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 Keeping Us Engaged: Student Perspectives (and Research-based Strategies) on What Works and Why, published by Stylus, 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. Dr. Harrington is co-editor for the Exchange section of the Community College Journal of Research and Practice and was appointed to the editorial board of Innovative Higher Education. 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. 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.
Julie Alexander has extensive community college experience in state and institutional leadership roles. Serving as Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the Florida College System, Dr. Alexander led policy-to-practice efforts in areas such as developmental education reform, gateway course redesign, community college baccalaureate degrees, articulation and seamless transfer, and dual enrollment. As the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Miami Dade College, Dr. Alexander managed a large, complex academic support ecosystem in support of day-to-day operations, college-wide student success implementation, and academic continuity during crisis situations, including hurricane and pandemic recovery. With a history of improved student retention, completion, and overall success, Dr. Alexander has comprehensive leadership proficiency in academic affairs. Currently, she is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Workforce Education at Polk State College. She started her career as an art teacher in Botswana, Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Dr. Alexander received an Ed.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University, Master of Education from University of West Florida, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Tadé Ayeni, Ed.D., M.A. is the Director of Diversity and Equity as well as Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University where he was first introduced to the study of societal inequities and people who have been historically marginalized. As an undergraduate student, he originally intended to major solely in English Literature and ended up ‘accidentally’ double-majoring in Africana Studies as well. When he discovered that there was a field dedicated to understanding the historical contexts behind present-day inequality, he took so many courses in the discipline that his academic advisor informed him that he only needed a few more courses in Africana Studies to earn a major in that field.
Dr. Ayeni has worked in various aspects of higher education from admissions to advising to teaching. While overseeing the New Student Orientation program at Spokane Community College, he was able to build strong relationships with various internal departments and external programs to coordinate campus-wide involvement. As a Curriculum Advisor at the community college, he played an integral role in overseeing the logistical processes of the Admissions office while creating innovative solutions in dynamic situations.
Currently, as the Director of Diversity and Equity, he enjoys creating meaningful connections with people from various backgrounds within and outside of the medical school with the aim of working toward a more genuinely equitable educational experience for all students, which is a key piece in the fight to produce more equitable health outcomes in society.
In his role as a faculty member, his educational philosophy centers on moving away from merely teaching students to memorize facts, and helping them to enter a more genuine learning process by focusing on equipping them with the tools of inquiry to become lifelong learners and researchers.
Dr. Nicole Baird has served in progressive leadership roles in student affairs for over 20 years. Nicole currently serves as the Dean of Student Development at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). In this role, Nicole oversees Academic Advisement, Career Services, Disability Support Services, Student Services and Retention Initiatives, Testing Centers, TRIO programs, and Student Success Centers. Additionally, as an adjunct faculty member, she has taught developmental education math and first-year experience courses and developmental education math courses. Most recently, Nicole is engaged in supporting male students of color as part of CCBC’s Male Student Success Initiative.
Due to her commitment to researching and implementing best practices in education, she is committed to designing strategies to recruit, retain and foster the success of community college students. Nicole’s research interests include student affairs, holistic student supports, developmental education, and retention strategies. Nicole earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Adult and Continuing Education, both from Coppin State University and holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management from Drexel University.
Dr. Carolyn Bortz has been with Northampton Community College (NCC) since January 2000 and has had a great impact on the College. She served as the Director of Nursing Programs from 2000-2004, and the Dean for Allied Health and Sciences from 2004-2015, before assuming her current position as Vice President for Academic Affairs. Carolyn also served on the nursing faculty at NCC from 1990-1995.
She earned a BSN in nursing from Bloomsburg University and an MSN in nursing from DeSales University. She has a doctorate (Ed.D.) from Widener University in Higher Education Administration program.
Before coming to NCC, she was the executive director and home health services director of the Visiting Nurses, Northeast; on the nursing faculty at NCC and a staff nurse on the oncology/medical-surgical unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, where she also served as a clinical instructor, a clinical nurse facilitator and a staff nurse on the vascular surgical unit. She was a substitute school nurse for the Parkland School District. Her specialties are adult health and gerontology.
She was selected in 2001 to participate in the National Institute for Leadership Development, an international program for administrators and faculty in higher education. She was instrumental in establishing a satellite site for the practical nursing program in Monroe County in 2001. In October 2003, Bortz led the nursing department through a reaccreditation process/visit performed by representatives from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Under Bortz’s leadership, NCC has formed a collaboration with St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network to establish a Surgical Technology program in 2004 and most recently to setup a collaborative Dental Clinic at the Fowler Family Southside Center. Bortz has worked to establish a variety of new allied health/science programs over the past several years including Sports Medicine: Athletic Training, Medical Assistant, Licensed Massage Therapy, and Environmental Science.
She has received numerous awards, including the NCC Staff Excellence Award in 2007. Colleagues say about Bortz that “her door is always open for staff, faculty and students. She is professional in every sense of the word.”
She chaired the Middle States Self Study in 2015.
In July 2015, Bortz was appointed vice president for academic affairs. From this post, she has spearheaded institutional adoption of a Guided Pathways framework, executed a reorganization of academic affairs to align with the guided pathways, deepened partnership relations with sponsoring school districts, while advancing academic excellence and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Bortz will retire from NCC at the end of 2021.
Debra D. Bragg is the director of Community College Research Initiatives at the University of Washington in Seattle and founding director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a position she held from 1989 to 2015. In 2013, Dr. Bragg was named a Gutsgell Endowed Professor in recognition of her career-long pursuit of research on the transition of youth and adults to and through postsecondary education, especially community colleges. Her 25-year tenure at UIUC produced over $17 million in external funding from federal and state governments and numerous private foundations. In 2015, Dr. Bragg was named a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA,) and on November 11, 2016, she was recognized with the Distinguished Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). She is also the recipient of the Career Teaching award from the College of Education at the University of Illinois and the Senior Scholar and the Art Cohen and Florence Brawer Distinguished Service awards from the Council for the Study of Community Colleges. Dr. Bragg currently serves as the director of the Community College Research Initiatives group at the University of Washington.
Dr. 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.
Takeem Dean is a native of Passaic, NJ and currently serves as the Dean of Students at Union County College. Dr. Dean holds a doctorate and educational specialist degree in Community College Leadership from Wingate University, an M.A. in Education Leadership, and B.S. in Business Education.
Dean has served in administrative and adjunct faculty roles at community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and public and private institutions. He has presented at both local and national conferences regarding student leadership, the silent voices of Black male collegians, and preparing for careers in student affairs. Dean's research interest includes Black male student engagement, HBCUs, student conduct, and leadership. Dr. Dean is a firm believer that education and its resources are only beneficial when they are equitable.
Linda García is the Executive Director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT).
Prior to this role, she served as the Assistant Director of College Relations at CCCSE. Previously, Linda was Vice President of Community College Relations at the Roueche Graduate Center at National American University, and she has worked at Lone Star College, Maricopa Community Colleges, and The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. Linda’s experience includes student development, instructional support, grant writing, and teaching. She served as a coach for the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways 2.0 and continues in this same role for the Texas Pathways Project.
Linda earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a concentration in broadcast and a doctorate in higher education administration with a specialization in community college leadership from The University of Texas at Austin. Her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree is from The University of Texas at Brownsville.
Dr. 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.
Melinda Karp is a nationally recognized expert on improving students’ transitions to college and supporting them once there. She founded Phase Two Advisory after nearly twenty years conducting research and working with colleges on education reform as Assistant Director at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. The proud granddaughter of refugees, Melinda works with national and institutional leaders, campus-based faculty and staff, and philanthropists to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to realize the intergenerational mobility higher education provides. She frequently writes, speaks, and comments on education reform at professional meetings, in the media, and in academic forums. Melinda holds a BS in human development and family studies from Cornell University; and both an MA and a PhD in sociology and education from Columbia University. She chaired the Effective Advising Practice Guide Panel for the Institute on Education Science’s What Works Clearinghouse, a CatalystFIRST First-Generation Success Speaker, and a member of the inaugural editorial team for the Journal of Postsecondary Student Success.
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.
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.
Dr. 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.
Anthony E. Munroe was appointed as BMCC’s 11th President and began his leadership role on September 1, 2020. A nationally recognized executive with more than 30 years of experience leading education and health-care organizations, Dr. Munroe has since 2017 been president of Essex County College, one of the most diverse colleges in New Jersey and a national leader in boosting the social mobility of its graduates. He was previously president of Malcolm X College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system.
A first-generation U.S. citizen who grew up in the Bronx and attended New York City public schools, Dr. Munroe holds a doctorate in education from Columbia University Teachers College with a concentration in health education.
His extensive experience includes serving as associate vice president of health systems affairs at Ross University School of Medicine in New Jersey and as president of Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. He was also executive director of Family Health Services in the New York City Department of Health, overseeing an agency with a $200 million budget and more than 100 service sites.
Dr. Munroe is an international expert on cultural competency and disparities in health care and was named one of the top 25 minority health care executives in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and on the Commission on Student Success with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He was recently named a winner of the 2020 Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Paragon Award for New Presidents, which recognizes college presidents who have shown strong support for student success at their schools.
Since arriving at BMCC, Dr. Munroe has been leading the College to create effective academic and student support programs that advance students’ educational and life success; to cultivate the innovation of faculty research, and to encourage a culture of care across the college that embraces equity, inclusion and diversity.
Most recently, Dr. Munroe presented BMCC’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025 – Designing for Success: Taking What Works to Scale, which over the next five years will move BMCC towards achieving its mission and realizing its vision of offering all students the opportunity to earn a college degree.
In addition, Dr. Munroe established the President’s Fund for Excellence and Innovation at BMCC, following a $30 million gift presented to BMCC by philanthropist, author and activist Ms. MacKenzie Scott. The fund will support proposals and projects with respect to the donor’s intent of elevating initiatives that include addressing food insecurity; equity, race and inclusion; economic mobility; support for Black, Latino and LGBTQ communities. This gift reaffirms BMCC’s on-going commitment to advance these initiatives in significant ways, primarily through education and training.
Dr. 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.
Dr. 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.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Linda Scherr is a passionate for the comprehensive community college mission and has over 20 years of experience in community college teaching and administration. Dr. Scherr has served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Middlesex College since October 2019 and was previously the Dean for Arts and Sciences (2016-2019). She has presented at numerous statewide and national conferences on assessment, accreditation, General Education, student engagement, faculty development, and academic program development. Prior to joining Middlesex College, Dr. Scherr worked at Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, NJ) for 18 years, where she served as a full-time faculty member in History, Department Chair for History and Social Science, Dean for Instructional Effectiveness, and Acting Dean for the Division of Math, Science & Health Professions. Dr. Scherr is a trained archaeologist and holds a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University.
Dr. 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 Interim Dean of Students at Bucks County Community College. In this role, she oversees the Student Services area which includes Counseling Services, The Accessibility Office, Student Life and Athletics, The Center for Student Employment and Career Development and the KEYS Program. She chairs the Bucks’ Care Team and the President’s Advisory Committee for Race, Ethnicity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI), and provides oversight for the college’s Basic Needs efforts and support for Military-Connected Students. Dr. Smith also previously served as Director of Counseling Services and Associate Dean for Student Success and Retention at Bucks. As a campus partner, Dr. Smith 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, membership on the Academic Performance and Title IX Committees, 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. Dr. Smith’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. Dr. Smith 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 in the College of Education at Wilmington University. Dr. Smith values the role she plays in the lives of students, and appreciates the role they play in her life as she has grown professionally. Dr. Smith 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. Dr. Smith’s 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.