Commissioner Biographies

Russell CareyChair

Russell Carey serves as Vice Chair of the Commission and is a member of the NECHE Executive Committee.  As Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy at Brown University, Carey is the senior officer responsible for coordinating Brown’s strategic planning processes and providing leadership on a broad range of University strategy, policy, and governance matters. His duties include establishing measures to assess planning priorities and progress towards Brown’s strategic planning goals; conducting ongoing data gathering, analysis, and outcomes assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the University’s plans, initiatives and policies; and assisting senior officers, divisions and departments in defining strategies and developing plans to ensure continued growth and prosperity. At Brown, he has also served as Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance and Interim Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services. His bachelor’s degree is from Brown and his J.D. from Suffolk University.

Michaele Whelan, Vice Chair

Michaele Whelan is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emerson College where she has served since 2013. Earlier she served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Provost at Brandeis University and before that as Associate Dean in the Schools of Arts, Sciences and Engineering at Tufts University and as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English and American Literature at Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Cornell University and her master’s and Ph.D. in American literature from Harvard University. She has taught in English departments and programs in American Studies and Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University, Harvard University, Tufts University, and Brandeis University. Her area of academic expertise is modern and postmodern America literature.

Paula Amato

Paula Amato is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for New England College.  She is responsible for the College’s finances, budget, treasury, facilities management, student financial services, human resources, payroll, auxiliary services, and student affairs.  Prior to joining New England College, she was the Chief Financial Officer for Manchester Community College and in private business before her work with the Community College.  She was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for L.E. Bagley Company for over twelve years.  She is a certified management accountant with more than 35 years of accounting, facility, and human resources experience, with over 16 years at New England College. She has served NECHE as a team member on eight visiting teams.  She received her B.S. from New Hampshire College in Management Information Systems, her MBA from Plymouth State University, and her Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University.

Kelli J. Armstrong

Prior to beginning her tenure as Salve Regina University’s eighth president, Dr. Armstrong served as vice president for planning and assessment at Boston College. A graduate of Bates College, she earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D in higher education administration from Boston College. She has held positions in research and enrollment management at a variety of public and private institutions including Tufts University, The University of Massachusetts and Bates College. She is particularly passionate about serving disadvantaged students and supporting the advancement of women in underrepresented areas.

Lloyd Blanchard

Lloyd Blanchard is the Interim Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Connecticut, where he also serves on the faculty of its Department of Public Policy. He is a seasoned public administrator, having  served as a senior White House budget official, chief operating officer of the Small Business Administration and Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York, and deputy chief financial officer at NASA. He has also served as a vice provost at Louisiana State University and on the public policy faculty at the University of Washington and Syracuse University. He earned his MPA and PhD in public administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, and bachelor degrees in economics and political science from the University of Texas (at Austin and San Antonio, respectively). His research interests are in educational productivity and costs; and racial and ethnic disparities in education and small business lending.

Stephen Coan

Steve Coan (Public Member CT) is Strategic Advisor to MResult Corporation and recently completed a long tenure as President and CEO of Mystic Aquarium. He is a Trustee of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Chairman of the Connecticut Tourism Advisory Council, and Chairman of the Innovation Center of New London. He served as Chief Education Officer of JASON Learning, an international STEM program for K12. He has taught at Bentley University and served as Executive Director of the Waltham Partnership for Youth and as a youth outreach worker in Boston and eastern Kentucky.  He has a B.A. from Brandeis University and both masters in management and PhD degrees from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.

Peter Ebb

Peter Ebb (Trustee Member) recently retired from his position as partner at Ropes & Gray where he specialized in employment and labor issues, including employee privacy, disciplinary actions, compliance with state and federal discrimination laws, wage and hour compliance, social media concerns, whistleblower claims, and disability-related issues. Earlier he served seven years as staff to the Massachusetts State Legislature and for one year as a judicial clerk on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He serves as chair Board of Trustees of Urban College of Boston and is a past member of the Finance Committee for the town of Natick. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his law degree from Boston University.

John Flynn

Paleontologist John Flynn is the founding Dean of the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, and oversees the Museum’s university level degree-granting and training programs, from undergraduate to graduate and postdoctoral education. He received his B.S. from Yale and Ph.D. from Columbia, is Frick Curator at the AMNH, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and former Guggenheim Fellow, and has served in many leadership roles including as President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. John has been a department chair and curator for many exhibits at the AMNH and The Field Museum. He began his academic career at Rutgers University, served as MacArthur Curator at the Field Museum and Associate Chair of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology, and is or was an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University, CUNY, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois-Chicago, and visiting professor at the Universidad de Chile

Kevin Fudge

Kevin Fudge (Public Member) is Director of Advocacy at American Student Assistance, where he has focused his efforts over the last 18 years on college access and affordability. Kevin earned a B.A. in Sociology from University of Virginia, and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University.

Joseph J. Greene, Jr.

Joseph Greene is Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration/Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at Johnson & Wales University.  He is responsible for university finance, budget, procurement, internal audit, facilities management, information technology and auxiliary services.  He is a certified public accountant with more than 38 years of accounting and finance experience, including 34 years at Johnson & Wales.  He has significant commission experience and served as a team member on seven visiting teams.  He received his B.S. and M.S. in Accounting from Johnson & Wales.

Judith Hain

Judith Hain has a long and distinguished career in higher education, retiring as Vice President for Human Resources at Montclair State University in 2014 after fifteen years of service. Prior positions include Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Executive Director of Employee Relations and Human Resources for the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, and Employee Relations Coordinator for the New Jersey Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. Prior to her service in higher education, Judith was a secondary school teacher and assistant principal. She received her BA from Arcadia University, and her MS in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from Rutgers University. Judith resides with her husband Stuart in Prospect, Maine. Her passion these days is her photography studio in her home in Maine. 

Farshid Hajir

Farshid Hajir is Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His previous administrative duties at UMass Amherst include a combined 11 years in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as Undergraduate Program Director, Associate Head, and Head, and five years in the Provost’s Office as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. He earned his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at Princeton and his PhD at MIT, both in mathematics. Prior to joining UMass Amherst, he held a number of postdoctoral and faculty positions at Caltech, UCLA, California State University San Marcos, and UNC Chapel Hill. His area of academic expertise is algebraic number theory.

James Herbert

James Herbert is President of the University of New England, a merger of St. Francis College and Westbrook College, that includes a Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dental Medicine, and a study abroad campus in Tangiers, Morocco. Earlier at Drexel University he served as Executive Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate College, Interim Provost, chair of the Psychology Department and President of the University Faculty. His research expertise is on quackery and pseudoscience in mental health, and he is a fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine and the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Texas Austin, and his master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Lisa Ijiri

Lisa Ijiri is Clinical Professor of Higher Education and Senior Advisor to the Dean at Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development where she teaches graduate level courses including “How Colleges Work: Governance and Decision-Making in Higher Education”. She has served in a variety of senior academic roles including Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Accreditation Liaison Officer at Lesley University and at Curry College where she was Associate Dean and Director of the Program for Advancement of Learning. Lisa has served regularly on NEASC/NECHE visiting teams for the last fifteen years (including seventeen visiting teams), and currently serves on the NECHE Data Advisory Committee. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders – Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University.

Joyce Judy

Joyce Judy has been president of the Community College of Vermont since 2009, having previously served as dean of students and provost of the College. A special focus of her work is on expanding access to higher education for all Vermonters, from high school students taking college courses to adult students seeking new career opportunities. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s in organization and management from Antioch New England Graduate School. In addition to serving on the University of Vermont Health Network/Central Vermont Medical Center Board of Trustees, the Vermont Higher Education Council, the Vermont Business Roundtable, and the College Board Community College Advisory Group, she is a member of the Future of Vermont Action Team, convened to support the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s efforts to advance resilience, justice, strong communities, and a sustainable economy.

Ellen Kennedy

Ellen Kennedy has served as President of Berkshire Community College (BCC) since 2012.  Previously, she held positions as Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer at BCC; Interim Chief Operating Officer of the National Patient Safety Foundation; Director of Development at WFCR – Public Radio for Western New England; Chief Advancement Officer for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA); and President of the MCLA Foundation. She began her career in Administration and Finance at North Adams State College where she was actively engaged in changes to the College’s mission, name and mascot. Kennedy earned her BS in Business Administration from MCLA, formerly North Adams State College, an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and an Ed.D. from Northeastern University.

Todd Leach

Todd Leach is Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of New Hampshire consisting of University of New Hampshire, Keene State College, Plymouth State University, and Granite State College. Earlier he served as President of Granite State College, the primary public provider of online higher education in New Hampshire. Before that he served at Northeastern University as Senior Associate Dean of the College of Professional Studies where he oversaw all of its academic programs and faculty and led the development of over twenty master’s and doctoral programs. He provided oversight for Northeastern Online and served as the Executive Director of the School of Education. He earned an Associate’s degree from Massachusetts Bay Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State College, an M.B.A. from Bentley University, and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University.

Jeffrey J. McMahan

Jeffrey J. McMahan (Public Member) is an attorney with Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew in Burlington, Vermont, where he has served as managing partner. He identifies his practice areas as business planning and intellectual property. Previously he was an in-house lawyer at IDX Systems Corporation, its ChannelHealth subsidiary, and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. He has also served as an attorney for several Vermont independent institutions of higher education. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. He earned his B.A. from Middlebury College cum laude and his J.D. from William and Mary School of Law.

Juline Mills

Juline Mills is Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Prior to her arrival at Westfield in 2018, Juline was at University of New Haven in Connecticut where she served as chair of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and as the chair and vice chair of the faculty senate.  Dr. Mills’ strengths as an administrator and faculty member include a focus on experiential learning and its desired outcomes; re-energizing academic departments in need; engaging and retaining talented faculty; infusing an entrepreneurial approach to teaching; creating non-tuition based revenue; and designing success-focused curricula driven by industry trends.

Peggy Newell

Peggy Newell is Deputy Provost at Harvard University. She is responsible for strategic and tactical planning and management of all provostial activities, as well as advising the Provost on a wide array of administrative matters. Initially, she focused on supporting the campaign and planning for the Science and Engineering complex in Allston. Prior to coming to Harvard, Peggy held a variety of positions at Tufts University, most recently Provost ad interim, Vice Provost, and Associate Provost for Research. Earlier she was Associate Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences and Associate Dean for Special Programs at Tufts University School of Medicine. She served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research and a member of the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute. She holds a B.A. from Boston College (major in Psychology), an M.B.A. from the Carroll School of Management, and a J.D. from Suffolk University.

Luis G. Pedraja

Dr. Luis G. Pedraja has served as president of Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) since 2017. Prior to that, he served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Antioch University in Los Angeles and Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Peralta Community College District in California. Previously, as Vice President for Middle States Commission on Higher Education, he led initiatives in international accreditation, substantive change, and evaluator training. President Pedraja emigrated from Cuba as a child and grew up in Miami. He is a passionate advocate for increased access to higher education for all people, especially those who have been underserved historically by the American higher education system. Dr. Pedraja received his BA from Stetson University, and a
Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion from the University of Virginia.

Sebastian Royo

Sebastian Royo is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Clark University.  He previously served at Suffolk University as Vice President of International Affairs and Professor of Political Science from 2019-2021; Acting Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2016-2019; and as Vice Provost for Student Success from 2012 to 2016.  He was Suffolk’s Accreditation Liaison Officer since 2013 and has led the self-study and interim report processes at the University.  Sebastian has served on six NECHE accreditation teams.

Melinda Treadwell

Dr. Treadwell, an alumna of Keene State and the first in her family to attend college, began serving as interim president of Keene State on July 31, 2017. Dr. Treadwell originally joined Keene State as a faculty member in 2000. Later, she also served as interim provost. Prior to returning to Keene, Dr. Treadwell served as CEO and provost of Antioch University New England. Dr. Treadwell holds a Doctorate in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Dartmouth Medical School and a Bachelor’s degree from Keene State College.