SENMC Announces VPAA Candidates

Southeast New Mexico College Announces Five Finalists for the Vice President of Academic Affairs

After an extensive search, Southeast New Mexico College announces five finalists for the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The finalists include Dr. Kent L. Buchanan, Dr. Effrosyni (Frosso) Seitaridou, Dr. Mickey D. Best, Dr. Julio Birman, and Dr. Michael Pullin. The open forums for the VP of Academic Affairs will take place Tuesday, April 9th, 2024, Wednesday, April 10th, 2024, Thursday, April 11th, 2024, Monday, April 15th, 2024, and Tuesday, April 16th, 2024, at 2:30 PM in Room 153. Community members, faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend.

Dr. Kent L. Buchanan Tuesday, April 9th @ 2:30-3:30 PM, Room 153 Join Zoom Meeting
Dr. Effrosyni (Frosso) Seitaridou Wednesday, April 10th @ 2:30-3:30 PM, Room 153 Join Zoom Meeting
Dr. Mickey D. Best Thursday, April 11th @ 2:30-3:30 PM, Room 153 Join Zoom Meeting
Dr. Julio Birman Monday, April 15th @ 2:30-3:30 PM, Room 153 Join Zoom Meeting
Dr. Michael Pullin Tuesday, April 16th @ 2:30-3:30 PM, Room 153 Join Zoom Meeting

Dr. Kent L. Buchanan

Kent L. Buchanan, Ph.D. PhotoKent L. Buchanan, Ph.D. served as Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO from March of 2020 through June of 2023. Before Adams State, he was the Provost and VPAA for four years and Assistant Provost at Oklahoma City University (OCU) for three years.  Buchanan was at OCU from 2006 through 2019, where he was an Associate Professor and Professor of Biology and served as chair of the Department of Biology for five years.  Before coming to OCU, Buchanan was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and a researcher at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where his research focused primarily on immunology and the effects of spaceflight on virulence of pathogenic organisms.  At OCU, Buchanan taught biochemistry, genetics, general biology, immunology, pathogenic microbiology, environmental science, and ecological sustainability and served as an academic advisor for biology students. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for Science Museum Oklahoma and the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. Buchanan served as chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and as the Faculty Trustee during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Dr. Effrosyni (Frosso) Seitaridou

effrosyni_seitaridou.jpgEffrosyni (Frosso) Seitaridou is Professor of Physics at Oxford College of Emory University, which she joined in the fall of 2008. She received her B.A. in Physics from Smith College and her B.E. in Materials Science from Dartmouth College, both in 2002. For her graduate studies she attended the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where she got her M.S. in 2004 and her Ph.D. in 2008, both in Applied Physics. Her dissertation was in the area of Biophysics.

At Oxford College, Frosso serves as the Chair of the Physics and Astronomy department. In this role, she has been responsible for developing and implementing a vision of growth for the physics and astronomy program. She attributes the program’s success to the use of high-impact, student-centered, and inclusive learning practices. She has also worked with other science department heads and a team of architects to design Oxford’s new science building, which opened its doors in 2016. Among her many committee responsibilities, she has evaluated tenure and promotion materials, served as the Chair of the Faculty Development Committee, and mentored (formally and informally) tenure-track colleagues. In addition, for 7 years she was the Oxford College Director of the Summer Undergraduate Research at Emory (SURE) program.

Frosso has co-authored articles with undergraduate students and collaborators from diverse subfilelds in physics. She has also co-authored two books targeted towards undergraduate physics students. Her first book on diffusion is titled “Simple Brownian Diffusion: An Introduction to the Standard Theoretical Models,” published in October 2012 by Oxford University Press. Her second book is titled "A Student's Guide to Rotational Motion," published in August 2023 by Cambridge University Press. She has received numerous recognitions for excellence in teaching.

Born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece, Frosso came to the U.S. to pursue her undergraduate and graduate level studies. In her spare time, she enjoys talking about physics, reading, running, and hiking with her dog, Gibbs.

Dr. Mickey D. Best

mickey-best.jpgDr. Mickey D. Best hails from Oklahoma and is a first-generation college student. He grew up on a farm and ranch where he learned the value of having a strong work ethic. In addition to agricultural and livestock management, most of his family worked in the oil fields of southern Oklahoma. Had he not pursued a career in Higher Education, Mickey would have been a third- generation industry worker.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Speech-Theatre Education and Psychology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK. Upon graduation, a scholarship from Texas Tech University brought him to Lubbock, TX where he completed his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Direction and Performance and his Ph.D. in Arts Administration and History, Theory, and Criticism.

His career in higher education began as Professor of Speech-Theatre at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM. He is the Founding Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, wrote the initial curriculum for theatre performance and technical production, and designed the institution’s Watson Theatre. After a decade of rewarding service as a faculty member, he pursued administration and was appointed Dean of Arts and Sciences. Following academic reorganization and an institutional employment rift, he served in the newly formed position of Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Career Technology. While at the college, he formed a task force with education faculty and representatives of the five, Lea County New Mexico school districts to address teacher shortages in the area. This work culminated with the implementation of New Mexico’s first community college certification program for Alternative Licensure in Elementary Education. He was commended for his service to the institution and Lea County schools and received a proclamation from New Mexico state Representative Don Whitaker (deceased).

He next served as Executive Dean of Liberal Arts at the Dallas College Cedar Valley Campus, a mainly African-American serving institution in Lancaster, TX. In addition to overseeing daily operations for the college’s largest academic division, he worked with student services to develop a new student testing and placement process for developmental Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. He was also nominated for and received a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award.

Mickey was next appointed as Vice President for Academic Affairs at South Arkansas College in El Dorado, AR. Working with members of the Faculty Senate and Deans of the four academic divisions, he led efforts to design and implement a new faculty development and performance review process. He also served as the institutional liaison between the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and the College and worked as the college’s Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). At this time, he became a Peer Reviewer for the Commission and co-chaired and served as co-author and editor for the institution’s Assurance Argument submission resulting in accreditation reaffirmation. In consultation with lead faculty, he participated in program-level accreditation initiatives for Automotive, Process, and Welding Technology, and co-authored program self-studies for Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapy Assistant programs. He also served as a board member of the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium.

Mickey returned to New Mexico in his appointment as Campus President for the New Mexico State University branch campus in Grants (NMSU-G), a minority-majority serving college with Hispanic and Native American students constituting two-thirds of its total enrollment. In his first months on the job, he received blueprints for the new Child Development Center and Daycare facility and worked with NMSU system leadership in Las Cruces to ensure its completion. He also consulted with faculty and staff from the academic sector and student services to strengthen shared governance processes and decision-making accountability. In his work with local state legislators, over the course of three years, he requested and received $4.9 million in funding for campus facility and infrastructure upgrades. In consultation with Cibola County representatives at the legislature, he secured funding to establish a new student-veteran resource center on the campus. He served as a board member for the local Chamber-of-Commerce, Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation, and was appointed as President of the Grants- Milan Rotary Club (Rotary International).

Prior to moving to Carlsbad to serve as the Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Mickey served as the first Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness and Excellence at Kilgore College in Kilgore, TX. His work there focused on a new initiative to adopt guiding policies of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for consideration by the institution’s Board of Trustees. His office also directed academic program assessment processes and tracking of progress for the institution’s strategic planning efforts.

As Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at Southeast New Mexico College (SENMC), a post he has held since August 2023, Mickey has worked closely with faculty and the administration to ensure ongoing academic processes and improvements. In October 2023, the institution hosted a team of peer reviewers of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for a 10- year, comprehensive visit. He participated with the administration, faculty, and staff leadership in its Assurance Argument submission. This institution-wide effort resulted in continuing accreditation for the next decade. As a newly independent institution, Southeast New Mexico College is focused upon establishing and maintaining its new and varying processes for assessment of student learning outcomes, curriculum, and support for ongoing faculty and staff development. Mickey has worked to regularly consult with the academic and student service leadership to ensure the institution’s continuing student-centered focus in these and other areas providing student learning and academic support.

Dr. Julio Birman

juliobirman-headshot.jpgDr. Julio Birman was educated in Argentina and the United States. He has been a post-secondary educator since 1990 and a Higher Educational Administrator since 2012. His professional experience includes language and cross-cultural business training, as well as Marketing, Creative Services, and Educational Management. Dr. Birman holds degrees in Digital Media, Adult Education, and Educational Leadership. Over the years, he has made significant contributions to various international educational organizations, non-profit organizations, small to medium-size businesses, and Fortune 500 corporations.

Dr. Birman is currently managing the Instructional Services department at Chandler/Gilbert Community College in Arizona and before that, he led the Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness office at Wor-Wic Community College in Maryland. Prior to relocating to the East Coast, he served as Assistant Dean of Academic Success at A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) where he developed and taught courses in professionalism for dental students. His tenure also includes leadership roles in the private sector as he recruited and led three marketing communication departments for ACO Polymer Products, Valutek, and DHL Express in Arizona. As adjunct faculty for both the Art Institute of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute, he developed and taught course curricula in the areas of General Education, Visual Communications, and Interactive Game Design. Dr. Birman has also conceived and implemented Spanish General Education Development (GED) preparation courses as well as numerous continuing and adult basic education programs for community colleges in the states of Michigan and Arizona.

In addition to his experience in the United States., Dr. Birman has lived and worked in many Latin American countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. He has trained individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds while providing consulting services, language instruction, and cross-cultural training for Berlitz International. During his time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Birman taught English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, served as Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam administrator, and instructed Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Dr. Michael Pullin

michael_pullin_headshot.jpegMichael Pullin (he/him/his) grew up in the Cleveland, OH area. He earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Analytical Chemistry from Kent State University. After earning his Ph.D., he was awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research in Environmental Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following that appointment, he served as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame. In 2004, he moved to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry, eventually earning tenure and becoming the Chairperson of the Chemistry Department. While at New Mexico Tech, he conducted externally funded research and supervised graduate students in Environmental Chemistry. He also led a number education and outreach programs that focused on freshman retention, the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students in STEM, and the successful transfer of community college students to STEM degree programs at four-year institutions.

In 2014, Dr. Pullin joined Broward College where he was the Associate Dean of Science. There, he led a multi-disciplinary science department with nearly 100 faculty members. He also developed an NSF-funded Innovative Science Teaching Institute that assisted faculty in transforming their classrooms using engaging and evidence-based teaching approaches. Dr. Pullin left Broward College to join Queensborough Community College in 2018.

Dr. Pullin is currently the Dean of Academic Initiatives at Queensborough Community College, a campus in the City University of New York (CUNY) system.  His college-wide responsibilities include degree program development and assessment, leadership of academic momentum initiatives, and strategic planning.  Additionally, he oversees several programs and centers essential to student success, including CUNY Start, a full semester immersive program for developmental students with a national reputation for strong student outcomes, the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP), an immersive ESL program, and College Now, a dual enrollment program for local high school students.  Additionally, he leads the college’s role in the Business and Technology Early College (BTECH) High School, a P-TECH model New York City high school where students earn a diploma and an associate degree in 5 years. He also oversees the Transfer Resource Center (and the development articulation agreements with other institutions) as well as the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs and the Office of Career Services.

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