Experts by Name

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About Santosh Abraham

Expertise: Economics

Santhosh Abraham is the Faculty Program Director for Accounting and Finance in the School of Business & Technology at Excelsior College. Before joining Excelsior College in September 2015, he was at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland where he worked as an Associate Professor in the department of Accounting, Economics and Finance. Dr. Abraham brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of accounting and finance. He has more than 15-years of experience in higher education and has worked internationally in Scotland, England, Thailand, and Dubai. Dr. Abraham has also worked on consultancy projects in corporate finance and valuations.

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About Dorcey Applyrs, DrPH, MPH

Expertise: Health Care

Dorcey L. Applyrs, DrPH, MPH is currently a Public Health Faculty Program Director at Excelsior College. In her role, she provides oversight to the development of Public Health degree programs within the School of Health Sciences. Prior to returning to school to pursue her doctorate degree, Dorcey was employed in the field of HIV/AIDS as an advocate where she worked to improve the quality of life of communities disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dorcey is actively involved in the Albany community. She is a Common Councilwoman in the City of Albany representing the First Ward.

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About Sharon A. Aronovitch, PhD.

Expertise: Nursing

Dr. Sharon Aronovitch is a lead faculty program director for the graduate nursing program at Excelsior College. Her clinical background includes medical-surgical, wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) care and gerontology nursing. Dr. Aronovitch has practiced as a clinical nurse specialist, clinical manager and director for the Enterostomal Therapy Nursing Education Program at Albany Medical Center, which was the first distance education program for WOC nursing. In her free time, she maintains a small practice as an expert witness for malpractice cases and works a flex position as a WOC nurse in a Level 2 Trauma Center and as the ostomy nurse for a small community hospital. Dr. Aronovitch serves as a manuscript reviewer for several journals related to WOC nursing and is a contributing editor for the journal “Ostomy/Wound Management.” Over the years, she has used her clinical practice to complete many research studies.

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About Carl Beekman, PhD.

Expertise: Education Liberal Studies/Humanities

Dr. Beekman joined Excelsior in 2013, having taught at a number of institutions at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorial level throughout his career on a range of topics, including sociology, cultural diversity, action research, change negotiation and conflict resolution in health care, among others. In addition, Dr. Beekman has chaired more than 45 doctorial committees with Capella University.

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Mary Berkery, PhD
About Mary Berkery, PhD.

Expertise: Feminism History Liberal Studies/Humanities

Dr. Berkery joined Excelsior College as the faculty program director for history in June 2014. Dr. Berkery has a doctorate and master’s degree from Binghamton University in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality History and a bachelor’s degree in American history from nearby Union College. Berkery conducted archival research as a Caroline D. Bain fellow at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. She also has expertise in the fields of human rights history, labor history, and immigration.

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About Joe Bocchi, DA.

Expertise: Literature / Writing

Dr. Joe Bocchi has worked in higher education for 30 years. He is a former executive director of the Georgia WebMBA – an online degree offered by a consortium of six colleges in the University System of Georgia. A native of Hudson Falls, N.Y., he has taught business communication at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and has led curriculum and course development in a range of writing courses.

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About Wayne Brown, PhD.

Expertise: Information Technology Leadership

Wayne Brown is Vice President of Extended Education at Excelsior College and CEO of Educators Serving Educators. Dr. Brown’s long career in the information technology field began during his service in the U.S. Air Force and carried through to the higher education field. He joined Excelsior College as vice president for information technology in 2009, and rapidly expanded his impact at the institution: In addition to mentoring his own CIO successor, he formed the Center for Technology Leadership (CTL), an Excelsior-based professional development and training center for chief information officers.

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About Jason Bryer, PhD.

Expertise: Education Psychology

Dr. Jason Bryer is director of research and project evaluation at Excelsior College and project director on FIPSE First in the World grant. His professional interests include teaching and research within K-12 and higher education.  

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About Tracy Caldwell, PhD.

Expertise: Literature / Writing

Dr. Caldwell has been involved with higher education for more than 20 years as both a faculty member at the graduate and undergraduate level and an administrator. She currently serves as the associate dean for the School of Liberal Arts. She previously held the position of lead program director and advisor for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) Program at Excelsior. Her doctoral degree is in English with areas of focus in Nineteenth Century British Literature, Twentieth Century American Literature and Film Theory. She also holds a certificate in Women's Studies. She has been program director for the MALS Program for the past eight years and during that time received a National Academic Advising Association certificate of Merit for Outstanding New Faculty Advisor. She was also honored as Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year for the School of Liberal Arts in 2012.

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About John Coy

Expertise: Leadership Logistics

John A. Coy is currently the Faculty Program Director for Logistics and Operations Management for the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College, Albany, NY. John has over 25 years of business management, professional leadership, and University-level educational, and training experience.

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About Francesco Crocco, PhD.

Expertise: Education Literature / Writing

Dr. Crocco currently serves as the director of the Online Writing Lab (OWL) for Excelsior College. He is developing a new online reading lab as well as collaborating with the Grants Office to pursue funding for research and expansion. Dr. Crocco also conducts evaluations of the online reading and writing labs and provides leadership on college committees (Writing Across the Curriculum, Open Education Resources, and so forth). He develops instructional games and gamification techniques to improve engagement with the site.

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About Thomas Dalton

Expertise: Financial Aid

As assistant vice president for Enrollment Management, Thomas J. Dalton manages all aspects of financial aid within the Excelsior College Enrollment Management department. His department is focused specifically on financial assistance for Excelsior’s non-traditional student population, including working adults, members of the military and veterans. He has more than 30 years of administrative financial aid experience in private and public sector positions in New York State.

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About Susan Dewan

Expertise: Education Military & Veterans

Sue Dewan is the Executive Director of the Center for Military Education at Excelsior College. She joined Excelsior College in 1980, and quickly moved into the role of leading the strategic growth and development of Excelsior College’s Center for Military Education, guiding the College’s outreach/recruitment activities to all branches of the U.S. military. She oversees course registrations among all military audiences including veterans, military spouses and DOD civilians.

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About Scott Dolan

Expertise: Assessment / Competency Education

Scott Dolan is the Associate Dean for Business for the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College, where he provides academic leadership for all graduate and undergraduate business degree programs.   Prior to taking this position, Dr. Dolan served as the Executive Director of Accreditation, Assessment, and Strategy, where he was responsible for leading the continuous improvement efforts of the school including the development and management of the outcome assessment process in all the degree programs in the School of Business and Technology.  Prior to joining Excelsior College in 2014, Dr. Dolan worked for a private program evaluation business conducting program evaluations of P-20 education programs.  Dr. Dolan received his doctorate degree in Sociology from the University at Albany—State University of New York.

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About Amelia Estwick, PhD.

Expertise: Cybersecurity

Dr. Amelia Estwick is the Program Manager at the National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College (NCI) and is a Thought Leader for Excelsior College’s cybersecurity research, training, and academic initiatives.

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About Christopher Gilmore

Expertise: Education

Christopher Gilmore works as the assistant vice president for Extended Education and the chief operating officer of Excelsior’s educational solutions unit, Educators Serving Educators. In his role, Mr. Gilmore is responsible for assisting in the operational oversight of the college’s external facing portfolio, which includes the Center for Professional Development, Outreach and Access, and Educators Serving Educators.

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About Tina Goodyear

Expertise: Assessment / Competency Education

Tina Goodyear is the COO of the Presidents' Forum, former executive director of the Center for the Assessment of Post-Traditional Learning at Excelsior College and the former director of the National College Credit Recommendation Service, a NYS Board of Regents program linking workplace and nontraditional learning to college credit.

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About Maribeth Gunner

Expertise: Career

Maribeth Gunner Pulliam, Director of Career Services at Excelsior College, has more than twenty-five years experience in higher education, over fifteen years in career development, and extensive work in academic and career advisement. She is an active member in the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers, National Career Development Association, the New York State Career Development Association, and the Capital Region Career Consortium.

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About Mary Beth Hanner, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

Expertise: Assessment / Competency Education Leadership

Dr. Mary Beth Hanner is currently provost and chief academic officer at Excelsior College. From 1990-2001 she served as dean of the School of Nursing at the College. In 2002 she was appointed Vice President for Health Sciences and developed the School of Health Sciences. In 2008 she served as Vice President for Outcomes Assessment and Institutional Research.

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About Mika Hoffman, PhD.

Expertise: Assessment / Competency

Mika Hoffman is Executive Director for Test Development or the Center for Educational Measurement at Excelsior College. She came to Excelsior from the Department of Defense, where she served as the Dean of the Test Development Division at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, managing the high-stakes Defense Language Proficiency Testing program. She earned a B.A. with High Honors from Swarthmore College, an M.A. with Distinction in the Teaching of Foreign Languages (French) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a PhD. in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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About Andrew Hurd, PhD

Expertise: Cybersecurity

Andrew Hurd, PhD is the Faculty Program Director for Cybersecurity at Excelsior College. Dr. Hurd is responsible for curriculum development and degree requirements for both the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs in Cybersecurity. Prior to joining Excelsior, Dr. Hurd worked as an Assistant Professor at Hudson Valley Community College and Adjunct Professor at SUNY Albany. He holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics, and a PhD in Information Sciences, with a specialization in Information Assurance and Online Learning. Andrew won the SUNY Chancellors award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012 while working at Hudson Valley Community College.

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About Michael Johnson, PhD.

Expertise: Leadership Nuclear

Upon his retirement from the U.S. Navy, he held leadership positions in the operations and maintenance departments at the Department of Energy nuclear facility in Idaho and in the commercial nuclear industry. He is currently the Faculty Program Director for Energy Management at Excelsior College.

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Rena Jones, PhD.
About Rena Jones, PhD.

Expertise: Health Care Public Health

Rena Jones, PhD, is a Research Fellow in the Occupational and Environmental Branch (OEEB) of the National Cancer Institute in Washington, DC. Her research focuses on environmental exposures and the application and validation of spatial-analytical approaches for epidemiologic studies, in particular, the impact of ambient air pollution on the development of cancer. Dr. Jones has been an Excelsior College faculty member since 2011.

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Ruth E. Kastner, PhD.
About Ruth Kastner, PhD.

Expertise: Liberal Studies/Humanities Philosophy

Ruth Kastner, PhD, is a faculty member in the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College. She is the author of The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics; The Reality of Possibility (Cambridge University Press).

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About Stephen Katz, EdD.

Expertise: History

Stephen Katz, Ed.D., is an adjunct faculty member in the history department of the School of Liberal Arts. Katz has developed the history courses, Contemporary Middle East, for the College and has been teaching the coursework since 2006. Katz received his doctorate in education and bachelor of arts in history degrees from Temple University as well as a master of arts in American history degree from Columbia University.

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About Lisa LaVigna

Expertise: Education Information Technology

Lisa LaVigna is the Executive Director of Outreach and Access at Excelsior College, a nonprofit regionally accredited distance learning institution that helps working adults complete a degree or certificate. Lisa has spent over 20 years building strong, mutually rewarding partnerships with both academic institutions and corporate/association partners. Her previous experience includes working with adult learners seeking new skills and/or Information Technology certifications at New Horizons Computer Learning Center. Lisa has a BS in Public Administration from the State University of New York in Albany and a MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Management in Community College Administration from University of Maryland’s University College.

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About Karl Lawrence, PhD, FRM, CFP

Expertise: Economics

Dr. Karl Lawrence is an associate dean in the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College. A trained economist, Dr. Lawrence previously served as an associate finance professor at Fort Valley State University, and an assistant finance professor at American University of the Middle East and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. From 1998 through 2008, he served as a finance instructor at Florida State University.

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About Jennifer Lemak, PhD.

Expertise: History Liberal Studies/Humanities

Dr. Jennifer Lemak is the chief curator of history at the New York State Museum. She is the author of Southern Life, Northern City: The History of Albany’s Rapp Road (SUNY Press, 2008) and several articles on the Great Migration to Upstate New York.  Her next book will further develop the impact of the Great Migration on the cities of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.

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Don Kirk Macon, PhD.
About Don Kirk Macon, PhD.

Expertise: Liberal Studies/Humanities

Dr. Macon has taught for Excelsior College, both online and in face-to-face formats at the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, since 2011. He lives in the desert Southwest and is active in his community. He spends his time researching, writing, and teaching.

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About Ron Marzitelli

Expertise: Information Technology

Ron Marzitelli is Assistant Vice President of Information Technology at Excelsior College. He has risen through the ranks at Excelsior to the position of assistant vice president for information technology, where he oversees the complex day-to-day technology operations for a distance learning institution serving more than 30,000 students and more than 1,000 staff and faculty members. He is versed in computer networking infrastructure, telecommunications infrastructure and desktop infrastructure as well as IT security and best practices.

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About Gary McClain, PhD.

Expertise: Psychotherapy

Gary McClain is a faculty member in the School of Health Science, focusing on course development and instruction in end of life care, stress management and wellness-related curriculum. His areas of expertise include coping with catastrophic illness and treatment decisions; end of life issues and grief counseling, stress management and life skills, organizational and personal transition. He is an experienced, professional coach and career counselor, combining interactive teaching with group facilitation, and conducts workshops on mental health topics to government and business organizations.

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About Chris Montagnino

Expertise: Education Leadership

Chris Montagnino is vice president of Extended Education at Excelsior College and CEO of Educators Serving Educators, an innovative unit within Excelsior that supports traditional higher education institutions through development and delivery of online degree programs.

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About Craig Nathanson, PhD.

Expertise: Leadership

Dr. Craig Nathanson works as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College. Dr. Nathanson is an educator, author and speaker in human and organizational growth. Dr. Nathanson has a Ph.D in Human and Organizational Systems, as well as Masters Degrees in Human Development and Telecommunications Management. He worked over twenty years in various senior management positions in U.S. Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Nathanson has written and published 6 books on work and mid-life development and management.  

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About Ruth Olmsted, PhD.

Expertise: Literature / Writing

Dr. Olmsted joined Excelsior College 23 years ago as Managing Editor in the Assessment Unit and became Associate Executive Director of the Center for Educational Measurement, before moving to the School of Liberal Arts in 2014. Dr. Olmsted has a doctorate and master’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in comparative literature and a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College in literature and language, as well history and government. Her expertise includes credit by exam, prior learning assessment, competency-based education, and liberal arts. Dr. Olmsted currently works as a program director, overseeing the general liberal arts degrees, religion courses, and the academic well-being of Excelsior's Judaic Studies students.

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About Michael Orticelle

Expertise: Criminal Justice

Michael Orticelle is a faculty member teaching criminal justice courses, such as counter terrorism and law enforcement, at Excelsior College. After 21 years working as a professional law enforcement officer, Mr. Orticelle has experience in investigations, patrol and administration. Mr. Orticelle gained his Masters in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security from Walden University in Minneapolis, MN. Michael Orticelle is a member of the Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York State as well as over 10 years experience training high school students in peer mediation techniques as an alternative to violence in an inner city high school. Mr. Orticelle is also the Senior Training Technician for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, organizing and creating in-service training for professional law enforcement throughout New York State.

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About Michele A. Paludi, PhD.

Expertise: Psychology

Michele A. Paludi, PhD, is the faculty program director for human resources and leadership in the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College. She is the author/editor of 54 college textbooks, and more than 200 scholarly articles, book chapters and conference presentations on developmental psychology, psychology of women, workplace violence, work/life integration, sexual harassment, campus violence, gender, and discrimination. Her book, Ivory Power: Sexual Harassment on Campus, (1990, SUNY Press), received the 1992 Myers Center Award for Outstanding Book on Human Rights in the United States.

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Barbara Pieper, PhD, RN - Nursing Expert
About Barbara B. Pieper, PhD, RN

Expertise: Education Health Care Nursing Public Health

Dr. Barbara B. Pieper has been affiliated with Excelsior College for more than 28 years. As a founding faculty member of the School of Health Sciences, Dr. Pieper was instrumental in the development of the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor in Health Care Management degree programs. In 2014, Dr. Pieper was named the first director of the Robert E. Kinsinger Institute for Nursing Excellence.

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About Mary Lee Pollard, PhD, RN, CNE

Expertise: Education Health Care Nursing

Dr. Mary Lee Pollard is the Dean of the School of Nursing at Excelsior College. In this role, she assures that a high quality, affordable and accessible education is provided annually to approximately 21,000 undergraduate and graduate nursing students nationwide. Under her direction, Excelsior’s School of Nursing graduates an average of 1,900 students per year, advancing healthcare throughout the U.S. Dr. Pollard is an expert in competency-based nursing education, and in recognition of her skillful program management has served as a panelist in forums hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning, and has provided presentations on the topic at national conferences.

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About Paul Shiffman, EdD.

Expertise: Education Government Relations

Dr. Paul Shiffman leads an annual policy institute, The Presidents' Forum, comprised of a national membership of higher education leadership, focusing on policy, regulatory, and fiscal issues associated with adult serving and distance learning institutions. Prior to joining Excelsior College, Dr. Shiffman served in a variety of administrative roles including Vice President for Institutional Planning and Advancement at State University of New York Rockland Community College, and Executive Associate to the President and Assistant Vice President for Government Relations at State University of New York Empire State College to name a few. He has held faculty teaching appointments at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia, Temple University, North Georgia College, Georgia State University, The College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Empire State College.

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About Lifang Shih, PhD

Expertise: Assessment / Competency Business Cybersecurity

Dr. Lifang Shih is the Dean of the School of Business and Technology at Excelsior College.  In this role, she ensures the School of Business and Technology offers high quality and career-ready academic programs in business and technology.  Dr. Shih is also responsible for managing activities of faculty and staff relating to academic policies, course development, student services, learning and instruction and program growth. Her qualifications include: PhD Curriculum and Instruction, SUNY Albany; MS Curriculum Development & Instructional Technology, SUNY Albany; BA English Language & Literature, Tam Kang University, Taiwan.  As an expert in learning technology and instructional design, Dr. Shih previously served as the Associate Dean of Technology at Excelsior College, Director of Outcomes Assessment and Accreditation, Director of Online Course Management at Excelsior College and an instructional designer at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at University at Albany.

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About Jean Taylor, PhD.

Expertise: Education

Dr. Taylor, an industry-recognized expert in adult education, higher education assessment and accreditation compliance, is the director of outcomes assessment for the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College. In this specialized role, she is charged with developing and implementing student based learning outcomes assessment for program performance review, with a focus on re-accreditation compliance and best practices for continuous quality improvement.

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About George Timmons, PhD

Expertise: Education

George Timmons currently serve as the associate provost, Learning and Academic Services, and dean of the School of Liberal Arts where he serves as the chief academic and administrator for the school. He works with the School’s faculty program directors, academic advisors and staff to facilitate and nurture academic excellence.

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About William Trevor

Expertise: Marketing

Will Trevor is the Faculty Program Director for Marketing in the School of Business and Technology, in which role he is responsible for overseeing and developing the college’s marketing programs. He has a background in sales and marketing, where he filled a range of positions encompassing both consumer-to-consumer and business-to-business markets and across a range of industries. His experience spans both agency-side and marketing management roles, which have helped to inform his perspective on marketing from both a practitioner and an academic angle. And as a longtime member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, he was recently honored to attain the designation of Chartered Marketer.

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About Michael Verro, PhD.

Expertise: Criminal Justice Psychology

Dr. Michael Verro, criminal justice program director for Excelsior College’s School of Public Service is a former police officer, major crimes investigator, DEA Drug Task Force narcotics investigator, and author. He specializes in criminal justice and psychology, specifically the psychosocial motivation of career choice for law enforcement officers.

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About Robert Waters, PhD.

Expertise: Education

Robert E. Waters, PhD, serves as dean of the School of Public Service at Excelsior College. In this role, he is the chief academic and administrative officer for the school, representing it college-wide and to external constituents. He is also responsible for the recruitment and retention of a qualified and diverse faculty, as well as, student advisement and activities that support student satisfaction, and success.

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