MSCHE Executive Committee and Standing/Advisory Committees Named; Dr. James Sunser Elected Commission Chair

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) announces the election of its Executive Committee and Officers for the term Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020. Dr. James Sunser, President of Genesee Community College, was elected Chair of the Commission. In addition, the Commission has also named the Chairs and Vice Chairs for its standing and advisory committees.

The Executive Committee is comprised of seven members elected by the Commission annually, including the Chair, Vice Chair, and Treasurer. Because the Executive Committee holds ad interim authority to act on behalf of the Commission as necessary between meetings to continue the operations of the Corporation and to take actions on accreditation and institutional membership as may be necessary, its composition must include administrative, faculty, and public representatives.

Executive Committee

Dr. James SunserDr. James Sunser, Chair
Dr. Sunser (Administrative Representative), President of Genesee Community College, was elected Chair of the Commission after serving as Vice Chair in 2019. Dr. Sunser, who is in his second term on the Commission, assumed duties as President and Chief Executive Officer of SUNY Genesee Community College in August 2011. Dr. Sunser was a member of the steering committee that reviewed and recommended changes to MSCHE’s accreditation standards and the steering committee that worked on changes to the Commission’s accreditation processes and cycle, and he served on the MSCHE Rebranding Committee that was charged with creating a new messaging platform for the Commission.

Dr. Davie Jane GilmourDr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Vice Chair
Dr. Gilmour (Administrative Representative), who served on the Executive Committee in 2019, was elected as Vice Chair for 2020. Dr. Gilmour returned to the Commission in 2019 after having previously served from 2012 to 2017 and during that time was on the Executive Committee in 2017 and served as Chair of the Committee on Follow-Up Activities and Candidate Institutions. She served on the MSCHE Rebranding Committee that was charged with creating a new messaging platform for the Commission. She has served as President of Pennsylvania College of Technology, a nationally recognized leader in applied technology education, since 1998. Dr. Gilmour joined the College in 1977 as an Instructor and Curriculum Developer and advanced through numerous administrative positions before becoming President.

Mr. David E. HollowellMr. David E. Hollowell, Treasurer
Mr. Hollowell (Public Representative), who was appointed to the Commission in 2013 and is in his second term as a Public Member, will once again serve the Executive Committee as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. He retired from the University of Delaware in 2008 and is Executive Vice President and Treasurer Emeritus. He served on the committee charged with updating the standards for accreditation. He represented MSCHE as a member of the Board of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools from 2000 to 2007.

Dr. Alan D. MathiosDr. Alan D. Mathios, Secretary
Dr. Mathios (Faculty Representative), who began his second term as a Commissioner in 2018, was elected Secretary for 2020. He joined the Executive Committee in 2019. A Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, Dr. Mathios had co-chaired Cornell’s Middle States Self-Study Accreditation Committee. On behalf of MSCHE, Dr. Mathios has served as a member of an evaluation team and chaired or co-chaired three evaluation teams.

Non-Officer Executive Committee Members

Dr. Katherine Conway-TurnerDr. Katherine Conway-Turner (Administrative Representative), began her tenure as the ninth President of Buffalo State College in August 2014. Dr. Conway-Turner has served as a Peer Evaluator and Team Chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and was elected to the Commission in 2019. As president of SUNY’s largest and only comprehensive college located in an urban setting, Dr. Conway-Turner’s vision for Buffalo State is to become “Buffalo’s College” through engagement, excellence, and social responsibility.

Dr. Carl PersonDr. Carl Person (Public Representative) spent 14 years at NASA, most recently as its Director of Aerospace Research and Career Development in the Office of Education. Dr. Person is in his second term on the Commission and will now join the Executive Committee. In his final role at NASA, he worked with a national network of colleges and universities to expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects, supporting and enhancing science and engineering, education, research, and public outreach efforts.

Mr. Lloyd RickettsMr. Lloyd Ricketts (Administrative Representative) is Treasurer at The College of New Jersey, beginning his association with the College in 1999. Mr. Ricketts has served as a Peer Evaluator and Team Chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, participating in a number of accreditation site visits. He was elected to the Commission in 2019. He has played an integral role in The College of New Jersey’s fiscal management by implementing new financial systems with improved campus financial reporting, as well as other initiatives aimed at providing financial service improvements to the College. In addition to joining the Executive Committee, Mr. Ricketts will also serve as Vice Chair for the Commission’s Finance Committee.

The Commission has also announced the leadership for all Committees for 2020.

Standing Committees

The Finance Committee advises the Treasurer with respect to financial, budgetary, and related matters.

  • David Hallowell, Chair
  • Lloyd Ricketts, Vice Chair

The Committee on Membership has the responsibility to solicit the nominations of candidates for Commissioner positions, develop a slate of Commissioner nominees for the Commission’s endorsement and submission to the institutional members for election, and develop a slate of Corporate Officers for the Commission’s approval.

Dr. MaryAnn BaenningerDr. MaryAnn Baenninger, Chair
Dr. Baenninger began her duties as the 13th President of Drew University in July 2014, after serving 10 years as President of The College of Saint Benedict. On behalf of MSCHE, she has chaired numerous Self-Study Review Teams.

The Committee on Follow-Up Activities and Candidate Institutions has the responsibility of recommending actions to the Commission for institutions being monitored and for candidate and applicant institutions.

Dr. David B. RehmDr. David B. Rehm, Chair
Dr. Rehm was named Vice President of Academic Affairs at Misericordia University in June 2017. Dr. Rehm regularly serves as a Peer Evaluator and Team Chair for MSCHE and served as a member of the Commission’s Steering Committee for the revision of Characteristics of Excellence. He is currently in his second term on the Commission.

Dr. Jonathan PeriDr. Jonathan Peri, Vice Chair
Dr. Peri, the ninth President of Manor College (PA), has led dramatic changes to Manor’s campus without creating new costs or debt. Dr. Peri is the only person in Pennsylvania history to concurrently sit on six of its main state boards and committees related to education. He was originally appointed to the Commission on July 1, 2019, to complete the term of retiring Commissioner, with his first full term beginning on January 1, 2020.

Advisory Committees

The Committee on Substantive Change reviews institutional requests for substantive changes to the institution’s scope of accreditation.

Dr. Valerie D. LehrDr. Valerie D. Lehr, Chair
Dr. Lehr is a Professor in the Gender Studies program and Government department at St. Lawrence University, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1988. Her term as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education began in January 2018. Dr. Lehr has served MSCHE as a Team Chair, Peer Evaluator, and as a Periodic Review Report Reviewer.

Dr. Scott SchaefferDr. Scott Schaeffer, Vice Chair
Dr. Schaeffer is currently a Professor of Biology at Harford Community College. He began his term as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in January 2018. While at Harford, he has been active in shared governance, previously serving as chair of both Faculty Council as well as the Coordinating Group of the College’s governing body.

The Committee on Mid-Point Peer Review (MPPR) is charged with reviewing the MPPR data reports between self-study evaluations in the eight-year accreditation cycle.

Ms. Barbara PrattMs. Barbara Pratt, Chair
Ms. Pratt has served as Vice President for Finance and Operations/Chief Financial Officer for Warren County Community College in Washington, NJ, since 2004. Ms. Pratt began her term as a Commissioner for MSCHE in January 2018. She has chaired or participated on several MSCHE Evaluation Teams and has served as a financial reviewer for a number of Periodic Review Reports.

Ms. Denise MulkernMs. Denise Mulkern, Vice Chair
Ms. Denise Mulkern began her first term as a Public Member of MSCHE in January 2016. She retired from Rutgers University in June 2014. At that time, she held the position of Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, which was established as part of the implementation of the New Jersey Medical and Health Science Restructuring Act. Ms. Mulkern has participated on several MSCHE Evaluation Teams.

The Committee on Evaluation Reports is charged with conducting an independent review of institutions in self-study in order to recommend an accrediting action to the Commission.

  • Numerous Commissioners will chair Evaluation Committee meetings throughout the year.

For full bios and a complete listing of MSCHE Commissioners, click here.