After national searches, Lesley University is welcoming two new deans to campus this year. Dr. Dana Fusco assumes the role for the Graduate School of Education while Dr. Deanna L. Yameen will lead the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences.
Dr. Fusco most recently held the position of interim dean of the School of Education at Queens College, where she led the school’s successful Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accreditation.
A first-generation college student, Fusco has been a staunch proponent of quality public education as a pillar of addressing social inequalities. She has maintained a commitment to youth development that started with her experience as a camp counselor for children with emotional and learning challenges. That focus continued when she completed her PhD in Educational Psychology at City University of New York and her postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia’s Center for Urban Science Education in its Teachers College.
Fusco takes over for Associate Provost Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley, who served as interim dean. She has been a professor of education and youth studies for more than two decades. Her work marries Pre-K-12 education, social work, youth studies and sociology with an eye toward strengthening teachers’ community bonds through cultural relevance.
This work has been shared through dozens of publications and keynote addresses across the United States and internationally.
“I am very excited to join the Lesley community and to participate in collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts across our many vibrant academic communities of practice,” says Fusco. “We have lots of work to do to highlight the extraordinary work of the Graduate School of Education, but we also have the right faculty and staff to make that dream a reality.”
Dr. Yameen comes to Lesley from Massasoit Community College, where she was provost and vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. She will continue and expand on the work of Associate Vice President Sandra Walker, who served as interim dean.
Yameen holds a doctorate from The Heller School of Social Policy and Management from Brandeis University and brings a unique perspective to the position based on her public service in the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office. There, she was the project coordinator for the Welfare to Work Program and associate executive director for the Higher Education Information Center.
Throughout more than 30 years in higher education, Yameen has worked to include student, faculty and staff voices into institutional planning and policy to create more just and responsive institutions. The Massachusetts native has been an active participant and leader in the HERS Leadership Institute for women in higher education. Through her roles, she has bolstered the development of women and people of color to better equip them to enact social change.
Yameen’s work has garnered invitations to national leadership organizations and locally. She co-chaired the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's New Undergraduate Experience Student Ready Colleges and Universities Committee, contributing to a new guiding document on “dismantling barriers, recognizing students' cultural wealth, and advancing racial equity.”
She looks forward to continuing that work at Lesley.
“It is such a privilege to be working at the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences at Lesley,” says Yameen. “It provides me a dynamic community that shares my commitment to equity-mindedness and social change through engaged dialogue.”