Simmons College was chartered in 1899 in accordance with the will of John Simmons. In 2017, in recognition of the comprehensive nature of its programs - bachelors, masters, and doctoral - Simmons applied to and received approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to become Simmons University. The overall governing body of the University is the Board of Trustees. The Board is entrusted with the management of the business, property, and affairs of the University, including setting overall policy for the University, appointing the president and officers of the University, approving the granting of degrees and other academic functions, and ensuring the responsible use of its assets for the long-term health of the institution.
Board of Trustees
Simmons Trustees are the ultimate fiduciaries of Simmons University. They oversee all of Simmons’s institutional affairs in accordance with the University's charter, bylaws, evolving statements of mission and purpose, and strategic plan. The Board of Trustees is responsible for governance of the University and for monitoring the implementation of its policies, as distinguished from its day-to-day management or administration, which is the responsibility of the President and other administrative officers of the University.

The President is appointed by the Board of Trustees and is the chief executive officer of the University, responsible for academic and financial administration in accordance with policies established by the Board. Senior vice presidents and vice presidents report to the president. The president acts as a liaison between the Board of Trustees and the faculty, works with members of the Board and the Simmons community to plan and budget for future needs, and fosters an open, collegial environment for faculty, staff, and students. In addition, the president works closely with alumnae/i, business, government, foundations, educational associations, and other external constituencies and ensures that Simmons University plays an active role in Boston-area community relations and higher education on a national level.

Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, became the ninth president of Simmons University on July 1, 2020. She is the first African American to lead the university.

Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership—organizational behavior that reveals and nurtures the highest level of human potential—Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator. She first joined a university faculty in 1994 and has served in administrative roles since 2008. Dr. Wooten came to Simmons from Cornell University, where she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

With leadership at the core of her work, Dr. Wooten’s research has ranged from an NIH-funded investigation of how leadership can positively alleviate health disparities to leading in a crisis and managing workforce diversity. She is the author of two books, Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion (2016) and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis (2010). Sharing her work at nearly 60 symposia and conferences, she also is the author of nearly 30 journal articles and more than 15 book chapters, as well as managerial monographs and numerous teaching cases.

Dr. Wooten earned a BS in accounting in 1988 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a Historically Black College, where she graduated as valedictorian; an MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 1990; and a PhD in business administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 1995. She received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2018.

Starting her career as assistant professor of management at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, Dr. Wooten returned in 1998 to the University of Michigan, where she served on the faculty of the Ross School of Business for nearly 20 years. There she taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses and served as Co-Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations as well as Co-Faculty Director of the Executive Leadership Institute. She became engaged in student life as an associate dean, ultimately serving as Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Excellence. She left Michigan in 2017 for the deanship at Cornell.

Russell Pinizzotto, Ph.D., began serving as Simmons’ Interim Provost in May 2020. He previously served as an Interim Provost for various institutions, most recently for Carlow University in Pittsburgh, where he established the College of Professional Studies for adult and nontraditional learners. He was also the Interim Provost at Merrimack College where he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. During his tenure as Wentworth’s Provost from 2010 until 2015, his accomplishments included boosting enrollment by 25%; increasing retention and graduation rates; developing nine new undergraduate and six new graduate programs; and increasing the revenue of the College of Professional and Continuing Education by over 50%. Dr. Pinizzotto received his BS in Physical Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology; his Engineer’s degree in Materials Science from UCLA; his MS in Astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia; and his PhD in Engineering in Materials Science from UCLA.

Interim Vice President of Human Resource
J. David Hollinden


Interim Vice President for Student Engagement and Dean of Students
Rae-Anne Butera is the Interim Vice President for Student Engagement and Dean of Students. Dean Butera oversees Residence Life; the Jenifer Eckert Center for Leadership and Engagement; Health Promotion and Wellness, which includes the Health Center, Counseling Center, and REEF Student Support Center; Athletics and Recreation; division-wide operations; student community standards and conduct; and general student support. She holds an Ed.S. in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a M.S. in Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an A.B. in Psychology from Trinity College in Washington, DC.

Interim Vice President of Student Success
Dr. Nakeisha Cody currently serves as the Interim Vice President of Student Success and Diversity. In her role she oversees the Center for Student Success which includes Undergraduate Advising, the Center for Global Education, Writing and Academic Support, Accessibility Services, the Center for Career Education, Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and the London Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice. In addition, her work also includes supporting inclusive excellence at Simmons, through oversight of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Center. She holds a PhD in Sociology, and her scholarly work focuses on the intersections of race, class and gender in the labor market.

Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management
Laura Brink Pisinski is the Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management. Ms Pisinski is overseeing the major renovation of the academic campus, including the transformation of Lefavour Hall into the University’s science facilities; planning for “One Simmons,” the creation of a modern living and learning campus for Simmons; and for ongoing facilities management. During nearly 13 years of service to Simmons, Pisinski has held positions of increasing responsibility and scope within the Advancement Department. She started as a front-line fundraiser for leadership annual gifts; she was promoted to Major Gifts Officer, to Director of Major Gifts and Campaigns, to Assistant Vice President and most recently to Associate Vice President. Before coming to Simmons, Pisinski worked in enrollment management, where she chaired the annual meeting for the New England Association of College Admission Counselors as well as a presidential task force on retention. She holds a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree in communications management from Simmons University.

General Counsel
Gretchen Groggel-Ralston is Vice President and General Counsel at Simmons.

Vice Provost
Dr. Stephanie Berzin came to Simmons in 2018 as Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Policy and Practice and served in that position until September 2021. The Vice Provost is primarily responsible for the execution of strategic priorities including: the CompleteDegree@Simmons program for adult learners, supported by 2U; the Simmons Experience Program, supported by Gallup; supervision of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and the Career Education Center; establishment of Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification in Leadership; and other priorities as determined by the Provost or other senior leadership and strategic planning. In addition, the Vice Provost collaborates and partners with the Provost and works directly with the Deans and other members of the Provost’s staff on, including but not limited to, curricular and personnel issues, on strategic academic plans and policies, and on the effective implementation of the Faculty Policy Manual. Prior to her arrival at Simmons, served as Assistant Dean for the Doctoral Program at the Boston College School of Social Work. Her most recent book was published by Oxford University Press, Innovation From Within: Redefining How Nonprofits Solve Problems (2018). Dr. Berzin graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, earned her MSW from Columbia University, and a PhD from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

Associate Provost for Curriculum, Assessment, and Accreditation
Dr. Kelly Hager is an accomplished scholar and an award-winning teacher. As Associate Provost for Curriculum, Assessment, and Accreditation, she provides strategic leadership for the undergraduate and graduate academic programs. She is responsible for oversight of the general education program, academic integrity, and the Honors Program. Dr. Hager serves as the primary liaison with Student Affairs and the Center for Student Success. She is the Academic Liaison Officer to the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE), and she works with the academic units to ensure compliance with our disciplinary accrediting bodies. In the area of assessment, she coordinates with the Center for Faculty Excellence and the academic units to develop and implement assessment strategies. She also works with the Executive Director of Institutional Research and Assessment and will oversee the University’s regulatory data filings and submissions. She works closely with the Registrar, Student Affairs, General Counsel, the Center for Student Success, the Center for Faculty Excellence, Enrollment Management, and Admissions.

Dr. Hager previously served as the Interim Dean of the Undergraduate Program, the Director of General Education, the chair of the English and of the Women's & Gender Studies departments and the director of the graduate program in Gender/Cultural Studies. Her research and teaching interests focus on Victorian literature, children's literature, reading practices, and gender history. She is the author of Dickens and the Rise of Divorce: The Failed-Marriage Plot and the Novel Tradition (2010, pb 2017) and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Rice University and a PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine.

Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Dr. Leanne Doherty is an experienced administrator committed to curricular innovation and inclusive excellence. A political scientist and policy scholar by training, her research focuses on the intersection of popular culture and politics, with a book on the role athletic participation can have on candidate success, numerous articles on sports, social media, and activism, as well as articles on political science pedagogy. During her over twenty years at Simmons, she has served in numerous positions, including director of the Honors program and Interim Dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences.

As Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Dr. Doherty works closely with the Provost and Vice Provost on the development and implementation of academic redesign. She provides strategic leadership on the academic issues and policies impacting on the ground and online faculty. Dr. Doherty collaborates closely with the Registrar, the Director of the Library, and with the Associate Provost for Curriculum, Assessment, and Accreditation, the College Deans, and the academic unit heads regarding university-wide policies and procedures. She also oversees the processes related to faculty recruitment, hiring, development, and retention.

Dr. Doherty works with members of the University Strategy Team to ensure alignment of the academic vision with the University’s strategic plan and mission. She works with the Center for Faculty Excellence to support faculty development in teaching, scholarly work, and service, and with the Office of Sponsored Programs to support faculty research and funding opportunities. Dr. Doherty is a primary liaison between the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Senate. She also supports the development and implementation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging efforts from the Provost’s Office and the Center for Faculty Excellence.

Interim Dean of the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities
Dr. Diane Grossman is Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies, and has been
at Simmons since 1985. She has an A.B. from Vassar College and a Ph.D. from New York,
where she was an Ida Parker Bowne Scholar. An innovative scholar, a dynamic teacher, and an
accomplished, collaborative leader, Dean Grossman has served Simmons in a variety of
academic and administrative roles, including Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
(CAS), Dean of CAS, Chair of Philosophy, Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies, Director of
Academic Advising, and, currently, Director of the Honors Program. She also holds the Mockler
Chair in Principled Leadership. Dean Grossman’s scholarly work includes two books, two
edited collections, and numerous articles in continental philosophy, feminist theory, and applied

Interim Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences
Dr. Heather Shlosser has over 25 years of nursing expertise, with a rich background spanning clinical, leadership, and academic domains. Her extensive career encompasses full-spectrum clinical practice, holding national board certifications as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Her clinical focus revolves around integrated behavioral medicine within primary care, psychopharmacology, addictions medicine, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness therapy. Dr. Shlosser has played a pivotal role in pioneering the creation and implementation of integrated behavioral health programs in both primary care and specialty medicine for multiple healthcare organizations. She continues to practice in addictions medicine as well as providing psychiatric consultations via telemedicine for underserved areas across the U.S.

Before advancing to the role of an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), she served as a Registered Nurse (RN) in diverse fields, including Home Health & Hospice, High-Risk Maternal Child Health, Public Health, Pediatrics, and NICU. Her diverse experience extends to the development of a PACE program without walls in Vermont, as well as establishing worksite wellness centers across the United States. Dr. Shlosser also held leadership positions as the Director of Public Health and within a Home Health and Hospice organization.

Dr. Shlosser has taught and held leadership roles in higher education for over 15 years. She has developed several PMHNP Master’s programs and consulted on the development and revision of FNP and DNP programs. She is passionate about trauma informed curriculum and interprofessional healthcare education.
Dr. Shlosser holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Greenfield Community College, a BSN from the Elms College, a MSN from Frontier Nursing University, a Post Master’s Certificate from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate from the University of Virginia. She is currently working on Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Leadership. She is an ELAN Leadership Fellow with the American Associations of Colleges of Nursing.