HESA Core Faculty

To visit faculty profiles, please click on their names.

Tracy Arámbula Ballysingh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Tracy.Ballysingh@uvm.edu  |  Phone: (802) 656-4124  |  Office: 210D Mann Hall

Tracy Ballysingh

Dr. Tracy Arámbula Ballysingh is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of Vermont. She teaches graduate-level courses in Program Assessment and Evaluation, Higher Education Organization and Administration, Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education, and Educational Policy. A qualitative P-16 educational access and completion scholar, her work explores the systems, structures, policies, and cultural contexts that preclude or promote achievement for 1st generation, low-income, and/or students of color.

Dr. Ballysingh's scholarship has been published in the Journal of School Leadership, the Association for Mexican American Educators Journal, the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, and New Directions for Institutional Research. She has contributed book chapters in two edited volumes, including: Ensuring the Success of Latino Males in Higher Education: A National Imperative (2016) and Latinx in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways and Success (2018). Dr. Ballysingh is active with the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, and the American Educational Research Association. She has served as a faculty affiliate for Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success) since 2016 and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Higher Education and the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Dr. Ballysingh has taught pre-k through graduate school, served as an academic advisor, mentor, and instructor for first-year/first-generation college students, as director of student success programs, and as a policy analyst for the Texas Senate’s Higher Education Committee. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin, an M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Boston College, and B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois.


Jason Garvey, Ph.D., Program Coordinator

jcgarvey@uvm.edu  |  Phone: (802) 656-5107  |  Office: 210B Mann Hall

Jason C. Garvey, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason C. Garvey is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration Program, and also serves as a Faculty Associate for the Leadership and Social Change Undergraduate Learning Community, both at the University of Vermont.

Dr. Garvey’s nationally recognized scholarship, teaching, and service are closely tied to his educational journey as a queer person. His research examines student affairs and college classroom contexts primarily using quantitative methods, with particular attention to uplifting queer and trans collegians. Prior to his faculty appointment, Dr. Garvey worked in student services across a variety of functional areas, including academic advising, LGBTQ student involvement and advocacy, undergraduate research, and student affairs assessment. He received his Ph.D. in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Maryland, with a Certificate in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation.


Deborah Hunter, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Deborah.Hunter@uvm.edu  |  Phone: (802) 656-2030  |  Office: 201 Mann Hall

Deborah Hunter

Dr. 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 has served as the Coordinator of the HESA program for 25 of her years at UVM, interrupted with terms as Associate Dean of UVM's College of Education and Social Services and Chair of the Department of Leadership and Developmental Sciences. Within the HESA program curriculum she administers the program's Practica internships and serves as instructor for Controversies of the Academy, the Capstone Seminar, as well as a course in the doctoral program.

The University of Vermont honored Professor Hunter with the Kroepsch-Maurice Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Jackie M. Gribbons Award for Extraordinary Service to the College of Education and Social Services. She served for two terms as Co-Chair of the UVM's President's Commission on the Status of Women. In addition, Dr. Hunter has been honored with professional awards including: The Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award from ACPA; a Distinguished Accomplishment Citation from the NASPA; 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; and Chair of NAWE'S Division on Teaching and Research.

Dr. Hunter's 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's Journal (now JSARP) and she co-authored a NASPA monograph on student affairs research. 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.

Affiliate Faculty

Dennis DePaul, M.S.

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.


Wanda Heading-Grant, Ph.D.

Wanda Heading-Grant, Ph.D.

Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant was appointed as Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in April 2013 and before that had become UVM's first Chief Diversity Officer in 2010. Dr. Heading-Grant served as Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs and Academic Initiatives from 2007-2010. She was an Associate Dean of College of Education and Social Services from 2003-2007. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office from 1994-2003.

Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant has spent her career focusing on issues of education, social service, social justice and equity. Dr. Heading-Grant holds a Clinical Associate Professor appointment in the Department of Social Work, and she is a member of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont. She has served on the Girls Scout Council of Vermont Board of Directors and United Way of Chittenden County Board of Directors. She has received the City of Burlington's MLK Service Award, the 2010 United Way of Chittenden County Community Impact Award, the 2011 Vermont Women in Higher Education Sister Elizabeth Candon Distinguished Service Award, and is a member of the Phi Gamma Mu National Honor Society. She is also an alumna of the University of Vermont.


Jilliene Johnson, M.Ed.

Jilliene Johnson

Jilliene Johnson serves as Director of Diversity, Engagement and Professional Development for the Vice-Provost and Dean of Students Office. She provides leadership and oversight for issues of climate, diversity, policy administration, and serves as the appellate officer for all student conduct matters.

Jilliene received the HESA Kenneth P. Saurman Memorial Award in 2012 and the Richard F. Stevens Outstanding Graduate Student Award in 2012. For publications and more, please see her biography.


Tiffanie Spencer, Ph.D.

Tiffanie Spencer, Ph.D.

Tiffanie Spencer currently serves as the Assistant Director for Diversity, Retention, and Student Services in the College of Education and Social Services focusing on initiatives with regard to student diversity recruitment and retention expansion; social justice engagement; and student advising and mentoring.

Prior to joining the University of Vermont community, she earned a doctorate from the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia while working with the Georgia College Advising Corps, an institutional partner of a national nonprofit that trains recent college undergraduates to assist students of underserved high schools with their postsecondary search and selection process.  Her research interests align with much of recent work, which focuses on examining transition pathways and experiences of first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students from secondary to postsecondary educational opportunities.

Prior to her time at the University of Georgia, Tiffanie has devoted most of her profession to Higher Education and Student Affairs work in capacities including Residence Life, Student Conduct, Student Organization advising, as well as student advising as part of an empowerment and retention program, focused on working with underrepresented student populations.  Tiffanie received her Master’s of Education in Higher Education Management with a concentration in Student Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Notre Dame.


Annie Stevens, Ph.D.

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 adjunct teaching 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.

Faculty Tribute

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.

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.