Internal - Faculty & Staff

CFE Staff

Jennifer H. Herman, Executive Director

Jennifer H. Herman, Executive DirectorExecutive Director
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Jennifer H. Herman has over 15 years’ experience leading faculty development in higher education and has been serving as the first permanent director of the Center for Faculty Excellence since 2013. In addition to facilitating or overseeing 150-200 CFE programs and consultations each year, Dr. Herman has supported Simmons strategic initiatives, including the development of PLAN, teaching for inclusive excellence, and the pivot to online learning.

She has been a principal investigator or curriculum designer on multi-institutional projects related to curriculum development, assessment, and teaching strategy, including partnerships with NILOA, the U.S. Department of State, the NYS Small Business Development Center, and Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on Creating Engaging Discussions, instructional technology, and online education. In her faculty role as Associate Professor of Practice in Health Professions Education, Dr. Herman teaches courses on teaching, assessment, learning theory, and curriculum development for doctoral and CAGS students.

Before joining Simmons, Dr. Herman was the founding Director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship, Teaching, and Learning at Niagara University. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University at Buffalo and a MA in International Training and Education from American University.

Sarah Rose Cavanagh, Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning

Sarah Rose Cavanagh, Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning

Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning
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Sarah Rose Cavanagh is a psychologist fascinated by the interplay of emotions, motivation, learning, and quality of life. She brings to Simmons two decades experience teaching and researching in psychology as well as six years experience conducting faculty development programs and workshops. At Simmons she will be taking a leadership role in the teaching and learning offerings of the CFE and teaching as a Professor of Practice in Psychology.

Before joining Simmons, Sarah was an Associate Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Assumption University, where she also served in the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence as Associate Director for Grants and Research. Her most recent research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, convenes a network of scholars to develop assessment, feedback, and grading practices aimed at greater effectiveness and equity in undergraduate biology education. Sarah is author of The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (2016) and upcoming Vanquishing Our Monsters: Encouraging Youth Mental Health with Compassionate Challenge (2022). She gives keynote addresses and workshops at a variety of colleges and regional conferences, blogs for Psychology Today, and writes essays for venues like Literary Hub and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Sarah holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Tufts University, where she continues ongoing collaborations in the Emotion, Brain, and Behavior Laboratory as a Research Affiliate.

Lenko Tankov, Senior Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs

Lenko Tankov, Senior Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs

Senior Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs
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Lenko Tankov has extensive experience in sponsored programs and has worked in a variety of research administration roles. He has spearheaded process improvement projects and designed faculty development resources and guides. Lenko worked for Harvard T.H. School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital before joining Simmons. His masters degree in Finance from Harvard Extension School compliments his research administration experience.

Lenko has a passion for  research development,  and believes it is a crucial component to a fruitful and collaborative environment . He is a contributing member for the National Council of University Research Administrators and authored How Our Work Makes a Difference (Tankov, L. S. (2020, June), NCURA Magazine, 52(3), 4–5).

Kristi Mukk, Projects and Events Coordinator and Instructional Design Specialist

Kristi Mukk, Projects and Events CoordinatorProjects & Events Coordinator and Instructional Design Specialist
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Kristi Mukk holds a BA in Rhetoric & Communication Studies from the University of Richmond, where she researched and created digital projects and publications about critical theory, archives, digital humanities, and public history.

Kristi is currently pursuing a MS in Library & Information Science at Simmons University with a concentration in Archives Management. Before joining Simmons, Kristi interned at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where she worked on event planning and marketing for events sponsored by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative and assisted with collections management and cataloging in the Military History division.

Her other past roles have included working as Content Curator and Assistant Editor for Bunk, doing archival research for the University of Richmond Race & Racism Project, and serving as Communications Director for Ngoma African Dance Company.

Matthew G. Schwartz, CFE Faculty Fellow

Matthew G. Schwartz, CFE Faculty FellowCFE Faculty Fellow
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Matthew G. Schwartz is the CFE Faculty Affiliate and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. He has been a full-time member of the Simmons faculty since January 2018. He currently teaches Anatomy & Physiology and Human Development & Genetics at Simmons and has previously taught at Clark University, Emmanuel College, and Harvard University. He also serves as a PLAN advisor to first year students.

Dr. Schwartz received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics from Harvard University in 2016, where he directed independent and collaborative research in limb development and vertebral patterning. He received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Northwestern University in 2009. Dr. Schwartz is passionate about science education and science communication and decided to pursue a career in undergraduate education because he loves inspiring others to be passionate about science and learning. He loves to see the spark of inspiration in students when they understand a scientific concept and see the relevance to their own lives.

While teaching, Dr. Schwartz emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and communication over memorization to facilitate significant learning and to instill students with the essential capacities they need to be lifelong learners.

Ritamarie Hensley, Instructional Designer

Ritamarie Hensley, Instructional DesignerInstructional Designer
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Dr. Ritamarie (Re) Hensley brings many years of experience teaching and designing courses for both k12 and higher education.  She is committed to supporting faculty and building courses that are inclusive, equitable, and innovative.

Before joining the team at Simmons, Re taught face-to-face, hybrid, and asynchronous courses in English at the high school level.  After receiving her Ed.D in Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, she worked in the School of Education as an adjunct instructor where she designed and taught asynchronous courses within the Ed.D program.

She has also been a student in many online courses and earned a postgraduate certificate in online teaching and designing from VCU, so she has an understanding of what works and what does not in a virtual environment.  In her previous role as the LMS Transition Coordinator at VCU, she provided faculty with tools, resources, and workshops on how best to enhance student learning and build community so that all students have a similar experience.

Suzanne Edmonds, Instructional Designer

Suzanne Edmonds, Instructional DesignerInstructional Designer
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Suzanne Edmonds holds a Master of Arts in Educational Media from Appalachian State University. Suzanne is passionate about both learning and technology, and has years of experience combining both to build engaging experiences for students. Prior to joining Simmons, Suzanne was a Learning Technology Specialist at Wake Forest School of Medicine, where she collaborated with subject-matter experts to create interactive materials and develop graduate courses online.

Her past roles have also included working as a Lead Instructional Technologist at NC State University, and teaching multiple grades in the K-12 environment before making the transition to higher education.

Lisa Jenkins, Instructional Design Intern

Lisa Jenkins, Instructional Design InternInstructional Design Intern
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Lisa Jenkins is a part-time Instructional Design Intern who assists with course production and research into learning technologies. A recent graduate of the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science, she is also a youth services librarian at a public library. She loves organization, troubleshooting problems, and learning new things.

Amanda Stone, Graduate Assistant

Amanda Stone, Graduate AssistantAmanda Stone holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from University of Massachusetts Boston. While finishing her degree, she worked with a small team under Michelle Jurkovich for a grant-funded USAID research project studying indigenous food security in Guatemala.

Amanda is currently in her last semester of the dual degree MPP and MA in Gender/Cultural Studies at Simmons University. She is working on a thesis investigating the impact of Indigenous-led movements on environmental policy. Her research interests lie at the intersection of environmental, racial, and economic justice.

Her past roles include Marketing and Communications Director at a Cambridge-based health club, Research Intern at Novus Group, and Fundraising and Events Intern at MLM Strategies. She enjoys using her research, communications, and design skills to support faculty scholarship and local organizations.

Rebecca Collette, Graduate Assistant

Amanda Stone, Graduate AssistantRebecca Collette holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Simmons University. Throughout her undergraduate career she volunteered for Jumpstart, an Americorps early education organization that prepares children for kindergarten. She was also an involved member of the Simmons University Dance Company and the Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project.

Rebecca is currently in her second year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Simmons University. She has completed one full clinical rotation, and she is certified in Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 after completing a continuing education course in Charleston, SC. She hopes to one day become a Women’s Health Clinical Specialist and is currently working on a research project to investigate the impact of different laboring positions on overall labor progression and maternal outcomes.

Rebecca enjoys using her organization, communication, and research skills to assist the Faculty Leadership and Career Development team in empowering Simmons faculty to thrive in their professional lives.

Jyoti Puri, President’s Fellow for Faculty Leadership and Career Development

Jyoti Puri, President's Fellow for Faculty Leadership and Career DevelopmentPresident’s Fellow for Faculty
Leadership and Career Development

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Jyoti Puri is Hazel Dick Leonard Chair and Professor of Sociology at Simmons University.  She is the author of three books including, Woman, Body, Desire in Post-colonial India (Routledge 1999) and Encountering Nationalism, (Blackwell Publishers 2004).  Puri’s book, Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle against the Antisodomy Law in India’s Present (Duke University Press, 2016) received the 2018 Distinguished Book Award from the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association.  She is the recipient of the 2021 Jessie Bernard Award given by the American Sociological Association.