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President Hays quoted in BBJ year's end article on "new" college presidentsJune 1, 2012
Head of the class: Recent movers in the higher-ed scene
Premium content from Boston Business Journal
Date: Friday, May 25, 2012, 6:00am EDT - Last Modified: Monday, June 4, 2012, 10:15am EDT
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Maryanne Atkinson is the first North Shore Community College alum to be named a dean at the college.
Boston’s collection of colleges and universities earns it a wide reputation as the Athens of America. This week, we look at a few individuals who have made significant career moves in the local higher-education sector over the past year.
Malcolm O. Asadoorian
Academic dean, Regis College School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Science.
Going back to his roots
When Malcolm O. Asadoorian takes the reins as academic dean of the Regis College School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences July 1, he will be returning to his roots — not only his Massachusetts roots, where here was born, raised and educated, but also to the roots of the community that taught him the value and responsibility of looking out for his fellow man, the same values he found in the Catholic academic institutions where he received his education.
“My goal is to help develop quality business education programs,” said Asadoorian. “But also to help individuals to benefit themselves and others in the pursuit of the American dream through their education — especially those less fortunate — just as my ancestors had.”
The grandson of an Armenian cobbler, Asadoorian said the immigrant population was largely focused on raising a family and surviving “and really didn’t have the opportunity for a formal education.” Being raised in that environment made him realize the value of an education, as he worked in the dry cleaning business while earning his undergraduate degree at Assumption College, and his graduate and doctoral degrees from Clark University. “I could take what I studied in economics and apply it in direct practice,” he asserted.
Although not a Catholic himself — he’s a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church — Asadoorian said he believes the mission of both churches is consistent, and he has a long academic history with Catholic universities that began well before his Regis appointment. He attended the aforementioned Assumption College and was an associate professor at Anna Maria College, and came to Regis from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., which had previously been a Marymount College that privatized while retaining its Catholic roots.
“One of Regis’ major strengths is that it is based on a strong liberal arts education and is motivated by the mission of the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and I think that is Regis College comparative advantage,” he said.
— Mike Hoban.
Dean of health professions, North Shore Community College.
An unexpected road
Maryanne Atkinson didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in education. But you never know.
Atkinson, 43, is the first North Shore Community College alum to be named a dean at the college. She was appointed dean of health professions in January 2011.
Atkinson recalls that she was working as a radiologic technologist when she got a call from former teacher Christine Wiley about a part-time teaching position at the school. “Teaching had never crossed my mind. I told her I couldn’t possibly do it. Chris said, ‘come on back (to NSCC) and we’ll help you.’”
Atkinson ended up teaching for three years while attending the University of Massachusetts Boston for her bachelor’s in nursing.
“I chose to work at North Shore because I believe in what it can do for students and the communities it serves. I was that student, and it opened up so many doors for me.”
A registered nurse as well, she holds a master’s in instructional design and a bachelor’s in nursing, both from UMass Boston, and an associate degree in radiologic technology from NSCC.
“If you had asked me in high school if I would ever teach, I definitely would have said no,” she said. “Life experiences and responsibilities come up and it’s up to us to rise to them. You have to stay flexible. The plan that may take a little longer may be the better course of action that will bring you the best chance at success.”
— Chelsea Lowe.
Dean, Tufts University School of Medicine.
Well-prepped for the post
The September appointment of Harris Berman as dean of Tufts University School of Medicine culminates his journey from Peace Corps doctor, to chief executive of an HMO, to department chairman, to interim dean, which readied him with the medical, educational and business skills the position required when it came his way unexpectedly.
“I was CEO of Tufts Health Plan for 17 years, and when I retired from that, I was invited to come to Tufts in academia as chairman of its Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, my idea of a retirement job,” said Berman, 73. “Then, when (current dean) Mike Rosenblatt got a wonderful offer to become a medical officer at Merck, he called me from Copenhagen and said, ‘I’m leaving in 10 days, and you’re about to get a call from the provost asking you to step into my shoes.’ ”
Other preparatory experiences for Berman’s deanship included co-founding New Hampshire’s first HMO in 1971.
“The skills of running an organization are easily transferable from one venue to another,” he said. “The same approach to relationships is what makes you successful.”
Likewise, Berman’s stint as a Peace Corps physician in India in the 1960s inspired him to create Tufts’ Global Health Program as department chairman.
“Tufts had relationships in developing countries, but mainly research relationships. I wanted to expand that to give medical students the opportunity to spend time in the developing world to see how medicine can be practiced there with limited resources. When I became vice dean I continued to do that and continue to this day. We send 50 to 60 students a year overseas to Africa, South America, etc.”
As dean, Berman is particularly proud of launching a physician assistant (PA) program leading to a Master’s of Medical Science.
“Pending provisional accreditation, this 25-month program would be the only PA program in Massachusetts offered by a medical school and one of only three medical school-affiliated programs in New England,” said Kimberly Thurler, director of public relations at Tufts. “The program will help meet the growing demand for primary care providers, triggered by efforts to contain health care costs and by the continuing shortage of primary care providers.”
— Todd Larson.
Faculty director, Center for Women’s Leadership, Babson College.
Striving to instill tolerance
As faculty director for Babson College’s Center for Women’s Leadership since September, Marjorie Feld is drawing on her academic, social and political involvement in women’s issues to inspire more women to become business and community leaders.
“A task force issued a report last spring of work that needs to be done and can be done by reinvigorating the center, so this new position was established,” said Feld, 41, who has taught U.S. labor, immigration and women’s gender history at Babson for 10 years, earning the Wellesley business school’s “Nan Langowitz Women Who Make a Difference” award in 2009.
In addition to publishing articles in journals such as Women’s History Magazine and sitting on educational boards including the Jewish Women’s Archive Academic Advisory Council, Feld received the American Jewish Historical Society’s Saul Viener Book Prize for “Lillian Wald: A Biography,” her 2008 book on the early 20th-century women’s rights activist, an expansion of Feld’s doctoral dissertation at Brandeis University. “
Considering herself primarily a teacher since studying women’s history and serving as a teaching assistant to courses as an undergraduate at SUNY-Binghamton, Feld will be both administrator and academician in her new role. Babson has reduced her course load, and she is sharpening the administrative skills needed to convene task forces, invite speakers, organize award presentations and so forth.
Programs Feld and Center for Women’s Leadership Executive Director Susan Duffy have nurtured include the undergraduate Women’s Leadership Program, whose members began a global outreach program sending students to educate Rwandan women this summer, and the Babson Association of Women MBAs.
“Tolerance and diversity are the way of the world now, and we want our students to go out into the world with that understanding,” said Feld.
— Todd Larson.
Susan Fredholm Murphy.
Alumni trustee, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
Bringing a school to life
There aren’t many young women who can say that they sit on the board of trustees at an academic institution at the age of 28, but then again, there aren’t many 28-year-olds that can say they helped develop the curriculum and student life policies for an engineering college —before they began their freshman year.
Susan Fredholm Murphy is a senior consultant at environmental sustainability software and consultancy firm PE International and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient, and she holds a master’s degree from MIT’s Technology and Policy program. Although those are impressive qualifications, they have less to do with why she was chosen as Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering’s first alumni trustee last November than her involvement with the school before Olin admitted its inaugural class in 2002.
“When the chairman of the board asked me if I’d be interested in a position on the board, I was extremely honored and happy to give back to the school that’s provided me with such tremendous opportunities,” Fredholm Murphy said. “The board wanted to bring in that alumni voice.”
Fredholm Murphy graduated in 2006, but is no ordinary alumnus. In fact, the case could be made that she and 29 other students are akin to founders. Olin College was formed with a $400 million grant from the New York-based Olin Foundation. While the campus was being built and the curriculum being formed, its founders determined that in order to have a truly innovative engineering school, “they decided to create a special class and have me partner here,” she said. “There were just 30 students living in temporary housing and taking classes in a temporary academic building for the 2001-2002 academic year, and we were the guinea pigs that helped to establish the school.”
Fredholm Murphy also helped establish the school’s honor code and served as the first chairwoman of the honor board. Upon graduation she served as one of the first two class alumni representatives and was instrumental in establishing the Olin Alumni Association and the Olin Alumni Council as its governing body.
“Growing up, I always enjoyed math and science and problem solving, so engineering seemed like a good career choice,” she said.
— Mike Hoban.
Provost and dean of faculty, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
Re-charging his batteries
“I have always been interested in learning, and am chronically curious about how things work,” said Vincent Manno, newly appointed provost and dean of faculty at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, and adjunct faculty member at Tufts University in Medford. “I mean ‘things’ in the broadest terms — not only devices or technology, but also institutions and societal processes. I also enjoy working with people. So, education is a natural nexus.”
Manno described a pivotal conversation with a thesis mentor at MIT: “We were discussing career directions, and he shared his observation that engineering educators had high career satisfaction not only in their 30s and 40s, but also later in their careers. This ... was not necessarily the case for engineering careers in other realms. That made an impression on me and I have found out that he was right.”
Manno was one of the first in his family to attend four-year college. “Neither of my parents graduated from college,” he said. “My mom didn’t finish high school, due to the Depression, and my dad received an associate degree on the post-WW II GI bill.”
Over the course of his career, Manno has visited several reactor facilities, including Three Mile Island a few months after its notorious accident. His doctoral thesis, he said, dealt with “ways of predicting where and how hydrogen might flow and pocket in reactor containment buildings, which is actually what happened during the recent Fukushima accidents.”
Manno and his wife, Mariann, who serves as director of pediatric emergency medicine at UMass Medical Center, live in Sudbury and have three grown children. Oldest daughter Elizabeth lives and teaches in New York. Michael is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland and Christopher, a sophomore at Western New England University.
‘The bottom line,” Manno said, “is that I love teaching. I have taught throughout my career, even when in administrative roles. It is why I pursued a career in higher education. Teaching helps me keep my focus and recharge my batteries.”
— Chelsea Lowe.
Executive director, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, Suffolk University Law School.
Lawyer courts academia
There are those whose career trajectories take a straight line from school to their chosen field to retirement. And then there are folks like Greg Massing, who go where curiosity leads them, often with equally rewarding results.
“I would never have guessed in a million years the direction that my career has taken,” said Massing, who was appointed executive director of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School in December.
The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service was established to fosters innovative thinking on law and public policy, and serves as Suffolks’ home to all public service-related activity at the law school.
Massing has seen his career go from publishing (Houghton Mifflin) to law school (Virginia School of Law) to law (Ropes & Gray) to public service in Massachusetts (both as assistant district attorney and assistant attorney general) to teaching (Boston College), and to government (general counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security) as well as a handful of other stops before landing in academic administration in his current position.
His perambulations began while he was working on a civics textbook when he was an author/editor at Houghton Mifflin, “and my heart was in the three or four chapters on civil rights and civil liberties and constitutional law,” which led him to law school. “I ended up at Ropes & Grey, and as far as working for a big law firm, it was about as good as it could be, but I wasn’t getting a lot out of it personally,” said Massing.
He found himself drawn mostly to the research portion of his job, particularly criminal law. That led to stints as assistant district attorney and assistant attorney general in Massachusetts. That experience took him to General Counsel for the Patrick administration, where he worked on getting significant legislation passed that streamlined the CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) system, reduced the time to seal felony and misdemeanor files, and in February 2012, made Massachusetts the 49th state to adopt post-conviction DNA testing.
“That was a great experience,”
— Mike Hoban.
President, Lesley University; outgoing chairman, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts.
Not bad for a dropout
Joseph Moore, who this year wraps up his chairmanship of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, arrived at education by an unusual path:
“I dropped out of college when I was 20,” he said. In fact, he did so twice — primarily, he claims, out of boredom.
“I worked in a shipyard, a factory, and then the old Brentano’s bookstore in Back Bay before moving out to Amherst to complete my bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts,” he said.
Moore, 61, the current president of Lesley University and past president of Empire State College in New York, is a veteran educator: He began his career teaching high-school English and later became provost and vice president of academic affairs at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, then director of academic affairs and planning in the office of the chancellor for Vermont State Colleges.
Moore said he was drawn to the field “by a number of remarkable faculty at UMass. They were each manifestations of the life-changing influence of education, due to their intellectual breadth and thoughtful pedagogy.
“For 35 years, I have been fascinated and challenged by the seeming inability of mainstream educational institutions to change their patterns of practice despite overwhelming evidence of the need to do so,” he said. “That has been matched by the fascination and challenges of working with policymakers who think they are engaged in systemic change but are most often reinforcing the status quo. ... I am fortunate to be at Lesley University, where so many colleagues embrace these challenges and are changing education so that more people have genuine access and more students experience genuine engagement.”
Moore grew up outside of Newark, N.J., and spent most of his adult life in Boston and Vermont. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Universities of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont — which he terms “a public land grant trifecta. These are three more reasons I appreciate New England and both the public and private higher-education institutions that contribute so much to our culture and economy.”
— Chelsea Lowe.
Director, Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority; CFO, Babson College.
Right on the money
Philip Shapiro’s credentials prepared him well for his appointment in March to the Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority’s board of directors. His resume: CFO and vice president for finance at Babson College (where he currently serves), managing director of the public finance department of Standard & Poor’s Boston office, CFO of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, and Bank of New England’ budget and investor relations director.
“Being at Babson, I see the issues and challenges that on the one hand colleges have and on the other hand families have in affording colleges,” said Shapiro, who has overseen the Wellesley business school’s accounting, budgeting, financial planning, investment, purchasing and treasury since 2005.
“I’ve spent 12 years doing bond ratings of colleges and other public finance entities, and I got a good feel for issues colleges face. And I’ve got two kids, one who just graduated in 2011 and one who’s a sophomore now, so I understand how painful and challenging this whole area can be.”
The nonprofit, self-financing MEFA offers college savings programs and lower-cost college financing options, giving families tools for long-term financial planning for their children’s college years.
“It lets families take advantage of schools they might not ordinarily be able to consider,” said Shapiro.
After two MEFA board meetings, Shapiro is already impressed with how the directors “have a continual challenge to keep getting better, and they really take that challenge and responsibility seriously.
“There are a lot of delicate balancing acts between the strength of the institution versus what’s passed along in savings to customers, whether it should be open access to loans or stricter underwriting standards,” he said.
— Todd Larson.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Joseph Moore's title.