Northeastern University has announced new leadership at the College of Professional Studies.
Mary Loeffelholz, vice provost for academic affairs and professor of English at Northeastern, has been named interim dean at the college, replacing John LaBrie who recently was named the university’s first regional dean and principal of the Toronto campus. Loeffelholz will assume this role effective May 2 to align with LaBrie’s transition. Kemi Jona, a professor at Northwestern University who has worked at the forefront of the learning sciences and learning technologies fields for more than 20 years, will join Northeastern to become founding director of the Lowell Institute School and associate dean for undergraduate education at the college, effective July 18.
“Having stellar academic leaders like Mary and Kemi joining the organization at this juncture is really exciting,” said Philomena Mantella, senior vice president and CEO of the Northeastern University Global Network. “It emphasizes the incredible opportunities Northeastern has to deliver robust, relevant, experiential programs to meet the ever growing needs of the professional lifelong learner.”
Loeffelholz, a distinguished scholar of American literature, has been a member of Northeastern’s faculty since 1988 and has held a variety of key academic leadership roles in that time. She chaired the English department from 2001 to 2006, served as associate dean for faculty affairs and director of the former College of Arts and Sciences’ graduate school from 2006 to 2007, and was special assistant to the president for academic affairs in 2007-08.
Currently, Loeffelholz is on the steering committee for Northeastern’s next academic plan, which will guide the university’s course over the next 10 years. She was previously a member of the Faculty Senate Agenda Committee from 1992 to 1994 and has served in various leadership roles on the Faculty Senate and its committees, with a special emphasis on faculty development and academic leadership.
She earned her doctorate in English and American literature from Yale University, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University.
The Lowell Institute School—housed within the College of Professional Studies—is a first-in-the-nation school focused on providing degree completion programs in science, technology, engineering, and math fields for non-traditional students from diverse backgrounds who have some undergraduate experience and want to matriculate to a bachelor’s degree. The programs—many in high-demand STEM fields—feature hybrid, flexible curricula that meet students’ needs and offer valuable real-world experience through Northeastern’s renowned experiential education model.
In 2014, Northeastern received a four-year, $3.9 million award from the Department of Education’s First in the World grant program, which was created to fund the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies at colleges and universities that improve college attainment and make higher education more affordable for students and families. A $4 million gift from the Lowell Institute facilitated by William Lowell, a member of the Northeastern University Corporation, laid the groundwork for Northeastern to leverage that federal grant.
At Northeastern, Jona will be responsible for reshaping the College of Professional Studies’ undergraduate academic portfolio under the Lowell Institute School and leading all academic and faculty affairs for the current and future undergraduate portfolio.
His vast academic experience is well suited for these roles. He was the founding director of Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships, an organization that connects the university to the K-12 community to advance STEM education. He also helped launch the National Alliance for Broader Impacts, a nationwide organization that advances the field of STEM outreach and public engagement. He’s also worked on multi-university teams to develop online and blended academic programs.
Jona has advised and consulted to industry, nonprofits, school districts, and federal, state, and local agencies on strategic process and learning-related issues, curriculum redesign, teacher professional development, and STEM education and outreach. He was invited to testify about industry partnerships that advance STEM education in front of the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology in 2014 and has also served on the board of directors of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning from 2009 to 2013.
He earned his doctorate in computer science from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.