2021 MSCHE Executive Committee and Standing/Advisory Committees Named
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) announces the election of its Executive Committee and Officers for the term January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021. Dr. James Sunser, President of Genesee Community College, has been reelected as Chair of the Commission along with Vice-Chair Dr. Davie Gilmour, President of Pennsylvania College of Technology. Joining the Executive Committee to fill two vacancies are Dr. Valerie D. Lehr, Professor of Gender Studies at St. Lawrence University, and Dr. Susan D. Looney, J.D., President of Reading Area Community College.
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.
The Commission has also named the Chairs and Vice-Chairs for its standing and advisory committees.
Dr. James Sunser, Chair
Dr. Sunser, President of Genesee Community College, was reelected Chair of the Commission. He served as Chair in 2020 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 Gilmour, Vice-Chair
Dr. Gilmour, who served on the Executive Committee in 2019, was reelected as Vice-Chair after serving in that role in 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 held the role as Chair of the Committee on Follow-Up Activities and Candidate Institutions. In 2019, 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. Lloyd Ricketts, Treasurer
Mr. Ricketts begins his new role as Treasurer of the Commission as well as Chair of the Finance Committee in 2021 after his role as Vice-Chair in 2020. He 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 and a member of the Executive Committee in 2020 and 2021. 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 preserving the institution’s long-term financial health.
Dr. Valerie D. Lehr, Secretary
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 and is a new addition to the Executive Committee. Dr. Lehr has previously served MSCHE as a Team Chair, Peer Evaluator, and as a Periodic Review Report Reviewer.
Non-Officer Executive Committee Members
Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner 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 and to the Executive Committee in 2020 and 2021. 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. Susan D. Looney, J.D., is the sixth President of Reading Area Community College (PA). In her 21 years as a full-time community college educator and administrator at institutions from Arizona to Pennsylvania, Dr. Looney has worked in diverse roles and exemplifies how community college can changes lives. She joined the Commission in 2020 and is in her first year as a member of the Executive Committee.
Dr. Carl Person 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 first joined the Executive Committee in 2020. 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.
The Finance Committee advises the Treasurer with respect to financial, budgetary, and related matters.
Mr. Lloyd Ricketts, Chair
Mr. Richard Pinkowski, Vice-Chair
Mr. Pinkowski is Vice President for Finance at Villa Maria College of Buffalo. Mr. Pinkowski has volunteered for MSCHE for more than 20 years, primarily as a finance reviewer on visiting teams. Mr. Pinkowski began his initial three-year term as an MSCHE Commissioner in January 2018 and after serving as a member of the Finance Committee in since then, he has been elected to Vice-Chair.
The Committee on Follow-Up Activities has the responsibility of recommending actions to the Commission for institutions being monitored.
Dr. 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 and his third year as Chair of this committee.
Dr. 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. This is his second year as Vice-Chair of the this Committee.
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. Carl Person, Chair
Ms. Laurie Carter, J.D., Vice-Chair
Ms. Carter, the 17th President of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, leading this regional public university of 6,000 students by providing strong vision for enhancing the institutional priority of student success. She was appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to serve on the PA Tuition Account Program (TAP) Advisory Board. She is in her first term as a Commissioner and first year as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Membership.
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.
COL(R) Gerald C. Kobylski Ph.D., P.E., Chair
COL(R) Kobylski retired as a Colonel in the United States Army following 28 years of service and remains a Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also serves as West Point’s first Director of Institutional Effectiveness. Dr. Kobylski originally served on the Commission from 2012 to 2017 and was a member of the steering committee that reviewed and recommended changes to MSCHE’s accreditation standards. After being appointed to the Commission in 2019, to complete the term of retiring Commissioner, he was elected to first term beginning in January 2021.
Numerous Commissioners will chair or vice-chair Evaluation Committee meetings throughout the year.
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 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. This is her third year chairing this committee.
Ms. 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, and this is her second year in the role as Vice-Chair.
The Committee on Substantive Change reviews institutional requests for substantive changes to the institution’s scope of accreditation.
Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger, Chair
Dr. Baenninger served as the 13th President of Drew University from July 2014 through May 2020 before retiring. Prior to that she spent 10 years as President of The College of Saint Benedict. On behalf of MSCHE, she has chaired numerous Self-Study Review Teams. She currently is in her second term with the Commission and is a Public Member. Last year, she chaired the Committee on Membership.
Dr. Steven M. Rose, Vice-Chair
Dr. Rose has served as President of Passaic County Community College (NJ) since 1996. Under Dr. Rose’s leadership, PCCC became one of the fastest growing colleges in New Jersey more than doubling in size. He is in his first term as a Commissioner.
The Committee on Applicant and Candidate Institutions is a newly established stand-alone Committee with the responsibility of reviewing applicant materials and determining the institutions’ ability to proceed in its application as well as determining whether institutions should be recommended to the Commission for candidacy and accreditation.
Dr. Scott Schaeffer, Chair
Dr. Schaeffer is 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.
Mrs. Roberta Torian, Vice-Chair
Mrs. Torian is a retired Partner from the global law firm of Reed Smith, LLP. Her area of expertise is corporate law with a specialty in banking regulation. She is a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee and is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. She currently serves in her first term with the Commission as a Public Member.
For full bios and a complete listing of MSCHE Commissioners, click here.
Categories: The Commission