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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

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Roslyn Clark Artis

Benedict College
Appointed in 2018

 

Rosalyn Clark Artis, J.D., Ed.D., is the 14th President of Benedict College, appointed in 2017.  She is the first female President in the 147-year history of the College. In her short time at the helm of Benedict College, Dr. Artis has made an indelible impact, coining the phrase #TheBESTofBC which has defined the institution’s meteoric rise to the forefront of minority serving educational institutions. Her innovative, data-driven approach to leadership is decidedly student-centered and future focused. 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. Under Dr. Artis’ leadership, Benedict College was awarded the 2019 American Council on Education (ACE) Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. The award recognizes institutions that have responded to higher education challenges in innovative and creative ways and achieved dramatic results in a short period of time. Additionally, Benedict was named 2019 HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Digest.

Previously, Dr. Artis served as the 13th and first female President of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida. She also previously served on the Education Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Artis is the founding Co-Chair for the Historically Black College and University Annual Sustainability Summit, which is in its 4th year.  Artis is the Chair of the Presidents’ Advisory Board for Title III Administrators, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Presidents’ Advisory Council and is a Member of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Board of Directors for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). She also serves as a Board Member for the Forum on Education Abroad; Vice-Chair for the “Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) HBCU/MSI Collaboration”; a member of the National Black MBA National Advisory Council; and has been named an “Equity in Energy Ambassador” for the United States Department of Energy.

Dr. Artis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy.  She also holds a Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University College of Law, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political science from sister HBCU, West Virginia State University.  The consummate professional, Dr. Artis also holds a Certificate of fundraising Management from Indiana University and a Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University..

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Amy Baldwin

University of Central Arkansas
Appointed in 2019

 

Amy Baldwin, Ed.D., is currently a Senior Lecturer and Chair of Literacy and Academic Success in Student Transitions at the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. Baldwin also serves as an Arkansas Complete College America (CCA) content expert for corequisite developmental courses. 

Previously, Dr. Baldwin was the Director of Student Transitions at University of Central Arkansas. She also served as the chair of College Studies and faculty member at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. Additionally, Baldwin was the state project director for the Arkansas CCA grant from 2011- 2013.

Baldwin writes on student success topics for Collegiate ParentNBC Toolkit, and Higher Ed Parent. Baldwin’s scholarship is focused on first-generation, at-risk, and first-year college students. She 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.

Dr. 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.

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Denise Bartell

University of Toledo
Appointed in 2018

Denise Bartell, Ph.D., 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. In her position at UT, Dr. 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.

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 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.

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.

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

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Bryce Bunting

Brigham Young University
Appointed in 2019

Bryce Bunting, Ph.D., teaches courses exploring deep learning and student success and advises students in academic recovery at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. At BYU, he currently serves on the Executive Committee for Thriving and the Undergraduate Admissions Committee and as a member of the directorate board for ACPA’s Commission on Admissions, Orientation, and the First-Year Experience. Dr. Bunting is also 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.

Previous to his faculty appointment, Bunting served as the associate director of the Office of First-Year Experience; 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. Bunting’s work focuses on helping students, faculty, staff, and others become better learners.

Bunting’s past scholarship 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. Bunting 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, published by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience. 

Dr. Bunting earned his bachelor’s in exercise science and his master’s in instructional design at Brigham Young University. He completed his doctorate in educational psychology also from BYU.

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Darnell Cole

University of Southern California
Appointed in 2019

Darnell Cole, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Higher Education and Education Psychology and is co-director for the Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice. In additional to his faculty appointment, Dr. Cole 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. Cole’s areas of research include race/ethnicity, diversity, college student experiences, and learning.

Previously, Cole 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. Cole was also a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a research scholar in Residence for the Centre of Transcultural Studies at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore.

Cole’s work is featured in major journals for higher education and other related fields including Journal of Classroom BehaviorJournal of College Student DevelopmentJournal of Creative Behavior, JSARPJournal of Higher Education, and the Journal of Negro Education. One of his most recent articles is a co-authored piece titled “Examining a Comprehensive College Transition Program: An Account of Iterative Mixed Methods Longitudinal Survey Design,” which appears in Research in Higher Education. Another publication, 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.

Dr. Cole earned his bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and completed his master's and doctorate from Indiana University Bloomington.

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 oversees academic support services offered in the Colket Center and runs the Sophomore Jump Program. Dr. Freeman 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. Freeman also conducts research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on writing pedagogy, writing program administration, and student success.

Previously, Freeman worked in the Undergraduate Writing Center and at UT 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.

Dr. Freeman completed her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in Women, Gender, and Literature, from The University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Steven Girardot

Steven Girardot

Georgia Institute of Technology
Appointed in 2017

Steven P. Girardot, Ph.D., is the associate vice provost for Undergraduate Education at Georgia Tech. 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. Dr. 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.

Girardot 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.

Previously, Giardot 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.

Dr. Girardot earned his bachelor's in chemical engineering and a master's in chemistry from Georgia Tech. He completed his doctorate in chemistry and a master's in public health from Emory University.

Yancey Gulley

Needham Yancey Gulley

Western Carolina University
Appointed in 2018

Needham Yancey Gulley, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Higher Education Student Affairs at Western Carolina University (WCU) since 2016. The following year, Dr. Gulley was asked to coordinate the Leadership Minor. Apart from teaching in these two areas, Gulley also teaches in the Educational Leadership doctoral program. 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.

Previously, Gulley 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.

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. Yancey 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. His largest research project to date focused on the nature of collaboration between academic and student affairs units in the community college setting. 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.

Dr. Yancey Gulley earned his bachelor’s in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his master’s in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. He completed his doctorate in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia.

Nia Haydel

Complete College America
Appointed in 2022

Nia Woods Haydel, Ph.D., has dedicated over 20 years to envisioning, planning, and executing strategic initiatives designed to elevate the student experience through her experience in academic affairs, enrollment management, intercultural relations, and student affairs. Prior to joining CCA, Dr. Haydel held several roles at Dillard University, most recently serving as the Dean for University College and Director of the Thompson/Cook Honors Program. In this role, Dr. Haydel led the institution’s retention and student success initiatives, oversaw the implementation of the institution’s predictive analytics platform, and redesigned the academic advising model to complement the platform and optimize outcomes.

Previously, Dr. Haydel held several positions at Georgia State University, Oxford of Emory University, and Texas A&M University. In her faculty and administrative role at Georgia State University, she created and launched the acclaimed Panther Retention grant, which has served as a national model for higher education emergency aid programs. She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University, an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Texas A & M University, and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of New Orleans.

In 2017, she was selected as a Fellow for Complete College America and has served as one of the most in-demand content experts for institutions focused on implementing successful and equitable strategies for college completion.

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 and College of Education Dean's Fellow for Internationalization at the University of Arizona (UA). Dr. Lee is also the Vice President-Elect for Division J: Postsecondary Education for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and is co-editor of the book series, Studies in Global Higher Education.

Previously, Lee served as a NAFSA Senior Fellow, US Fulbright Scholar to South Africa, the Chair for the Council of International Higher Education and Board of Directors for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). She has participated as a distinguished Global Professor at Korea University and as an international visiting scholar at City University of London, the University of Pretoria, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Lee's research examines how migration policies, geopolitics, and social forces shape inequities in higher education, in the US and abroad. Professor Lee has investigated university internationalization and partnerships, student and scholar mobility, and scientific collaboration, to name some. Based on her comparative research in the US, Southern Africa, and East Asia, she has introduced widely cited critical frameworks, such as neo-racism and neo-nationalism, to the field. In addition, Dr. Lee’s expertise is regularly sought by national and international news outlets. Nature, Science, the New York Times, ABC News, Al Jazeera, and the Chronicle of Higher Education are among the prominent news networks that have quoted Professor Lee and featured her research.

Lee’s latest research focuses on the geopolitics of global science, which is covered in her edited book, “U.S. Power in International Higher Education,” published by Rutgers University Press in 2021. Currently, she is undergoing two major studies, one funded by NSF (with PhD student John Haupt) and another in partnership with the Committee of 100 (with PhD student Xiaojie Li), on how international research collaboration can overcome current US-China tensions and the racial profiling of Chinese scientists and students in the US.

Dr. Lee earned her bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine and her master’s in higher education and organizational change, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She also completed her doctorate in higher education from UCLA.

Janet L. Marling

National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS)
Appointed in 2022

Janet L. Marling, Ph.D. has been affiliated with NISTS since its establishment in 2002 and was named executive director in 2011. In this role and through her extensive speaking, training, and consulting activities, Dr. Marling works with individuals, higher education institutions and associations, state agencies, foundations, and legislative bodies to improve transfer policy, practice, and research. She edited the New Directions for Higher Education volume titled, Collegiate Transfer: Navigating the New Normal, published by Jossey-Bass, and has been involved as a project director and/or co-principal investigator for multiple research grants focusing on transfer student success. 

Dr. Marling is a past appointed Board Member for the National Association for College Counseling  (NACAC) and an affiliate member of the Council for Standards in Higher Education (CAS) board of directors where she acted as the lead content expert in the collaborative effort to develop the Standards for Transfer Student Programs and Services.  Dr. Marling has previously served as vice president of student affairs and held professional positions in orientation and new student programs, personal and career counseling, peer mentoring, leadership, and learning support. Dr. Marling holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of North Texas, an M.S. in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a B.S. in psychology from Texas Christian University.

Jodi Koslow Martin

Jodi Koslow Martin

Triton College
Appointed in 2017

Jodi Koslow Martin, Ph.D., 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. Koslow Martin is an active member of the Peer Corps for the Higher Learning Commission. Dr. Koslow Martin 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.

Previously, 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.

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

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Rosemary Perez

Iowa State University
Appointed in 2019

 

Rosemary (Rosie) Perez, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Dr. Perez’s work explores the tensions between structure and agency, and how power, privilege, and oppression affect individuals and groups within higher education. Perez’s teaching, research, and praxis reflect her commitment to empowering individuals and communities to create a more equitable and just society.

Previously, Perez was an assistant professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Prior to pursuing her doctoral work, Perez was a student affairs practitioner and her experiences in the field have strongly shaped her research agenda. Specifically, she leverages the strengths of student development and organizational theories to explore individual and organizational learning and development in collegiate contexts.

Perez 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. 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. Most recently, a book she co-edited, Case Studies for Student Development Theory: Advancing Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education (2019), was awarded the 2020 NASPA Faculty Council Outstanding Publication Award.

Dr. Perez earned her bachelor's in biological sciences and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and her master's in higher education and student affairs from The University of Vermont. She completed her doctorate in higher education from the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education from the University of Michigan.

Scott Peska

Scott Peska

Waubonsee Community College
Appointed in 2017

Scott Peska, Ph.D., is the assistant vice president of Student Services and Alumni Relations 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.

Previously, Dr. Peska 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 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.

Dr. Peska earned his bachelor's and master's in communication from Illinois State University. He completed his 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.

Hope Rivers

Piedmont Technical College
Appointed in 2022

Hope E. Rivers, Ph.D., was named 3rd President of Piedmont Technical College in November 2020 and began her tenure in January 2021. Piedmont serves the largest area in the technical college system - Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, and Saluda counties. The college offers credit curriculum programs along with a wide variety of on-demand training options to business, industry and organizations through its Economic Development and Continuing Education Division. During the year, Dr. Rivers accepted invitations to serve on area boards, including the South Carolina Governor’s School for Agriculture at John de la Howe, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Greenwood Together, Laurens County Development Corporation, South Carolina Department of Commerce Upper Savannah Regional Education Center Advisory, Ten at the Top, Upstate Alliance, and Vision Greenwood. Before her arrival at PTC, Dr. Rivers worked alongside the System President, State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, Technical and Community College Presidents, and the South Carolina Technical College System’s Executive Staff on legislative and governmental affairs. She was principal advisor to the System President on educational programs, internal/ external relations, and system advocacy. Additionally, she oversaw daily operations for the Technical College System in areas related to academic affairs, student affairs, institutional research, accountability, dual enrollment, academic partnerships, and grant management. She engineered statewide transfer and articulation agreements with numerous colleges and universities including Lander, Newberry, Clemson, University of South Carolina, South Carolina State, Claflin, Medical University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and others. Dr. Rivers played an active role in the System’s budgeting process, often fielding questions, or testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, House Education Committee, Senate Education Committee, and the Executive Budget Office (i.e., Governor’s Office). Dr. Rivers worked tirelessly with the legislative staff on the creation of the state’s new $17 million Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship (SCWINS).

Dr. Rivers holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. She is a Riley Fellow (Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative) and a graduate of Leadership SC and Leadership Columbia. She received the 2019 SC Woman on the Move Award from the American Association of Community Colleges. During this fall’s Homecoming Weekend, the University of South Carolina Alumni Association presented Dr. Rivers the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Award.

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Bernie Savarese

University of Tennessee
Appointed in 2022

Bernie Savarese, Ed.D., M.B.A., is the Associate Vice President for Student Success for the University of Tennessee (UT) System, a land-grant university system serving over 52,000 students. In this role Dr. Savarese works collaboratively with the UT campuses and institutes to coordinate and promote high-quality student experiences tied to key outcomes. He also works closely with colleagues to support the Education, Research, and Service Committee of the UT Board of Trustees, and represents the UT System in state, regional, and national student success initiatives.

From 2017 to 2021, Dr. Savarese served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Success and the Student Experience at New York University (NYU). In this role, he oversaw the creation of the Office of Student Success, led NYU’s Student Success Steering Committee, and served as a subject matter expert and resource to university leaders. Prior to joining NYU, he worked at Ohio State University for almost two decades, most recently serving as the Director of University Orientation and First Year Experience (FYE), leading the Campus Visit Experience team in Undergraduate Admissions, and serving on the leadership team in the Division of Enrollment Management. Before his time in FYE, Dr. Savarese held various leadership roles across the Office of Residence Life and Ohio State’s Center for Student Leadership and Service.

Dr. Savarese has been recognized with honors such as BGSU’s President’s Award for Distinguished Service and NYU’s Making a Difference Award, he was inducted into the 2016 Class of “Forty Under 40” by Columbus Business First, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio State University Alumni Association and on the First-Year Reading Advisory Board for Penguin Random House. He continues to speak nationally and internationally on topics including student success, the first-year experience and students in transition, and enhancing equity and belonging across the student experience.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Dr. Savarese was raised in Belmont County, Ohio. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and an M.B.A. from Ohio State University, a master’s in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University (BGSU), and his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership and Innovation at New York University. His dissertation was focused on the early college experiences of Black men at private research universities. He currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife, Krystyne, their two teenage sons, Anthony and Ben, and their spunky Boston Terrier, Rocky.

 

 


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