HESA Program Faculty

Deborah E. Hunter: Associate Professor and Department Chair

Deborah HunterDr. Hunter joined the UVM HESA faculty in 1985 after serving as a student affairs administrator at the University of Louisville and the University of Indianapolis. She served as the Coordinator of the HESA program from 1987-1997 and after an appointment as Associate Dean of UVM’s College of Education and Social Services, she again assumed the role as HESA Program Coordinator from 2002 until 2010.  In addition to her involvement with the HESA Program, she is currently Chair of the Department of Leadership and Developmental Sciences, one of three departments within UVM’s College of Education and Social Services.   She teaches The (Un) Changing Academy and Controversies of the Academy, as well as a course, Leadership and the Creative Imagination, in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program.

The University of Vermont honored Professor Hunter with the 1998 Kroepsch-Maurice Award for Excellence in Teaching Award and the Jackie M. Gribbons Award for Extraordinary Service to the College of Education and Social Services in 2007. In addition, Dr. Hunter has been honored with various professional awards including: The Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award from ACPA: College Student Educators International; a Distinguished Accomplishment Citation from the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education ; and the Dorothy Truax Award and the Ruth Strang Research Award from the National Association for Women in Education. Dr. Hunter has held leadership positions from each of these professional associations: Chair of ACPA's Commission on Professional Preparation; NASPA's Advisory Board and National Conference Committee; Chair of the 1997 NAWE National Conference, and Chair of NAWE'S Division on Teaching and Research.

Professor Hunter's most recent research explores the careers of women faculty and how they have crafted fulfilling personal and professional lives.  Her scholarship has been published in the Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Counseling and Development, Review of Higher Education, and NASPA Journal (now called the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice).  She co-authored NASPA monograph on student affairs research.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Hunter has juggled responsibilities as Associate Dean of the College of Education and Social Services, President of the Faculty of the College of Education and Social Services, and two terms as Co-Chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women.   Her Ph.D. with a double major in Higher Education and Educational Inquiry Methodology and her master's degree in Student Affairs were earned at Indiana University, which honored her with the Elizabeth Greenleaf Distinguished Alumnus/a Award.
After growing up in the New York City suburbs, I never anticipated living on a dirt road in a farmhouse  that was built in 1810 with my husband and twin 18 year old sons, complete with a big red barn and sheep, a peacock, 2 huge dogs, 4 cats and 60 trout named “Fred”! No wonder I am so happy when I am on campus: I am not surrounded by strange animal noises, mud, and mess! I love to welcome my UVM colleagues to my home to enjoy Vermont’s beautiful countryside.

Vijay Kanagala

Vijay KanagalaVijay Kanagala is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration. In the HESA program, Vijay engages with students from both the first year and second year cohorts and teaches courses such as: Student Affairs Profession, The American College Student, Advanced Student Development: Theory to Practice and Higher Education Administration and Organization.

Prior to joining the UVM faculty in Fall 2014, Vijay held a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Research and Policy in Education housed in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition, as a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Vijay taught graduate level courses in the Higher Education program. Some of the Masters level courses include: Foundations and Functions of Student Affairs, Legal Issues in Higher Education and Research Methods.

A qualitative research methodologist, Vijay’s current research interests include college access, success and completion of low-income, first-generation college students, intersectionality of education and immigration, and the collegiate experiences of students of color, international and generation 1.5 students. He is very passionate about employing contemplative pedagogy and spirituality to address social justice issues. In addition to examining the experiences of Latina/o students, Vijay is interested in understanding the experiences of Asian Americans and African Americans attending Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). He has served as a Co-Principal Investigator on several grant-funded projects dealing with Latino/a college completion. He serves as Associate Editor of PERSPECTIVAS, a policy brief series on Latino/a higher education issues sponsored by the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Vijay earned a PhD in Education-Educational Leadership from Iowa State University-Ames. He holds a Master of Education in Higher Education-Student Affairs as well as a Master of Business Administration also from Iowa State University. He received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Madras, India.

Kelly Clark/Keefe

Kelly Clark/KeefeKelly Clark/Keefe joined the UVM HESA faculty as Associate Professor in 2014 after serving as faculty and Interim Assistant Director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Kelly has experienced student affairs from the perspective of an administrator and a faculty member. During completion of her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from Assumption College in Worcester, MA, she worked as a Graduate Residence Director. As an early-career student affairs professional, Kelly held the position of Residence Education Coordinator at Frostburg State University in Maryland. She then pursued her passion for working closely with individual and small groups of college students by serving as the Director of Counseling Services at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont from 1990-1995. Kelly was honored for her work at Green Mountain College by NASPA who awarded her the Region 1 1991-1992 Outstanding New Professional Award. In 1996, the American College Counseling Association honored Kelly as the then-youngest recipient of the organization’s prestigious Meritorious Service Award. She completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 1999 at the University of Vermont.

In addition to her involvement with the UVM HESA program, Kelly engages in teaching and service activities across the CESS Leadership and Developmental Sciences department including the Human Development and Family Sciences, Educational Leadership, and Foundations programs. This interdisciplinary appointment provides the ideal backdrop for her scholarly interests. Kelly’s research brings material feminist and poststructural theories of embodiment, agency, subjectivity and language to bear on a range of overlapping topics including: the physicality of educational subjectivity (with an emphasis on college student identity), sociocultural studies of stratified versions of schooling and college access, and conceptual analyses of educational leadership. Kelly’s research interests also extend to the study of the social sciences themselves, whereby she engages philosophies of language, creativity, affect, and agential realism to argue the usefulness of embodied, arts-informed approaches for researching marginalization, categorization and other complexities of contemporary educational circumstances. Recognition of her scholarship and teaching has included being the Invited 2012 Keynote Community Lecturer at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland, receiving the 2007 Reich College of Education Annual Outstanding Teaching Award and in 2011 being one of five recipients of a North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award for her work at Appalachian State University.

Recent selected journal publications include Registering Rachel: Untamed artistic arrivals in the crease of educational ‘conformativity’ (2014, in Visual Research); Suspended animation: Attuning to material-discursive data and attending via art making during somatographic inquiry (2014, in Qualitative Inquiry); Becoming artist, becoming educated, becoming undone: Toward a nomadic perspective of college student identity development (2014, in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education); Maps, flesh, and the radicant: Mobilizing the expressive arts to do a translation of ‘science-as-usual’ (2013, with Gilway & Miller in Poiesis: A Journal of the Arts and Communication); Love letters, postcards, and Post-it© notes about pedagogy, ways of knowing and arts-based research (2013, with Miller, Plato, Henson & Atkins in Poeisis: A Journal of the Arts and Communication). A recent chapter titled Transpositions towards becoming leading subjects was published with colleague, Vachel Miller, in C. Gerstl-Pepin & J. A. Aiken’s (2012) edited book titled Social Justice Leadership for a Global World. Kelly published her first book in 2010, titled Invoking Mnemosyne: Art, memory and the uncertain emergence of a feminist embodied methodology. 

Sean Hurley

Sean Hurley

Sean Hurley is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Developmental Sciences where he teaches graduate courses in research methodology and statistics. His research interests include quantitative research methodology (particularly techniques for interpreting data obtained from field studies in Education, such as multilevel modeling and missing-data augmentation), improving academic and social outcomes for youths living in poverty, and applying principles from cognitive psychology to formal learning settings.

Dr. Hurley teaches Research Methods in Higher Education in the HESA program.

Lacretia Johnson Flash

Beth Wiser

Lacretia Johnson Flash is the Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Vermont (UVM), where she helped establish the university’s President’s Commission for Inclusive Excellence. For many years, Dr. Flash served as the Assistant Dean for Conduct, Policy, and Climate for the Division of Student Affairs at UVM, where she created and led the Division’s Diversity Council, providing leadership for major initiatives, including a nationally recognized diversity professional development program and a multicultural competencies assessment process.

Lacretia earned a doctorate from the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at UVM. Her dissertation research was on Developing a Measure of Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs Organizations. She has presented nationally on her work, including: From Ambivalence to Action: Institutional Steps Towards Becoming a Multiculturally Affirming Campus, Innovative Strategies and Tools for Assessing Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs Organizations, and her model of organizational multicultural competence.

Lacretia was awarded the Susan Hasazi ALANA Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Doctoral Education from the College of Education and Social Services at UVM and received research grants from the American College Personnel Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. In addition to her professional work, Lacretia loves the visual arts, dance, and gardens. She has written about her life as an artist and administrator for The Vermont Connection in the article Embracing the Artist and Discovering the Scholar Practitioner.

Annie Stevens

Annie Stevens

Annie Stevens, Ph.D., was appointed Vice Provost for Student Affairs in July 2013. Annie arrived at UVM in 1997 as the Director of Residential Life and then served as the Associate Vice-President for Student and Campus Life for 12 years.

As a member of the Provost and President’s Senior Leadership teams, Annie helps shape the overall foundation and direction for the student life of the campus, integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences. She is responsible for providing leadership to ensure the effective coordination of a wide spectrum of student affairs programs and services in order to achieve student development and learning outcomes that result in an overall experience that supports students in being healthy, successful, and engaged.

Her 27 years of professional experience in student affairs has included positions at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The University of California at Berkeley. Education is her passion – she earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Lawrence University, a master’s in Higher Education Administration at the University of Vermont and a doctoral degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Services at The University of Maryland, College Park.

Annie is recognized nationally as a Senior Student Affairs Officer within the American College Personnel Association and is a member of the Senior Student Affairs Advisory Board. Annie is also a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and provides mentorship to undergraduates interested in the field of higher education through the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program.

Annie enjoys teaching the Legal Issues Course in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Graduate Program at UVM and is also the co-editor of Out and About Campus: Personal Stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender College Students.

Patience Whitworth

Patience WhitworthPatience Whitworth is currently the Assistant Dean of Students in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Vermont. She oversees strategic planning for the division with particular focus in the areas of assessment and technology. Prior to this position, Patience worked as Assistant Director of Academic Support Programs at the University of Vermont where she supervised tutoring services and taught Learning and Motivation Strategies for academically at-risk students. Concurrently, Patience also served as the Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice from 2009 to 2012.

Before her career at the University of Vermont, Patience’s previous experience also included serving as the Assistant Director of the Student Life Research and Assessment office at The Ohio State University. She earned both her masters degree in Educational Policy and Leadership and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at The Ohio State University.

Nick Negrete

Nick Negrete

Nick Negrete is an alum of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESA) Program at the University of Vermont, and currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Students within the Division of Student Affairs at UVM. Nick oversees student crisis management, threat assessment, education and prevention efforts, and policies related to student health and safety issues. Additionally, Nick works on student retention initiatives, alcohol education, prevention, and intervention strategies, and leads institutional efforts related to proactive parent engagement.

Nick’s past student affairs experiences include Residential Life, Orientation Programs, and Multicultural Affairs. He has served as the Assistant Director for the ALANA Student Center at the University of Vermont, Assistant Director for Cross Cultural Centers at California State University, Los Angeles and is a proud alum and former Residential Life staff member at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nick is involved both regionally and nationally with NASPA. He has served on the NASPA Region I Advisory Board as the Undergraduate Liaison, as well as the Student Affairs Leaders of Tomorrow (SALT) Conference Chair from 2011-2013. He has also served on ACPA’s Standing Committee for LGBT Equity from 2006-2008, worked on the New England Latino Student Leaders Conference sponsored by NASPA, and has served as a NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) mentor. Nick also leads the NUFP summer internship program at UVM, bringing undergraduate students from various universities across the country to intern within the Division of Student Affairs at UVM.

Nick has been awarded ACPA’s Outstanding New Professional Award, NASPA’s Region I 2011 Outstanding Mid-Level Professional Award, and NASPA’s Vermont State Outstanding Mid-Level Professional Award. Nick co-founded UVM’s Racial Aikido Program and has presented on issues affecting students of color and queer students at NASPA, ACPA, and NCORE and has co-authored a chapter, Engaging Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in Multicultural Affairs, within the book, Building Bridges, Revisioning Community: Multicultural Students Services on Campus

Finally, Nick is currently working on his doctorate degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Vermont.

Beth Wiser

Beth Wiser

Dr. Beth Wiser was appointed Director of Admissions at the University of Vermont in September 2008. In this role, she works with a staff of 51 professionals and works with the admissions team to recruit, admit and yield first-time first year, transfer and international students.

Beth’s 32-year administrative career spans four other institutions. Prior to coming to the University of Vermont, Beth served as Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience at The Ohio State University where she managed a staff of twenty-two and lead outreach and recruitment activities for undergraduate admissions. Prior to her work at Ohio State, Beth served in a variety of positions at Capital University, including the role of Vice President for Enrollment Management for four years, and was the first woman vice president named in the University’s history. Beth also worked in the admissions offices of Denison University and Ohio Wesleyan University in the early years of her career.

Beth is active in the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) and the regional affiliate, NEACAC. She was elected delegate to the national assembly in both New England and Ohio. She has a passion for developing staff and has served on the faculty of NEACAC’s Summer Institute for new admissions and school counseling professionals and on the faculty of NEACAC’s Admissions Middle Management Institute.

Beth earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership and served as a Graduate Administrative Associate in the HESA program at Ohio State before assuming the role of Associate Director. Her research interests include organizational theory and behavior, presidential leadership, and institutional culture. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Policy and Leadership from Ohio State and a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies from Emory University.

Dennis DePaul

Dennis DePaul

Dennis DePaul is returning to the HESA faculty after a several year hiatus. He currently holds the position of Assistant Dean for Business Operations in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Vermont. With more than 25 years of progressive experience in higher education, Dennis manages the budgets, human resources and contractual relationships for nine departments. To compliment this work, he also facilitates multicultural, diversity and Restorative Practices trainings throughout the institution and beyond. To that end, in 2010 he co-founded the Consortium for Inclusion & Equity; a consultancy working with organizations nationwide to promote inclusive work environments through intentional multicultural competency training and development.

To ground his professional aspirations, Dennis also spends a considerable amount of time volunteering within his community. He has served as board member and president of several organizations devoted to helping children with cancer and other serious illnesses, including the Children’s Oncology Camping Association International, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Vermont, and most recently as President of the Board and Camp Director for Vermont’s Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a free summer camp and year round programs for children in Vermont and upstate New York fighting cancer.

Dennis graduated magna cum laude from JSC in 1990 with a B.S. in anthropology/sociology. He went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership, graduating summa cum laude from Troy State University in Alabama.

Lee Williams

Nick Negrete

Lee Burdette Williams has worked in higher education and student affairs for more than two decades. Most recently, she served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Wheaton College, and prior to that was Dean of Students at the University of Connecticut. Lee’s professional interests include academic partnerships, learning communities and student culture. She has written extensively on these and other topics and is a frequent speaker and presenter on contemporary issues in higher education. Lee received her Ph.D. in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Maryland, her M.Ed. in Counseling from Salem State University, and her B.A. from Gordon College. In her free time, Lee enjoys hiking, sailing, kayaking, biking, music and lively conversation with interesting people.


Jackie M. Gribbons (retired)

Jackie was Professor Emerita and one of the founders of the HESA program.  She passed away on January 9, 2014.  Vermont Women in Higher Education interviewed Jackie in 2008 in a video that reflects Jackie's spirit and impact on generations of students in the HESA program. 

Jackie Gribbons VWHE 2008 Video

Jackie Gribbons
Professor Gribbons was a faculty member of the HESA program since its inception in 1970 until her retirement in 2007. As the previous Coordinator of the Practicum Internships, she developed over 200 credit internships and provided the leadership, organization, and quality control for this nationally acclaimed practicum program. When she took early retirement in 1993 following 27 years of service as an administrator at UVM, she continued her faculty assignment with the HESA program as an advisor to HESA students. In 2007, she retired from the HESA faculty but continued her contact with HESA alumni and continued to serve on several University committees.

Professor Gribbon's areas of scholarly and professional interest included staff development and training, strategic planning, women in higher education, leadership development, and staff supervision and recruitment. Professor Gribbons developed and taught a year-long career development seminar to assist second-year HESA students in their professional preparation.

A national leader in higher education, she was the President of the National Association for Women in Education (NAWE) and Vice President for Association Advancement and Director of Planned Giving. She served as the Vermont State Coordinator for the American Council on Education's National Identification Program for the advancement of women in higher education. Her leadership and contributions brought her numerous national and state awards and citations, including three leadership and service awards which carry her name at the UVM, State of Vermont, and Bowling Green State University. Professor Gribbons held a M.A. degree in Counseling and Physical Education from Case Western Reserve University.