2020 Advisory Council


Sharon L. Vasquez, Advisory Board Chair
Provost Emerita

University of Hartford 

Named Provost Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Hartford in July, 2016, Sharon L. Vasquez was recognized for transformational leadership during a time of enrollment challenges and fiscal stress. Hired in 2010 as provost, she successfully launched and managed major planning initiatives including the university’s re-accreditation review, a new Strategic Plan, the comprehensive review and prioritization of academic programs, a faculty compensation plan, and a physical plant project to create the 21st century library,
Prior to Hartford, she served as dean at two public universities: Wayne State University in Detroit, and earlier SUNY-Brockport. Both positions required a creative, entrepreneurial approach and the ability to build functional alliances within and beyond the institution into the community. Vasquez exceeded capital campaign goals at both institutions. Other major successes included launching an incubator for creative-sector businesses; leading the American Democracy Project and a “first year experience” initiative; championing assessment of learning outcomes (before it was popular); and creating pipelines into administration for women and underrepresented minority colleagues. The two dean-ships followed a long career at the University of Texas at Austin where she merged her life as an artist/teacher with academic administration, learning how creativity can be applied with equal success to choreography or to envisioning strategic initiatives
Provost Vasquez has served a number of professional and accrediting organizations as an officer and/or board member and has presented results of the program review and prioritization effort she spearheaded at Hartford in major national venues such as ACE and Academic Impressions. She remains in high demand as an accreditation specialist in national and international arenas, as a consultant for comprehensive program review and a leader in arts program development and innovation. As a strong advocate and spokesperson for the non-profit sector, Provost Vasquez has served on numerous boards, state arts councils, peer review panels and K-12 task forces across the country.
Provost Vasquez currently provides independent consulting services and peer coaching to higher education leaders in career mapping, strategic leadership, team building and succession planning. She recently returned to Austin, TX where her twenty years as an endowed professor and department chair at the University of Texas helped launch her later career in academic leadership and administration.

Areas of Expertise: Strategic Leadership; Strategic Planning; Academic Program Review & Prioritization; Team Building, Succession Planning; Career Mapping



Gayle Davis
Provost and Executive Vice President Emerita
Grand Valley State University

Dr. Gayle Davis was Grand Valley State University's Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs from 2002 until her retirement in 2017. She successfully aligned and re-created academic operations, programs and budgets as the University’s grew in size, complexity, and reputation. She served for a transitional period as acting President of the university. Included among her professional recognitions were awards for promoting inclusion and equity, academic and community leadership, mentoring potential leaders, student success efforts, and others. Dr. Davis was recognized with the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award by the American Council on Education Michigan Network for Women in Higher Education. She chaired the Academic Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities and remains an affiliated faculty member of the HERS national leadership institute for women in higher education. She still mentors Cook Academy of Leadership Fellows at Grand Valley, serves on the advisory council of the Design Thinking Academy she established at the University, and is an occasional speaker on various aspects of leadership for the MI-ACE Women’s Network. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Grand Valley at the time of her retirement. Dr. Davis earned her BA in French at Muskingum College in Ohio and her M.A.in art history and Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University. While a graduate student, she was a Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

From 1982 to 1994, Dr. Davis was a faculty member and department chair in the Women’s Studies Department at Wichita State University. There she was awarded the state's Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award, among other recognition and grants. From 1994 to 2002, Dr. Davis was part of WSU’s central administration as an Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research. Among her contributions in that role were the creation of the Center for Teaching and Research Excellence and its Academy for Effective Teaching. While in Kansas, she was appointed to numerous boards and commissions, including service as board member and President of both the Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Humanities Council. 

Areas of Expertise: Leading through institutional change; interdisciplinary academic innovation, structures & support; faculty & staff development in preparation for leadership roles.

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.

April C. Mason
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.




Karan Powell

President, Powell & Associates LLC
President (retired) and Past Provost
American Public University System

Dr. Karan Powell is president (retired) of American Public University System. Between 2002 and 2017, Dr. Powell led university initiatives to advance its strategic goals of academic excellence, managed growth and institutional effectiveness, with a core focus on expanding its reputation and recognition as a premier quality provider of and partner in student success.

Prior to becoming APUS president in July 2016, Dr. Powell served APUS as provost 2011 - 2016, leading university academics to ensure academic quality and online teaching effectiveness, student success, regional and specialty accreditation, advocacy for the faculty, and the adoption and creation of innovative digital instructional strategies and technology. She also served as interim chancellor in 2004, dean of the School of Business, Management and Graduate Studies in 2005, and academic dean from 2006 to 2011, advancing the academics department in areas of curriculum, programs, faculty, and accreditation. Dr. Powell first joined the APUS Board of Trustees in 2002 while serving as chief learning officer for American Management Systems. Now, in retirement, she consults through her business, Powell & Associates, LLC, in areas of accreditation, digital learning leadership, executive and management development, and the transformation of higher education organizations and leaders.

Dr. Powell holds a doctorate in education from George Mason University, with a specialization in organization development and organizational learning. She also holds a bachelor of science in business education from Western Illinois University and a master of divinity from Loyola University (Chicago), in addition to a certificate in advanced organization design from the University of Southern California. Dr. Powell also completed the HERS Institute: Advancing Women in Higher Education Administration, the Harvard Institute for Educational Management, and the University of California Berkeley Executive Leadership Academy.

Areas of Expertise: Distance education; accreditation; academic program reviews; leadership development & coaching; faculty development; strategic growth & development; alternative learning strategy; business partnership relationships; student success



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



Margaret E. Winters
Former Provost and Professor Emerita
Wayne State University

Margaret E. Winters is former Provost and Professor Emerita (French and Linguistics) at Wayne State University where she worked from 2002 – 2016.  Prior to serving as Provost, administrative positions include Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, and founding Chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.  Previously from 1977, she worked at Southern Illinois University Carbondale both in administration (Interim Provost, Associate Provost, and Chair) and as a member of the faculty.  Her administrative experience as associate provost at both universities was primarily in academic personnel, including multiple aspects of faculty development as well as labor relations (negotiation and administration of academic union contracts). 

She served at both universities as Professor of French and Linguistics.  Her research interests are in historical semantics and the history of the Romance languages.  She has published journal articles and chapters in scholarly venues in North America and Europe; she has also published two critical editions of Old French narrative poems and co-edited two volumes of papers in Linguistics. She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit.  In addition, she has participated in the ACE Michigan Women’s Network and is currently an emerita member of that Board, still active with its Professional Development Committee. A native of New York City, she attended Brooklyn College.  She spent a year in France after receiving her B.A. and subsequently did graduate work at the University of California Riverside (M.A.) and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.).  

Areas of Expertise: Faculty development, faculty evaluation including tenure and promotion;  post-tenure review; academic labor relations

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.