Provost Office Staff Bios

Dr. Michele HawkinsVice Provost for Academic Affairs

Michele Hawkins, Ph.D., MSW, is the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. In this position, she assists the Provost with oversight of the Division of Academic Affairs and its administration, faculty, and staff members. She also acts as chief academic officer in the absence of the Provost, and she has university-wide responsibilities for personnel issues in Academic Affairs, including, but not limited to, promotion and tenure, professional development, collective bargaining, and the faculty credentialing process.

Dr. Hawkins previously served as the Associate Provost for Planning and Budget. Prior to assuming that role, she served as Associate Provost for Programs and Assessment. From 1998 to 2013, Dr. Hawkins served as Professor and Director of the School of Social Work in the College for Design and Social Inquiry at FAU, with more than fifteen years of experience overseeing accredited programs that require strong assessment and sustained evaluation. Her leadership was essential to the establishment of the Master of Social Work degree program at FAU. She also previously held positions at the National School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America and at the University of Oregon, in addition to practice experience in school social work, legislative policy, and work with adults. Dr. Hawkins received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Missouri and her doctorate from Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Russell Ivy | Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs 

Russell Ivy serves as the Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. In this capacity, he is responsible for providing leadership in formulating and administering university policies for student learning outcomes assessment, academic program review, institutional and program-based accreditation, review of new degree proposals, and other projects related to academic programs and curriculum. He leads FAU's Team for Assurance of Student Learning (TASL).

Ivy received both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Geography from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Florida. He joined FAU in 1992, and in addition to professorial duties, served 5 years as Associate Chair and 9 years as Chair of Geosciences. During that time, he led the department in the development of a doctoral program in Geosciences. Additionally, he has served as Interim Dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science since August of 2013. He holds the current rank of Professor in Geosciences.

Anthony Abbate | Associate Provost for the Broward Campuses

Anthony Abbate is the Associate Provost of the Broward Campuses of Florida Atlantic University. His responsibilities include providing leadership and vision for campus-based services for the University's three Broward campuses, including academic support services, student affairs, operations and community relations.

A native resident of Fort Lauderdale, Professor Abbate joined FAU in 1996 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the newly established School of Architecture. Mr. Abbate has served on numerous state, county and municipal boards including as Vice-Chair of the State of Florida Department of Education Building Construction Advisory Committee, Chair of the Broward Cultural Council and Chair of the Sustainability Committee for the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Mr. Abbate served as the Director of the Broward Community Design Collaborative at the College for Design and Social Inquiry from 2006 to 2011, expanding cross-disciplinary funded research through collaboration among the disciplines of planning, urban design, social work and architecture. Additionally, he chaired the third international conference on Subtropical Cities, hosted at FAU's Fort Lauderdale campus in 2011.

He received the professional degree of Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Catholic University of America. He holds nationally certified credentials to practice architecture and is accredited by the US Green Building Council in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Mr. Abbate also authored the Broward County County-wide Community Design Guidebook and Subtropical Sustainable: A Context Sensitive Design Approach to Redevelopment in Broward County, and has published papers on architectural and urban design in hot-humid tropical and subtropical climates.

Jason Ball | Associate Provost and Chief Information Officer

As Associate Provost and Chief Information Officer, Jason Ball provides vision, leadership, strategic planning, and coordination of information technology, media, networking and telecommunications throughout the University's multi-campus environment. He supports these operations within the Office of Information Technology (OIT), develops strong managers and staff to meet strategic goals and improve customer service, participates fully with other campus leaders in advancing the University's mission, and develops and manages long-term relationships with technology vendors and partners. Mr. Ball also works with the University's chief financial officer to ensure seamless integration of administrative and emergency information systems.

Mr. Ball joined FAU after serving as the assistant vice president and director of information technology at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, where he also earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. He has more than 15 years of technology management experience in higher education.

Dr. Eliah Watlington | Associate Provost for the Northern Campuses, and Executive Director, Lifelong Learning Institute, Jupiter

Dr. Eliah Watlington serves as Associate Provost of the Northern Campuses. She provides oversight of campus administrative operations, promotes program growth, and serves as a liaison to the MacArthur and Treasure Coast FAU service area communities. As Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Jupiter, she oversees organization and program development for seasoned learners.

Dr. Watlington has held academic leadership positions in the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University since 1994, serving as Associate Dean since 2001. She is a faculty member in the department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology and co-chaired the college's successful 2007 NCATE accreditation and FDOE program approval visit. She also sits on the Executive Board for Florida Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (FACTE). Her areas of research include program evaluation, costs of teacher recruitment and retention, and organizational change. Dr. Watlington holds both Doctorate and Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Dr. Herb Shapiro | Associate Provost for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Boca Raton 

As Associate Provost, Herbert Shapiro provides leadership and vision for FAU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on the Boca Raton campus, focusing on faculty, staff, and program development as well as on its community engagement programs.

Dr. Shapiro joined FAU after a long career as a scholar and teacher at the State University of New York, Stanford University and UCLA. His research and teaching focused primarily on Cultural Studies, American literature, English language studies, writing program assessment and evaluation, and adult learning, He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester.

Dr. Diane AlperinSenior Advisor to Academic Affairs 

Diane E. Alperin is the Senior Advisor to Academic Affairs. In this capacity, Dr. Alperin assists the Provost and Academic Leadership team in special issues related to university policies and procedures and academic affairs.

A resident of Delray Beach, Alperin joined Florida Atlantic University in 1980 following a career as a professional social worker in health care and child welfare. She has served as Director of Field Education and Chair of the Department of Social Work, Interim Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Associate Provost for the Boca Raton campus, and Associate Provost for Personnel and Academic Programs. Additionally, she served as FAU's Interim Provost & Chief Academic Officer from 2009 to 2011. She holds the current rank of Professor in Social Work.

A native of the Bronx, New York, Alperin received a BA degree from SUNY Stony Brook, a MS degree from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a PhD from Florida International University. She is the co-author of two books, Innovation and Change in the Human Services and Human Services and the Marginal Client, and more than twenty articles published in major human service journals.

Dr. Mihaela Metianu | Executive Director for the Center for Global Engagement

Mihaela Metianu serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Global Engagement, and provides oversight to the following areas: Education Abroad, International Services, International Admissions, and the Intensive English Institute. Key functions include: international agreements/partnerships, global travel safety and security, study abroad, international student support services, immigration services and compliance, international recruitment, foreign credential evaluations, and global student engagement initiatives. In addition, she provides leadership to university-wide Global Perspectives and Participation Platform and related internationalization initiatives.

Dr. Metianu joined FAU in 2006 as the Director of Student Affairs for the Wilkes Honors College, and in 2008 she became Director of International Services. She assumed the Executive Director role in 2016 upon the establishment of the Center for Global Engagement. She holds a Bachelor’s degree (International Studies & Economics) from the University of Miami, and a master’s degree (Multicultural/Multilingual Education) and Doctor of Education degree (Higher Education Administration) from Florida State University.

Dr. Victoria Brown | Assistant Provost for eLearning

Dr. Victoria Brown is the Assistant Provost for eLearning. She is responsible for the administration of the University's new Center for eLearning. In this capacity, Dr. Brown collaborates with FAU's 10 colleges, as well as its schools, departments and faculty to facilitate new eLearning courses and programs, and enhance existing courses. She also oversees instructional technology, including training, supporting, and assisting faculty and staff who utilize eLearning, as well as managing the day-to-day operations of the new center. Dr. Brown also works directly with the Provost to implement FAU's academic and technological strategic vision.

Dr. Brown comes from the College of Education the department of Teaching and Learning here at FAU. She taught instructional technology for educators and business trainers for ten years. She has previously managed instructional design teams and possesses more than a decade of experience teaching through online delivery systems. Prior to coming to FAU in 2005, Dr. Brown held the position of Assistant Professor at Barry University. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Missouri State University and her doctorate from the University of West Florida.

James Capp | Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Planning

James Capp works at Florida Atlantic University as the Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Planning. As a member of FAU’s academic leadership team, he collaborates with executives on issues of strategic planning, space utilization, and the development, implementation, and assessment of academic initiatives. He also oversees the administration of the Provost's Office daily operations and serves as the Provost's communications officer.

Prior to assuming his current position, James served as the FAU Provost office's communications manager, in addition to serving in student affairs as a program manager for FAU's Davie Student Union. He earned his bachelor's degree, with a concentration in English literature, from FAU's Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. James received his MPA from FAU’s School of Public Administration, where he is currently a PhD student.

Dr. Ying Liu | Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis

Ying joined FAU-IEA in March, 2018. Prior to joining FAU, he was the Director of Institutional Research at University of Toledo. He has also worked at University of Pittsburgh, University of Toronto, and McMaster University. Dr. Liu earned his PhD in Psychology from Beijing Normal University and his Master degree in Statistics from University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Liu’s research has been focusing on measuring student outcomes with advanced statistical models, as well as the cognitive processes involved in learning.

Tori Winfield | Associate General Counsel

Tori L. Winfield joined the University in 2016 as Associate General Counsel and serves as primary legal counsel to the Office of the Provost and Division of Academic Affairs. In that capacity, Ms. Winfield advises the Provost, Deans, and other academic administrators on matters including compliance with laws, regulations, and policies governing employment and contractual relationships. She is also the primary legal advisor to the University Police Department, Human Resources, and other institutional clients.

Ms. Winfield graduated with honors from the University of Miami and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida where she also received the Book Award in Legal Research & Writing. Prior to joining the University, Ms. Winfield was employed as Senior Litigation Counsel for a national multi-line insurer where she directly handled and supervised litigation in the Southeast, an associate at regional defense firms where she specialized in employment law, and a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Ms. Winfield is an avid public speaker who routinely advised clients on federal and state employment laws and was selected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to speak at its training seminars on varying topics in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. She is the author of various training materials and an article published in the Florida Bar Journal. Ms. Winfield is licensed to practice in Florida and Mississippi, enjoys an AV Preeminent rating, and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Dr. Jo Ann Bamdas | Director of Interprofessional Education

Jo Ann M. Bamdas is the Director for the Office of Interprofessional Education (IPE) in the Office of the Provost at FAU. In this capacity, she collaborates with the Vice Provost and IPE Associate Directors, as well as faculty and staff from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, College of Design and Social Inquiry’s Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, and Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy to plan, develop, implement, and administer the interprofessional education program.

Following a career in commercial and residential real estate office administration, Dr. Bamdas came to FAU as a student to earn a bachelor's degree in English and Arts and Humanities, then a master's degree from FAU's Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Research Methodology from FAU's College of Education, as well as an educational specialist degree in adult and community education and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida. Prior to assuming her current position, Jo Ann worked as the grant coordinator of interprofessional education. Her research interests include interprofessional education, undergraduate health science, and women in higher education - graduate levels.

Dr. Bamdas is Affiliate Faculty with the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. In addition, in her capacity as director, Dr. Bamdas created a series of research courses incorporating interprofessional education and collaborative practice for the Health Science bachelor’s degree program in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Erma Bennett | Executive Assistant to the Provost


Erma Bennett serves as the Executive Assistant to the Provost. In this role, Erma is responsible for a variety of office management duties, as well as providing primary support to the Provost. Erma has respectfully served in various capacities within the Division of Academic Affairs since her inception in September 2007.

Arcadia Betancourt | Assistant Director of Academic Personnel

Arcadia Betancourt serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Personnel in the Office of the Provost. In this role she supports the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Arcadia is responsible for faculty relations including position approvals, new hires, sabbaticals, promotion and tenure, leave time, and other duties as assigned.

Arcadia came to the Provost’s Office in January 2015 as the Administrative Staff Assistant where she worked alongside the Division of Academic Affairs and the University Faculty Senate. In this capacity, she served as administrative support for both units, coordinated schedules and meeting times for the Academic Leadership Team, and assisted in coordinating University events such as the annual Honors Convocation ceremony and reception, New Faculty Orientation, and FAU’s High School Expo.

Arcadia received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Florida in 2012.Her past work experience includes working for a prominent law firm in South Florida as an Administrative Assistant to the partners and firm administrator from 2008 through 2014. Arcadia plans to obtain her MBA degree from FAU starting in Spring 2017.

Geoffrey Johnson | Assistant Director of Academic Planning

Geoffrey Johnson is the Assistant Director of Academic Planning. Under the guidance of the Associate Provost for Planning and Budget, he initiates and manages the development of legislatively-mandated and administratively-requested academic reports. Geoffrey also manages the activities of many high-ranking university committees and works closely with academic leadership including Vice Presidents, Deans, Associate Provosts, Assistant Provosts, and the staff of the State University of Florida's Board of Governors.

Geoffrey received his master's degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University's College for Design and Social Inquiry. He received his bachelor's in Health Care Management from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s School of Allied Health Sciences. Prior to assuming his current position, Geoffrey worked as an Information Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis.

Rochelle Prince | Director of Academic Budgets

Rochelle Prince is the Academic Budget Director in the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs. In this capacity, she assists the Provost and Chief Academic Officer in planning, implementing and administering the distribution of budget allocation for the colleges within the university.

Ms. Prince received her Master's degree in Business Administration from Framingham State College and her Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Bentley College, both in Massachusetts. Most recently, she was the Chief Financial Officer for a non-profit in West Palm Beach responsible for all fiscal affairs of the organization. Prior to that, she worked for Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, FL as the Associate Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Christopher Biggs | Assistant Director of Budgets

Christopher Biggs is the Assistant Director of Academic Planning & Budget in the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs. In this capacity, he assists the Academic Budget Director in planning, implementing and administering the distribution of budget allocation for the colleges within the university.

Christopher received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Birmingham-Southern College.Most recently, he worked as the Research Coordinator for the College of Nursing Community Health Center at Florida Atlantic University. Prior to that, Christopher was a Senior Financial Analyst for the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University where he developed and maintained departmental and award budgets.

Debra Szabo | Assistant Director of Programs and Assessment

Debra Szabo is the Assistant Director of Programs and Assessment.  Under the guidance of the Associate Provost for Programs and Assessment, she assists with the development and management of legislatively-mandated and administratively-requested reports related to academic program reviews, assessment, accreditation, and compliance issues to support the University's mission and strategic initiatives.

Debra received her master's degree in TESOL/Bilingual Education from Florida Atlantic University's College of Education. She also earned her bachelor's degree in Communications from the university's Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Prior to assuming her current position, Debra worked as the Director of Degree Completion Services and Student Success in FAU's Graduate College.

Kathleen Wright | Coordinator of Academic Personnel

Kathleen Wright is the Coordinator of Academic Personnel in the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs. In this capacity, Kathleen is responsible for the development and monitoring of materials and databases that are used for accreditation, faculty promotion and tenure, and program review. She also develops, maintains and monitors the faculty master list of credentials and ensures that faculty credentials are in compliance with external accrediting bodies.

Kathleen received her Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a Bachelor's degree in Geography from Florida State University. Most recently, she worked for Palm Beach State College-Boca Raton campus in the areas of faculty credentialing, faculty tenure, class scheduling and data analysis. Prior to that, Kathleen worked for the State of Florida, Department of Health doing community health assessments, managing contracts and grants, and supervising clinical and field staff.

Felipe Vargas | Budgetary Assistant

Felipe Vargas serves as the Academic Budgetary Assistant for the Academic Planning & Budget in the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs. In this capacity, Felipe assists in maintaining, implementing and administering budget allocations for the colleges within the university.

Felipe is a proud graduate of Florida Atlantic University, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with a minor in Business Law. Most recently, he worked for Maximus Inc. performing audits on behalf of the State of Florida. He coordinated the Florida Kid Care initiative that offers health insurance to children from birth.

Michael Turtz | Administrative Staff Assistant

Michael Turtz is the Administrative Staff Assistant in the Office of the Provost, working with the entire Division of Academic Affairs. In this capacity, Michael acts as administrative support to the Office Staff and to the University Faculty Senate.

Michael received his master's degree in public administration from FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, with a concentration in political science. Prior to assuming his current position, Michael worked as the Annual Giving Coordinator for the Division of Institutional Advancement.

Kiesha Paul | Budget Coordinator

Kiesha Paul is the Academic Budgets Coordinator for the Academic Planning & Budget Department in the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs. In this capacity, Kiesha acts as support in planning, implementing and administering the distribution of budget allocation for the colleges within the university.

Kiesha received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of Florida. She is currently pursuing another Bachelor’s Degree, in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination. She plans to obtain her Master of Accounting degree from FAU’s College of Business and obtain CPA Licensure.

 Last Modified 8/27/18