Academic Deans Bios


Michael Horswell, Ph.D.

Dean, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of  Arts and Letters

Dr. Michael J. Horswell earned his Ph.D. in Latin American literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds a M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College in Vermont, and a B.A. in Spanish and Business Economics from Wofford College in his native South Carolina. Dr. Horswell specializes in the literature and culture of the colonial period as well as indigenous literatures of the Andes and Latin American film studies. He has lived and worked in Spain, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. Prior to becoming dean, Dr. Horswell served the college as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and as the chair of the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature. Dr. Horswell is the author or editor of five books and has published articles and book chapters on colonial, transatlantic literature, Latin American cinema, and Andean contemporary culture. His most recent books on Spanish and Latin American culture include the co-edited volumes Submerged: Alternative Cuban Cinema (2013); Baroque Projections: Images and Texts in Dialogue with Early Modern Hispanic World (2016); and Sexualidades Periféricas. Consolidaciones literarias y fílmicas en la España de fin de siglo XIX y fin de milenio (2016).

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,


Naelys Luna, Ph.D.

Interim Dean, College for Design and Social Inquiry

Naelys Luna earned her MSW and Ph.D. in Social Work from Fordham University in New York and her BA from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. She is a Licensed Social Worker (NY and NJ). She helped develop ADHD and PTSD programs in a child and adolescent outpatient psychiatric hospital. Dr. Luna has provided clinical social work services to children, adolescents, and their families in outpatient units, partial care programs, and private practice. She has worked in several research projects at the New York Psychiatric Institute and Lehman College. Dr. Luna’s research interests and publications are in the areas of substance use disorders, mood disorders, spirituality, parental roles, mental health outcomes in minorities (especially Hispanics), and psychosocial functioning.

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,


Stella Batalama, Ph.D.

Stella Batalama serves as Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and was appointed to this position in August 2017. Dr. Batalama comes from the University at Buffalo, a flagship institution of The State University of New York (SUNY) and a premier research-intensive university. She served most recently as chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo and has held various positions there since 1995, including associate dean for research in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and acting director of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Center for Integrated Transmission and Exploitation (CITE), Rome, NY.

Dr. Batalama received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia and her undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Patras in Greece. She also completed the Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. She is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), a member of the Society of Women Engineers, and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Director, Executive & Academic Administrative Affairs

Marilyn Cordy-Burrell, 561-297-3426,

Timothy Steigenga, Ph.D.

Interim Dean, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College

Dr. Timothy Steigenga earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and held positions at the University of Massachusetts, Colby College, and Davidson College prior to moving to Jupiter to help found the Wilkes Honors College in 1999. He has served as the Associate Dean for Campus and Community Engagement, Chair or Social Science and Humanities, and Co-Director of the Kenan Social Engagement Program. He is the author/editor of six books and numerous other publications on religion and politics in Latin America and issues related to migration and immigrant integration. Dr. Steigenga has served as co-principle investigator on major research grants from the Ford Foundation focused on the lives of Latin American immigrants, was awarded a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Guatemala. While serving at FAU, he has been honored to receive the Presidential Leadership Award (2005), University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2004), Dwight Allison Fellowship (2005), Chairman’s Award of Excellence from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2007), Researcher of the Year Award (2008), and the University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising (2010). 

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 previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Thoracic Imaging from 2009 – 2018.

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 a site 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

Gina Seits, 561-297-4341,

Safiya George

Safiya George, Ph.D

Dean, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing

Dr. Safiya George earned her PhD and MSN degrees from Emory University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University in Religion and Health. She served as a member of the faculty at Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing until she was recruited to the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in 2015, where she served as Director of the Office of Scholarly Affairs and Assistant Dean for Research and member of the Advisory Board of the Alabama Life Research Institute. Since 2015, CCN saw tremendous growth in scholarly activities, including significant increases in extramural funding. Both the Executive Leadership Team and the faculty, staff and students at CCN and UA describe Dr. George as a great mentor, role model and colleague. At UA, she also served as faculty in the Honors College and Faculty-In-Residence for residential honors students. Her primary research area aims to promote the health and holistic wellbeing of individuals with or at risk for HIV/AIDS through evidence-based psychosocial interventions focused on social determinants of health. Her research has previously been funded by the, National Institutes of Health, including the National Institutes of Nursing Research, the Georgia Department of Community Health, the John Templeton Foundation, Emory University Religion and Public Health Collaborative, the Biomedical Imaging Technology Center, and the University of Alabama. Her work is currently funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HRSA, ViiV Healthcare’s Southern Initiative Positive Action program, and the NIH-funded Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR). Dr. George’s research productivity demonstrates the quality as well as quantity of her work and also signals her national reputation in the areas of holistic health, spirituality and HIV. Dr. George has received a number of honors and recognitions for her work. Most recently, on April 17, 2019, she was awarded the 2019 President’s Faculty Research Award at the University of Alabama. Her holistic approach to her research also garnered her an international award, the Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award in 2015. In 2017, she was elected to serve on the International Board of Directors for Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society for Nursing, where she has also held numerous leadership roles, including Chair of the International Service Committee, elected member of the Leadership Succession Committee and Vice President of the Epsilon Omega Chapter. Dr. George is a board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and in 2018, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

“I am both humbled and excited about the opportunity to join faculty, staff and students at the Christine Lynn College of Nursing and serve as Dean. I have a passion for people, holistic health, caring and nursing science and I believe that I can contribute to and further support the impressive initiatives and programs at the college and across the campus. I have already grown to love Florida Atlantic University and the Christine Lynn College of Nursing, especially the caring philosophy that transcends and represents everything that the college stands for. I am proud to soon join the team and I truly look forward to working with everyone, including our phenomenal faculty, staff, students, alumni, advisory board and members of the larger, surrounding community.

Dean's Assistant

Debbie Campbell, 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,

Robert Stackman, Ph.D.

Interim Dean, Graduate College

Dean's Assistant

Brian Farrell, 561-297-2117,


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

Kathy Czaja, 561-297-0567,

 Last Modified 7/2/19