Deans

What does it mean to be an academic leader in the most competitive higher education market in the United States? It takes expertise, discipline, strategy, collaboration, skill, and a passion for learning.

Dean Stephanie Berzin

College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice

Dr. Stephanie Berzin is the Dean of College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. Prior to her arrival at Simmons, she served as Assistant Dean for the Doctoral Program at the Boston College School of Social Work, where she co-led the curriculum redesign and the development of a strategic vision around social innovation, social entrepreneurship, leadership, and resource development. She also served as co-director of the BC Center for Social Innovation, which works to build the evidence-base for social innovation, prepare tomorrow's social sector leaders, and promote the capacity of existing agencies to respond to social issues. Dr. Berzin also works with social sector leaders to develop their innovation skills both locally and abroad. Her most recent book was published by Oxford University Press, Innovation From Within: Redefining How Nonprofits Solve Problems (2018). Dr. Berzin graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, earned her MSW from Columbia University, and a PhD from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dean Marie desJardins

College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences

Dr. Marie desJardins is the Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences. In this role she will lead collaboration among faculty and other stakeholders in pursuing the growth and development of College programs and initiatives, align an interdisciplinary collaboration that increases pathways from undergraduate to graduate study in growing fields, and promote a culture of research and scholarly productivity through innovative teaching and engaged learning. Prior to joining Simmons, Dr. desJardins served as Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's College of Engineering and Information Technology, where she oversaw multiple assessment activities, including leading a successful re-accreditation of four undergraduate engineering and computing undergraduate curriculum. A career educator, Dr. desJardin has published over 100 scientific papers in journals, conferences, and workshops. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory. Dr. desJardins graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in engineering and computer science, and earned her PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dean Brian Norman

Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities

Dr. Brian Norman is the Dean of the Ifill College. He is a scholar of American and African American literature, professor of English, and academic administrator who most recently served as Associate Vice President of Faculty Affairs and Diversity at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. He has taught a wide range of courses in literature and culture, and he founded Loyola's program in African and African American Studies. His research projects engage with questions of identity, belonging, justice, and the relationship between literature and social change. Dr. Norman is a distinguished scholar who has written or edited several books; his most recent are Neo-Segregation Narratives: Jim Crow in Post-Civil Rights American Literature (University of Georgia Press 2010) and Dead Women Talking: Figures of Injustice in American Literature(Johns Hopkins University 2013). He recently spent his sabbatical as a research fellow at the Dresher Center for the Humanities at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in environments studies, women's studies, and French from Pacific Lutheran University, and an MA and PhD in English from Rutgers University.

Dean Catherine Paden

Undergraduate Program

Dr. Catherine Paden, Dean of the Undergraduate Program and Associate Provost, is an accomplished scholar and educator. In her role, she works closely with faculty to review and revise policies around the undergraduate academic experience. Dean Paden's research and teaching interests focus on racial politics, social movements, interest groups, and how underrepresented groups gain political representation. She is the author of Civil Rights Advocacy on Behalf of the Poor (2011, pb 2013), which assesses whether, and how, low-income African Americans gain representation in anti-poverty legislative battles. Her current research examines the impact of local civil rights and economic justice organizing on national policy and interest group priorities. She has published her research in the DuBois Review and has contributed research on the Nation of Islam to a volume on religion and American politics (University of Virginia, 2012). At Simmons, Dr. Paden has previously served as the Faculty Assistant to the Dean on Diversity Initiatives, on the Dean's Diversity Task Force, and on the President's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (PDIAC). Dean Paden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from Vassar College and a PhD in political science and government from Northwestern University.

Dean Lepaine Sharp-McHenry

College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences

Dr. Lepaine Sharp-McHenry is the Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. In her new position, Dr. Sharp-McHenry will lead faculty in promoting and strengthening innovative teaching and engaged learning, build a culture of research and scholarly productivity, enhance programs within and across disciplines both inside CNBHS and in partnership with other deans across the university, and work to cultivate innovative practices and procedures required to advance the world’s scientific future and save lives. CNBHS encompasses the Departments of Behavioral Analysis, Biology, Chemistry & Physics, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, and Psychology, and houses Simmons’ nationally recognized School of Nursing. Prior to her role at Simmons, Dr. Sharp-McHenry has served as Dean of the College of Nursing at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK.  Prior to that, she was at the University of Arkansas for 15 years, first as a faculty member and later as the Assistant Director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Nationally, she has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and as a site visitor on accreditation teams for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).  She has also received official recognitions of her expertise at a state level, including several appointments by the Governor of the State of Arkansas.