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NewsSep 9, 2021

Lesley kicks off 2021-22 academic year

President Janet L. Steinmayer announces new hires, promotions and more

Video of President Janet L. Steinmayer's academic year kick-off remarks to employees.

The 2021-22 academic year is officially under way and, in a recorded message last week to faculty and staff, President Janet L. Steinmayer announced a number of new hires and other information, including the introduction of Edith, a robot that is one of three “virtual assistants” to be used in our HyFlex classrooms.

Though the prospect of inclement weather from Tropical Storm Ida persuaded the president to host a virtual kick-off event, she was optimistic about the prospects of the university’s new year.

“We wish we could have brought together small in-person groups, followed by outdoor receptions, as originally planned, but between the weather forecast and our health and safety protocols, it just didn’t seem wise,” President Steinmayer said. “Still, it’s exciting to start the year with the prospect of opportunities to be together on campus again, and I know many of you are excited to begin reconnecting with students and colleagues in person.

“And it’s wonderful to see our residence and dining halls coming back to life and students out on the quads. There’ll be even more happy energy on Doble and South Campus over the long weekend, as more students move into their rooms and get settled.”

New faces and promotions

In addition to first-year and transfer students, many staff and faculty members are also new to campus.


  • Verónica Jorge-Curtis, Vice President of Advancement
  • Mary-Jane McLaughlin, Chief Human Resources Officer (promoted from interim status)
  • Joanne Kossuth, Chief Operations Officer (promoted from interim chief information officer)
  • Charles Cooper, Associate Vice President for Information Technologies & Resources (promoted from assistant vice president)
  • Thomas Englehardt, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Initiatives


  • Elizabeth Barragato, Counseling & Psychology Instructor
  • Josh Baldwin, promoted to Chair of Social Sciences
  • Stephanie Belnavis, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Jacelyn Biondo, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Meg Burns, promoted to Associate Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education
  • Jason Butler, named interim chair of Expressive Therapies
  • Meg Chang, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Jina Chang, Social Sciences Assistant Professor
  • Jean Clarke-Mitchell, Social Sciences Assistant Professor
  • Angelle Cook, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Karen Frostig, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Susan Gere, named Interim chair of Counseling & Psychology
  • Sarah Hamil, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Keo Heng, CAD-Design Associate Professor
  • Derek Hoffend, Sound Design Professor
  • Curvin Huber, CAD-Design Professor
  • Ulas Kaplan, Education Professor
  • Kimberly Keegan, Co-chair of Business Management
  • Elizabeth “Kellogg” Kellogg, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Raquel Lopez, Assistant Professor of Business Management
  • James Mason, Co-chair of Business Management
  • Romana Mohuiddin, Education Instructor
  • Linda Murphy, Assistant Director of Intermediate and Middle Programs
  • Alexandra Norby, Business Management Instructor
  • Sonia Pérez Villanueva, named Chair of Humanities
  • Renee Pitre, Expressive Therapies Instructor
  • Janet Pocorobba, interim Chair of MFA in Creative Writing
  • Heather Shaw, named Associate Dean of the College of Art and Design
  • Ben Sloat, promoted to Associate Professor in the College of Art and Design
  • Stephanie Spadorcia, Interim Associate Dean, Graduate School of Education
  • Seth Tennenbaum, Humanities Visiting Assistant Professor
  • Nicole Weber, Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Professional staff

  • Ashley Battle, Director of Recruitment & Student Experience
  • Alexis Dhembe, Systems Librarian
  • Madison Flowers, Head Coach of Women’s Basketball
  • Elaine Gatewood, MSW Field Director and Social Work Instructor
  • Timothy Grills, Director of Dining Services
  • Collette Jackson, Talent Acquisition Partner
  • Shawn Kithcart, Assistant Director of Admissions
  • Abigail Mancini, Head of Library Research & Instructional Services
  • Devon Mayo, Head Coach of Men’s Basketball
  • Jason Roberts, Help Desk Supervisor
  • Shariel Rodriguez-Echevarria, Residence Life Area Coordinator
  • Sarah Roger, Head Athletic Trainer
  • Yamileyka Rojas, Urban Scholars Initiative Student Success Coach
  • Megan Rossetti, Residence Life Area Coordinator
  • Jennifer Thorell, Threshold Programs Executive Director
  • Brian Unwin, Manager of Operations
  • Kathryn Vallis, Student Academic Advisor
  • Wendy Vaulton, Assistant Director, Reading Recovery & Early Literacy
  • Michele Wilshusen, Operations Project Manager

President Steinmayer outlined a number of goals and priorities for the academic year, including wellness initiatives, a Threshold Program expansion, improved administrative systems, and remote working and learning pilot programs. The video of the president’s presentation is available, or you can read a transcript of her remarks.