HEAL - Faculty & Leader/Mentor Bios


Dr. Eduardo Arellano is an Associate Professor in Higher Education at the University of Texas at El Paso.

For eight years, he has taught a wide breadth of higher education courses including higher education law, policy analysis, evaluation and assessment, among others. Dr. Arellano has taught face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses at the master and doctoral levels. He has also advised several master and doctoral students to completion.

The central theme of Dr. Arellano's research is that of bridging borders between students of different races and ethnicities, between university preparation programs and the world of practice, between universities across the U.S.-Mexico border, and between educational institutions and their communities.

He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration with an emphasis in higher education from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He also earned a Master's in Public Administration and a Bachelor's in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Dr. Brian D. Burnett of Colorado Springs, has been at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) since July 1, 2003.

As the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance, Burnett oversees the university's $171 million all-funds operating budget as well as the campus' capital funds budget of $35 million in FY 12-13.

The Vice Chancellor oversees the Human Resources department, Public Safety and Parking enterprise, Facilities Services, new construction, Physical Plant, the Campus Bookstore, Resource Management, Institutional Research, Campus Housing, the University Center, Recreation Center, Family Development Center, the NCAA Division II Mountain Lion Intercollegiate Athletic Program, the office of sustainability, real estate, property acquisitions, and mailing services.

Since 2006, Burnett also holds a concurrent appointment as Associate Vice President for Administration for Foundation Relations for the University of Colorado System. In this role, Burnett assists in managing the Development Services Agreement between the University and the CU Foundation that supports fund raising activities at all of the CU campuses.

A second generation native of Colorado Springs, Burnett earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Master's Degree in Finance from the University of Colorado Denver, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from UCCS.

In October 2000, he was named a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. As a Marshall Fellow, Burnett was one of 14 young leaders selected from the U.S. to visit NATO, the European Union, European government officials, non-profits and businesses throughout Europe to build transatlantic ties. Burnett is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Dr. Burnett came to UCCS after serving as the Chief Financial Officer for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Prior to his positions in higher education, he held the positions of Acting Executive Director, Deputy Director for Administration, Director of Finance and Legislative Liaison for the Colorado Department of Corrections, owned a small business, and served as a budget analyst for the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly.

Dr. Michael Chavez has over a decade of experience in higher education as faculty member and administrator. Dr. Chavez is the Dean of Enrollment Management at Midland College, in Midland, Texas.

His previous experiences in higher education span from Pennsylvania to Arizona. The positions he held were Advisor, Professor of Psychology, Director of Upward Bound, Coordinator of Edinboro Success Program, Associate Dean of the Institute of Teaching, Learning, and Academic Leadership, and, Dean of Educational Support Service. In addition, Dr. Chavez has taught as an adjunct faculty member at 4 institutions of higher education.

Dr. Chavez graduated from New Mexico Junior College with an Associate's degree and transferred to the University of the Southwest where he completed a Baccalaureate's degree in psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling. In 2005, he completed a Doctor's degree Educational Administration from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

His dissertation topic was the perceptions of students transferring from a community college to a baccalaureate granting institution.

Dr. Melissa L. Freeman teaches courses on higher education, public administration and nonprofit management, survey/marketing research and public opinion, and public policy.

She specializes in quantitative applications for policy and research drawing upon her experience as a researcher with the Center for Higher Education at Ohio University and her experience working with national datasets at the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Her research interests include access issues to higher education, particularly for rural and first generation students.

In 2000 she was awarded the Department of Political Science, Outstanding Public Administration Scholar Award. In 2006, she received a national fellowship for dissertation study from the National Center for Education Statistics/Association for Institutional Research (NCES/AIR), one of only two awarded that year.

Before coming to Adams State University, Freeman spent 22 years working for the State of Ohio, 18 of which were at Ohio University. There she served in several capacities including, research administration, legislative liaison, special projects, grant and budget management, research associate, and adjunct instructor.

Ms. Marsha Shook Lewis is currently an Assistant Professor at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

She currently manages applied research projects related to education and public sector strategy development. She also serves as a senior data analyst for research and evaluation projects.

Marsha helped develop the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute and served as the Institute's managing director for five years. Marsha holds a Bachelor's degree in social science from the University of Rio Grande and a Master of Public Administration degree from Ohio University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation with concentrations in statistical analysis and psychometrics. Before joining the Voinovich School, Marsha taught high school social studies.

Dr. Chris Linder brings over 10 years professional experience in student affairs administration, including work in Greek Life and Women's Centers. In addition to her work as a student affairs educator, Chris's pedagogy also draws on several years' experience teaching women's studies, ethnic studies, higher education, and qualitative research methods.

Her research interests include exploring the dynamics of power and privilege in education and social justice movements. Mostly recently, Chris is exploring the racialized experiences of Students of Color in student affairs and higher education programs. Her previous work explores the development processes of anti-racist White feminist college women and ways Women of Color activists experience exclusion and marginalization in mainstream feminist movements.

Based on her research about racialized experiences of Students of Color in predominantly White classrooms, Chris has also developed workshops to assist faculty in developing inclusive classroom climates. This demonstrates Chris's commitment to the practical aspects of conducting research that is applicable and helpful to those engaged in practice.

Chris received her PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado, her MA in Educational Administration, Higher Education, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and a BSBA in Human Resource Management at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Dr. Ed Lyell is currently a Professor of Business at Adams State University. He consults for government and business on innovative ways to design, operate and fund learning systems for children and adults.

Dr. Lyell has his doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Colorado in Boulder where he studied with Kenneth E. Boulding. Dr. Lyell was a Senior Fellow at the Center for the New West, a 20-state think-tank headquartered in Denver. He is designing school systems based on using Just in Time Learning based on the integration of High Touch and High Tech techniques.

He has designed budgeting systems for the Colorado Higher Education system, and other organizations. His consulting with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture changed the way information is reported throughout management by using microcomputers and led to 9,000 jobs being reduced or changed.

Dr. Lyell is unique in having developed extensive analysis of the politics, methods, financing and governance of both K-12 education and higher education from a skill base developed in Business and governmental consulting.

Dr. Magdalena Martinez is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education. In her role she provides support and leadership for monitoring statewide higher education issues relating to academic programs and policy, including transfer, student programs and policy, P-16 educational partnerships, and equity, access and success for underrepresented populations.

Prior to joining the Nevada System of Higher Education, Dr. Martinez worked at the National Forum of Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan. This initiative looks at the role of higher education and the public good by examining the intersection of leadership, policy, and cultural practices. In her role she was responsible for contributing to the research, planning and implementation of multiple national dialogues which focused on issues related to post-secondary access, equity and student success.

In addition, she served as a program evaluator for a three-year, W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded leadership program to prepare individuals for the presidency at Minority Serving Institutions (HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs). The program was spearheaded by the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education (an Institute for Higher Education Policy initiative in collaboration with NAFEO, HACU, and AIHEC).

Other previous professional experience includes serving as a community college administrator at the College of Southern Nevada and policy and management analyst at the City of Las Vegas.

Dr. Martinez's research interests encompass three interconnected areas focused on underrepresented students' educational experiences, the role of community colleges and persistence, and leadership and public policy to increase postsecondary access and success.

Dr. Martinez holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Michigan, Master of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Dr. Martinez lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she and her husband, Jose Luis Melendrez, are raising their two children, Eva Magdalena and Alejandro Luis.

Dr. Mario Martinez has been a professor of higher education for fifteen years and currently teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He has written books and articles in the areas of higher education policy, strategy making and innovation, and competency modeling. Mario has consulted with Gates, Lumina and the Ford Foundations on issues of state level policy and innovation in postsecondary systems.

Mario's higher education policy work operates from the perspective of examining states as organizations and systems, which are influenced not only by post-secondary institutions but also by the political, demographic, geographic and economic realities that surround them.

His teaching at UNLV encompasses organizational theory, management communications, policy, and research design courses. Mario advised a seminar and teaching company for seven years and has worked as a management consultant and speaker for over ten years.

Dr. Katrina Rodriguez serves as an Assistant Professor for the program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership at the University of Northern Colorado.

Prior to joining the UNC Faculty in 2004, she served the Student Affairs profession as a practitioner in residence life, women's resources and programming, and as director of a grant-funded project creating leadership development programs for women of color returning to college.

Dr. Rodriguez enjoys expertise in the areas of transformative research methods, leadership, intersectionality and multiple identity development, and transformational learning strategies.

Dr. Rodriguez grew up in Arizona attending the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. She appreciates the support and encouragement her family provided as the first in her family to graduate from college and to earn graduate degrees. She is committed to paying forward this support to the students with whom she gets to interact.

Dr. Robert Vela, LPC-S, NCC is the current Vice President of Student Affairs at San Antonio College, one of the Alamo Colleges.

His educational background consists of a B.A. in psychology and sociology with a minor in Spanish and a M.S. degree in counseling and guidance from Texas A&M University – Kingsville. He earned his doctoral degree in a joint doctoral program in Educational Leadership from Texas A&M University - Kingsville and Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

Dr. Vela also serves as a part-time professor at Capella University. Furthermore, he is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. Dr. Vela has served as a higher education administrator and educator for the last fifteen years in various capacities at various institutions of higher education.

He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Board of Directors (Executive Committee) for the National Community College Hispanic Council, National Council on Student Development, the Texas Public Policy Committee Representative for NASPA Region III, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, American College Counseling Association, Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development, American Counseling Association, National Association of Developmental Education, and Texas Community College Teachers Association.

His honors include the 2008 National Community College Hispanic Council – Leadership Fellows at North Carolina State University, and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award in Teaching, Leadership and Learning 2007.

Dr. Michael A. Williford has over 30 years of experience in higher education. His current position is Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Assessment and Associate Professor of Counseling and Higher Education at Ohio University.

In addition, he serves as Consultant-Evaluator and Accreditation Review Council member, Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

He has served as principal methodologist on over 25 doctoral dissertations and master's theses in three academic colleges at Ohio University, has taught graduate courses in educational measurement, research methods, educational statistics, assessment and evaluation.

He has over 50 book chapters, journal articles, and professional presentations on student outcomes assessment, student success, and other topics related to higher education administration.