Academic Leadership

David Bell, EdD
Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs

David Bell serves as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs for Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Education, and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago.

David’s expertise extends beyond academia, having also served as a consultant for the Illinois Multi-Tiered System of Support Network (Illinois MTSS-N). In this capacity, he has provided invaluable guidance to numerous school districts in the development and implementation of frameworks designed to enhance instructional practices and ensure high-quality educational experiences for all students.

In addition to his leadership roles, David has authored or co-authored over 15 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, contributing significantly to the academic discourse within the field of education.

Christopher Bolick, EdD, MPM, PMP
Associate Dean of Graduate Programs

Chris Bolick serves as Associate Dean of Graduate Programs. He holds a doctorate in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University and a Master’s in Project Management (MPM) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Western Carolina University. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds certifications in Business Process Management (BPM) and PRINCE2.

Chris joined CPS in 2013 as an adjunct faculty and has since served in several roles, including: assistant academic specialist, associate teaching professor, faculty lead, academic programs chair, and most recently, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. In his current role, Chris is focused on developing new offerings, revitalizing existing programs and launching initiatives to enhance the learner experience and learner outcomes. He manages all aspects of program development, quality, and growth for a portfolio of graduate degrees and graduate certificates across Northeastern’s Global University System.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Chris worked in various design, manufacturing, and retail construction industries serving in management, operations, procurement, process improvement, and project management roles.

Erin Clair, PhD
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs

Erin Clair serves as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. In addition, she has a master’s in literature from Texas State University and a bachelor’s in English from Case Western Reserve University.

In her role as Associate Dean for CPS, Erin oversees a portfolio of 13 academic programs, the Associate to Master’s (A2M) pathway programs, the eA2M Impact Engine, and the Global Pathways programs. Under her leadership, the college has generated over 40 community college and industry academic partnership agreements and has launched undergraduate programs across the global university network.

Before joining Northeastern, Erin was Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and Professor of English at Arkansas Tech University, where she also served as Director of General Education and on the Higher Learning Commission Steering Committee. Erin is a recipient of the Jerry Gaff Award for Emerging Campus Leader from the Association for General and Liberal Studies in addition to a number of other awards and accolades for her teaching, leadership and service.

Sara Ewell, PhD
Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs

Sara Ewell is the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs for the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. She previously served as the Assistant Dean of Faculty and Student Affairs, Director of the Doctor of Education, and Teaching Professor at the Graduate School of Education.

During her tenure in the Graduate School of Education, she chaired nearly 100 dissertations and led the redesign of the EdD program that was awarded the 2022 Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate Program of the Year. Sara also serves on the Board of the Carnegie Project of the Education Doctorate.

Sara serves as a reviewer for professional journals and conferences, and volunteers for various community-based organizations and the Traumatic Brain Injury Association. Sara founded the Disability Alliance, an affinity group for faculty and staff with disabilities at Northeastern in 2022.

Joe Griffin, D.Min
Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Joe Griffin serves as the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, where he also holds a faculty appointment as a teaching professor in project management.

Joe formerly served in a variety of roles within the university’s Chancellor’s Office and College of Professional Studies including as the Vice Chancellor of Educational Innovation, the Associate Vice President of Business Development, and Acting Vice Chancellor of Regional Campuses. 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, Joe worked within the construction, land development, and real estate industries. He is a certified Project Management Professional and he holds a current General Contractor Builder license in North Carolina.

Joe holds a doctorate in Workplace Leadership and Ethics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Master of Project Management from Western Carolina University, and an MBA from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Casey Moffatt
Assistant Dean – Academic & CPS Global Operations

Casey Moffatt provides high-level operational leadership related to planning, implementing, directing, and administering all aspects of academic operations.

With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, Casey has spent the last 14 years working for the College of Professional Studies. Prior to working at CPS, Casey worked in various community colleges . He earned his MA in Training and Organizational Development from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL., and is a graduate of Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA with a BA in Political Science.

Allison Ruda, EdD
Associate Dean – Education Design & Curriculum Innovation

Allison Ruda serves as Associate Dean of Education Design & Curriculum Innovation for Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. Leading curriculum and program-wide assessment strategy, she collaborates with faculty and academic leadership to develop and scale educational innovations that serve diverse learners. Allison’s leadership includes university-wide initiatives that focus on modular learning design, micro-credentialing, and AI-enhanced skills mapping.

She also leads the college’s Academic Quality unit which focuses on data-driven, continuous improvement planning, program evaluation and reporting, and coordinated faculty development. She works with centralized teams and academic units across Northeastern to advance key initiatives including the university’s digital badging implementation, the learning management system transition, and the lifelong learning platform strategy.

With two decades of experience in the learning design and ed tech field, Allison has collaborated with academic researchers, practitioners, technologists, and industry leaders around the shared goal of expanding access to experiential education. Prior to Northeastern, Allison worked at Emerson College, Regis College and Harvard University and produced educational media for non-profit clients on a freelance basis.

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

Molly Smith, PhD
Associate Dean – CPS Undergraduate Programs

Molly Smith is the Associate Dean of CPS Undergraduate Programs and leads the Opportunity Pathway Programs for Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. This unique program aims to build pathways and partnerships that advance opportunities for all learners.

The Opportunity Pathway Programs division works with the university to create, deepen, and broaden undergraduate pathways and partnerships at Northeastern. In collaboration with community-based and industry partners, Molly and her team utilize asset-based advising models and academic curricula that meet learners’ immediate needs while building the competencies required to be successful in 21st century educational and career environments.

As the founding director of the Foundation Year program, Molly has extensive experience designing programs for first-year college students and nontraditional student populations. Prior to joining Northeastern, she worked as the associate director of teacher education at Rutgers University.

She earned her PhD 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 nontraditional students.

Corliss B. Thompson, PhD
Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education

Corliss Thompson serves as the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education and has been a full-time faculty member since 2013. She is a recognized leader in research methodology and design as well as social justice.

Corliss has been involved with NExT, the Global Network of Experiential Educators, at Northeastern since its inception and has helped guide its mission to elevate experiential learning and make it accessible to every learner. She is passionate about using culturally relevant and experiential approaches in her teaching and mentoring, as she leads research methodology and program evaluation approaches for deeper understanding and improvement of teaching and learning.

Before becoming a faculty member, Corliss worked in a research and evaluation office in a school district and at the University of North Carolina, where she earned her doctoral degree. She also was an elementary school teacher in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, NC.