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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

National Advisory Board

As part of our mission to improve student learning and transitions, the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition created an advisory board to bring together a global community of scholars who are dedicated to promoting student success, learning, and development. 

Board members serve in a consultative role for the National Resource Center, giving advice and contributing suggestions for publications, marketing and funding strategies, research topics, and conference speakers, as well as authoring articles for Center publications and evaluating nominees and grant proposals for the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award and Paul P. Fidler Research Grant, respectively. Members include leaders and experts in higher education representing a variety of institutional types, professional associations, and research centers. The contributions of these individuals have been and continue to be vital to the Center’s work in improving the lives of students.


Board Members

Rosalyn Clark Artis headshot

Roslyn Clark Artis

Benedict College
Appointed in 2018


Artis, Ph.D., was unanimously appointed as the 14th President of Benedict College in June 2017. She became the first-female president in the 147-year history of the college, which was founded in 1870 by Mrs. Bathsheba Benedict. Artis came to Benedict College from Florida Memorial University in Miami where she served for four years as the first female president in that university’s 138-year history.

At Benedict, Artis has led a remarkable institutional transformation that included lowering tuition, increasing academic standards, stabilizing the institution’s financial position, streamlining academic degree programs, and upgrading the institution’s technology infrastructure.  These efforts resulted in Benedict College receiving the 2019 ACE/Fidelity Investments Institutional Transformation Award, which recognizes institutions who have met higher education challenges in a particularly innovative or creative way and realized positive results in a relatively short period of time. In August 2019, Benedict College was recognized as “HBCU of the Year” by HBCU Digest.

A prolific speaker, critical thinker, and fierce advocate for educational access, Artis has been recognized for her work locally and nationally and is frequently engaged as a mentor, lecturer, and catalyst for strategic transformation. In 2018, she was named Female HBCU President of the Year by HBCU Digest. Artis was also recognized as one of the 35 Women Leaders in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Her passion for education, youth development, and service to the community is manifested through her work with numerous organizations including the United Way, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Links, Inc., and Jack & Jill of America.

Amy Baldwin Headshot

Amy Baldwin

University of Central Arkansas
Appointed in 2019


 Amy Baldwin is the director of Student Transitions at University of Central Arkansas. Her scholarship is focused on first-generation, at-risk, and first-year college students. In addition to chairing a department focused on first-year students, she also teaches composition, literacy, and student success.

Baldwin wrote the first student success book for the community college market for Pearson: The Community College Experience. She has authored and co-authored additional student success texts including The College Experience, The College Experience Compact, and The First-Generation College Experience. She is also a co-author of Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindset, and Resilience to Foster Student Success, a book published by the National Resource Center for First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. A chapter on growth mindset appeared in the summer 2019 issue of New Directions for Student Leadership: Leadership Development Through Campus Employment. She also writes on student success topics for Collegiate Parent, NBC Toolkit, and Higher Ed Parent.

Baldwin earned her bachelor's in English literature at Rhodes College in Memphis and a master’s in British literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her previous positions include chair of College Studies and faculty member at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. She was the state project director for the Arkansas Complete College America (CCA) grant from 2011-2013 and is a CCA content expert for corequisite developmental courses.

Denise Bartell Headshot

Denise Bartell

University of Toledo
Appointed in 2018

Denise Bartell is the associate vice provost for Student Success at the University of Toledo (UT), a student-centered, public metropolitan research university with more than 20,000 students and 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, including colleges of medicine, pharmacy, and law. Founded in 1872, UT is committed to improving access and opportunity to a high-quality, affordable education that contributes to the well-being of its region and the world. In her position at UT, Bartell is the front-line leader of strategic initiatives related to the retention and success of students from pre-college through degree completion, with a particular focus on improving equity of access and experience for students historically underserved by higher education.

Bartell’s scholarly work focuses on taking a holistic, equity-minded, assets-focused approach to supporting student success. Her motivation for this work is a foundational belief in higher education as a public good to which all should have equal access, and a commitment to advance educational opportunities for all students, especially those for whom structural inequities have historically limited access to higher education. Bartell’s most recent work explores a reconceptualization of traditional faculty development models to improve capacities to work with underserved populations by using principles of high-impact, applied learning and authentic engagement. In addition to publications and presentations at the state and national levels, she regularly leads workshops on developing high-impact first-year seminars and peer mentoring programs, infusing equity-minded professional development opportunities into student success programs and high-impact student success program development and assessment.

Previously, Bartell was the founding director of Student Success & Engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. While at UW-Green Bay, she developed a first-year seminar program that is a national best-practices model for improving engagement, retention, and graduation. She procured more than $600,000 in grant funding for projects to create emergency financial grants, early-alert capacities, learning communities and other high-impact practices, and peer mentor programs on campus. She also developed an assets-focused, intensive first-year learning experience for historically underserved and academically at-risk students, improving retention through Year 4 by more than 18% and four-year graduation rates by 11%.

Bartell earned a bachelor's in human development and family studies from Cornell University and an master's and doctorate in human development and family sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bryce Bunting Headshot

Bryce Bunting

Brigham Young University
Appointed in 2019

Bryce D. Bunting is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Student Development Services at Brigham Young University (BYU), with a concurrent appointment in the Academic Support Office. In these roles, he teaches courses exploring deep learning and student success, and advises students in academic recovery. The former associate director of the Office of First-Year Experience, Bunting is still highly involved in admissions, orientation, and the first-year experience at BYU, serving on the Executive Committee for Thriving and the Undergraduate Admissions Committee. 

Bunting’s work focuses on helping students, faculty, staff, and others become better learners. All of his teaching, writing, consulting, and advising is centered on that goal. Largely a qualitative researcher, his past scholarship has focused on exploring the elements of transformative learning experiences and peer education as an emerging high-impact practice. His current research is aimed at broadening the theorizing around transitions in higher education, as well as the ways institutions can more effectively support students (particularly first-year students) in developing productive learning mindsets. Bryce has delivered more than 75 national and international presentations, workshops, and keynote addresses in the aforementioned research areas. His scholarship has been published in the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, Journal of College Orientation and Transition, E-Source for College Transitions, Mentoring and Tutoring, and the Journal of Peer Learning. He is the co-author of the book Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindset, and Resilience to Foster Student Success

Previous to his faculty appointment, Bunting managed and supervised BYU’s nationally renowned undergraduate peer mentor program, served as the director of new student orientation, coordinated BYU’s first-year seminar courses, and helped develop BYU’s summer bridge programming for student-athletes. He is also the founder of the Utah First-Year Experience Consortium. Across these various roles, his work has prioritized providing a high-impact first-year experience that both challenges and supports first-year students. 

Bunting is the Editor of the Journal of Peer Learning  and is on the editorial review board for the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition. Additionally, he is as a member of the directorate board for ACPA’s Commission on Admissions, Orientation, and the First-Year Experience.

Darnell Cole Headshot

Darnell Cole

University of Southern California
Appointed in 2019

 Darnell Cole, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Higher Education and Education Psychology. He is co-director for the Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice. His areas of research include race/ethnicity, diversity, college student experiences, and learning. He has published more than 45 articles, special issues, and book chapters. Previously he was an associate professor in the department of Educational Administration at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and was also a faculty member at Marquette University. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and received his master's and doctorate at Indiana University Bloomington.

Cole is featured in the major journals for higher education and other related fields including Journal of Classroom Behavior, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Creative Behavior, JSARP, Journal of Higher Education, and the Journal of Negro Education. One of his most recent articles is a collaboration, “Examining a Comprehensive College Transition Program: An Account of Iterative Mixed Methods Longitudinal Survey Design,” which appears in Research in Higher Education. “Islamophobia in Higher Education: Combating Discrimination and Creating Understanding," co-edited with Professor Shafiqa Ahmadi, critically engages current laws and policies that institutionalize Islamophobia and affect the intersectionality and diversity within the Muslim community. It includes multidisciplinary voices, such as an international human rights attorney, a civil rights attorney, a criminal law attorney, student affairs practitioners, and research faculty whose work on this marginalized student population are traditionally not recognized within academic settings; and brings the voices of female Muslim scholars to the fore.

Cole was a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also as a research scholar in Residence for the Centre of Transcultural Studies at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore. He is a Fulbright Specialist and is interested in contributing to how institutions focus on increasing both the quality and workforce development goals for minorities and women in STEM fields.

Gloria Crisp

Gloria Crisp

Oregon State University
Appointed in 2016


Gloria Crisp is a professor at Oregon State University. Her scholarship is grounded by her personal and professional experiences at institutions that provide broad access to students. She is a proud alumna of community colleges and four-year broad access institutions (BAIs) in and around Texas, including Kilgore College and the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Crisp has a diversity of professional experiences working with both community colleges and four-year BAIs as an institutional researcher and faculty member.

Crisp has published more than 40 articles and book chapters, and her work has been cited more than 4,000 times. She co-edited a recent issue of New Directions for Community Colleges and was lead author of a 2017 ASHE Higher Education Report focused on mentoring undergraduate students. Her survey instrument, The College Student Mentoring Scale (CSMS), is used at institutions around the country and abroad to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring relationships.

Her research has been published in leading education journals including The American Educational Research Journal, The Journal of Higher Education, Review of Educational Research, Teachers College Record, Research in Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, and The Journal of College Student Development. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).​​

Traci Freeman

Colorado College
Appointed in 2017


Traci Freeman, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Colket Center for Academic Excellence at Colorado College. She received her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in Women, Gender, and Literature, from The University of Texas at Austin (UT). As a graduate student at UT, she worked in the Undergraduate Writing Center and developed a passion for writing pedagogy and peer education. She has worked in administrative positions in writing centers at UT and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), and taught courses in literature, rhetoric and writing, and first-year experience programs at UT, University of California, Berkeley, and UCCS. Before coming to Colorado College, she was director of the Writing Center and an assistant professor attendant in the English department at UCCS.

Traci oversees academic support services offered in the Colket Center and runs the Sophomore Jump Program. She assists the associate provost on issues related to advising, academic success, student retention and persistence, and she teaches courses in the first year experience program and in education.

Traci conducts research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on writing pedagogy, writing program administration, and student success.

Steven Girardot

Steven Girardot

Georgia Institute of Technology
Appointed in 2017

Steven P. Girardot, associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education at Georgia Tech, has more than 19 years of higher education administrative experience working in student affairs, academic affairs and student success. His education includes a bachelor's in chemical engineering and an master's in chemistry from Georgia Tech, as well as a doctorate in chemistry and a master's in public health from Emory University.

As associate vice provost, he manages the operations and administration of the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE), including budget oversight, human resources, communication, strategic planning, assessment, accreditation, and related administrative policies and procedures. Girardot oversees the cocurricular programs and departments within OUE, including academic support programs, living learning communities, undergraduate research, student innovation programs, pre-professional/pre-health advising, and the Center for Career Discovery and Development. He also leads Retention and Complete College Georgia and Summer Session Initiatives. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he finds time to teach Georgia Tech’s first-year seminar (GT1000) and general chemistry, and he developed and taught an honors seminar in public health and epidemiology.

Prior to his current position, Girardot worked to develop and implement many of Georgia Tech's tutoring and academic support programs. He was also director of the Office of Success programs, where he successfully re-launched the first-year common reading program and oversaw significant enhancements to and expansion of the GT1000 first-year seminar. In addition, he was the assistant director for teaching assistants and graduate student programs at Georgia Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and as a program coordinator at the university's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing, where he managed tutoring programs that linked students with local elementary schools. He regularly presents on topics related to first-year programs and student success and participates on several advisory boards and national organizations, including serving as president of the North American Association of Summer Sessions.

Yancey Gulley

Needham Yancey Gulley

Western Carolina University
Appointed in 2018

Needham Yancey Gulley, Ph.D., (he, him, his pronouns) is an associate professor of Higher Education Student Affairs at Western Carolina University (WCU). Before beginning his faculty career, he spent 15 years as a college administrator (primarily in the two-year college setting). Much of his administrative career was in the area of student affairs at several institutions around the country including Louisburg College, North Carolina State University (NC State), Long Beach City College, University of Georgia, and Athens Technical College. Gulley’s first tenure-track faculty appointment was at Morgan State University where he taught in the Community College Leadership doctoral program within the department of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy. He joined the faculty of the Higher Education Student Affairs program at WCU in August 2016 and the following year was asked to coordinate the Leadership Minor. Apart from teaching in these two areas, Gulley also teaches in the Educational Leadership doctoral program.

Gulley has a long history of advocating for social justice within the educational context through his scholarship, teaching, publications, presentations, trainings, and volunteer endeavors. Past research contributes to the scholarly conversation in higher education and student affairs, leading to changes in the academy including the opening of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) resource center at NC State. In 2010, Gulley was named as a Grand Marshal of Atlanta Pride as part of the Top 40 LGBTQ Educators in Georgia. His first book was published in 2017, an edited volume entitled Using the CAS Professional Standards: Diverse Examples of Practice; the first book jointly published by NASPA, ACPA, & CAS. His largest research project to date focused on the nature of collaboration between academic and student affairs units in the community college setting. Currently, he is investigating the experiences of LGBTQ community college students, as well as the experiences of White faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Other projects include writing several chapters on methodological and theoretical topics within higher education. He has presented his scholarship locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally and frequently collaborates with educators, scholars, and activists in and out of his field, even serving as an associate editor for the journal, Leisure Sciences. Gulley was honored by ACPA College Student Educators International by being named at 2019 Diamond Honoree for his contributions to the field of student affairs and the impact of his research, teaching, and service on student development.

When not focused on the growth and development of students, he enjoys spending time with his husband, Corey, and Frenchie, Sedgwick. His interests beyond the academy include travel, literature, theatre, and a good patio or warm fire pit.

Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee

University of Arizona
Appointed in 2018


Jenny J. Lee, Ph.D., is a professor at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona (UA). She formerly served as the chair for the Council of International Higher Education and on the board of directors for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

Lee's latest research encompasses a range of key higher education issues that center on the internationalization of higher education. Her past research topics have included student engagement, community outreach, and organizational behaviors in the United States and abroad. Her ongoing research on international students' mobility and experiences in the U.S., South Africa, Mexico, and Korea over the past decade have especially been cited widely.

Lee has authored and co-authored more than 90 publications in the aforementioned research areas. Her articles have appeared in top journals of higher education, including Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Harvard Educational Review, and others. She is on the editorial boards for Higher Education, Religion and Education, and the Journal of Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education and has previously served on many others. Lee has been recognized and awarded by the American College Personnel Association as an Emerging Scholar and an Erasmus Scholar by the UA College of Education. She also received the Excellence in Global Education Award by the Office of Global Initiatives in 2017 and the Outstanding Faculty Award by the Asian American Faculty, Staff & Alumni Association in 2009, both at UA. She was also recognized as one of the nation's top emerging scholars by Diverse Issues in Higher Education in 2011.

Lee was a global professor at Korea University and an honorary visiting scholar at City University, London. She was a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa at the University of Pretoria. She is a visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her latest research investigates international student mobility within the African continent.

Jodi Koslow Martin

Jodi Koslow Martin

Triton College
Appointed in 2017

Jodi Koslow Martin is the vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Triton College, a Hispanic-serving community college near Chicago with an enrollment of more than 11,000 students. Her portfolio includes admissions, financial aid, advising, student life, the first-year experience, athletics, library services, and academic support. Prior to stepping into this role, Koslow Martin was the vice president for Student Engagement at North Park University in Chicago for more than five years. In this role, she was the chief student affairs officer, providing leadership in creating environments for student success. Before her time at North Park University, Koslow Martin spent 14 years at Aurora University in several roles including assistant provost, dean of first-year students, and interim dean of the College of Professional Studies.

Koslow Martin is an active member of the Peer Corps for the Higher Learning Commission. She regularly travels to higher education institutions for accreditation visits. She has served on national boards and review committees and has been a conference presenter on student success and retention.

Koslow Martin earned a bachelor's with a double major in English and communication from St. Norbert College in 1997. She earned a master's in education from Ohio University in 1999. and a doctorate in higher education in 2010 from Loyola University Chicago, where her dissertation research focused on first-year student expectations.

Rosemary Perez Headshot

Rosemary Perez

Iowa State University
Appointed in 2019


Rosemary (Rosie) Perez, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and the division head of Higher Education in the School of Education at Iowa State University. She earned her bachelor's in biological sciences and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, her master's in higher education and student affairs at The University of Vermont, and her doctorate in higher education from the University of Michigan.

Perez is a higher education scholar who leverages the strengths of student development and organizational theories to explore individual and organizational learning and development in collegiate contexts. Her scholarship has three interrelated lines of inquiry and explores (a) how people make meaning of collegiate experiences; (b) diverse learning environments and intercultural development; and (c) the professional socialization of graduate students and new practitioners. Across her program of research, Perez’s work explores the tensions between structure and agency, and how power, privilege, and oppression affect individuals and groups within higher education. She has engaged in projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and ACPA-College Student Educators International and has published in venues such as Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, and The Review of Higher Education.

Perez’s teaching, research, and praxis reflect her commitment to empowering individuals and communities as we work towards creating a more equitable and just society. Her contributions to higher education and student affairs were recognized with a 2017-2019 ACPA-College Student Educators International Emerging Scholars Award and 2020 Diamond Honoree Award. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Iowa State University College of Human Sciences Early Achievement in Teaching Award and the 2016 Iowa State University Multicultural Student Affairs Faculty/Staff Change Agent Award.

Scott Peska

Scott Peska

Waubonsee Community College
Appointed in 2017

Scott Peska is the assistant vice president of Student Services at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. He is responsible for athletics, financial aid, registration & records, student life, learning assessment, and the Campus Assessment Team. Peska previously worked at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in multiple roles within student affairs. There, as associate director for Orientation & First-Year Experience, he coordinated more than 90 sections of the first-year seminar, UNIV 101/201 courses, a faculty–student mentoring program, a peer calling retention initiative, and a first-year success series. After a tragic shooting on NIU's campus in 2008, Peska was asked to lead and establish the Office of Support & Advocacy, a unit designed to provide holistic support to individuals directly affected by the shooting. He also established and served as director of the Military Student Services department, providing financial benefits, counseling, and social support programming to the more than 800 military students at NIU.

Peska has experience as a full-time hall director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received both his bachelor's and master's in communication from Illinois State University and a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with his research emphasis on the adjustment of community college transfer students to four-year universities.

Peska speaks publicly on a variety of topics, including how communities can move forward after tragedies, overcoming adversity, strategies for student equity and success, action-oriented motivation, therapeutic benefits of laughter, engaging leadership development, and juggling multiple priorities.

Darrell Ray

Darrell Ray

Rhodes College
Appointed in 2016

Darrell C. Ray, Ph.D., is vice president for Student Life at Rhodes College in Memphis. His oversight includes student-serving departments, intercollegiate athletics, and the college’s chaplain. Ray was previously vice president of Student Affairs at the University of Memphis, responsible for 13 departments charged with promoting student success and engagement in support of the academic mission. He also served on the university’s Process Improvement Council and the Academic, Research, & Student Success subcommittee to the Board of Trustees. Ray was also a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education in the Higher & Adult Education program. He previously served as assistant vice president for Student Affairs at Louisiana State University and as adjunct faculty in the Higher Education Administration program in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. Prior to his work as assistant vice president, Ray served LSU as associate dean of students and director of the Center for Student Leadership & Involvement. He previously held positions at the Art Institute of Atlanta, and the University of Georgia.

Ray's national engagement includes service to NASPA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He is on the national advisory board for the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. His academic service includes serving on the editorial board for the College Student Affairs Journal and as a reviewer for other journals. His research focuses on how students transition into college.

Ray grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned his bachelor's in criminal justice and his master's in higher education administration from the University of Alabama. He completed his doctorate at the University of Georgia.



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