustees and other administrative groups on campus, he participated in hiring a new university president, addressing financial exigency, and responding to student activism on campus. After graduation, Schueler remained engaged with his alma mater, helping support strategic planning efforts as a temporary researcher in the president’s office before joining EAB.

Frank D. Sánchez

Frank D. SánchezFrank D. Sánchez became the 10th president of Rhode Island College—the state’s first public college—in July 2016. Sánchez oversees the college with an annual operating budget that exceeds $190 million and supports approximately 12,000 students on campus and across the state. 
 
A native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Sánchez holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Learning, Cognition and Instruction from Indiana University-Bloomington, and an M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Colorado State University. He also holds a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Communications and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
For over two and a half decades, Sánchez has advanced higher education policy, programs, and services to improve college completion and success. He has consulted, presented and spoken at numerous national forums focusing on student success. He previously served as the vice chancellor for student affairs at The City University of New York, the nation’s largest urban public university serving more than 500,000 students.

Kathleen Scott

Kathleen Scott

Kathleen Scott is AASCU’s vice president of leadership development and partnerships, where she oversees a broad portfolio of leadership development programs, conferences, sponsorships, and web-based programs. She recently left California State University, Fresno, where she served as the director of Organizational Excellence for eight years, leading organizational and professional development programs designed to nurture a culture of change and innovation and build organizational and individual capacities. Scott’s higher education career includes roles in leadership development, advancement, marketing, public relations, enrollment, project and change management and strategic planning. She worked for 10 years in Community Colleges in New Jersey and Nebraska.  

Scott is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, Prosci Change Management Practitioner and Trainer, Certified as a Situational Leadership II Trainer, Lean/Continuous Improvement Practitioner, and Certified in Integrated Planning by the Society for College and University Planning. Scott earned an MBA from Fresno State and a B.S. in Marketing from Fairfield University (Conn.). She is also a graduate of the Harvard Institute for Higher Education Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. She is a past member of the board of directors for the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation and the 2020 recipient of the California Higher Education Collaborative Leader of Change Award. 

Cameron Smither

Cameron SmitherCameron Smither is AASCU’s director of assessment & network engagement. In this role, he and his team are developing the association’s strategy for facilitating comprehensive institutional transformation for equitable student outcomes. Smither leads with experience guiding cross-divisional reflection and collaboration, quantifying and communicating the “return on investment” of postsecondary credentials, and designing improved measures of institutional performance, cost to students, and student progression to drive continuous improvement.

Deborah F. Stanley

Deborah F. StanleyDeborah F. Stanley is the 10th president of the State University of New York at Oswego. Her tenure has been driven by bold and inclusive leadership and a broad vision, resulting in increased academic excellence, campus renewal, successful fundraising, and the creation of a learner-centered environment. Stanley led the creation of the School of Communication, Media, and the Arts, and established Oswego’s Syracuse campus. Under her leadership, programs such as electrical and computer engineering, human-computer interaction, biomedical and health informatics, and the online MBA programs were established. She pioneered the Oswego Guarantee and the $300 Graduation Return on Investment.  
 
Her ambitious campuswide renewal plan encompasses hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations and construction, including the environmentally designated LEED Gold Shineman Center; the modernization of the arts building Tyler Hall; and the renovated Wilber Hall, home of Oswego’s School of Education.  
 
Stanley is former chair of the AASCU Board of Directors. She currently serves on the American Council on Education Board of Directors, and serves on numerous other education, climate, and leadership boards and institutes. She served as board chair of CenterState CEO and is co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. She earned a baccalaureate degree with honors and juris doctor degree from Syracuse University (N.Y.).

Cynthia Teniente-Matson

Cynthia Teniente-Matson

Cynthia Teniente-Matson, a San Antonio native, is the second president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA), one of the fastest-growing universities in Texas and the only Texas A&M System university located in a major metropolitan city. She also serves as chair-elect on AASCU’s board of directors. 

Since becoming president in 2015, Teniente-Matson has forged an audacious strategic plan for the university to fulfill its mission. At A&M-SA, she has led the institution’s successful transformation to becoming a designated Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) and a comprehensive four-year university, welcoming the university’s first freshman class in 2016. She has led new strategic initiatives, including creation of the Mays Center for Experiential Learning and Community Engagement through private funding and secured Chancellor’s Research funding for the Institute of Water Resource Science and Technology. 

Teniente-Matson has been recognized for her leadership and service in education, including receiving the Making a Mark on the World Innovation Award from the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber and the Women’s Leadership Award from the San Antonio Business Journal. 

Ed Venit

Ed VenitEd Venit manages student success research for EAB. In this capacity, Venit leads the development and dissemination of best practices for using data and technology to improve retention and graduation rates. Venit provides consultative guidance to senior leadership across the Student Success Collaborative and is responsible for understanding shifting needs and trends. He has more than a decade of experience researching data analytics and student success technologies. Venit presents at conferences using case studies to highlight how looming demographic declines are forcing colleges and universities to rethink student retention as an enrollment challenge. This new mindset is triggering investment in proactive advising and the development of support strategies that pay for themselves (and more) in retention gains. By documenting and sharing these trends, Venit hopes to help senior leaders develop self-sustaining strategies that graduate far more students.

Julie Virjee

Julie Virjee A Southern California native, Julie Virjee grew up in Glendale and attended public schools. She went to University of California, Santa Barbara, where she met Fram, her husband of more than 35 years, and earned a degree in Communications and Speech. Following graduation, she began a career in publishing, first as a graphic artist and writer/editor for a variety of textbook publishers, and then as a curriculum consultant for K-12 schools. She and Fram eventually started a family with three beautiful sons, and her life revolved around the boys’ academic, athletic, and community service endeavors. She served as the PTA president of several schools and, eventually, the entire district, as well as on the Board of Trustees for the Peninsula Education Foundation. Later, she and Fram cofounded Yambi Rwanda, a nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to improving the lives of Rwandans through the provision of basic human needs, which she now runs. In January of 2018, Fram was appointed the eighth president of California State University, Fullerton. Julie Virjee supports Fram, the Office of the President, and all Titans to implement and enhance programs and policies that build upon the academic and inclusive excellence the university is known and revered for.

Mamie Voight

Mamie Voight

Mamie Voight is the interim president at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). In this role, she leads IHEP’s research and policy team to advance the organization’s policy agenda and serves on the organization’s senior leadership team to inform the strategic direction of IHEP. Before joining IHEP, Voight was a research and policy analyst and assistant director for research and policy at The Education Trust, where she researched college access, success, and affordability issues; advocated for policies that would enhance equity in America’s higher education system; and was lead author on several publications. Before entering the field of education policy, she worked as an engineering consultant for departments of transportation in multiple states.

Voight earned her B.S. in civil engineering from Villanova University (Pa.), her M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Delaware, and her M.P.P. from Georgetown University (D.C.).

Driven by the belief that the circumstances of one’s birth should not dictate one’s opportunities in life, Voight is committed to dismantling inequities within the higher education system so that students of color and students from low-income backgrounds have true access to higher education’s life-changing benefits.

James Votruba

James Votruba Prior to his 15-year tenure as president and professor of educational leadership at Northern Kentucky University, James Votruba served in various faculty and administrative positions at his alma mater, Michigan State University, as well as Binghamton University (N.Y.), Drake University (Iowa), and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Recognized nationally for his work in the area of university public engagement, Votruba has served as a faculty member for both the AASCU New Presidents Academy and the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education.

Charles L. Welch

Charles L. Welch

Charles L. Welch serves as president of the Arkansas State University (ASU) System and as one of the state’s leading advocates for higher education. He is also Chair of the AASCU Board of Directors and the program coordinator for AASCU’s Emerging Leaders Program. He is the youngest person to ever serve as president or chancellor of an Arkansas community college and is the youngest university president in Arkansas. 

He is co-chair of the executive council of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. He previously served as president of Henderson State University (Ark.), chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, vice chancellor for academic affairs at ASU-Beebe, and dean of university studies at Pulaski Technical College (Ark.). Welch also worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and has served as an instructor of education and political science at three different colleges in Arkansas. 

A native of Jonesboro, Welch was a first-generation college student and the first member of either side of his extended family to receive a graduate degree. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of Arkansas, an M.A. in political management from George Washington University (D.C.), and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from UALR. 

Melissa A. Welker

Melissa A. WelkerMelissa A. Welker is the Director of AASCU’s Frontier Set (FS), where she provides leadership and manages 6 institutional portfolios focused on the development and discovery of new knowledge, models, practices and tools that have the potential to dramatically improve specific student learning and life outcomes. She provides critical capacity support by providing the programmatic, logistical, operational, and strategic assistance needed to meet our institutions where they are at with a focus on institutional transformation and student success. Prior to working at AASCU, Melissa served as the Executive Director of Student Success Programs and Initiatives at Northern Arizona University since 2015, where she led various programs and facilitated the development of university wide initiatives intended to bolster student success across the university. Prior to her last position, Melissa has had the opportunity to develop and implement peer mentoring programs, build bridges between academic and student affairs, harness data and insights to develop initiatives, work in the academic advising realm and participate in institutional transformation. Melissa is passionate about the connection between social justice and education which grounds her work in advocating for students to have the best opportunities for learning and growth, both within higher education and in the community she lives. Melissa earned her M.S. in Education with an emphasis in Counseling and Student Affairs from Northern Arizona University, and her B.S. in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Northern Colorado.

John Welty

John Welty John D. Welty served as president of California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) for more than two decades. During his tenure, he expanded the school’s regional and global outreach initiatives; boosted private fundraising endeavors; and strengthened campus diversity, innovation, service, and community engagement. With a tenure that lasted from 1991–2013, Welty is the longest-serving president in the school’s 102-year history. He also served as president at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1984–1991) and held administrative positions at State University of New York at Albany and Southwest Minnesota State University. He began his academic career as an admissions counselor at Michigan State University. Welty was instrumental in establishing the Voluntary System of Accountability and twice was a member of the leadership team to create a strategic plan for the California State University System. He is a frequent speaker on the engaged university.

Alisa White

Alisa WhiteAlisa White earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication and an M.S.L.S. degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a B.A. in Business from Lee College (now Lee University) in Cleveland, Tennessee. In addition to her experience in Tennessee and Texas, she has held faculty and leadership positions in Alaska, Louisiana, and Georgia. White and her husband, Elliott Herzlich, a jeweler, have three married children and five grandchildren.

Karen Whitney

Karen Whitney

Karen Whitney has held a variety of executive and leadership positions with increasing levels of responsibility throughout her 40-year career in higher education. Most recently, Whitney served as interim chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Whitney previously served as president of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, beginning her tenure as the university's 16th president in July 2010.  

As president, she led the university in articulating a mission to provide transformative, lifelong learning opportunities through innovative, nationally recognized programs delivered in inclusive, student-centered environments. She served as vice chancellor for student life and diversity and dean of students at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and assistant and associate vice president for student life and director of resident life at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She also taught courses at Indiana University, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Houston. 

Mia Williams

Mia WilliamsMia Williams serves as associate vice president of membership for AASCU. She is passionate about helping nonprofit organizations unleash the potential to create a long-term and sustainable business model. She has spent most of her career specializing in leading strategic membership development efforts to grow vibrant volunteer networks by working collaboratively with members, organizational leaders, and staff. She has been directly responsible for marketing and communications efforts focused on enhancing the value proposition, increasing organizational awareness, strengthening relationships with members, and creating value-filled member engagement experiences and opportunities across the organization.

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