Steering Committee

Convened and chaired by Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter, the Leading With Distinction Steering Committee guides the implementation process and ensures accountability in addressing major institutional commitments outlined in the plan. The committee is comprised of the chairs and co-leads of the Thematic Groups and others.


  • Lois Agnew, associate provost for academic programs (chair, Curricular Thematic Group)
  • Mary Grace Almandrez, vice president for diversity and inclusion (co-lead, DEIA Thematic Group)
  • Duncan Brown, vice president for research (chair, Research Transformation and STEM Expansion Thematic Group)
  • Julia Cartwright, chief of staff to the provost
  • Kelly Chandler-Olcott, dean, School of Education (co-lead, Veterans Thematic Group)
  • Michael Frasciello, dean, College of Professional Studies (co-lead, Enrollment Innovation Thematic Group)
  • Marcelle Haddix, associate provost for strategic initiatives (chair, DEIA Thematic Group)
  • Mark Lodato, dean, Newhouse School (co-lead, Curricular Thematic Group)
  • Behzad Mortazavi, dean, College of Arts and Sciences (co-lead, Research Transformation and STEM Expansion Thematic Group)
  • Sarah Scalese, senior associate vice president for communications
  • Cole Smith, dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science (co-lead, Research Transformation and STEM Expansion Thematic Group)
  • Michael Speaks, dean, School of Architecture (co-lead, Curricular Thematic Group)
  • Peter Vanable, dean, Graduate School (co-lead, DEIA Thematic Group)
  • David Van Slyke, dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (co-lead, Enrollment Innovation Thematic Group)
  • Ryan Williams, vice president for enrollment services (chair, Enrollment Innovation Thematic Group)
  • Jamie Winders, associate provost for faculty affairs (chair, Veterans Thematic Group)
  • Pamela Young, director of academic strategic plan implementation