Phase I Steering Committee

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee comprises a broadly diverse group of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community representatives. The Steering Committee will, during the 2016-17 academic year, design and implement UM-Flint’s next strategic planning process. Suggestions or questions can be emailed to the Steering Committee at

Faculty/Academic Administration
  • Dauda Abubakar, Associate Professor, Africana Studies and Political Science
  • Mihai Burzo, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Engineering & Physics
  • Melva Craft-Blacksheare, Assistant Professor, Nursing
  • Mike Farmer, Chair, Computer Science, Engineering & Physics
  • Donna Fry, Professor of Physical Therapy and Dean of the School of Health Professions & Studies
  • Dan Lair, Associate Professor of Organizational Communication and Director of the MA in Applied Communication
  • Paula Nas, Lecturer, Economics and Interim Director, University Outreach
  • Shelby Newport, Associate Professor of Theater and Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance
  • Chris Pearson, Professor of Physics, Associate Dean of College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jie Song, Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Sapna Thwaite, Associate Professor of Education and Associate Dean of the School of Education & Human Services
  • Dale Tuttle, Lecturer and Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Management
  • Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Steering Committee Chair
  • Shichun Xu, Assistant Professor of Marketing, School of Management
  • Amy Yorke, Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy
  • Jonathan Grady, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Success
  • Kristopher Johns, Program Manager, Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center, Public Health & Health Sciences
  • Keshanda F. Jones, Adviser, Student Success Center 
  • Brent Nickola, Alumni Relations/Annual Giving Manager, Alumni Relations & Development
  • Suzanne Shivnen, Administrative Assistant, Political Science
  • Deb White, Director, Office of Extended Learning
  • Jena Colon, Graduate Student Research Assistant, School of Management
  • Marquetta Hall, Undergraduate Student, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Zachary Hayes, Undergraduate, Energy and Sustainable Systems, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Damien Downey Siwik, Graduate Student, MPA
Alumni and Community Representatives
  • Nicholas Evans, Vice President of Business Development & CDO, Genesys Health System
  • Melany Gavulic, President & CEO, Hurley Medical Center
  • John Henry, Executive Director, Flint Institute of Arts
  • JaNel Jamerson, Executive Director, Flint & Genesee Literacy Network
  • Terry Wisner, University of Michigan-Flint Alumni and Owner of Partnering to Success LLC.
Administrative Support
  • Tess Barker, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor
  • Gilia Smith, Special Adviser to the Provost
  • Karen Riptoe, Executive Secretary
  • Julie Peterson, Co-Founder and Partner, Peterson Rudgers Group
  • Lisa Rudgers, Co-Founder and Partner, Peterson Rudgers Group

Phase I Steering Committee Work Groups

January 29, 2017


Open Forum Work Group

Description: This group is asked to work with the administrative support team to plan appropriate days, times, and venues for the open forums. The group will also develop a plan for the approach and content for the open forums, draft agendas and questions to guide discussion, as well as communications and incentives to encourage participation.


Dauda Abubakar

Jonathan Grady

Marquetta Hall

Zachary Hayes

Suzanne Shivnen

Terry Wisner

Tess Barker (Administrative Support)


Environmental Scan Work Group

Description: This group is asked to review background materials and data, including state and national trends, content from university committees, and related plans such as Strategic Enrollment Management, preparation for the Higher Learning Commission, and others. The group should synthesize this content into a focused and digestible set of material that can set the context for open forums and discussions going forward.


Mihai Burzo

Nick Evans

Mike Farmer

Donna Fry

Daniel Lair

Christopher Pearson

Damien Siwik

Sapna Thwaite

Deb White

Julie Peterson (Administrative Support)


Survey Work Group

Description: This group is asked to examine existing survey samples and templates and develop one or more survey instruments to be used with faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The group should also determine the best time frame for launching the survey and identify campus resources and process for tabulating and reporting on survey findings.


Melva Craft-Blacksheare

Kristopher Johns

Brent Nickola

Deb White

Amy Yorke

Gilia Smith and Julie Peterson (Administratie Support)


Community Outreach Work Group

Description: This group will work with the Chancellor’s Office and university administrators responsible for community engagement to recommend effective mechanisms for gathering and considering input from Flint and surrounding communities. We anticipate the community members of the Steering Committee will be important contributors to this work.


Jena Colon

Kristopher Johns

Keshanda Jones

Paula Nas

Marissa A. Pierce

Tess Barker (Administrative Support)

Phase II Steering Committee

  • James Alsup, Associate Professor of Physics, Computer Science, Engineering & Physics, CAS
  • Linda Blakey, Program Manager & Adjunct Lecturer, CAS
  • Yener Kandogan, Associate Dean, SOM
  • Dan Lair, Associate Professor & Program Director of MA in Applied Communication, CAS
  • Margie Murray-Wright, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing, SON
  • Karen Riptoe (Administrative Support)
  • Sapna Thwaite, Associate Dean, SEHS
  • Amy Yorke, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, SHP
  • Terry Wisner, Founder and President, Partnering To Success, LLC