College Leadership

Interim Dean of the college

Dr. Mary Ludden
Interim Dean, College of Professional Studies

Mary Ludden serves as the interim dean of the College of Professional Studies and as vice chancellor for strategic planning and projects, primarily focused on Northeastern’s global network of campuses in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Charlotte, and London.

Dr. Ludden was formerly a full-time faculty member and faculty director, leading both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Professional Studies.  Dr. Ludden holds an MBA from Husson University and a PhD in Public Policy & Administration from Walden University.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Dr. Ludden served as vice president and chief operating officer of National Government Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. She was responsible for a portfolio of programs and projects in excess of $450 million of annual operating revenue generated from government contracts consisting of both health information technology programs and business process programs. After spending over 20 years in the healthcare industry, Ludden brings a breadth of expertise, including strategic leadership, project management, performance measurement, data analytics, information technology, and strategic planning. She is frequently an invited speaker on these subjects and consults with Fortune 50 organizations on strategic growth initiatives.


To view the full organizational chart, click here.

Dr. Patrick F. Plunkett
Senior Associate Dean, Global Engagement; Executive Director, Northeastern University Global 

Dr. Patrick F. Plunkett is the senior associate dean for global engagement and the executive director of Northeastern University (NU) Global. Dr. Plunkett is responsible for advocating and coordinating international programs, advising the dean on international issues, and providing administrative oversight of the University’s international affiliations and contracts.

Prior to his current appointment at Northeastern University, Dr. Plunkett served for two years as the acting dean of the University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences. He led the college through a period of transformational change by integrating 137 full-time faculty, 38 academic programs, and five research centers, formerly housed in two separate colleges, into one college. Before becoming acting dean, Dr. Plunkett served for nine years as the associate dean for academic affairs in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. For seven years, he directed the University’s Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program. Dr. Plunkett holds an AB in biology from Saint Anselm College, an MS in physiology from Rivier College, and an EdD in higher education administration from Northeastern University. He also completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Michael Gladstone
Senior Associate Dean for Administration, Finance and Business Planning

Michael Gladstone is the senior associate dean for administration, finance and business planning for the College of Professional Studies. As chief financial officer, Mr. Gladstone is responsible for budget and finance, campus facilities, and information technology. He has held numerous positions at Northeastern University, including roles in central administration and teaching as an adjunct instructor in the College’s Information Technology Program.

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Mr. Gladstone held various management positions in the private sector. Mr. Gladstone holds a BS in business administration with a concentration in management from Salem State College and an MBA from Northeastern University. He also completed the Management Leadership in Education Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. David Fields
Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs

Dr. David Fields is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs for Professional Programs in the College of Professional Studies. Leading a large team of faculty and staff, Dr. Fields oversees the quality, growth and innovation across all academic and operational aspects of the portfolio, consisting of nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate certificates and degrees, delivered online and among multiple global campuses. Dr. Fields serves to provide leadership to the graduate and undergraduate faculty and staff to call them together around a shared purpose to inspire and empower thousands of learners so they can achieve their potential to improve the world. 

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Dr. Fields served in a research post at the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. He has served in multiple roles working for both private and public institutions and has developed and taught both online and on-ground courses at Michigan State University, the University of San Diego, Emmanuel College and Boston College.

Dr. Fields holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from Boston College and a MEd in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University.

Dr. Molly Smith 
Associate Dean, Opportunity Pathway Programs

Molly Smith leads the Opportunity Pathway Programs in the College of Professional Studies. In collaboration with community-based and industry partners, Dr. Smith and her team build pathways and partnerships that advance opportunities for learners through asset-based advising models and academic curricula that meet learners’ immediate needs while building the competencies needed to be successful in 21st century educational and career environments. The Opportunity Pathway Programs division works with the leadership of the Professional Programs and the Lowell Institute School to create, deepen, and broaden undergraduate pathways and partnerships at Northeastern’s regional campuses and nationally.

Molly was the founding director of the Foundation Year program and has extensive experience designing programs for first year college students and non-traditional student populations. Previously, Dr. Smith worked as the associate director of teacher education at Rutgers University. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. Her research interests include higher education access, persistence, and attainment of first-generation and non-traditional students.

Joe Griffin
Interim Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Education

Joseph Griffin, D.Min., is the Interim Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Education in Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, where he also holds a faculty appointment as an Associate Teaching Professor in Project Management. Joseph has served in a variety of roles within the University’s Chancellor’s Office and College of Professional Studies. Previously, he served as the Vice Chancellor of Educational Innovation, the Associate Vice President of Business Development, and Acting Vice Chancellor of Regional Campuses within the Office of the Chancellor. He also served as Associate Dean of Partnership & Engagement and as Faculty Director for graduate programs in Analytics, Informatics, and Project Management.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Joseph worked in a variety of project oriented roles within the construction, land development, and real estate industry. He holds a Doctorate in Workplace Leadership and Ethics from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, a Masters of Project Management from Western Carolina University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Lenoir-Rhyne University. 

Karen Phillips
Associate Dean for the Student Experience

Karen Phillips is the Associate Dean for the Student Experience at the College of Professional Studies. Karen is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management for the learner experience for all students across the College. She supervises the Academic Advising and Learner Services teams and collaborates with academic and administrative leaders both in the College and across the University to increase student retention and satisfaction, including the retention and academic progress of first-generation students, international students, and underrepresented students.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Karen was Assistant Dean for the graduate student experience and services at the Boston University Questrom School of Business, where she oversaw graduate program management, academic advising, registrar, financial aid and career advising. At Hult International School of Business in Cambridge, MA, she was Associate Dean of Student Affairs and the MBA Program Dean, working in collaboration with Hult’s campuses in Dubai, London, San Francisco and Shanghai while the school grew by 33%. Karen holds an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California, an MS in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern, and a BS in Health Policy & Management from Providence College.

Allison Ruda
Associate Dean of Curriculum Strategy and Product Innovation 

Dr. Allison Ruda leads curriculum and program-wide assessment strategy for the College of Professional Studies. She collaborates with faculty and academic leadership to develop scalable approaches to new product development and provides strategic leadership around initiatives that enhance the College’s ability to serve a wide range of adult and professional learners. Allison facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations through curriculum domain work, and works with central services teams to ensure alignment between major digital and/or ed tech-related initiatives, College priorities, and University goals.

In her previous role as a Senior Strategist, Allison was a key architect of CPS’ undergraduate program in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, which was developed in partnership with General Electric through the federal government’s Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) experiment. She came to Northeastern in 2007 as an instructional designer, and supported the College’s efforts to establish hybrid and online programming at scale. Prior to Northeastern, Allison worked at Emerson College, Regis College, and Harvard University, and produced educational media projects on a freelance basis.

Allison holds an EdD in Curriculum, Learning, Teaching & Leadership from Northeastern, an EdM in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College.

Sean Gallagher
Assistant Clinical Professor and Executive Director – Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy

Dr. Sean Gallagher is the founder and Executive Director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, and Executive Professor of Educational Policy. Sean joined Northeastern in 2009 and is a nationally recognized expert with nearly 20 years of experience in higher education. As Chief Strategy Officer for Northeastern’s Professional Advancement Network, Sean built a central strategy function unique among universities, working across colleges and academic domains to launch growth initiatives including the development of new campuses and degree programs.

Prior to Northeastern, Sean worked for Eduventures for a decade, advising executives at hundreds of universities, education companies, and investors. Sean’s writing and commentary have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and CBS Television. Sean’s book, The Future of University Credentials: New Developments at the Intersection of Higher Education and Hiring, was published in 2016 by Harvard Education Press. Sean holds an EdD from Northeastern University, an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology, and a BS in Marketing from Northeastern.

Dan Lebowitz
Director of Sport in Society

Dan Lebowitz has served as the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society since October 2008. Lebowitz’s tenure has seen a wide spectrum of work, from a partnership with the National Football League around sexual harassment prevention to a solidified position as one of the most sought-after resources for capacity-building and leadership education to sport and social change organizations. The Center has done primary violence prevention work with Major League Baseball, the U.S. military, the Boston Police Department and other community engagement entities involved in positive youth development and normative culture change.

Dan possesses an extensive background in the design, development, and implementation of educational and employment programs aimed at opening opportunities for urban youth and the many underserved and diverse populations of Boston. Throughout his career he has worked in and managed myriad programs toward this end, including Brandeis University’s Transitional Year Program, the Waltham Group, Upward Bound, the City of Boston Employment and Economic Policy Administration, the Boston Private Industry Council’s Boston Compact Initiative and Summer Jobs Program and the Department of Transitional Assistance’s Housing and Housing Services Division for the Homeless. Dan holds an EdM in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University and a BA in Political Science/Urban Studies from Brandeis University.

Peggy Hayes
Director of Communications

Peggy Hayes is the Director of Communications at the College of Professional Studies, responsible for digital, social and print communications strategy and management, including the College website. She manages internal communications with faculty and staff on behalf of the Dean of the College and publications ranging from the annual faculty brochure to the alumni newsletter.

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Peggy held two positions in higher education. At Harvard University, she was Director of Communications for the Harvard University Allston Development Group, which led physical planning, community relations and construction for the university’s expansion in the Allston neighborhood of the city of Boston. At Tufts University, she managed health sciences communications for the Tufts University health sciences campus in Boston including the Medical School, the Dental School, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Previously, she worked in public relations in New York for two national firms: Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, and on the staff of a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. Peggy holds an MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication from Northeastern University and a BA in English from Vassar College.

Dagmar Whitaker
Assistant Dean of Administration and Employee Experience

Dagmar Whitaker is the head of the Human Resources, Administration and Employee Experience in the College of Professional Studies. Dagmar oversees all human resources (HR) functions and initiatives for staff and faculty and provides full-cycle human resources support for the College. She collaborates with Dean Loeffelholz, College leadership, business partners in Human Resources Management, and the Office of the General Counsel to provide strategic direction related to the role of HR within the College. Dagmar is also responsible for addressing all employee relations matters and assists in other areas of College administration, including academic human resources, faculty experience, employee engagement, process improvement and design, and workforce planning and development. Dagmar is actively involved in various professional working groups within the College and the University; helping to enhance employee satisfaction, experience and learning. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Dagmar held various HR positions in the education field, including at Boston University, Foreign Service Institute, and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Dagmar holds a BA in Humanities and Social Sciences and an MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic. Dagmar is an active member of various HR professional organizations such as Society of Human Resource Management, Northeast HR Association, HR Certification Institute and Human Capital Institute. Dagmar also holds several HR professional certifications.  Dagmar is passionate about making a positive impact, keeping employees engaged and enhancing creativity and diversity in a workplace.

Kathy Reinke
Executive Assistant to the Dean

Kathy Reinke is the Executive Assistant to the Dean for the College of Professional Studies. Kathy manages the Dean’s calendar and Dean’s office events. In addition, Kathy assists with communications, travel management, faculty and staff engagement initiatives, the faculty promotion process, and other special projects within the College. Kathy is also actively involved in the planning process for the college’s graduation and doctoral hooding ceremonies. Her previous work for the College included supporting NExT, Northeastern’s Network of Experiential Teaching and Learning, within the Graduate School of Education. 

Prior to joining Northeastern University in March 2018, Kathy had various professional and volunteer experiences in customer relations, sales, marketing, and public relations. Kathy is also a proud alumna, holding a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Northeastern.

Felicia Kornegay
Events Manager

Felicia Kornegay is the Event Manager for the College of Professional Studies. Felicia oversees all commencement and doctoral hooding ceremonies for College as well as the Dean’s dinner and luncheon. Additionally, Felicia manages the annual Faculty Development Conference and other internal events as determined by the Dean. She also serves as a resource to the College regarding best practices in events. Felicia project manages the planning and execution of events and meetings through project timelines, contract negotiation, fiscal responsibility, budgeting and approvals, data analysis and reporting, innovative and creative event concepts, elevation of the attendee experience, agenda development, and logistics management.

Prior to joining Northeastern University, Felicia held various positions in higher education, including Purdue University and Cornell University. Felicia holds a BFA in Merchandising and Management from Pratt Institute in New York and an MBA with a concentration in Event Planning and Management from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.