Dr. Christine Harrington
Dr. Christine Harrington has worked in higher education in the community college sector for over 20 years. At Middlesex County College, Christine worked in both student services and academic affairs. She began her career in higher education as a counselor and disability services provider for seven years before becoming a professor of psychology and student success. She also served in many leadership roles such as the Director for the Center for the Enrichment of Learning and Teaching, the First-Year Seminar Course Coordinator, and Assessment Coordinator. Christine also served a 2-year term as the Executive Director for the Center for Student Success at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. In this role, she assisted all 19 New Jersey community colleges with implementing Guided Pathways to improve student success outcomes. Christine is a national expert in first-year seminars, teaching and learning, and Guided Pathways. Christine earned her B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Counseling and Personnel Services from The College of New Jersey and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University.
Christine is the author of a research-based first-year seminar textbook Student Success in College: Doing What Works! 3rd edition, published by Cengage. She has also authored Engaging Faculty in Guided Pathways: A Practical Resource for College Leaders and Ensuring Learning: Supporting Faculty to Improve Student Success, co-published by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Rowman and Littlefield. She also co-authored Dynamic Lecturing: Research-Based Strategies to Enhance Lecture Effectiveness with Todd Zakrajsek and Designing a Motivational Syllabus: Creating a Learning Path for Student Engagement with Melissa Thomas, both published by Stylus, and Why First-Year Seminars Matter: Helping Students Choose and Stay on a Career Path with Theresa Orosz, published by Rowman and Littlefield. She was the 2016 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching First-Year Experience award which was presented at the Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, and the recipient of the 2016 Middlesex County College Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. She is frequently invited to give plenary presentations at national and local conferences as well as at colleges and universities across the nation.
Dr. John Melendez
Dr. John Melendez’s higher education career spans over 35 years and includes experience working in private non-profit agencies, community college, and private and public four-year higher education institutions. From 2007 to 2015, Dr. Melendez served as the Chief Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Officer in his role as Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at New Jersey City University. Since 2016, Dr. Melendez has served as a full professor in the Educational Leadership Department, as well as leading the development of the doctoral program in Community College Leadership.
A native of Newark, NJ, his professional career has been focused on serving first-generation, low-income students from urban communities. He currently serves as a as an accreditation team member/reviewer for the Middle State Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE). In 2011, he participated in the American Association for State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative and for the 2013-14 academic year completed an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Metro Campus. Dr. Melendez earned his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Rutgers University and M.A. in Counseling from New Jersey City University and his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Seton Hall University.
Michael J. Sparrow
Dr. Michael Sparrow has served in faculty and higher education administration for more than a decade. Mike got his start in higher education in classrooms around the greater Philadelphia area, teaching history courses at the University of Delaware, Rowan University, and Montgomery County Community College. Mike later transitioned into administration, starting as the Student-Veteran Services Coordinator at Ocean County College. Following OCC, Mike served as the Director of the Academic Success Center at Immaculata University. Eager to return to his Lehigh Valley and community college roots, Mike accepted a position at Northampton Community College, first as the Director of the Learning Center and then as the Associate Dean of Academic Success. Mike concluded his career at NCC as the Dean of Enrollment Management and Retention.
Mike’s research interests include academic success initiatives, student learning, student onboarding/orientation, student-veterans, and enrollment/retention strategies, and he has published and presented at numerous regional and national conferences on many of these topics. Before his career in higher education, Mike served eight years in the United States Navy and completed two combat deployments. Mike is a product of a community college himself, starting at Northampton Community College before completing an A.B. in history and government and law from Lafayette College. Mike also holds a M.A. in American History from the University of Delaware, a M.S.L. in Legal Studies from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Northeastern University.
Karen Archambault, Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Success, Rowan College at Burlington County, NJ.
Dr. Karen L. Archambault has been working in higher education for more than two decades and currently serves as the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success at Rowan College at Burlington County, a community college serving approximately 8000 students in New Jersey, just east of Philadelphia. In her current work, Karen oversees the areas that impact student enrollment and success including admissions, financial aid, registration, athletics, student life and activities, and the college’s retention programs including programs for honors students, low income students, military and veteran students, and students with disabilities. A historian by training, Karen teaches history of higher education at the graduate level, with a focus on historical equity in higher education, and writes on transfer students, first year advising, and cultural competence for advisors. She has been an author on 7 book chapters on these and related topics and is the editor of an upcoming text on Advisor Training and Development. Professional points of pride include the development of the LGBTQ Ally Program at Brookdale Community College, receipt of the Barbara K. Townsend award from the National Institute for Transfer Students for her dissertation on transfer student preparedness, and launching of the Task Force on Race, Ethnicity and Inclusion (now the Race, Ethnicity, and Inclusion Work Group) during her NACADA presidency, which led to her receipt of the association’s “Leading Light” award. She has also led RCBC’s Enrollment Management and Student Success division to several successful grant submissions at the state and federal level that support student success initiatives.
Michele Campagna, Assistant Dean, Learning Initiatives & Student Success, Westchester Community College.
Dr. Michele Campagna has 30 years of experience leading campus-wide curricular and co-curricular student success initiatives Reporting directly to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, she serves as Assistant Dean of Learning Initiatives and Student Success at Westchester Community College where she provides leadership for student learning, retention, and completion efforts. Dr. Campagna also manages grants at WCC, including Title V and Strong Start to Finish, and serves on the Guided Pathways Leadership Team.
Dr. Campagna is a published author with research interests in student success, first-generation students, and Latinx students and the co-author of Thriving in College and Beyond: Research Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development. She has presented at numerous statewide and national conferences on student engagement, academic advising, first-year experience, retention initiatives, strategic planning, assessment, and equity and inclusion and has been interviewed by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and other publications. Dr. Campagna is the recipient of the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award from the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.
Dr. Campagna is a proud first-generation college student with a B.A. in Anthropology from New York University, an M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Alabama.
Demond Hargrove, Vice President for Student Development, Union County College, NJ.
Dr. Demond T. Hargrove, a Hartford, Connecticut native, and Union Township resident currently serves as vice president for student development at Union County College (UCC). Dr. Hargrove holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration & Leadership from Seton Hall University, a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from NJCU, and earned his B.S. in Political Science at Jersey City State College.
Dr. Hargrove is a published author who has made presentations to professional organizations and student leadership programs regarding student retention, goal setting, leadership development, and emergency management. He has also developed minority male empowerment programs designed to promote the healthy development, persistence, academic achievement, and attainment of college men. Dr. Hargrove’s research interests include retention, persistence, and collegiate experiences of minority and underrepresented populations.
Dr. Deborah Manning has over 20 years of experience in the HR industry and currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Adjunct Administration for Bergen Community College. Her role is to ensure the administrative needs of approximately 800 Adjuncts, in which she also conducts educational and professional development workshops. In addition to her role as Dean, Dr. Manning is also an Adjunct Professor at Bergen Community College, where she teaches Introduction to Sociology, Sociology, and the Family and Women in Gender Roles. Dr. Manning’s teaching experience began in 2000, where she taught Medical Billing and Coding for The Plaza School of Technology. Her love for teaching and mentoring students has proven to be her inspiration. Dr. Manning holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Peters College, an M.B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management, an M.S. in Accountancy from Saint Peters University, and an Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from National American University in Rapid City, South Dakota. Dr. Manning is a member of the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dr. Manning has served as a Mentor for “Determined Intelligent Valuable Accountable Girl” (DIVA) for Bergen Community College. Dr. Manning is currently working on a publication entitled Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Case Study at Community College of Baltimore County. She hopes that her work on culturally responsive teaching will inspire and bring awareness to college-level instruction. Instructors will have a clearer understanding of the cultural changes surrounding racially and ethnically diverse students and implement those changes into their teaching practices. Dr. Manning continues to encourage and enhance student success in her day-to-day teachings and activities, while inspiring students to believe that success is achievable by all who work hard and believe in themselves.
Carlos Morales is an instructional technology scholar, a visionary and dynamic leader with experience at undergraduate, graduate, public and private institutions of higher education and an educator, presenter, and author. His experience spans more than 27 years as a faculty member of Biology, Science Education, Educational Technology, and Instructional Design in the classroom and online. He has held progressive administrative roles as Vice Chancellor for Academic, Executive Director of Academic Technologies, and Instructional Designer. Carlos has created two virtual institutions, one in Puerto Rico and another one in Texas. Dr. Morales is President of TCC Connect Campus, the largest and fastest growing of the six campuses that are part of Tarrant County College District, which delivers eLearning and Weekend College programs. He has been instrumental to shape TCCs technological future in academic, administrative, and strategic ways.
Carlos is the author of internationally peer-reviewed academic articles, book chapters and has conducted more than 90 refereed conference presentations. Throughout his career, Dr. Morales has used technology to improve teaching and learning. He is enthusiastic about incorporating technology advancements that engage students in the learning process and that helps faculty to enhance teaching methods. Dr. Morales has accomplished this through the development of instructional technology training sessions, designing and implementing technology-enriched classrooms and the development of fully online college degrees. He is a sought-out expert and leader in higher education innovation; experienced creating converged learning environments (online, hybrid, and web-assisted) and as well as adult and accelerated learning opportunities. Dr. Morales is an active peer reviewer on editorial boards for academic journals in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the European Union, this scholar activity keeps him abreast of new developments, practices and research.
A 2009 Frye Leadership Institute Fellow and a 2012 Millennium Leadership Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Dr. Morales graduated from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and science education. He earned his Ph.D. from Capella University in Instructional Design for Online Learning.
Lawrence A. Nespoli retired as President of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC), the statewide coordinating organization for New Jersey’s community colleges, in 2018 after 27 years of service. Upon retirement, he received the inaugural NJ Community College Legacy Award. Nespoli has also served in a number of campus and state-level positions in Maryland and Pennsylvania and in national community college leadership positions including the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors, the Center for Community College Student Engagement National Advisory Board, the Jobs for the Future Policy Leadership Trust Fund for Student Success, the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, and the College Board’s Community College Advisory Panel, which he chaired for several years. He has published extensively in the area of college governance and finance, served as a member of the editorial board of the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, and presented frequently at national, regional and state conferences. Dr. Nespoli serves as a faculty member in several higher education and community college leadership doctorate programs and was recently appointed to the board of trustees at Mercer County Community College.
Theresa Orosz earned her A.A.S. degree in Accounting from Middlesex County College, her B.S. in Management Science and M.A. in Liberal Studies from Kean University, and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. She began her career as an accountant in the Department of Defense and transitioned to private industry before returning to Middlesex County College in 1992 as a business instructor in the Continuing Education Division. From there, she went on to manage the Career Services office for thirteen years before joining the Academic Advising Center as Assistant Director. She served as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs prior to becoming Assistant Dean of the Division of Liberal Arts. Presently, she is serving as Acting Dean of the division. She has ten years of adjunct experience as an instructor of the cooperative education seminar and the student success course. Dr. Orosz has led or been a member of various campus committees in addition to being chairperson of MCC’s governance body. She is currently a leader of the institution’s Guided Pathways team. At the state level she served as an advisory board member of the New Jersey Center for Student Success and held positions with the New Jersey Cooperative Education and Internship Association, serving as Vice President for Finance, Communications, and Programs before becoming President. Along with Dr. Christine Harrington she co-authored Why the First-Year Seminar Matters: Helping Students Choose and Stay on a Career Path. She has presented on a variety of topics at regional and national conferences and was a 2017 recipient of the New Jersey Council of County College’s Community College Spirit award.
Dr. Paula Pando is a strategic, forward thinking educator with over 25 years of experience in both public and private higher education. The daughter of immigrants, she is fluent in both Spanish and English, and has a profound commitment to educational opportunity and equity. In May 2018, Dr. Pando was appointed the fourth president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Reynolds is the youngest, and third largest community college in the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving the greater Richmond area, enrolling over 15,000 students at four campuses. Prior to her role as president of Reynolds, Dr. Pando served as the Senior Vice President for Student and Educational Services at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) in New Jersey, where she spent nearly sixteen years of her career. While at HCCC, for her contributions to the field, was awarded the Community College Spirit award by the NJ Council of County Colleges, and named an EOF Champion for her commitment to the success of underrepresented students. Dr. Pando began her career at Saint Peter’s University, also in New Jersey, in the Student Affairs Division. Dr. Pando is a frequent keynote speaker or panelist on topics ranging from equity and inclusion to workforce development to managing organizational change. She has provided expert testimony before the NJ State Senate Committee on Higher Education on a wide range of issues facing community college students, and recently chaired a statewide task force in Virginia that examined and developed recommendations to address the multiple factors that adversely impact student success and completion including food and housing insecurity and mental health. She currently serves on several boards including the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond, Chamber RVA, the Valentine Museum, Go Virginia, the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) South, and the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program Alumni Advisory Board. Dr. Pando’s strong student advocacy and contributions to the field of higher education have been recognized at the local, state and national levels. In 2017, she was one of 38 community college leaders selected from across the country for the Aspen Institute’s Presidential Fellowship. She earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Rowan University, an M.A. in education administration from Saint Peter’s University, and a B.A. from Stockton University.
Crystal Quillen has worked and taught in higher education since she was given the opportunity to teach in graduate school. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Program Coordinator of Psychology in the History and Social Sciences Department at Middlesex College (Edison, NJ). She earned her MA and Ph.D. in Experimental Health Psychology from Kent State University (Kent, OH) and her B.S. in Biopsychology from Lebanon Valley College (Annville, PA). During her graduate career, Dr. Quillen’s research focus was on predictors of PTSD and exploring the impact of PTSD on physical health. As Dr. Quillen spent more time in the classroom, she targeted her focus on stress and poor health decisions of college students. She is now interested in how stress and trauma impact learning, and how to create a more inclusive learning environment. Dr. Quillen is an executive board member of the Center for the Enrichment of learning and Teaching at Middlesex College. When not developing teaching and learning workshops for her students and colleagues, she plays an active role in assessing her program’s general education outcomes. She was most recently asked to help with her College’s accreditation process and assessed the College’s policies and procedures for engaging students. Outside of the College, Dr. Quillen is a member of a mid-career working group for the Society of Teaching Psychology. She and her colleagues are focusing on developing workshops and materials for mid-career Psychologists.
Christopher W. Shults, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, Borough of Manhattan Community College, NY.
Christopher W. Shults is the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Christopher is responsible for oversight of all institutional effectiveness, planning, assessment, institutional research, analytics, and accreditation activities. Previously, he served as the Executive Director for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at Suffolk County Community College; in Acting Associate Provost and Assistant Provost positions at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU), and as a Research Associate at the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC). He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Higher Education from the University of Michigan, and his B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University.
Over his career, he has authored or co-authored more than one dozen books and journal articles, presented nationally on nearly 50 occasions, assisted in the development of a national leadership program for aspiring presidents, conducted professional development at multiple community colleges and for regional accrediting bodies, consulted for colleges, national agencies, and associations, keynoted educational conferences, lectured in multiple universities, taught as an adjunct instructor, and worked with national leaders on an African-American Male initiative. The proud son of two Navy Veterans and a former lead chief for a Single Mom’s ministry, this married father of three is also the Vice-President of the Board for the Association for Higher Education Effectiveness.
Dr. Bette M. Simmons, Vice President of Student Development & Enrollment Management. County College of Morris
As the senior student affairs administrator on campus, Dr. Simmons supervises the staff and programs in Academic Advisement, Accessibility Services, Admissions, Athletics, Campus Life, Career Services & Cooperative Education, Counseling Services, Dean of Students, Enrollment Services, Financial Aid, Health Services, Records & Registration, Student Support Services, Transfer Services, and the Testing Center.
Dr. Simmons has sat on the Board – nationally and regionally - of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and held many volunteer positions within the association, of which she has been a member for 30 years. Additionally, she serves as a college evaluator for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. She has taught post-graduate level courses at Rowan University College of Educational Leadership; graduate level courses in the Masters Program of Supervision, Leadership & Administration at Seton Hall University; and has been a guest lecturer in the Board Leadership Institute at Seton Hall as well as in the Student Affairs in Higher Education Program at Montclair State University. Dr. Simmons holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from Seton Hall University and a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Montclair State University.
Dr. Dekia Smith currently serves as the Associate Dean of Student Success and Retention at Bucks County Community College. In this role, she oversees the Student Services Center, which includes Counseling, The Accessibility Office and the KEYS Program, and coordinates and manages the Bucks Care Team. She also previously served as Director of Counseling Services, where she oversaw all counseling needs across all campuses and worked with community social services organization to coordinate services for students. As a campus partner, Dekia takes an active role on many faculty-administration committees including, but not limited to: The oversight and management of the Academic and Behavioral Intervention Teams, chairing the Academic Performance Committee, is a member of the Title IX committee and is currently part of the Bucks Middle States Steering Committee, where she is the Co-Chair of Standard IV. Dekia believes in the power of interdepartmental collaboration across campus, and believes it is the most impactful way to create institutional change for student success. Dekia’s career is grounded in social services and education. Prior to her career at Bucks, she worked for many community-based organizations, and served as a county-wide adolescent trauma consultant in New Jersey. Dekia has experience as a faculty member, having taught at Cairn University as a part of the Graduate Counseling Program and currently serves as adjunct faculty at University of Maryland Global Campus and Wilmington University. Dekia values the role she plays in the lives of students, and appreciates the role they play in her life as she has grown professionally. Dekia is a Licensed Professional Counseling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and considers her vast experience in social services as the foundation for where she is professionally. Dekia educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from The College of New Jersey and a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Cairn University and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership & Innovation from Wilmington University.
Dr. Shantell Strickland-Davis is the founding Executive Director of the Parr Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Strickland-Davis serves as a consultant to all units of the college in the design and development of faculty professional learning, programming, and resources that support teaching and learning excellence. She oversees all facets of faculty learning and engagement at the college, including equity, diversity, and inclusion programs, online teaching, educational development, and support for academic affairs leaders and administrators. Dr. Strickland-Davis also teaches in an adjunct faculty capacity. Dr. Strickland-Davis is a published author and presenter whose research agenda includes faculty efficacy and confidence and understanding the ways in which community college faculty are best supported through classroom instruction, assessment, and engagement. Her most recent research exploration is on community college faculty efficacy and how faculty development programs can be a bridge or barrier to their successes in the classroom. Dr. Strickland-Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a master’s degree in instructional design from Appalachian State University, and a Ph.D. in education from Old Dominion University.
Michael Turner is the Dean of Students and Associate Professor at Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge Campus. He leads and manages a comprehensive program of services that promotes student engagement and facilitates student success for a diverse student population. He previously served as Counselor for Student Activities, Counselor for Military and Veteran Student Affairs, and Coordinator for Counseling and Student Services for the NOVA – Annandale Campus. During his tenure with NOVA, Turner has provided leadership and coordination for selected college-wide student services to include the creation and expansion of the College’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs. He also led the College’s Student Success initiative “GPS for Success”, and established Student Success Offices for each of the six NOVA campuses. Turner began his academic career in 1993 in Residence Education at Slippery Rock University (SRU), Slippery Rock, PA. He later served as Coordinator of Tutoring Services, Coordinator for Minority Student Affairs and Cultural Diversity and Assistant Director for Minority Student Affairs at SRU. Turner previously served as Coordinator for Student Activities at West Virginia State College, Institute, WV., and Site Director for the RN to BSN Weekend Studies Program with the College of Notre Dame, Baltimore, MD and Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD.
Dr. Jianping Wang, a native Chinese, holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Master’s degree in English Literature. She taught English at Chinese universities before coming to the United States in 1989 to pursue a career change from teaching to higher education administration. The year of 1993 marks the beginning of Dr. Wang’s career in community college administration and her passionate dedication to the mission of American community colleges. She is currently serving as the Sixth President of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey.
To recognize her achievements and contributions, Dr. Wang has been awarded a number of honors, including the prestigious Dynamic Achiever in Education Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, Kellogg Research Fellow from the Kellogg Foundation, a winner of the 2018 Women of Achievement Award, the New Jersey Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, and most recently the Woman Educator of the Year Award for Higher Learning from the National Stop the Violence Alliance, Inc. and the AIA New Jersey Resident of the Year. She was also the Jack Stadler’s endowed chair holder for Arts and Culture in the Society at Westchester Community College, New York. In her spare time, Dr. Wang devotes herself to promoting cross-cultural exchange and understanding. She frequently participates and presents at various professional conferences, including the American Association of Community Colleges and American Community College Trustees. She enjoys presenting to various community organizations to promote the mission of community colleges and the power of education. She strongly believes in the American Dream for everyone.
Dr. LaVon Williams is a college administrator and adjunct professor with over two decades of higher education experience. He is also the founder and president of The Men of the Tenth Inc. which is a nonprofit organization based in Bronx, New York. As a strong advocate for community colleges he serves as an executive board member for the National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA) Northeast Region. He has published articles and presented nationally and internationally. Dr. Williams holds an associate degree in Liberal Studies from SUNY Canton, a bachelor degree in Mass Media from SUNY Plattsburgh, a master degree in Sport Management from SUNY Cortland, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Rowan University.