2020 Advisory Council

April C. Mason, Advisory Board Chair
Retired, Kansas State University

April Mason served as the Provost and Senior Vice President of Kansas State University from January, 2010 to June 2018.  As the University's Chief Academic Officer, she oversaw the academic dimensions of the university and ensured the university's academic standards. In cooperation with the president and the Deans Council, Mason provided leadership in the development, review, and operationalization of policies and goals regarding instruction, research and outreach programs. While in this position, Mason served as the Chair of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Council on Academic Affairs and was a founding member and Chair of the Association of Chief Academic Officers, a group associated with the American Council of Education.  Before joining Kansas State University, Mason held faculty and administrative positions at Colorado State University and Purdue University.  April holds her doctorate degree in Nutrition and her master's degree in Botany from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN and her undergraduate degree in Biology from University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.


Michael A. Gealt 
Retired, Central Michigan University

Michael A. Gealt was Central Michigan University’s Executive Vice President and Provost (and Professor of Biology) from August 1, 2013 through June 30, 2019.  Dr. Gealt continued his employment with CMU through Dec. 31, 2019, as Provost Emeritus, at which point he retired from the university as Professor Emeritus.

At the time he stepped down Dr. Gealt was recognized for being a champion of student success, teaching excellence, and nationally recognized research endeavors.  Several significant university accomplishments occurred while Gealt was provost, including the ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, the update of the university’s Advancing Excellence strategic plan, the reorganization of the Academic Division, the reclassification of the university as a Carnegie R2 research institution, and the achievement of full accreditation of CMU College of Medicine from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.  While provost at CMU he also sat on the Board of Directors of CMU Medical Education Partners corporation that serves as the organization for graduate medical education for the university and affiliated partner healthcare systems.

Prior to joining CMU, Gealt served as dean of the College of Science and professor of biology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Prior to UALR he was dean of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue University Northwest) and, before that, he held faculty and administrative positions at Drexel University, including Director of the School of Environmental Science, Engineering and Policy. Gealt received his bachelor's degree in biology from Temple University and his doctorate in microbiology from Rutgers University.  In addition to his scientific pursuits, Gealt has interests in K-12 education and from 2011-2019 served on the Board of Directors of the EAST Initiative, which has STEM-oriented education programs in more than 250 schools.

Gealt is a fellow of both the American Academy for Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He served as Chair of the American Society for Microbiology Environmental and Applied Microbiology Division in 1994 and was an ASM Foundation Lecturer in 1993.  He was Chair of the Arkansas STEM Coalition from 2009-10. He continues as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission

Areas of Expertise:  Strategic planning for organizational change; Accreditation and academic program review; Faculty governance.

Selase Williams 
Retired, Lesley University

Selase Williams retired in the summer of 2017 from his most recent executive position as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after six years of service at that private, non-profit, comprehensive university.  In that role he played a major role in formulating and implementing the university’s strategic plan, developed policies and procedures for enhancing student academic advising, student outcome assessment, periodic program reviews, and expedited program reviews. Under his leadership, new undergraduate and graduate degree programs were created, including online and low-residency programs.   A strong proponent of international education, he established the Center for Global Education with the goal to increase study abroad opportunities, improve the quality of life for international students and increase their numbers on campus, to integrate international content and perspectives into the curriculum, and to build institutional partnerships with universities overseas.  In addition to signing a revenue-sharing agreement with The Learning House to market and recruitment for fully online programs, Williams launched the Community College Partnership Initiative to create seamless pathways for Bunker Hills Community College graduates to enter and complete Lesley bachelor’s degrees on the community college campus.

Williams provided leadership to the campus on matters related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.  Working closely with President Joe Moore, he shaped and developed the Urban Scholars Initiative (USI), a program which provides four-year financial, academic, and personal support for 20-25 low-income, first-generation, youth from urban high schools in the greater Boston/Cambridge area each year.  A unique collaboration with 15 community-based organizations, USI enjoyed a retention and graduation rate of over 90 percent.  Confronted by two dynamic forces, Black Lives Matter and growing White supremist activity, Provost Williams constituted the Task Force on Social Justice in Teaching and Learning comprised of students, faculty, staff, and administrators to develop strategies for combatting microaggressions in the classroom and for infusing social justice content, principles, and practices into the curriculum across the university.

As a faculty member who made his way up the ranks from Assistant Professor, to Associate Professor, and full Professor, Williams held a variety of leadership positions that led to his senior executive appointments.  Among the list of these positions were Director of Afro-American Studies at the University of Washington, Director of Minority Student Services at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and Chairman of the Pan African Studies Department at California State University-Northridge.  From there, he became the inaugural Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at California State University-Dominguez Hills, where he increased faculty diversity by 25%, before becoming the first Provost at Southern Connecticut State University, where he championed a first-year experience program that gained regional and national recognition for dramatically improving first year student retention.

Williams has presented papers and published on Sierra Leone Krio, African American Language, African retentions in America, and the efficacy of using bilingual/bicultural approaches to teaching African American youth.  He served two terms as President of the National Council for Black Studies and was a key player in organizing an international conference in Ghana, West Africa, in collaboration with the Organization of African Universities.

Areas of Expertise:  Leadership in programmatic and institutional strategic planning; innovation in institution-wide initiatives to advance diversity, inclusion, and social justice; development and management of programs to effectively increase retention and graduation rates; building and leading teams to develop cross-institutional partnerships.

Jean Wyld

Retired Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Springfield College, MA

Dr. Jean A. Wyld is the retired Provost and Vice President of Springfield College in Springfield, MA. She served in this position for 16 years supporting the growth and development of the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs offered by the college’s five schools in Springfield and on the college’s regional campuses across the country. While at Springfield College Jean served as an elected member and then as the Chair of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. She continues to serve the Commission by Chairing accreditation teams completing reviews of New England post-secondary institutions.

In addition to her work in support of ACAO, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, (CHEA), and she serves on the editorial board of BioScience, a journal published by the American Institute of Biological Science, (A.I.B.S.)

Prior to serving as Provost at Springfield College she served as CAO of York College of Pennsylvania, and in various faculty and administrative roles at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. She is a former ACE Fellow, having completed her fellowship at Boston College. Dr. Wyld earned her Ph.D. in biology at the University of Connecticut.

Areas of Expertise: Faculty recruitment, orientation and evaluation; regional and program specific accreditation; strategic academic planning and program review; faculty governance.


Dr. B. J. Reed
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Dr. Reed has been on the faculty of the University of Nebraska at Omaha since 1982 and served as Chairman of the Department of Public Administration from 1985 to 2000 and as Dean of the College of Public Affairs Community Service 2000 to 2011.  He also served as Executive Associate to the Chancellor from 2006-2012.  In 2011, he was named Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at UNO and appointed permanently in February of 2012.

He has published in numerous journals including Public Administration Review, The American Review of Public Administration, the International Journal of Public Administration, Public Productivity and Management Review, and Public Budgeting and Finance among others. He is also the author of several books on diverse topics including economic development, strategic planning, budgeting, financial administration and intergovernmental management.

Reed served as President of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) in 2017-2018 and now serves as Past President. Reed also previously served as President of the National Council of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) in 2003-2004 and was chair of the Council on Peer Review and Accreditation for the NASPAA and Co-Chair of its Data Task Force Committee.  He served as a member of the National Council of Pi Alpha Alpha, the public administration honor society and as Chair of NASPAA’s Social Equity Committee.  Reed participated as Co-Chair of the Mayor Fahey’s Police-Fire Study Commission and also Chaired the City of Omaha’s Charter Commission. Reed was elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2005 and recently completed a six-year term as member of the Board where he served as its Secretary and a member of its Executive Committee.

His community service includes Board of Directors of the Love Jazz Arts Center, Live Well Omaha (where he served as Chair for four years) and the Omaha Community Partnership where he served as Chair for three years.  He has been a member of the training coordination board for Omaha Neighborhood Builders.  He is also Past President of The Dundee Memorial Park Neighborhood Association and served on the 30th Anniversary Committee of Leadership Omaha and on the Board of the Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation.