The mission of Academic Affairs at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (CUSPS) is to provide a high-quality education that supports the academic and professional aspirations of our student community. Key to the success of this mission is a faculty community of scholar-practitioners working closely with a dedicated core of professional staff, from support and training experts to instructional designers and education technologists.
Dr. Zach Kornhauser is the Senior Director of Faculty Assessment and Development at the Columbia School of Professional Studies. In this role, Kornhauser oversees faculty assessment in relation to reviews and promotions, and faculty development in relation to training opportunities for teaching effectiveness, technology in the classroom, and faculty satisfaction.
Kornhauser previously served as an Associate Director at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Columbia University. At the CTL, he was responsible for demonstrating evidence for effective practice and evaluating the impact of innovations in curricular development, professional development programs, and online and digital projects. Prior to joining the CTL, Kornhauser was as an Associate Measurement Scientist at the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping institutions measure and improve learning outcomes for their students. At CAE, he was the primary investigator on a number of initiatives focused on measuring students’ cognitive growth in college. Kornhauser also worked at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), where he was the Co-Primary Investigator for program evaluation of a government-funded initiative aimed at improving education within community colleges.
Kornhauser received his doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham University. He has conducted research on a number of topics related to higher education including issues related to teaching and learning, grade inflation, college student outcomes, and motivation on low-stakes assessments. Kornhauser has been teaching in the Applied Analytics program at SPS since the Fall of 2017. He also served as a teaching fellow at Fordham University between 2012 and 2014, and was named the graduate teacher of the year for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Yijun (Diana) Dai is an Instructional Designer at Columbia University's School of Professional Studies (SPS). She has over five years of experience in instructional design and teaching for a wide range of audiences at both higher education institutions and EdTech companies.
At her previous institutions, Yijun collaborated closely with faculty to design and develop courses for undergraduate, graduate students, and professionals. In addition to course development, she has worked on technical and instructional support for instructors and students to ensure the best learning experience for individuals.
As an advocate of student-centered learning and student agency, she is passionate about creating active and personalized learning experiences to enhance learning outcomes and engagement. She also believes purposeful use of new media and emerging technologies can make learning more accessible and effective to all.
Yijun holds an M.S.Ed. in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania. As a life-long learner, she keeps learning new knowledge and skills in different fields, which gives her lots of inspiration. She would love to bring the benefits of life-long learning to more individuals.
Yanni Gacopoulos, Faculty Affairs Specialist, is charged with supporting the hiring and onboarding of faculty and non-faculty academic appointments for Masters, non-degree programs and ALP at the School of Professional Studies. Yanni also serves as Associate for the course Managing Human Behavior in the Organization.
Yanni received his MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University in 2017.
Before joining the SPS Instructional Support Team at Columbia University, Tracey spent five years working in the field of Supermarket Advertising. She started as a receptionist then quickly proved to be a valuable asset to the organization by working closely with clients as their first point of contact in the Design Department. Tracey developed a serious passion for customer service as she guided her clients through their next steps and collaborated with them via brainstorming activities in order to develop messaging that best represented their businesses. Her interpersonal skills, ability to communicate clearly, and her positive energy are just a few qualities that make her an excellent asset to the Instructional Support team. Tracey lives near Woodbury Commons with her husband, Frank and wonderful (and crusty) toddler, Liliana. She is also mom to two mischievous cats, Jackson and Penny. In her free time she tries to attend as many Yankees games as possible and enjoys movies, music, books and naps…not necessarily in that order.
Before joining the SPS Instructional Support Team at Columbia University, Todd spent three years working in the field of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. His primary focus was developing the Women’s Insights on The Art of Negotiation Summit, an educational event designed to improve negotiation skills for women in the workforce. Prior to working at The Negotiation Institute, Todd served as a counter-terror specialist in the IDF. His experience in event management, team leadership, and conflict resolution have made him an instrumental addition to the Instructional Support Team.
Todd lives on the Upper West Side with his Wife Tanna, who attends Columbia Law School, and their dog Simba, who mostly sleeps on the couch. He is enrolled in Columbia College of General Studies, earning his bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Todd likes to pretend he has free time. If he did, he would spend it reading biographies of diplomats, judges, and political figures, playing basketball, and running around with Simba.
Steven has a somewhat unique story with Columbia University.
He started working at Columbia in 2011 and left in 2015. After two years of working between NYC and out of state, he returned to Columbia and joined the Instructional Support team in 2017.
Steven is an out-of-the-box thinker who thrives off of his interactions with people, and builds valuable relationships across all levels. Having earned a Bachelor in Corporate Communication from Baruch College, you can find him demonstrating what he learned as he chats it up with any Columbia employee or affiliate throughout the campus. And, it's highly likely they'll all be wearing large smiles because Steven brings out the best in everyone.
When he’s not at work you can find him trying all types of new activities from indoor rock climbing to resting at the Montauk Salt Cave Downtown, to brunching in Astoria or Williamsburg.
Steven is a jack-of-all trades, and a master-of-all. Yes, of all.
Sheila Song is an instructional designer with SPS. Prior to joining SPS, Sheila worked for the GlobalEd 2 for five years, providing design and development support to an interdisciplinary problem-based curriculum. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Connecticut, where she taught undergraduate Introduction to Educational Psychology course in both face-to-face and online formats. In her role as a program evaluator for UConn’s WiSTEM Mentoring program, she conducted process and outcome evaluations through surveys and focus group interviews.
Sheila holds a Master degree in Educational Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation. Currently, Sheila is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technology. Her research expertise is in motivation, problem-based learning, and technology-integrated teaching/learning. Sheila views teaching and learning through a constructivist lens. She believes that learning is active, collaborative, and situated in context. Her pedagogical beliefs play a significant role in her practice of teaching and instructional design.
Sam is a webinar specialist at the School of Professional studies. He has been at SPS since 2015. In his role, he is responsible for providing technical support during live sessions, and maintaining the support, coaching, and feedback cycle during the SPS course execution phase. Prior to working at SPS, Sam spent time as an audio engineer and also had a stint in academic publishing, on the editorial side.
Outside of SPS, Sam is a part-time student in Columbia’s GSAS, where he is studying sociology. He also plays subtly unsettling music in a not-particularly-well-regarded Brooklyn band.
Rafael is a proud and unwavering Boston Sports fan who thrives off friendly competition. A graduate of Boston College, and having spent two wonderful summers at Columbia University interning for the SPS High School Program, Rafael was drawn to his passions working with higher education because of the positive impact academia has always had on his life. Born and raised in the inner city of Dorchester, MA and the youngest son of Dominican immigrant parents, education became the greatest vehicle for Rafael. After being accepted into the METCO, Inc. program as a preschooler, Rafael had the privilege of attending school (K-12) in an affluent suburb town, which dramatically molded his childhood and coming of age as a young adult. Although he experienced many social challenges, Rafael owes much of his success to the METCO, Inc. program for pushing him to be the best he could be even when faced with difficult odds.
Outside of work, Rafael likes to enjoy the outdoors such as hiking or camping and playing all kinds of sports. As an avid admirer of the arts, you can always find Rafael drawing, reading manga, or watching one of his favorite anime.
Phoebe Ballard joined SPS in April of 2017. In her role, Phoebe oversees the work the Online Curriculum and Instruction (OCI) team, leads cross-functional discussions about online learning operations at SPS -- including coordination with other SPS teams, and partners with senior leadership, academic directors, faculty, and staff to plan, develop, and maintain high-quality online programs, courses, and services.
Prior to joining SPS, Phoebe enjoyed a 14-year career at the The University of Toledo as the Director of Instructional Design and Development for one of the largest online learning operations in the state of Ohio. In that role, she managed course design, strategic planning, assessment, and research initiatives for the instructional design, multimedia, and assistive technology teams, spearheaded the design, implementation, and assessment of online faculty development programs, and oversaw the QM review process and its University-wide implementation.
Phoebe has been an active member of the Quality Matters community since 2011. She is a QM Certified Peer and Master Reviewer for Higher Education, CPE, and K-12 programs, as well as a Certified Facilitator for QM’s Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) and Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshops. Most recently, she served as the State Lead and Professional Development Coordinator for the Ohio QM Consortium's Executive Committee, and the Member-at-Large on the national leadership team of the QM Instructional Designer Association (QM-IDA).
Phoebe has extensive online teaching experience in higher education. Since 2010, Phoebe has taught online and web-assisted courses in The University of Toledo’s Department of Art and Department of Communication, as well as online faculty development courses for The University of Toledo's University College. As faculty, Phoebe was named the 2013 Emerging Outstanding Alumna for The University of Toledo’s College of Communication and the Arts' and a two-time recipient of an international Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Design.
Phoebe holds an M.Ed. in Educational Technology and a B.A. in Studio Art, both from The University of Toledo. Her presentation and research interests include online faculty development, academic support services for online learners, legal and ethical issues impacting online delivery, and quality assurance at scale.
Peter has been a member of the media team since starting as a student worker in September 2014. Along with the rest of the team, he works on media for courses, marketing, and event coverage but focuses on the latter, especially for live streaming. Peter also helps manage the school's use of Panopto, a multi-stream media platform used by students, faculty, and staff.
Nick started at SPS in the Summer of 2018. He first started working in the realm of education as a children’s ESL teacher in Taiwan. Once he returned stateside he started working at the University of Florida as an education technologist during their transition from Sakai to Canvas, which coincided with a governmental push to put seven degree programs online in seven months. To meet these goals, Nick was pulled into multiple areas of course production; he built and supported courses, recorded lectures, tested software, and in the process forged the first link of his Canvas maester chain.
After talking to Nick for any length of time, he will mention his dog (Mermaid) or his veganism. You can usually find him at free events, Taco Bell, concerts, or just getting pulled around Brooklyn on various dog-sitting adventures.
Prior to joining SPS, Neville worked as a Library Information Assistant for the New York Public Library, providing circulation and reference services to the people of our great city. Born and raised in the Bronx, he is a native new yorker at heart, and a die hard knick fan. With a background in customer service, Neville takes pride in providing quality service to all. A critical thinker by nature, he received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Boston College.
Outside of work, Neville likes to spend his free time flipping through a good biography, playing basketball at a local park or recreation center, or engaging in passionate conversations on hip-hop culture. His favorite foods include jerk chicken, Mexican tortas, and beef patties.
Naureen Madhani has extensive experience in academic administration, specializing in assessment, program evaluation, strategic planning and policy development. She is a passionate teacher and teaches Leadership and Change and Higher Education at New York University. At the University of British Columbia, she coordinated an Academic Leadership Program for newly appointed Assistant Deans and Program Chairs. In Pakistan, Naureen led the planning of Aga Khan University’s international programs before being appointed Associate Director for Academic Administration in East Africa. In that role, she expanded student enrollment, managed academic partnerships and had oversight of finance, HR, information technology and academic administration at the newly established Institute for Educational Development. Naureen holds an MBA in Educational Management from the University of Leicester, an MEd in Higher Education from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in Higher and Postsecondary Education from New York University. Naureen has published four book chapters, including one on Faculty Experiences of International Partnerships in South Africa for the Institute of International Education.
Michael joined SPS in 2012 as the school’s first webinar specialist. As online offerings grew, there was a greater focus on web-conferencing and synchronous social interaction in online courses. In his current capacity as Director, Michael is responsible for scaling up support operations and developing an Online Support division responsible for learning management system support, in-meeting online class session support, and helpdesk support for various academic technologies.
Outside of SPS, Michael is very involved in the art world. He is a visual artist and Founding Director of MOUNTAIN, a contemporary art gallery run out of his loft in Brooklyn. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (Performance) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Michael Eder is the Executive Director of Media & Creative Services and has been with SPS since 2012. For any video production needs, please email [email protected].
Michael is allergic to cats and guinea pigs.
Megan took on the role of Academic Affairs Specialist August 2019. She joined the Columbia School of Professional Studies community in April 2018 where she was a member of the Instructional Support team. Prior to arriving at SPS, she exclusively managed and coordinated events, drafted written content for release, and essentially kept a nonprofit labor organization afloat on Long Island.
Megan completed her Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication with a focus on Public Relations and Marketing, from The City College of New York. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, baking, and spending time at parks and beaches.
Meg joined Faculty Affairs in 2019. Prior to becoming part of the team, Meg developed her skills in customer service, teamwork, and collaboration. She assisted faculty and administrators with event planning, course preparation, and handled logistical requests.
She is nearly always seen holding an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. In addition to caffeine, she is passionate about Higher Education and strives to provide rewarding experiences for faculty, staff, and students. Her diverse experiences have helped her evolve into the passionate woman she is today.
Meg studied Journalism-Communications with a minor in Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree she began to pursue a Master's in Higher Education. Her areas of expertise include Residence Life, Orientation, and Student Conduct.
Meg loves intellectual conversations and learning from her peers. Her ultimate goal is to give back to communities, what her mentors have given her.
She is very excited to be part of the SPS Columbia family, and looks forward to working alongside each and every one of you!
Matt has been working with SPS since November of 2016 as a graphic designer, animator and camera operator. His background includes painting, drawing and short films.
Matthew Vaughan is an Instructional Designer with SPS. He comes to SPS with an interdisciplinary background in religious studies and education. He is a former public school teacher from Tennessee, and he came to NYC in 2011. His PhD dissertation was a philosophy of education, asking questions about what it means to learn through dialogue. Matthew's research and writing center around the intersection of theology, teaching and learning, and media studies. His work has appeared in Restoration Quarterly, the Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, and the Christian Scholar’s Review. He is active in the American Education Research Association and the American Academy of Religion.
Prior to joining SPS Instructional Support, Lucas worked within the beer industry, nuts / dried fruits quality control, and customer service. Lucas’ varied work experience is attributed to his determined work ethic and creative outlook to life. He studied Music Production and Engineering at County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey (not far from his humble hometown Dover). Lucas’ free time can vary from watching his favorite football club Manchester United to jamming out with his band at the Sweat Shop in Brooklyn. He is eager to learn and expand his ever growing horizons here at Columbia SPS.
Justin Peppars is an Educational Technologist at SPS and has a background and experience in the role of IT in education institutions and environments. He previously worked at West Hills College, California Polytechnic State University, and Brandon University (Canada). As a first-generation college graduate, Justin’s research and passion center around promoting accessibility and equity in Education. Policy Analysis of Voluntary Desegregation in the Bakersfield City School District was published in 2017.
Justin is a lifelong learner who enjoys reading and traveling. As a soldier, he was selected as a U.S. Army Green to Gold Scholar attaining degrees in French (B.A.), International Relations (M.A.), and Education (Ed.D). He is currently pursuing a JD. When not working, his life is consumed with writing, hanging out in libraries, and spending time with his 5 children.
Prior to joining the SPS Instructional Support team at Columbia University, Julissa spent 14 years working in the Fashion District. She brings years of experience in customer support, coordination and communications to her team. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Julissa is a native New Yorker. She completed her undergraduate degree in Education and Sociology at Hunter College. When she's not at work, she’s balancing adventure and rest. She's an avid traveler and loves to get away whenever she can.
Joni joined SPS as a Webinar Specialist in May 2018 after working in a freelance Webinar Assistant with SPS for a number of years as well as teaching English and Humanities at New Jersey City University, Maryland Institute College of Art and The Poetry Center. At SPS she facilitates online class sessions and provides in instructional and technical support to faculty and students and is passionate about aiding in the creation of active, rigorous, and open learning environments.
Outside of SPS Joni writes novels and various other bits of fiction. She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Though she has been declared an honorary Canadian for her many years living north, she’s originally from New Mexico.
John joined the SPS Instructional Support team in February 2019, after a decade of various customer service jobs ranging from retail manager to banker. A lifelong NYC native, John has lived most of his life in Brooklyn and studied at Hunter College for his undergraduate degree. He has a charismatic and warm personality that makes him well suited to help people.
When not working, John is usually found enjoying the challenge of video or board games, or the indulgence of a good book. When possible John loves to travel to new locations in the world, his favorites being Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Amsterdam. Next on the list is Japan, Italy, and Finland.
If you ever find yourself unsure of where to eat, you can ask him for recommendations as he has had years to hone his top list, beware— it is mostly burger joints.
John joined Faculty Affairs at SPS in June 2018 and is so glad to be here! His past experience involves working as a junior human resources generalist for a small consulting firm, as well as various program support roles in the nonprofit sector. John has a BFA in Studio Art from Northeastern University + the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and originally hails from North Texas.
In his free time, John is likely doing something active/outdoors or perfecting his pan-fried potatoes.
Jessica earned her Bachelor of Arts from the City College of New York, and a Master of Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York. Her background includes nonprofit, customer support, and event planning. When someone needs a helping hand, she is always willing to collaborate and lend her support.
Born and raised in Queens, she demonstrates one of the population's best characteristics within the borough: she enjoys outgoing conversations with anyone and everyone. She loves learning about different cultures, exploring hidden secrets of New York, and has a major sweet tooth.
When not at work she is usually at home cuddling her cat, at the gym, or starting an arts and crafts project at home.
Jennifer Goez, Senior Director of Faculty Recruitment and Communication Strategy, oversees part-time faculty recruitment across all of our MS degree programs and non-degree programs at SPS. In this role, Jennifer serves as a senior member of the Faculty Affairs team, working closely with Academic Directors and program teams to identify experts to teach specific courses through the development of robust recruitment strategies. She also oversees faculty communication strategies to raise the visibility and accomplishments of faculty across the school through partnerships with marketing, programs, and other key stakeholders.
Jennifer comes to us from Columbia Business School Executive Education where she worked as the Director of Learning Solutions since 2015. In that role, she was responsible for ensuring the overall success of the Advanced Management Program and Women in Leadership Program, including admissions, business development, marketing, communications, and curriculum development in collaboration with faculty and industry leaders.
Before joining Columbia Business School, Jennifer worked as a certified HR professional for law firms including globally prominent Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison, LLP in San Francisco. After earning an MBA with honors, she transitioned from corporate law to academia, where she developed expertise in program development, enrollment strategies, and alumni engagement. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor for both undergraduate and graduate students, including courses such as human resource management and organizational and consumer behavior. Currently, Jennifer is pursuing a doctoral degree in adult learning and education at Teachers College Columbia University with a focus on activating the perceived effectiveness of leadership development programs, critical reflection, and the learning transfer system inventory. Past research includes Bridging Theory to Practice Model (2018) and Developing Authenticity in Women’s Leadership Development (2017). She has also presented at the Academy of Human Resources Development Conference (February 2018) and the International Conference for Leadership (October 2018).
Jennie Johnson is a Senior Associate Director of Instructional Design and Special Projects at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. She has over seven years of experience designing and developing meaningful learning experiences in higher education and corporate training settings.
At SPS, Johnson collaborates with internationally recognized faculty to design syllabi and courses delivered in person and online. She also helps faculty articulate the “story” of their courses; describe what they want students to know, do, and value; and identify appropriate instructional strategies. Johnson has partnered with several Masters programs at the School including Bioethics and Human Capital Management and has worked on several special projects. For example, she collaborated with SPS colleagues to create a Career Competencies self-guided course for the School’s graduate students, with the aim of helping individuals make successful transitions into a new career or role. Additionally, she is currently working with SPS faculty to create a six-year bioethics curriculum for medical students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
While at previous institutions, Johnson assisted in the creation and delivery of faculty course design workshops, helped establish an integrative learning community of practice for faculty, and helped create a set of hybrid course development and delivery standards.
Johnson’s research interests include learning transfer and behavior change on the job. She holds an M.A.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from The College of William and Mary and has a B.A. in English from the same institution. Her teaching experience includes classroom and online instruction at the secondary level.
Jamie Douglas, Senior Director of Faculty Recruitment and Planning, supports and oversees full-time and part-time faculty recruitment across M.S. degree programs and non-degree programs at the School of Professional Studies. In this role, Jamie serves as a senior member of the Faculty Affairs team, working closely with Program Directors and program teams to identify experts to teach specific courses by developing robust recruitment strategies. He is also the school’s subject matter expert on faculty search policy, process, procedures, and proven practices in advertising, sourcing, interviewing, and other topics related to faculty recruitment and retention strategy.
Jamie comes to us from 2U, where he worked as the Northeast Regional Academic Manager of the bootcamp program. In that role, he was responsible for instructional team staffing and performance management, leveraging data analytics and insights to drive decision-making. Before taking on that role, Jamie recruited faculty for several key 2U bootcamp programs and Kaplan Test Prep.
Before entering recruitment, Jamie taught Kaplan SAT and LSAT prep courses for pre-college and adult learners. He also taught English to Chinese university students as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Jamie is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Dr. Erik Nelson is the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University in the School of Professional Studies (SPS). Dr. Nelson is charged with establishing a unified vision for the Academic Affairs unit, providing curricular leadership to the school’s portfolio of academic offerings, including 6 academic divisions, 14 master’s degree programs and a growing suite of professional programs.
Focusing on developing best in class, academically rigorous face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning programs, he models and supports an entrepreneurial mindset throughout the organization, assisting colleagues to produce and deliver market-driven cross-disciplinary programming. Dr. Nelson also leads the effort to build a constant culture of assessment at the school, ensuring that all SPS programs attain academic excellence. Additional responsibilities include chairing the Academic Excellence Committee, developing academic policy, coordinating Middle States Accreditation reporting, establishing an outcomes-oriented educational research agenda, as well as overseeing institutional, state, and national regulatory matters.
Dr. Nelson is also tasked with building coalitions within the University, raising the visibility of SPS Academic Offerings at Columbia, establishing productive working relationships across a wide variety of individuals and groups, and is a leading voice for the organization in both internal and external settings. Prior to this position, Dr. Nelson was the Associate Dean for Online Learning at Columbia University.
Eric Clausen is the Associate Director of Learning Management Solutions at SPS. He previously served in the department as Webinar Assistant and later Senior Platform Support Specialist for several years. He has held a broad range of instruction and support positions at several institutions including Rutgers University, The Cooper Union, Texas A&M University, and Christian Brothers University. In his current role, Eric provides administrative support for our current LMS, Canvas, as well as designs faculty training for the ever-changing online learning landscape.
Outside of SPS, Eric spends lots of time drawing, riding his bike, anecdoting, and baking. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers University in 2009.
Domi started working at SPS in March 2016, as a consultant to the Curriculum & Instruction team, focused on shaping and supporting strategic initiatives--notably Modularity by Design. In October 2016, she joined the team full-time.
Her first career was devoted to the professional practice and teaching of architecture and lighting design. This work eventually led her into a second career in education technology, first as a consultant to McGraw-Hill, and then as a founder of an open education tech startup. Her journey from first to second career evolved through a series of unexpected and serendipitous twists and turns, features ocean sailing, and is best left for a chat over coffee.
Alway on the lookout for awesome phở.
Deanna Crusco joined the School of Professional Studies (SPS) in 2021 as the Senior Coordinator, Faculty Recruitment and Communications. In this role, Deanna partners with stakeholders across the school’s portfolio of 17 master's and non-degree programs to recruit part-time and full-time faculty. She also contributes to the SPS communications strategy, launching faculty-specific campaigns to increase the visibility of faculty research, publications, presentations, and accomplishments.
Prior to joining SPS, Deanna served as the Communications Manager for a research center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She previously contributed to the marketing and corporate relations strategies at nonprofits spanning the economic development, higher education, and technology sectors.
Deanna graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor's degree in Communication and English.
Dave McAlinden has worked with several education groups and brings a wealth of knowledge about instructional design and theory to his position with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS). Dave joins SPS from Columbia University’s Center for Veteran Transition and Integration. While there, he served as an instructional designer and supported the development and implementation of a massive, open, online course. He also brings with him a global perspective on education and several years of teaching experience as a head instructor for one of the largest private education companies in the Republic of Korea.
Dave has a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Letters and a Post-Bac Certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Portland State University. He also holds a Master's Degree in Instructional Design and Delivery from Manhattan College in New York City.
Daniel has been part of the Columbia family for over a decade now. Before joining the SPS Instructional Support team at Columbia University, he was an Administrative Assistant for four consecutive summers within the Columbia Athletics Department. In addition to working on special projects with the Athletic Director and senior staff, Daniel helped coordinate athletic events and prepared on-boarding materials for newly hired head/assistant coaches.
Daniel has a strong passion for team-building. In his current role, Daniel facilitated various team building exercises with objectives to boost team morale, job performance, interpersonal skills, and overall team chemistry. Building connections and establishing relationships are two of many things he enjoys professionally.
Outside of work, Daniel enjoys participating in athletic activities, learning, and traveling. Here are a couple fun facts about Daniel: his favorite number is 2, his all-time favorite movie is Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and his favorite basketball player is Kyrie Irving.
Oh, one more thing…he loves cheesecake.
Clara Foung joined the Academic Affairs team in May 2019. She was previously part of the Instructional Support team at SPS, where she developed a service outlook and love of the higher education environment. Prior to this, Clara was a research assistant in immunotherapy clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Clara holds a B.S. in Human Biology, Health, and Society and minor in Spanish from Cornell University. In her spare time, she can be found hiking, cooking, reading, and creating pottery.
Cassandra (Cassie) Scannella is an Instructional Designer for Columbia University's School of Professional Studies (SPS). Cassie earned her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Adult Education and Training, from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. While at Point Park, Cassie interned with the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Online team assisting the instructional designers with course development processes. After completing her degree, Cassie moved to Boston, MA and worked for Suffolk University as an Educational Development Specialist with the Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence. She also worked as a consultant for IRETA- Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions- as an online course developer. Cassie’s most recent experience prior to Columbia was with Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, NJ where she was the Instructional Designer. At Saint Peter's, Cassie worked very closely and frequently with faculty on course developments for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.
Cassie has a profound interest in PBL (Problem-Based Learning) as she strongly believes in the pedagogical approaches that encompass student-centered learning experiences.
Camilo Irizarry is a Senior Instructional Designer at Columbia University's School of Professional Studies (SPS). Prior to SPS Camilo Irizarry was an Instructional Designer at New York University's Center for Academic Excellence and Support. Camilo has worked with faculty on course redesigns, instructional support, and various faculty development workshops, helping to improve the learning experience for both students and faculty. Camilo is an advocate of a student-centric approach to learning, believing that learning should be an active process. Prior to NYU Camilo was a social worker advocating for youth within the educational system, dealing firsthand with many of the trials and tribulations facing youth in the inner city.
Camilo holds a Master's Degree in Instructional Design and Delivery from Manhattan College, and a Bachelor's Degree History from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Cailyn McCarthy, Director of Faculty Affairs at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (SPS), oversees all areas of faculty support, including the hiring and onboarding process for faculty, new hire orientation, and the management of the full-time faculty recruitment process and the full-time faculty review process.
Cailyn first joined SPS in April 2016 as the Faculty Affairs Specialist. Before joining SPS, Cailyn served as the Academic Appointments and Payroll Assistant at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), managing the hiring/appointment process for all faculty and non-faculty academic appointments. Prior to the GSD, Cailyn worked as the Human Resources Assistant at NEPC, LLC., an independent, full-service investment consultant firm in Boston Massachusetts, where she supported all human resource and operations functions.
Prior to working at SPS Brennon has a diverse 8 years of working throughout the customer service Industry including banking, retail, hospitality/Food and Sales. Using his People skills and unwavering comedic spirit he thrives in meeting new people, building relationships, and being a resource of help and positive energy wherever he goes.
Born and Raised in Harlem not far from Columbia University, Brennon enjoys working in close proximity to campus for the benefits of walking to and from work.
Outside of work in his free time Brennon is a huge movie, sports and tv show buff. Brennon enjoys exploring and traveling the world looking for new things to learn and new food to try.
I am a native Texan who graduated with a Media Production degree from the University of Houston and soon after began my career as a TV/video production crew member for the Houston PBS and NPR- affiliate station. I’ve created and worked on documentaries, short films, live streaming events, music videos, and smaller projects. I also do work as a painter and photographer.
My time at SPS as a Media Specialist started in August 2017 where I worked on the front lines of our video department shooting and editing lectures, events, and marketing materials.
Beth Semaya serves as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. Prior to her current positions, she worked at the National Institute of School Leadership designing curriculum, assessments, and professional development training for the Executive Development Program. Concurrently, she was an Instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Dr. Semaya served at Pearson Education as the Grade Span Manager, English Language Arts Grades 9-12, where she provided the vision, leadership, and implementation for the content development and assessment of a digital, comprehensive teaching-learning system. Her primary research interest relates to how organizations and leaders within them can support professional development experiences that are ongoing, self-paced, collaborative, and personalized to challenge the status quo and imagine new possibilities for professionals.
Dr. Semaya earned a Ph.D. in English Education from Columbia University and an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
Beth joined SPS as a Webinar Specialist in May 2016, after previously working at SPS in a freelance capacity. In her role, she manages the delivery of online, live class sessions and provides instructional and technical support to faculty. She trains and coaches faculty and facilitators, and is passionate about fostering engagement and implementing best practices in the online classroom.
Beth is also an Assistant Professor in the Liberal Arts Department at Montserrat College of Art, where she teaches courses in the humanities, and has previously taught at Tufts University. She has a wide range of project management experience, including organizing an exhibition inside a working power plant and planning conferences for the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Video, New Media, and Animation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
After completing 15 years in the customer service/retail field, with 12 of those years being in a leadership role, Astrith (she/her) is excited to bring her skills to Columbia University. A Brooklynite, through and through, she achieved her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Brooklyn College, and has a passion for learning, and mentoring. In her free time, Astrith enjoys reading Stephen King books, listening to true crime podcasts, learning any arts and craft, and spending time with her dog, Bella, and cat, Peaches.
In 2005, Ariel Fleurimond began her first assignment as an NYU student observer in a 2nd grade class for NYC Park Avenue elementary school. Soon after, she began facilitating small groups within ICT Special Education classes in Brooklyn New School, and she has been working in education ever since.
Prior to becoming a Senior Director, Ariel has held various roles at Columbia University, including Director, Associate Director, Instructional designer/Faculty Development Specialist, and Course Developer. Ariel has helped develop courses in the School of Social Work, Technology Management, Applied Analytics, Strategic Communication, Information and Knowledge Strategy, Human Captial Management, SPS’ High School Program, and Union Theological Seminary. She has also worked on special projects in faculty development and conference presentations in coaching, professional development, executive education, and human resource leadership for the office of the former SPS Dean, Dr. Jason Wingard.
In her current role, Ariel leads a team of instructional designers (IDs), freelance course developers (CDs), and interns in end-to-end development and project management for online and hybrid courses at Columbia University. In collaboration with other units at SPS, Ariel and the instructional design team members partner with both internal and external faculty to manage launch timelines, align course learning objectives with activities and content, develop syllabi, storyboard engaging activities and media, and build and test robust Canvas course sites.
Prior to joining Columbia, she was most recently the Faculty Development Specialist at Adelphi University. In this role, she maintained the Faculty Center’s department website and coordinated the development and rollout of online courses. She served as the primary point of contact for all instructional design and course development requests for face-to-face, hybrid and online courses. Her largest project in that role involved coordinating, providing instructional design, and course build support for the first pilot in graduate online education at Adelphi University. Additionally, she was also a guest lecturer for courses in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University. Leading these sessions gave her the opportunity to lecture and facilitate workshops in curriculum design for K-12, assessment, instruction, pedagogy, and web development skills for education. Most recently, Ariel began teaching graduate courses in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology department to new master's degree students at Columbia University, Teachers College. Learn more about her current courses and TC projects here.
Prior to working in higher education, Ariel was a tutor in Computer Programming at NYU and Graduate Assistant for Adelphi University. Ariel earned her NYS certification in K-12 visual art curriculum and instruction and has previously taught as a substitute teacher and full-time teacher in Technology, Art, and General Education in Tier 1 schools. Ariel holds a B.A. from New York University in Psychology, with a double minor in General Education and Computer Programming. She also holds an M.A.Ed. in Art Education (Curriculum & Instruction for K-12) and an M.Ed in Educational Technology. Ariel is currently a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.D in Instructional Technology).
Her doctoral research interests build on the conclusions drawn from her master's thesis in computational thinking. Ariel's current research interests revisit some that work and touch on related fields of study, including online learning, change management, support strategy development, and the future of work. Ariel’s previous research focused on key questions in K-12 education and teacher performance in a changing educational landscape. In 2011, she was selected by the National Art Educators Association as a presenter for the Seattle Conference to discuss her research hypothesis. Her findings outlined the inevitable shift in the U-curve of artistic development due to increased access to technology, as evidenced by her work and observations in New York public school districts. Ariel most recently co-presented with Dr. Delores Amorelli at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2022 Annual Conference on democratic education in Washington D.C. Their topic related to inclusive language and inclusive teaching practices as avenues for democratic education. Read more about their session here.
During her spare time, Ariel enjoys a handful of passion projects such as creating traditional and vector art, musical endeavors, crochet, and gaming. In addition to these activities, Ariel served on the Board of Directors for B~STEM, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting educational access, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Ariel also served on the advisory board for We Connect the Dots, Inc., a Long Island-based organization dedicated to supporting students' aspirations in STEAM-related fields and higher education.
Annette Bhatia has worked with Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies since April 2017. As Assistant Dean of Continuing Education, Dr. Bhatia currently oversees the Pre-College Programs, which include Immersion (non-credit), College Edge (for credit), and Youth in STEM. Dr. Bhatia launched the Academic Year Immersion Program in the fall of 2020, offering over 40 courses covering 10 weekends during the height of the pandemic, leading to a successful year-round non-credit college exploration program for high school students. She has expanded opportunities for Summer Immersion to include online offerings as the programs transition back to on-campus course offerings, and works with the University's undergraduate departments to increase enrollment in the College Edge programs. Dr. Bhatia launched and currently leads the Programs’ Committee on Instruction, which evaluates all Pre-College curriculum and faculty appointments. Additionally, in partnership with the Dean’s office, she launched the Program’s first Advisory Board, bringing together principals and headmasters of several New York City public, private, and charter schools. Annette also currently serves as co-chair of the School’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee.
Dr. Bhatia has increased access initiatives to provide scholarship funding for underrepresented groups which is a lifelong passion of hers as a first generation college graduate. She has also previously led the publication of the Academic Program Review, chaired the School’s Assessment Committee during the 2019-2020 Academic year, and led program discovery and review processes leading to more streamlined practices for course management and faculty hiring. Dr. Bhatia has extensive experience in higher education and comes with a strong student affairs background, previously working in our Student Affairs Division as the Director of Student Services. Dr. Bhatia has held positions at BMCC/CUNY and the University of Arizona prior to joining Columbia University.
A loyal wildcat, Dr. Bhatia holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education, M.A. in Political Science, and her B.A. in Political Science and Mexican American Studies from the University of Arizona.