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Leadership Team

The Provost works closely with her senior leadership team -- consisting of the Deans and Associate Provosts -- and other members of academic leadership on an array of topics. This group provides input to the Provost on key issues to inform decision-making and help drive strategy. Though not featured on this page, department chairs, center directors, and other leaders in Academic Affairs are crucial players who support the success of the division. Please refer to this organizational chart to see the full structure of the Office of the Provost.

Office of the Provost
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Donna Maria Blancero, MS, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Rauch 318
+1 (781) 891-2357

Donna Maria has held numerous academic leadership positions at Bentley since joining the university in 2010. She is a professor of Management and, prior to her appointment as Provost, served as the interim dean of business. Before joining Bentley, Donna Maria held leadership, faculty and research roles at Arizona State University, Cornell University, Touro University and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Donna Maria is the founding editor of The Business Journal of Hispanic Research and has received numerous awards including the Presidential Award from the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s Brillante Award for Hispanic Education. Donna Maria received her PhD in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, master’s degree from New York Institute of Technology, and bachelor’s degree from SUNY, College at Old Westbury.

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Alex Hirs, MS
Chief of Staff to the Provost and Director of Academic Administration and Planning
Rauch 300A
+1 (781) 891-2964

Alex works as a close partner and advisor to the Provost. He collaborates with other members of academic leadership to set, track, and assess strategic goals and coordinates communications for Academic Affairs. Alex launched his professional career at Bentley in 2012, and prior to joining the Office of the Provost he served as the Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives in Students Affairs and as the Project Director for a federal grant issued by the Office on Violence Against Women. Alex has engaged in a variety of programs that address diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as co-facilitating an annual Diversity Retreat for faculty and staff; co-instructing courses for undergraduate and graduate students that focus on inclusive management strategies; and leading sustained, intergroup dialogues with students, faculty, and staff. Alex received his Master of Science degree from Miami University and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College.

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Roberta Francis
Executive Assistant, Office of the Provost
+1 (781) 891-2155

Roberta provides effective administrative support to the Office of the Provost and coordinates the Provost’s activities and calendar. She joined Bentley in 2019 with many years of experience in higher education. Before joining Bentley, Roberta worked at Babson College and at UMass Medical School.

Senior Leadership Team
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Mystica M. Alexander, JD
Associate Provost for Research and Faculty
Morison 280
+1 (781) 891-2202

Mystica helps to develop strategy and coordinate offerings that bolster faculty research and pedagogy. She directly oversees the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Library, and she supports the efforts of faculty who serve on the Research Council and the Teaching and Learning Council. Since joining the Bentley community in 2004, Mystica has been engaged in curriculum development, program design, and a variety of institutional service activities. Prior to her appointment as Associate Provost for Research and Faculty, Mystica served as Chair of the Law, Taxation, and Financial Planning Department.  She also served as the Chair of the Curriculum Implementation Committee and was a member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee.  Mystica’s work has been recognized with several awards including two Bentley “Innovation in Teaching” awards and the Academy of Legal Studies in Business Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher award – the most illustrious teaching award in her discipline. Mystica received her law degree from Harvard Law School.

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Cathy Carlson, EdD
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
Jennison 336
+1 (781) 891-2803

Cathy plays a crucial role in fostering an engaging learning environment for students. She oversees the Office of Academic Services and the Registrar’s Office and is also responsible for providing academic advising and other academic support services (e.g., new student orientation) to graduate students. Cathy joined Bentley in 2014 and has worked in higher education for many years. She spent a decade working in Career Services, including serving as a premed and prelaw advisor. Cathy has worked in a variety of settings including a community college, as a grant administrator for the Department of Education in Vermont and as Assistant Dean at the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont. Cathy earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont, her master’s degree in Counselor Education at Penn State University and her Bachelor’s degree in Communications at Muhlenberg College.

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Rick Oches, PhD
Dean of Arts & Sciences
Morison 308
781-891-2937

As Arts & Sciences Dean, Rick supports eight academic departments in the liberal arts, humanities, and natural, behavioral, and social sciences, and he oversees several academic centers as well as the Bentley Honors program. Rick became a member of the Bentley faculty in 2008, joining the Natural & Applied Sciences (NAS) Department after a decade as a faculty member in the Geology Department and Chair of Environmental Science & Policy at the University of South Florida. He served as NAS Department chair for seven years, and he became Dean of Arts & Sciences in 2018. His undergraduate and graduate degrees are in geology, and his teaching and research interests have focused on Earth's recent climate history and human and environmental response to past climate changes in different parts of the world. Increasingly his academic interests center on Earth and environmental science education, transdisciplinary course and curriculum development, and interdisciplinary faculty engagement to foster improved science literacy for non-STEM majors.

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William (Bill) Read, PhD
Dean of Business
Morison 305
781-891-2525

Serving as Dean of Business and Graduate School since 2020, Bill oversees all undergraduate and graduate programs of business. He previously served as chair of the Accountancy Department from 2015-2019. Bill's research interests include financial accounting, auditing, and corporate ethics. He has published articles in Accounting Horizons, Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Issues in Accounting Education, Advances in Accountancy, Managerial Auditing Journal, Journal of Forensic Accounting, and Journal of Accountancy. Bill is the recipient of research grants from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Richard D. Irwin Foundation, Peat Marwick Mitchell Foundation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). He also is the recipient of Bentley's Scholar of the Year award for 2002, and a co-recipient of the 2006-2007 Glen McLaughlin Prize for Research in Accounting Ethics from the University of Oklahoma.

Leadership Team
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Robyn Betts, MBA, PMP
Executive Director, Strategic Projects and Planning
Morison 326
+1 (781) 891-2790

​​​​​​Robyn is responsible for the planning and execution of complex, diverse, and large-scale initiatives connected to the strategic plan and Academic Affairs. Robyn joined Bentley in 2016 in order to establish Bentley's first Project Management Office, partnering with many across the university to establish project evaluation and governance processes, as well as introducing formalized project management practices.  Before joining Bentley, Robyn was a senior member of the Information Technology team at Babson College, where she worked for over 13 years. Robyn graduated from Grinnell College with a BA, holds an MBA from Babson's F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

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Suzanne Dove, PhD
Executive Director of Badavas Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Adamian Academic Center 160
781 891-2828

Suzanne is responsible for launching the Badavas Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning as a critical component of Bentley's overall teaching and learning environment in service of its educational mission. Suzanne partners with faculty leaders and Academic Affairs staff to advance the design and implementation of key elements of the strategic plan, including advancement of teaching excellence through pedagogical and programmatic innovations. With an extensive background in business education, online learning, and public and non-profit organizational leadership, Suzanne joined Bentley in 2019. Prior to joining Bentley, she spent 12 years at the Wisconsin School of Business (University of Wisconsin-Madison), most recently as assistant dean for academic innovations. She earned her doctorate from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, her Master's degree from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University.

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Erin Kelley, PhD
Associate Dean of Assurance of Learning and Accreditation
Smith 208
+1 (781) 891-2329

​​​​​​Erin designs, develops, and implements strategies to assess and improve the quality and effectiveness of curricular learning.  She is also responsible for ensuring strategic alignment and compliance with our New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditations, and supports the Office of the Dean of Business in Bentley’s AACSB accreditation.  Erin has been a member of the Bentley community since 2008, previously working in the Residential Center and the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.  Her prior roles included serving as the Director of Student Conduct and the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  Erin earned her PhD in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and her Master of Education and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Erin is also a proud recipient of Bentley’s Rainbow Award.

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Christine Lyalko, MS, CPA
Executive Director of Finance, Academic Affairs
Lindsay 21H
+1 (781) 891-2709

​​​​​​Christine is responsible for the financial management for the Division of Academic Affairs and oversees the Business Service Center. She joined Bentley in 2016 as the Controller and served in that position for 3 years before transitioning to her current role in Academic Affairs. Prior to her time at Bentley, Christine was an auditor in public accounting, focusing her time on both the financial and nonprofit industries, including higher education (with Bentley as one of her clients).  She then followed her passion for the university setting, spending 5 years at Suffolk University as Associate Controller.  Christine is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of the Susan Vogt Leadership Fellows Program. Christine received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston and bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Natalie Schlegel, MBA ‘08
Executive Director of International Education
Adamian Academic Center 161
+1 (781) 891-3474

​​​​​​Natalie leads the Cronin Office of International Education team that manages Bentley’s international partnerships and a diverse portfolio of education abroad programs that serve approximately 700 outgoing and incoming students annually. Natalie came to Bentley in 2003 as an Education Abroad Advisor. Previously, Natalie held positions at Harvard University’s LASPAU, where she supported Fulbright grantees from Latin America, and at EF Foundation for Foreign Study, where she managed a volunteer team in the placement of high school exchange students with US host families. She counts her experiences living with a host family in Argentina, attending school in Germany, and living in Scotland among the most transformative experiences of her life. Natalie earned a BA in Economics and Spanish from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Bentley University.  She is a member of NAFSA’s Trainer Corps and the Workshop Dean for the Managing the Education Abroad Office workshop. 

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Jay C. Thibodeau, Phd, CPA
Director of PhD Programs
Adamian Academic Center 248
781-891-2564

Jay oversees the mission and growth of Bentley's PhD programs. He is an expert in judgment and decision-making and financial statement auditing, and he strongly believes that the problems of accounting and auditing practice should influence the research agenda of academic accountants.  In that spirit, he is a co-author of two books, Auditing and Accounting Cases: Investigating Issues of Fraud and Professional Ethics (Irwin/McGraw-Hill -- 4th Edition) and Auditing and Assurance Services (Irwin/McGraw-Hill - 8th Edition).  In addition, he has written over sixty articles and book chapters for academics and practitioners alike. Jay is a former auditor and a CPA. He received his BS degree from the University of Connecticut in 1987 and his PhD from the University of Connecticut in 1996.