Four New Faces in MCLA Leadership

June 13, 2018

Four leaders

From left are Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Christopher MacDonald-Dennis; Gina Puc '07, dean of enrollment management and community relations; Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Emily Allen Williams; and Robert "Bob" Ziomek '89, vice president of advancement.

It is an exciting time for MCLA leadership as one alumna staff member transitions to her new role, another alumnus returns to his alma mater, and two new faces arrive on campus to help guide the College.

At MCLA since February, Dr. Christopher MacDonald-Dennis not only is new to the College and the greater community; he’s filling a brand-new role as chief diversity officer, a result of the campus’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force finding that, although acceptance and inclusion is everyone’s job, it is important MCLA has someone to lead the effort.

A scholar-practitioner, he has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters on numerous topics on diversity, including anti-Semitism, facilitating social justice education, and religious oppression. Most recently, he co-edited a chapter in the fourth edition of “Readings for Diversity and Social Justice,” considered the leading textbook on diversity and social justice. In his new role at MCLA, he is a connector as he works with faculty and staff on ways to work with different groups of students on issues such as how to better listen to one another.

MacDonald-Dennis comes to MCLA from Macalester College, a liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minn., where he served as the dean of multicultural life for the past six years.

MCLA’s new vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Emily Allen Williams, will arrive on campus July 15. She comes from Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah, N.J., where she served as the vice provost of curriculum and assessment. In addition to her work at Ramapo – which, like MCLA, is a COPLAC (Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges) institution – Williams brings experience including her service as an interim provost, an inaugural academic director, a department chair, a Fulbright Scholar, an inaugural Master of Fine Arts program director, a faculty member, a published author, and a grants director.

An internationally published scholar, Williams specializes in the work of the renowned Caribbean/Barbadian cultural critic, historian, and poet Kamau Brathwaite. She also is known for her work on Canadian-Caribbean women writers, and her research and writing on Canadian slavery.

An alumnus of the College, Robert “Bob” Ziomek ’89 recently returned to MCLA to serve as the vice president of advancement, bringing with him nearly 30 years of experience in the advancement field. He comes from Western New England University (WNEU) in Springfield, Mass., where he served as the director of major and planned gifts.

Another MCLA graduate, Gina Puc ’07 will move from her position as director of admission to a new role as the College’s dean of enrollment management and community relations. She will assume her new leadership role in July.

Not long after Puc’s 2007 graduation from MCLA with a degree in history, she returned to campus to begin her career as an admission counselor. After Ziomek graduated with an associate degree in liberal arts from Holyoke Community College, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in history/political science from the College in 1989.

MacDonald-Dennis earned a Doctor of Education degree in social justice education from UMASS-Amherst, a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Ky., and a Master of Science degree in college student development and counseling from Northeastern University in Boston. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Framingham State University.

Williams holds a certificate of training in management and leadership in higher education (MLE) from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. She earned her Doctor of Arts degree in the humanities, with a concentration in Caribbean and British studies, from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga.