Academic Deans Bios


Heather Coltman, D.M.A.

Dean, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of  Arts and Letters

Heather Coltman is Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, where she is a Professor of Music. She joined the faculty of FAU in 1993 and served as chair of the Department of Music for nine years. A solo and collaborative concert pianist, she remains active performing, teaching and lecturing. Coltman made her performance debut in her native country of Zambia at the age of five, and immigrated to the United States in 1966. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas, a Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York and Bachelor of Music degree from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Her principal teachers included Lita Guerra, David Bar-Illan, Claude Frank and Nadia Boulanger, and she has critically acclaimed recordings on Wisdom Recordings, Klavier Records, Innova Recordings, Heng Hao Records and Lyra Productions.

Dean's Assistant

Taina Teran-Campbell, 561-297-3803,


Daniel Gropper, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Business

Dan Gropper is the Dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.  A graduate of the University of Maryland and Florida State University, he joined FAU in 2013 after 25 years at Auburn University.  Before becoming a professor, he worked for three years at a private consulting firm. At FAU, he leads the 6th largest AACSB-accredited business school in the United States, with Executive MBA programs ranked at the highest level of any in Florida by BusinessWeek. Dr. Gropper has been recognized with several awards for his contributions in teaching, research and leadership, including the Luck Endowed Professorship at Auburn. His research has been published in leading finance and economics journals, and he has been quoted in such popular business publications as The Economist and U.S. News & World Report. Dan serves as a local advisory director for Comerica Bank in Palm Beach County. In his free time, Dan is an enthusiastic golfer and fisherman.

Dean's Assistant

Virginia Hale, 561-297-3629,


Wesley Hawkins, Ph.D.

Interim Dean, College for Design and Social Inquiry

Wesley Hawkins earned his MSW from Catholic University, Washington, D.C.  His Ph.D. is in Community Health Education from Southern Illinois University.  Prior to FAU, he has held faculty and research positions at The Johns Hopkins University, the Clinical Trials Division at the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the University of Oregon.  His research areas include adolescent depression, substance use disorders, and the collegiate recovery movement.  Dr. Hawkins has also served as an Assistant and Associate Provost for Promotion and Tenure at FAU.  

Dean's Assistant

Lisa Valjin, 561-297-2316,


Valerie Bristor, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Education

Dr. Valerie J. Bristor is currently Dean and Professor of Reading/Language Arts Education at Florida Atlantic University. She earned her Ph.D. at Ball State University in the field of Elementary Education, with cognates in Reading and Research Methodology. She earned her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from University of South Alabama and her B.A.  in Elementary  Education  from  Evangel  University.  Dr. Bristor was a classroom teacher for nine years in Mobile, Alabama. When she came to Florida Atlantic University in 1988, she taught undergraduate and graduate reading/language arts education courses. After being Chairperson of the Department of Teacher Education for seven years, Dr. Bristor became Associate Dean of the College of Education, Davie Campus, in fall 2000, followed by an appointment to Senior Associate Dean in fall 2006 for two years and Interim Dean 2008-2009. In April 2009 Dr. Bristor was appointed Dean of the College of Education after a national search. Her publications, conference presentations, and grants have focused on her research interests of reading in the content areas and teacher education. Dr. Bristor was a nominee for the President’s Leadership Award in 2006, a finalist for the College of Education Distinguished Teacher Award in 1997, and was a recipient of the University Teacher Incentive Program Award in 1994. She has organized charity events for the Ronald McDonald House and American/Canadian Cancer Societies and is currently a member of the board of directors for the Broward Education Foundation.

Dean's Assistant

Josephine Elliot, 561-297-3357,


Mohammad Ilyas, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science

Mohammad Ilyas, Ph.D. serves as Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and was appointed to this position in November 2013 after serving as Interim Dean for two years. In this capacity, he oversees research operations and undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs in engineering and computer science. Dr. Ilyas received his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, his M.S. degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, and his Ph.D. degree from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He joined Florida Atlantic University in 1983 as Assistant Professor. He was Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from 1994 to 2000, Associate Dean for Research from 2002 to 2013, and Interim Associate Vice President for Research from 2004 to 2005. 

Research interests of Dr. Ilyas include wireless sensor networks and smart systems. He has published one book, 26 handbooks, and over 175 research articles. He has supervised 12 Ph.D. dissertations and more than 38 M.S. theses to completion. He has been a consultant to several national and international organizations. Dr. Ilyas is an active participant in several IEEE Technical committees and activities. He is a senior member of IEEE and a member of ASEE.

Dean's Assistant

Gina Seits, 561-297-3426,

Ellen S. Goldey, Ph.D.

Dean, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College

Dr. Goldey is a biologist and the Dean of the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University. She spent the past 20 years at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC; serving as department chair of Biology and holding the William R. Kenan Jr. professorship. She earned her BS degree from the University of the South (TN) and her MS and PhD degrees from Miami University (OH). Dr. Goldey is a Leadership Fellow in two national undergraduate science reform initiatives, PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences) and SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities Leadership). She was principal investigator on two NSF-funded curriculum reform projects; the most recent of which led to transforming Wofford's first year Biology curriculum. As a member of the cadre of Wabash Teagle Assessment Scholars, she assists campuses in their efforts to use assessment evidence to guide improvement. Prior to Wofford, she was a developmental neurotoxicologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency in RTP, NC. 

Dean's Assistant

Sandra Ogden, 561-799-8579,


Phillip Boiselle, M.D.

Phillip M. Boiselle is Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. He previously served as Associate Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. A graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, he completed his residency at Yale University followed by a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is an internationally recognized expert in thoracic imaging and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Thoracic Imaging

An NIH-funded investigator, his study of tracheal dynamics led to the recognition of tracheomalacia as a distinct phenotype of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with therapeutic implications. He has also served as an investigator for the NCI-funded National Lung Screening Trial, a randomized control trial that was the first to demonstrate the ability of CT screening to reduce lung cancer mortality. Since the completion of this trial, he has played a national role in guiding the successful implementation of high-quality lung cancer screening in community and academic settings. He has published over 200 scholarly contributions, including original research articles, review articles, editorials, book chapters, and books. 

Dean's Assistant

Mari Youngman, 561-297-4341,


Marlaine Smith, RN, Ph.D., FAAN

Dean, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing

Marlaine Cappelli Smith, RN, PhD, FAAN, Helen K. Persson Eminent Scholar, has served as Dean of Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing since 2011.  Under her leadership the College has achieved continuing accreditation of its BSN, MSN and DNP programs, initiated a new freshman direct entry into nursing BSN pathway, improved its US News and World Reports Ranking from 193 to 72, increased ranking for NIH funding from 79th to 49th (3rd in the state of Florida), launched the Anne Boykin Institute for the Advancement of Caring in Nursing, established the FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing Community Health Center, initiated a University-wide affiliation with the HeartMath Institute, and enhanced community engagement with additional faculty practices. 

Born and raised in the Pittsburgh area she received her BSN from Duquesne University and Master of Public Health and Master of Nursing Education with an emphasis in oncology and nursing education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in Nursing from New York University. With forty years of experience in academia, Dr. Smith held faculty positions at Duquesne University, the Pennsylvania State University, LaRoche College and the University of Colorado School of Nursing where she was the Director of the Masters Program, Director of the Center for Integrative Caring Practice and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Dean's Assistant

Nancy Parent, 561-297-3207,


Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D.

Dean, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Ata Sarajedini is the Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Before coming to FAU in January of 2017, he served as Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics as well as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Before that, he was Associate Chair and Acting Chair in the Department of Astronomy. After receiving his PhD in Astronomy at Yale in 1992, he spent seven years as a postdoctoral researcher and a Hubble Fellow at Kitt Peak National Observatory and San Francisco State University. Dr. Sarajedini spent two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as an Assistant Professor before moving to the University of Florida in 2001. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2001, a University of Florida Research Professor award in 2006, and was principal investigator of a large Treasury project with the Hubble Space Telescope starting in 2014.

His research is focused on resolved stellar populations in Local Group galaxies. These include field stars, open and globular clusters in the Milky Way, M31, M33, the Magellanic Clouds, and the numerous nearby dwarf galaxies. When we resolve individual stars in these systems, we can apply our knowledge of star formation and stellar evolution to understanding the process of galaxy formation and evolution.

Dean's Assistant

Margaret Flood, 561-297-3288,

Carol Hixson

Dean, University Libraries

Dean Carol Hixson earned her M.S. in Information Studies from Drexel University and her bachelor’s in Spanish from Grinnell College. Immediately prior to joining FAU, she served as the Dean of Library at USF St. Petersburg. In 2013, she was selected to participate in the inaugural Library Leadership in a Digital Age Institute at Harvard University, and was selected by Educause to be part of the Leading Change Institute in 2012. Dedicated to serving diverse populations and to increasing access to information for all members of the communities of which she has been a part, she has written extensively and has given presentations in Spanish and English throughout North America and Europe, with a focus on digital collections, open access, and library redesign. At FAU, she plans to work closely with the students and faculty to enhance library facilities and services to provide the best student experience possible.

Dean's Assistant

Christie Riganati, 561-297-3165,


Deborah Floyd, Ed.D

Dean, Graduate College

Dr. Floyd’s career spans over 35 years of academic service in universities and community colleges in Texas, Iowa, Virginia, and Florida.  Prior to joining FAU as a faculty member in 2001, she served as a president, vice president and dean.  She was also a Senior Fellow with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She earned her doctoral degree from Virginia Tech, masters and bachelors from Texas A & M University-Commerce, and is a graduate of Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management. Her scholarly publications include over 65 articles, books, monographs and chapters about higher education leadership, practice and policy. Her expert views about the changing landscape of higher education have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher EducationFlorida Trend MagazineNew England Journal of Higher Education and National Public Radio (NPR).  She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, a 39 year old scholarly journal. 

In 2011, she was named FAU’s University’s Distinguished Professor of the Year. Dr. Floyd has supervised 26 doctoral dissertations to completion. She is a past Chair of the FAU’s Graduate Council, Graduate Programs Committee and the College of Education Graduate Programs Committee.  She served several terms as a University Faculty Senator prior to being named Dean of the Graduate College January 2014. 

Dean's Assistant

Jessica Watts, 561-297-2347,


Ed Pratt, Ph.D.

Dean, Undergraduate Studies

Edward E. Pratt has been Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) since July 1, 2007.  He received a B.S. in Japanese from Georgetown University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Japanese history from the University of Virginia.  He is an historian of modern Japan, with a research focus on the social and economic history of the nineteenth-century countryside.  He is the author of Japan’s Protoindustrial Elite: The Economic Foundation of the Gōnō, published by Harvard University Press.  After receiving his Ph.D., Ed taught for two years at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, then assumed a tenure-track position at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  He served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies at William and Mary for four years before assuming the position at FAU.  Ed oversees 11 FAU offices, including University Advising Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning (FAU’s academic support center), and the student athlete academic support center.  He also directs advising initiatives university-wide.  He is the principal investigator for FAU’s Title III-A Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which focuses on support for students at risk in their second year.

Dean's Assistant

Diane Aragon, 561-297-0567,

 Last Modified 8/7/17