Staff

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Mrs. Kathy Ortiz

Senior Accreditation Services Coordinator
Accreditation Services

Phone: 267-284-5015

Email: kortiz@msche.org

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Mrs. Kathy Ortiz

Mrs. Kathy Ortiz joined Middle States Commission on Higher Education as Accreditation Service Coordinator in May 2012. Mrs. Ortiz works closely with the Senior Director of Accreditation Services in the processes related to two of the Commission's Committees, Evaluation and Mid-Point Peer Review. She has over 14 years of experience in higher education, and prior to joining MSCHE, served as Office Manager in the Development Office at The University of the Arts (PA). Mrs. Ortiz studied Business Management at Peirce College and is fluent in Spanish.

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Ms. Tray Patterson

Interim Associate Director for Volunteer Services
Accreditation Services

Phone: 267-284-5056

Email: tpatterson@msche.org

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Ms. Tray Patterson

Ms. Tray Patterson, was promoted to Interim Associate Director for Volunteer Services in October 2021 after serving as Assistant Director for Accreditation Services. She has been with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 2016. In her current role, she is responsible for the processes related to the Commission's recruitment, selection, training, management, engagement, assignment, assessment, and recognition of peer evaluators. With a background in assessment and accreditation, Ms. Patterson has worked with other regional and programmatic accreditors prior to arriving at MSCHE. Her former positions included Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Student Learning and Program Assessment Coordinator, Academic Support Specialist, and Elementary Art Teacher. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts from The Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Education from The George Washington University (DC).

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Dr. Terence Peavy

Vice President
Institutional Field Relations

Phone: 267-284-5074

Email: tpeavy@msche.org

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Dr. Terence Peavy

Dr. Terence L. Peavy joined the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in July 2021 as a Vice President for Institutional Field Relations. In this role, he serves as a liaison to member institutions, provides training to institutions and volunteers, and supports the accreditation decision-making work of the Commission. Dr. Peavy comes to the Commission from the State University of New York's (SUNY) Fashion Institute of Technology where he served as Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management. In this role, he managed undergraduate admissions, financial aid, registrar, international student services, educational opportunity programs, and the campus card office. He has over 28 years of higher education experience and has held executive leadership roles in enrollment management at Metropolitan College of New York, Saint Peter's University (NJ), and The New School (NY). He began his professional career at Fordham University (NY) as an admission counselor in 1993. Dr. Peavy also held the position of Associate Adjunct Professor in the Marxe School of Public Policy and International Affair at City University of New York's (CUNY) Baruch College where he taught in the Higher Education Administration graduate program. Additionally, he was a Board of Trustee member at York College of Pennsylvania and volunteered as a peer reviewer for MSCHE. Dr. Peavy was a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), State University of New York Chief Enrollment Officers Association (SUNYCEO), College Access Consortium of New York (CACNY) and the International Leadership Association (ILA). Dr. Peavy obtained his B.A. from York College of Pennsylvania in Speech Communications and his M.Ed. in Educational Supervision and Leadership from Fordham University. He later earned his Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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Dr. Heather Perfetti

President
Office of the President

Phone: 267-284-5026

Email: hperfetti@msche.org

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Dr. Heather Perfetti

An experienced, high-level executive with a demonstrated and diverse history of working in complex educational environments, Heather F. Perfetti, Ed.D., J.D., became President of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education on July 1, 2020. Over the course of her career, she has made an impact in numerous areas of higher education, including academic and student affairs, faculty affairs, legal and regulatory affairs, strategic planning, policy development, and innovative, organizational change management. She joined the Commission as a Vice President liaison to institutions in January 2015, served as Vice President for Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff in July 2017, and was then elevated to Senior Vice President in July 2018. On June 26, 2019, Dr. Perfetti was named President-Elect to begin her transition to President. Prior to joining the Commission staff, Dr. Perfetti served as a peer evaluator through on-site evaluation visits, the Committee on Substantive Change, and the Committee on Periodic Review Reports. Her previous positions have included Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Orange (NY) and Allegany College of Maryland; Assistant Dean, Assistant Professor, and Program Coordinator at Darton College (GA); and Assistant Professor at Murray State University (KY). She has held adjunct faculty positions at Georgia Southern University, Barstow Community College (CA), and Darton College. Dr. Perfetti earned her Doctor of Education degree with specialization in Higher Education Leadership from Northcentral University (CA), the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Troy University (AL), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Frostburg State University (MD). In addition to her academic credentials, Dr. Perfetti has participated in the American Council on Education's Institute for Chief Academic Officers and Vanderbilt University's Peabody Professional Institute on Higher Education Management. She was ranked No. 31 on City & State New York's 100 Power List in 2021 of the most powerful people in New York's higher education community. The 2021 publication Exemplars of Assessment in Higher Education: Diverse Approaches to Addressing Accreditation Standards featured Dr. Perfetti's foreword. Also in 2021, she participated in the United States Department of Education's negotiated rulemaking through the Affordability and Student Loans Committee as a primary negotiator representing accrediting agencies.

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Dr. Stephen Pugliese

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff
Office of the President

Phone: 267-284-5050

Email: spugliese@msche.org

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Dr. Stephen Pugliese

Dr. Stephen J. Pugliese was named Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff in January 2020. In this role, he focuses on assisting the President in managing Commission and personnel-related matters as well as other high-level projects that include strategic and operational planning, risk management, training and workshops, and human resource management. Dr. Pugliese joined the MSCHE staff in mid-2017 as Vice President and was promoted to Lead Vice President in July 2019. He came to MSCHE from Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA, where he served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as the Accreditation Liaison Officer and as an MSCHE Peer Evaluator. Prior to arriving at MSCHE, Dr. Pugliese served as a Vice President at Immaculata University (PA), Vice Provost for Student Life at St. Bonaventure University (NY), Dean of Students at Marywood University (PA), and other roles at King's College (PA), Villanova University (PA), and Pennsylvania State University. He earned his Ph.D. from Marywood University, his M.S. from Villanova University, and his B.A. from Kutztown University (PA).

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Dr. Tracey Schneider

Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Office of the President

Phone: 267-284-5076

Email: tschneider@msche.org

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Dr. Tracey Schneider

Dr. Tracey L. Schneider joined the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in February 2022 as Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel. She has more than 15 years of legal experience with a primary focus on education law. At MSCHE, Dr. Schneider provides legal assistance and support to the President, the Commission, and staff. She oversees the Commission's legal aspects of the complex substantive change process, supports personnel-related matters, manages subpoenas and other legal notices, and reviews documents and contracts to support the work of the organization. She serves as a member of the MSCHE President's Cabinet and Executive Leadership Team. Prior to joining MSCHE, she served as general counsel for an educational institution, represented public and private educational entities in private practice, and held a faculty position teaching in organizational leadership in a doctoral program. Dr. Schneider frequently publishes and presents on a wide variety of legal and organizational topics. Her academic credentials include a B.S in Business Administration from the University of Richmond (VA), a J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning & Leadership from the College of William & Mary (VA).

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Ms. Carmen Scott

Interim Assistant Director for Substantive Change
Accreditation Services

Phone: 267-284-5064

Email: cscott@msche.org

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Ms. Carmen Scott

Ms. Carmen Scott joined the MSCHE staff as Administrative Assistant in April 2009 and is now Interim Assistant Director for Substantive Change. She had previously served in the role of Senior Accreditation Services Coordinator for Substantive Change and Follow-Up. In her current role she is responsible for overseeing, managing, and directly participating in the Substantive Change process from beginning to completion. Previously, she has worked at Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools assisting the Director in accreditation related activities, including the selection of volunteers for evaluation team visits.

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Mr. Christian Slater

Senior Director for Technology Services
Information Systems

Phone: 267-284-5016

Email: cslater@msche.org

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Mr. Christian Slater

Mr. Christian R. Slater was named Senior Director for Technology Support Services for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in May 2021. He joined the MSCHE staff in November 2016 as Senior Support Specialist before being elevated to Director in July 2019. Mr. Slater provides technical support to MSCHE Commissioners, staff, and member institutions on matters related to accreditation. He is responsible for the administration and continuous development of the Commission's primary enterprise system (Salesforce). He is also responsible for overseeing all aspects of technology hardware and software at MSCHE. In addition, Mr. Slater also develops and coordinates in-house training and IT help desk functions. Prior to joining the MSCHE staff he was employed for five-and-a-half years by Villanova University, where he provided executive-level IT support. Mr. Slater received his BA from Lebanon Valley College (PA), and his MA in History and his Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Villanova University (PA).

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Ms. Carmella Smith

Interim Senior Director for Accreditation Services
Accreditation Services

Phone: 267-284-5013

Email: csmith@msche.org

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Ms. Carmella Smith

Ms. Carmella Smith was promoted to Interim Senior Director for Accreditation Services in October 2021 after serving as Director for Substantive Change at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since July 2018. She had previously served as Assistant Director for Substantive Change and Assistant Director for Accreditation Services. A member of the Commission staff since 1992, she has served in various roles throughout her tenure. In her current role, Ms. Smith leads the Accreditation Services unit and is responsible for the oversight of the Commission's standing accreditation Committees, and maintenance of the official accreditation record for institutions, including the communication of accreditation actions to institutions, the U.S. Department of Education as needed, and other accreditors. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph's University (PA) and a Master of Business Administration in Management from Eastern University (PA).

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Dr. Paul Starkey

Vice President
Institutional Field Relations

Phone: 267-284-5061

Email: pstarkey@msche.org

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Dr. Paul Starkey

Dr. Paul L. Starkey joined the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in August 2020 as a Vice President for Institutional Field Relations. In this role, he serves as a liaison to member institutions, provides training to institutions and volunteers, and supports the accreditation decision-making work of the Commission. Dr. Starkey comes to the Commission from the Pennsylvania College of Technology where, for 10 years, he was a Professor of Business Administration, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. As Provost, he led the academic units of the College with more than 300 full-time faculty members in six schools. The Assessment, Research & Planning (ARP) office, and the Madigan Library were also part of his responsibilities. Prior to coming to Penn College, Dr. Starkey spent 24 years at Delta State University (MS) in various faculty and administrative roles, including Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies, Director of Continuing Education, Chair for Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation, and Chair of the Division of Management, Marketing & Business Administration. He is Professor of Management Emeritus at Delta State. Paul has a BBA in Marketing from Delta State University and an MBA and PhD in Management from the University of Mississippi.

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Ms. Alicia Vassallo

Accreditation Services Coordinator
Accreditation Services

Phone: 267-284-5019

Email: avassallo@msche.org

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Ms. Alicia Vassallo

Ms. Alicia Vassallo joined the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) as a full-time temporary employee in January 2021 and became a full-time employee of MSCHE in May 2021. She briefly left the organization in the summer of 2021 and returned in October 2021. As the Accreditation Services Coordinator, she provides general administrative and organizational support in all areas within the Accreditation Relations unit and is responsible for direct support to the Committee on Applicant and Candidate Institutions. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Vassallo held numerous executive administrative support and operations positions. She earned her Associates Degree in Psychology from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and was a Chartered Leadership Fellow with The American College of Financial Services (Bryn Mawr, PA).

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Dr. Anne Wahl

Vice President
Institutional Field Relations

Phone: 267-284-5078

Email: awahl@msche.org

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Dr. Anne Wahl

Dr. Anne G. Wahl joined the MSCHE staff as Vice President for Institutional Field Relations in April 2022. In this role, she serves as a liaison to member institutions, provides training to institutions and volunteers, and supports the accreditation decision-making work of the Commission. Prior to joining the Commission, Dr. Wahl started at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2009 and most recently served as Senior Assistant Provost and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Wahl was RIT's Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) and oversaw the offices of Academic Program and Curriculum Management, Educational Effectiveness Assessment, Career Services and Cooperative Education, and the K-12 University Center. She previously served as the Director of Assessment, Accreditation, and Certification at St. John Fisher College (SJFC). Dr. Wahl taught Assessment, Evaluation, and Organizational Improvement in the Ed.D. Program in the School of Education at SJFC. She was a member of MSCHE visiting teams and also served as an accreditation reviewer for the New York State Education Department. Dr. Wahl previously served on the Warner School Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of Rochester. She is a member of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). She earned her Ed.D. in Executive Leadership Education from SJFC, an M.S. in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Rochester (NY), and a B.A. in English from Gannon University (PA). Dr. Wahl completed the Management and Leadership Certificate at Harvard University (MA) as well as the Strategic Planning Certificate through SCUP.

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