Commissioners

Commission

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Dr. James Sunser, Chair

President, Genesee Community College

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. James Sunser, Chair

Dr. James Sunser assumed his duties as President and Chief Executive Officer of SUNY Genesee Community College on August 1, 2011. Prior to his appointment at Genesee, he held several senior level positions at SUNY Onondaga Community College over a 22-year period. Earlier, he served for five years as an administrator at Syracuse University. On behalf of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Dr. Sunser has chaired or served on numerous Decennial Review Teams. In 2021, Dr. Sunser, who is in his second term as a Commissioner, was reelected MSCHE Chair after holding the position in 2020 and as Vice-Chair in 2019. In addition to his service as a Peer Reviewer, he 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. He served on the MSCHE Rebranding Committee that was charged with creating a new messaging platform for the Commission in 2019. He has also served as a presenter at MSCHE's Chairs and Evaluators workshops and during the Commission's Annual Conference.

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Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Vice-Chair

President, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Term: 2019-2021

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Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Vice-Chair

Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour has served as President of Pennsylvania College of Technology since 1998, guiding the institution through a period of robust growth and dynamic innovation while overseeing its development into a national leader in applied technology education. During her tenure, Penn College, a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, has substantially increased its baccalaureate degree offerings and established its first graduate-level program (a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies). Dr. Gilmour served on the Executive Committee for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in 2019 after rejoining the Commission that year. She previously served from 2012 to 2017 and during that time was on the Executive Committee in 2017. In 2020, Dr. Gilmour was elected Vice-Chair and reelected to the role in 2021. In 2019, she served on the MSCHE Rebranding Committee that was charged with creating a new messaging platform for the Commission. She joined Penn College in 1977 as an instructor and curriculum developer in the Dental Hygiene Program. In 1983, she was appointed to the first of many administrative positions including Division Director for Health Sciences, and Dean of Instruction. In 1993, she became the College's highest-ranking academic officer, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and in 1996, she assumed the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. She holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in health education from The Pennsylvania State University, and she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene Education and an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene from West Liberty State College. Prior to her career in education, she worked as a dental hygienist for a number of Harrisburg-area dentists. Her community affiliations and professional activities include: Member and former Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors; Vice Chair of the UPMC Susquehanna Health Board; President of the Community Arts Center Board of Directors; Chair of Presidents Council of the Northeast Athletic Conference; and Board Member of the First Community Foundation Partnership of PA as well as serving as Chairman for two terms, member of the Executive Committee and Board; Chair of Economic Community & Growth Corporation and Emerson Project for the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Board.

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Mr. Lloyd Ricketts, Treasurer

Vice President and Treasurer, College of New Jersey, The

Term: 2019-2021

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Mr. Lloyd Ricketts, Treasurer

Mr. Lloyd Ricketts, Vice President and Treasurer at The College of New Jersey, began his association with the College in 1999. Mr. Ricketts was elected to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in 2019 and named to the Executive Committee in 2020. As a member of the Executive Committee, he was elected Treasurer of the Commission in 2021 after serving as Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee in 2020, he now chairs the Committee. He has previously served as a peer evaluator for MSCHE, participating in a number of accreditation site visits, including chairing a team visit. Since joining the College, he has played an integral role in the College’s fiscal management. Under his leadership, the College has successfully implemented new financial systems with improved campus financial reporting, as well as other initiatives aimed at preserving the institution’s long-term financial health. He has implemented a multi-year financial model to provide a forward-looking assessment of the College’s financial condition based on key assumptions such as the level of state support, enrollment level, financial reserves, capital expenditures and strategic restructuring of the College’s debt portfolio. Mr. Ricketts serves ex officio and as a regular member of the Board of The College of New Jersey Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that solicits, receives, and administers gifts, bequests, and trusts for the benefit of the College. Mr. Ricketts earned his undergraduate degree from New York University Stern School of Business (B.S. in Accounting) and his Master’s Degree from New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service (Public Finance).

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Dr. Valerie D. Lehr, Secretary

Professor of Gender Studies/Government, St. Lawrence University

Term: 2021-2023

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Dr. Valerie D. Lehr, Secretary

Dr. Valerie D. 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 (MSCHE) began in January 2018, and in 2021, she was elected to the MSCHE Executive Committee and as Secretary. In 2020, she served as Chair of the Substantive Change Committee and has served MSCHE as a Team Chair, Peer Evaluator, and as a Periodic Review Report Reviewer. At St. Lawrence, she has also served as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs from 2007 through 2016, and as Associate Dean of the First-Year from 1997 through 2001. She has served on two MSCHE self-study committees at St. Lawrence. As part of her responsibilities as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, she convened the University's Assessment Committee.

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Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger

Former President (Ret.)

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger

Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger served as the 13th President of Drew University from July 2014 through May 2020 before announcing her retirement. She had previously served for 10 years as President of The College of Saint Benedict. During her career, she held earlier faculty appointments at The College of New Jersey, Philadelphia University, and Washington College. Dr. Baenninger is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Council of Independent Colleges, having served as immediate Past Chair of the Board and two terms on the Board and Executive Committee from 2016 to present, and 2008-12. Previously, she served as a Board member for the Women's College Coalition, Minnesota Public Radio, and the American University of Sharjah. Dr. Baenninger earned her Bachelor's degree and Ph.D., both in Psychology, from Temple University. She was honored with the William M. Burke Presidential Award from the National Society for Experiential Education in 2013. She is in her second term as Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and on behalf of MSCHE she has chaired numerous Self-Study review teams. In 2020, she chaired the Committee on Membership, and in 2021, is chairing the Committee on Substantive Change.

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Ms. Laurie A. Carter, J.D.

President, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Term: 2020-2022

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Ms. Laurie A. Carter, J.D.

Laurie A. Carter was named the 17th President of Shippensburg University in 2017. Ms. Carter’s tenure at Ship has focused on the institutional priorities of student success, telling the Ship story, the university’s relationship with the community, and overall quality. Ms. Carter has strengthened student success efforts at Ship by creating a first-year experience program, a first-generation college students program, a comprehensive student success center, and an academic center for student-athletes. These efforts collectively increased retention by 5% over two years. Ms. Carter secured the largest gift in Ship athletics history and collaborated with local business people to create a downtown location for Shippensburg University’s Centers of Excellence, future home of the Charles H. Diller Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as well as the Center for Land Use and Sustainability. She has transformed the gateway to campus by restoring historic Stewart Hall into a new Alumni and Welcome Center, supporting the expansion of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, and renovating the decommissioned steam plant into a home for the State System’s first School of Engineering which she created in 2018. Ms. Carter has strengthened diversity and inclusion at Ship by creating an executive level Chief Diversity Officer. She created a State-wide Black Male Symposium, renovated the multicultural center, created a PRIDE Center, secured a grant for a bystander intervention program, expanded the Title IX office and is creating an Anti-Racism Institute to foster racial understanding across the State of Pennsylvania. Prior to her presidential appointment, Ms. Carter served as executive vice president and university counsel for Eastern Kentucky University. She provided leadership to 33 departments and oversaw a budget in excess of $71 million. At EKU, she created a student success center, negotiated and managed $1.3 million dollars in P3 projects and led EKU to record enrollment and retention while also serving as a member of the graduate faculty. Before her appointment at EKU, she held various inaugural leadership positions during her 25 years of service at The Juilliard School, considered the nation’s premiere performing arts college. Ms. Carter was Juilliard’s first African-American administrator and taught on the liberal arts and graduate faculty. She developed the institution’s student affairs program, initiated diversity initiatives, created the Office of the General Counsel and co-created the Jazz Studies program which included the development of an international touring program. She was vice president and general counsel and executive director of Jazz Studies when she left to lead the nation’s third-largest arts education department at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. At NJPAC, Ms. Carter developed the nation’s first all-female jazz summer residency program while creating national partnerships and fundraising to support innovative programs for underserved communities. Ms. Carter serves as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) where she is in her first term as a Commissioner and in 2021 serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Membership, an American Association of State Colleges and Universities board member, a Millennium Leadership Institute steering committee member and Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission President’s Council. President Ms. Carter attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania, received her masters from William Paterson College, and earned her JD from Rutgers University. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Snow College.

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Mr. Michael Collins

Vice President

Term: 2021-2023

Public Member

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Mr. Michael Collins

Mr. Michael Collins is Vice President at JFF, a national non-profit working to transform our nation’s education and workforce systems to accelerate economic advancement for all. Mr. Collins serves on JFF’s executive team and provides leadership for JFF programs and policy. For over a decade, he has led a multi-state postsecondary reform network working to increase the success of learners from low income-backgrounds through connecting colleges and state postsecondary systems to evidence-based practices and practitioner-informed policies and supporting their implementation through postsecondary reform initiatives such as Achieving the Dream, The Developmental Education Initiative, Completion by Design, and the Student Success Center Initiative, and the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Project. An inveterate collaborator, he has partnered with nationally recognized organizations such as The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, Carnegie Math Pathways|WesED, The Dana Center, SOVA Solutions, Research for Action, the Community College Research Center, and a host of other organizations, states systems, and philanthropic organizations. Prior to joining JFF, he served as Assistant Commissioner for Participation and Success at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Mr. Collins holds a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He serves on the board of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the National Student Clearinghouse and is Chair of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Board. Mr. Collins is Pahara-Aspen Fellow and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He was originally appointed to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in 2020 to complete the term of retiring Commissioner and was elected to his first full term beginning on January 1, 2021.

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Dr. Katherine S. Conway-Turner

President, SUNY Buffalo State

Term: 2019-2021

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Dr. Katherine S. Conway-Turner

Dr. Conway-Turner began her tenure as the ninth president of Buffalo State College on August 3, 2014. 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. In 2016, Buffalo State was among five colleges and universities from across the country chosen to share in the Washington Center’s annual Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards. Dr. Conway-Turner, who has served as a Peer Evaluator and Team Chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), was elected to the Commission in 2019. She was first named to the Executive Committee in 2020 and again in 2021. Prior to Buffalo State, Dr. Conway-Turner was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Hood College in Frederick, MD (July 2010 to July 2014); Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Geneseo (2004 to 2009); Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University; and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware. Dr. Conway-Turner serves on numerous boards, committees, and programs nationally, statewide, and locally. She is chair of the Board of the National Campus Compact and on the Executive Committee of The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. She also serves as a Pathway Program mentor for the NCAA and on their Division III Presidents Council. Her statewide commitments include serving as co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic and Development Council, and board service on the Say YES Buffalo Operating Committee, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and the Western New York Women’s Foundation among others. She also is a member of the board of directors of Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.) and frequently travels to Haiti to provide educational, medical, and community development needs. Dr. Conway-Turner earned her Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in Social Psychology, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Microbiology, all from the University of Kansas. She is the author of numerous articles, chapters, books, and book reviews.

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Dr. Michael J. Fischer

Professor of Accounting; former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, St. Bonaventure University

Term: 2021-2023

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Dr. Michael J. Fischer

Dr. Michael J. Fischer, Professor of Accounting at St. Bonaventure University, is a first-term Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and will serve from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2023. Dr. Fischer has been a faculty member at St. Bonaventure University since 1985 and has served in a number of leadership positions, including as the Dean of Enrollment Management; School of Business Dean; and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has significant experience with both specialized and institutional accreditation, including having led the process for initial Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation while Dean of the School of Business; overseeing successful MSCHE Periodic Review Report (PRR) and decennial self-study and visit processes as Provost; and having served as both a PRR and decennial peer reviewer. Dr. Fischer has also been engaged in shared governance activities as both a faculty member and administrator, including as chair or member of St. Bonaventure’s faculty senate and graduate council, as well as its academic standards, compensation, curriculum, enrollment management, faculty handbook, finance, and grievance committees. Dr. Fischer earned his B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from the School of Management at the University at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Dr. Fischer was an audit manager with the international firm of Price Waterhouse before beginning his academic career.

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Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.B.A.

President, Howard University

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.B.A.

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.B.A., was named the 17th President of Howard University (D.C.) in 2014 after previously serving as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. A distinguished scholar and administrator, Dr. Frederick has advanced Howard University’s commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, workforce development, public service, and fiscal stability. Under his leadership, Howard has moved into the first tier of national universities and is now recognized as the top private institution in the “Social Mobility” category as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. He serves on numerous boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum. Dr. Frederick currently chairs the Consortium of Universities of the Washington-Metropolitan Area and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Council of Chief Executive Officers. As a 16-year-old undergraduate, Dr. Frederick was admitted to Howard University’s B.S./M.D. dual degree program and completed the requirements in six years. Following his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Frederick began his academic career as Associate Director of the University of Connecticut Cancer Center. He returned to Howard University in academic positions that included Associate Dean in the College of Medicine, Division Chief in the Department of Surgery, Director of the Cancer Center, and Deputy Provost for Health Sciences. He later earned an MBA from Howard’s School of Business in 2011. Dr. Frederick has received various citations honoring his scholarship and service, including the 2019 MD Anderson Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, abstracts, and editorials, and is a widely recognized expert on disparities in healthcare and medical education. He continues to operate and deliver lectures to second-year medical students and surgical residents of Howard University’s College of Medicine. His research focuses on narrowing racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in cancer-care outcomes, especially regarding gastrointestinal cancers. He is in his first term as a Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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Prof. Ariel Guzman

Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico

Term: 2019-2021

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Prof. Ariel Guzman

Mr. Ariel Guzmán-Figueroa is currently a Professor of Music Education and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where he is also serving as Accreditation Liaison Officer for Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), liaison for The College Board of Puerto Rico and Latin America Office, and as Collegiate Chapter Advisor for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). A graduate from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance of The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he played French horn for 35 years with the Concert Band of Puerto Rico and, as an additional musician, with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. He is currently active as second horn with the Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra Arturo Somohano. Mr. Guzmán-Figueroa was elected to the Commission in 2018, where he is currently serving with the Follow-up Activities and Mid-Point Peer Review Committees. He will begin his second three-year term as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) on January 1, 2022.

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Dr. Sue Henderson

President, New Jersey City University

Term: 2021-2023

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Dr. Sue Henderson

Dr. Sue Henderson has served as the 12th (and first woman) President of New Jersey City University since August 2012. Since her arrival, she has accomplished a range of transformational initiatives. She created the NJCU School of Business and relocated it to a state-of-the-art facility in Jersey City's financial district and hired over half the faculty during her tenure. During her tenure over five new academic programs were developed as well as a new General Education program and Honors Program. She spearheaded the implementation of a $350 million project to redevelop the institution's West Campus, to include student housing, shops, restaurants, and a pedestrian-friendly layout to aesthetically and economically revitalize the region. Dr. Henderson additionally ensured NJCU tuition and fees remain among the lowest of all public, four-year colleges and universities in New Jersey, and implemented the NJCU Debt-Free Promise Program to make a college education accessible and affordable. Dr. Henderson serves on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; is Vice Chair of the DIII Presidents Council and a member of the Board of Governors of the NCAA; and is on the Committee on International Education of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; chairs the Academic Issues Committee for the New Jersey Presidents Council; is on the Internationalization Commission of the American Council of Education.

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Dr. M. Karen Jogan

Professor of Spanish, Albright College

Term: 2021-2023

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Dr. M. Karen Jogan

Dr. M. Karen Jogan is Professor of Spanish at Albright College in Reading, PA. Previously, she served Albright as Director of Assessment and chair of the 2006 Self-Study Steering Committee. She was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in both Peru and Chile, and she is a collaborator on curriculum and research projects with Latin American universities. Since 2005, Dr. Jogan has served the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) as a peer evaluator for 20 institutions—as team chair, team member for decennial reviews and follow-up visits, reviewer for candidacy, and as a Periodic Review Report reviewer. In addition, she has presented at MSCHE conferences and at the Commission's Self-Study Institute. Her professional service includes peer review of teacher certification programs at 15 Pennsylvania colleges and universities, and Board membership for affiliates of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) in the U.S. and abroad. She earned her doctorate from Temple University. Dr. Jogan's term as an MSCHE Commissioner began on January 1, 2018.

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Mary E Kennard

Retired Vice President and General Counsel

Term: 2019-2021

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Mary E Kennard

Ms. Mary E. Kennard served for 23 years as the Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for American University. She has over 40 years of experience in university administration and legal affairs. Ms. Kennard has served as a senior administrator at both public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Ms. Kennard has served as the Chief Development Officer for both the University of Rhode Island and American University, planning and kicking off two successful capital campaigns. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh—College of General Studies, University of Rhode Island—College of Business Administration, and the Washington College of Law at American University. In 2016, Ms. Kennard joined the Board of Directors of the HERS Institute, one of the oldest feminist organizations in the United States, serving women in higher education. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel. She was the 2007 President of the Association of Corporate Counsel—National Capital Region. Ms. Kennard is the recipient of numerous national awards and in May of 2013, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Rhode Island in recognition of her commitment to diversity in U.S. higher education. Her volunteer and community service have included the D.C Access to Justice Commission, No Kid Hungry, the International Women’s Forum—DC Chapter, the Rhode Island Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the Bethesda Place Community Council Board. Ms. Kennard attended Boston University and received her undergraduate degree in applied science, with honors. After earning her Juris Doctorate from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and Master of Laws in international and comparative law from The George Washington University, National Law Center, she served as counsel to the University of Pittsburgh, Howard University, the University of Rhode Island, the Community College of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island College, before joining American University in 1995, and retiring in 2017. She is in her first term as a Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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COL(R) Gerald C Kobylski, Ph.D., P.E.

Director of Institutional Effectiveness (G5) & Professor of Mathematical Sciences, United States Military Academy

Term: 2021-2023

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COL(R) Gerald C Kobylski, Ph.D., P.E.

COL(R) Gerald 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. He was appointed to complete the term of a retiring Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in 2019 and elected to a first three-year term in 2021. He will serve as Chair of the Committee on Evaluation Reports in 2021. Dr. Kobylski originally served on the Commission from 2012 to 2017 participating on and chairing many of the Committees on Evaluations, Periodic Review Reports, and Nominations. He has also served as a peer reviewer for approximately teams, mostly MSCHE. Dr. Kobylski holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stevens Institute of Technology, an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, an M.S. in Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from Western New England College, and a B.S. in Engineering from the United States Military Academy. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Virginia.

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Dr. Susan D. Looney, J.D.

President, Reading Area Community College

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Susan D. Looney, J.D.

Susan D. Looney, J.D., Ed.D., became the sixth President of Reading Area Community College (RACC) in Reading, PA, on July 1, 2018. Her teaching career began in 1998, when she accepted a full-time faculty position in Accounting at Mohave Community College (AZ). In her 21 years as a full-time community college educator, eight as a faculty member and 13 years as a senior administrator, Dr. Looney worked in diverse roles at Mohave Community College, Delaware Technical Community College, and Colorado Mountain College. She was named Dean of Instruction at RACC in 2014 and named Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost at RACC in 2015. While a faculty member at Delaware Technical Community College, she was honored with two awards that speak to her commitment to students in and outside the classroom: the Distinguished Advisor Award from Phi Theta Kappa and the Teaching in Excellence Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. After completing her A.A. at Brookdale Community College (NJ), Dr. Looney went on to earn her B.S. and M.B.A. in business administration from Monmouth University (NJ), a J.D. from Widener University School of Law (DE), and ultimately an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from Nova Southeastern University (FL). Prior to entering higher education as a professional, Dr. Looney spent almost five years with the Department of Defense as an Operations Research Analyst at Fort Monmouth in NJ. In her first term as a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), she was named to the Executive Committee in 2021.

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Ms. Vuyokazi Funeka Memani-Sedile

Term: 2021-2022

Public Member

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Ms. Vuyokazi Funeka Memani-Sedile

Ms. Vuyokazi Funeka Memani-Sedile has more than 30 years of experience in almost all the areas of finance. She is the founder of Platinum Web Hub a business consultancy in Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa, which provides accounting services, website development, business advisory services, and board directorship/trusteeship. Ms. Memani-Sedile joined the Commission in May 2021 to fulfill the term of an open position. During the course of her career, she spent 10 years as Executive Director of Finance at University of South Africa (Unisa), the largest distance education institution in Africa which enrolls 381,000 students. Ms. Memani-Sedile has participated actively in higher education in South Africa and includes being contracted to the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Funding of Universities (report published October 2013), a Board member of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and an Audit Committee member of the Council on Higher Education South Africa among other affiliations as an independent non-executive board member of companies and pension funds. In 2014, while working at University of South Africa, she was a nominee of “CFO of the year” (South Africa) in the Public Sector section. She holds an M.B.A. and a Graduate Diploma in Management from the Australian Institute of Business after receiving her degrees from Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) and the University of South Africa. In addition, she participated in the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Leadership Program.

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Ms. Denise Mulkern

Former University Chief Financial Officer (Ret.)

Term: 2019-2021

Public Member

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Ms. Denise Mulkern

Ms. Denise Mulkern began her first term as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in January 2016. In 2021, she again serves as Vice-Chair of the Mid-Point Peer Review Committee after performing those duties in 2020. 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. Prior to the restructuring, she held several key positions at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), whose activities were transferred among Rutgers and Rowan University under the Act. Over a 29-year career at UMDNJ, she served in several capacities, including the roles of Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President for Finance, Vice President for Finance and University Controller. Each position included responsibilities for budgeting, financial operations, and financial reporting. Ms. Mulkern is familiar with MSCHE accreditation processes, having participated in internal accreditation activities within both Rutgers and UMDNJ. In addition, she has been involved with the Commission as a finance reviewer and peer evaluation team member for several years. Prior to her career in higher education, Ms. Mulkern worked in public accounting at the firm of Ernst and Whinney, and she became a Certified Public Accountant.

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Dr. Jonathan Peri

President, Manor College

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Jonathan Peri

Dr. Jonathan Peri is the ninth President of Manor College in Jenkintown, PA. Dr. Peri has led dramatic changes to Manor’s campus without creating new costs or debt, such as the renovation of the campus library and rebranding the college along with redesigning the college’s website. Dr. Peri leads and is engaged with many community boards, especially educational. He is the only person in Pennsylvania history to concurrently sit on six of its main state boards and committees related to education. Prior to serving as Manor College’s president, Dr. Peri was the Vice President and General Counsel at Neumann University (PA). Leading to his career in higher education, Dr. Peri worked as a Litigation Department Associate at Saul Ewing, LLP. He also held several positions within the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office including, Special Prosecutor, Press Secretary, and Assistant District Attorney. While a practicing attorney, he held several adjunct faculty roles and still teaches at Manor College and Eastern University (PA). He is also a past President of the 1,350 member Delaware County Bar Association. Dr. Peri earned a B.A. in Theology from Villanova University (PA), a J.D. from Widener University–Delaware Law School (DE), and has a second doctoral degree from Eastern University’s Organizational Leadership Ph.D. program, with an education concentration. Dr. Peri was appointed to a Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) on July 1, 2019, to complete the term of a retiring Commissioner. In 2021, he again serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Follow-up Activities.

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Dr. Carl S. Person

Term: 2019-2021

Public Member

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Dr. Carl S. Person

Dr. Carl S. Person is in his second term as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and rejoins the Executive Committee in 2021. He will also Chair the Committee on Membership in 2021. He spent 14 years at NASA, most recently as its Director of Aerospace Research and Career Development in the Office of Education. 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. In addition, he was responsible for working with the colleges and universities in 28 states and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to effect lasting improvements in research infrastructure. Previously, he served as NASA's Manager of Minority University Research and Education. He also served as the agency's program manager for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and as liaison to the White House Initiatives Office on HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Before joining NASA, Dr. Person spent 20 years in the U.S. Department of Education in a variety of positions, ranging from an education program specialist to chief of the Accrediting Agency Evaluation Branch, chief of the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Branch, and Director of the Institutional Development and Undergraduate Education Service.

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Mr. Richard J. Pinkowski, Jr.

Vice President for Finance, Villa Maria College of Buffalo

Term: 2021-2023

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Mr. Richard J. Pinkowski, Jr.

Mr. Richard J. Pinkowski, Jr., is Vice President for Finance at Villa Maria College of Buffalo. He had previously served as Vice President for Business/Finance at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY, from 1990 to 2019. Prior to joining Hilbert, he served at Villanova University and the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Pinkowski has volunteered for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) for more than 20 years, primarily as a finance reviewer on visiting teams. He has also served as the Chair of EACUBO's Buffalo Region Area Planning Committee and was a panel presenter on the topic, Coming Waves of Affiliation in Higher Education at the NACUBO Higher Education Accounting Forum in 2015. Mr. Pinkowski begins his second three-year term as an MSCHE Commissioner on January 1, 2021, and will serve as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Finance.

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Ms. Barbara Anne Pratt

Vice President Finance and Operations, Warren County Community College

Term: 2021-2023

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Ms. Barbara Anne Pratt

Ms. Barbara Anne Pratt Ms. Barbara 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 the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in January 2018 and again serves as Chair of the Mid-Point Peer Review Committee in 2021. She has chaired or participated on several MSCHE Evaluation Teams and has served as a financial reviewer for a number of Periodic Review Reports. She was a member of the MSCHE Process Change Steering Committee, chairing the Financial Sustainability Group in 2016. From 2001 through 2004 she served as Vice President for Finance and Administration at New Jersey's Gloucester County College (now Rowan College at Gloucester County). Prior to that time, she worked in various financial functions at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (now Stockton University), including serving for three years as Vice President of Finance. Ms. Pratt also worked for the New Jersey Board of Higher Education in various financial and student financial aid capacities. In addition to her administrative work, Ms. Pratt teaches history courses on an adjunct basis at WCCC.

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Dr. David B. Rehm

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Misericordia University

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. David B. Rehm

Dr. David B. Rehm serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Misericordia University, a position he has held since July 2017. His work at Misericordia has focused on program review and accreditation, academic freedom, shared governance, and, of course, managing through the pandemic. He came to Misericordia from Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD, where he served as Professor and Provost, overseeing all academic programs and activities. Dr. Rehm regularly serves as a Peer Evaluator and Team Chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and served as a member of the Commission's Steering Committee for the revision of "Characteristics of Excellence." Dr. Rehm earned his doctorate in 1994 from the University of Chicago. In his second term an MSCHE Commissioner, he again chairs the Commission’s Committee on Follow-Up Activities in 2021.

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Dr. Havidan Rodriguez

President, SUNY at Albany

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Havidan Rodriguez

Dr. Havidan Rodriguez Dr. Havidán Rodríguez became the 20th President of the University at Albany in September 2017. Before coming to UAlbany, Dr. Rodríguez was the founding Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. A respected scholar who studies the socioeconomic impacts of disasters and the economic well-being of minority populations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, he formerly directed the University of Delaware’s acclaimed Disaster Research Center, the world’s first research center devoted to studying the complex social problems that result from natural and technological disasters and other community-scale crises. Dr. Rodríguez is also a national leader in the area of diversity and inclusion in higher education and is currently accelerating UAlbany’s success toward reaching its vision to be the nation’s leading diverse public research university. Dr. Rodríguez received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, his M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is in his first term as a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) beginning his term in 2020.

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Dr. Olga Rodriguez de Arzola

Dean of the School of Medicine, Ponce Health Sciences University

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Olga Rodriguez de Arzola

Olga Rodríguez de Arzola, MD, FAAP, is Professor of Pediatrics and Dean of the Ponce Health Sciences University School of Medicine (PHSU-SOM). She is also President of the Regional Academic Medical Center of the Southwest of Puerto Rico, an entity established by law whose mission is to support the development of undergraduate and graduate medical education in the Southwest of Puerto Rico. She previously served as Interim President and Dean for the institution from April 2012 to September 2015. Prior roles at PHSU include Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and President of the Academic Senate. She was also Director of Graduate Medical Education for the St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Ponce and Director of the Transitional Year Residency Program. During her role as Associate Dean, she led the institutional self-studies for the Middle States Commission for Higher Education, the Puerto Rico Council of Education, and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. She also led the development of the strategic plan for the institution. Dr. Rodríguez completed her medical education and pediatric specialty at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. During April 2012, she completed a Fellowship in Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) at Drexel University (PA). Her service to the community includes active membership in the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, co-president of the Integral Development of the South Corporation (DISUR in Spanish), and member of the South Health Task Force against COVID-19. She is in her first term as a Commissioner on the Middle States Commissioner on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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Dr. Steven M. Rose

President, Passaic County Community College

Term: 2020-2022

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Dr. Steven M. Rose

Dr. Steven M. 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. In addition, the College opened three new New Jersey campuses in Wanaque, Wayne, and Passaic, and renovated and expanded its main Paterson Campus. He began at PCCC in 1987 and has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty as well as Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management. Dr. Rose, who was Director of Admissions at Wagner College (NY) from 1981 to 1987, holds an Ed.D. in Education from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Vermont, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Muhlenberg College (PA). Dr. Rose currently serves on Boards of Bloomfield College (NJ), the New Jersey Presidents’ Council, Saint Mary’s Hospital, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce, and the Workforce Investment Board of Passaic County. In addition, he serves as Chair of NJ Edge (Higher Education Computing Network), Chair of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Treasurer of the United Way of Passaic County and Vice Chair of the Paterson Opportunities Industrialization Center. Dr. Rose has taught at PCCC and in the Rowan University (NJ) Doctoral program in Community College Leadership. On behalf of MSCHE, he has chaired numerous review teams. Dr. Rose is in his first term as a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and in 2021 is Vice-Chair of the Committee on Substantive Change.

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Dr. Scott Schaeffer

Associate Vice President for STEM and Health Professions, Jefferson Community College

Term: 2021-2023

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Dr. Scott Schaeffer

Dr. Scott Schaeffer is currently a Professor of Biology at Harford Community College. Dr. Schaeffer began his term as a Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in January 2018. After serving as Vice-Chair of the Substantive Change Committee in 2020, he will chair the Committee on Applicant and Candidate Institutions. 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. He also mentors and supports faculty as the chair of the Tenure and Promotion Committee at HCC. He is engaged in student retention and completion efforts, having served as co-chair of the Student Engagement, Retention, and Completion Committee. Dr. Schaeffer is passionate about student equity and inclusion in higher education and serves on Harford’s Open Educational Resources Committee in an effort to reduce textbook costs to students. He has experience with assessment, strategic planning, and participation in Self-Study and Periodic Review Report processes at Harford. Within the area of accreditation, Dr. Schaeffer has served annually on MSCHE evaluation and small teams since 2013. He has attended MSCHE evaluator training sessions, as well as various webinars, Town Halls and Annual Conferences.

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Mrs. Roberta Griffin Torian

Partner, Retired

Term: 2019-2021

Public Member

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Mrs. Roberta Griffin Torian

Mrs. Torian is a former Partner in the global law firm of Reed Smith, LLP, where she was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Since announcing her retirement in January 2019, she has been focusing on her consulting firm whose mission is to address policy and legal issues of financial inclusion for women in developing countries. For more than two decades, Mrs. Torian has been a frequent presenter at ABA Continuing Legal Education programs on topics relating to banking regulation and payments law, and is a regular panelist on the biannual Banking Law Update CLE series of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. With an expertise in corporate law with a specialty in banking regulation, she had mentored numerous summer associates at Reed Smith and had spoken to many groups of college and law students, educating them on careers in the law. For over a decade, Mrs. Torian has made annual visits to Jamaica to support the educational mission of the Mt. Zion All-Age School. Mrs. Torian has extensive community service experience including as a the first elected President of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, one of the five largest Episcopal Dioceses in the U.S., Board Member of St. Barnabas Episcopal School, a Trustee of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, The Church Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, as well as a Board Member of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Women’s Commission of Chester County, PA. Mrs. Torian was a member of the U.S. legal delegation for the People to People tour of Russia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. She is a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, has published numerous articles in the ABA’s leading scholarly journal The Business Lawyer and a member of the Editorial Board of the American Bar Association publication Business Law Today. She is in her first term as a Commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and is Vice-Chair of the Committee on Applicant and Candidate Institutions in 2021.