Messiah College Graduate Program in Higher Education Faculty
All of the courses, whether online or in the classroom, are taught by experienced educators or professionals in the field of higher education. Messiah’s faculty will encourage and mentor you to consider your own faith, the faith of others, and the relationship between theory and practice. We invite you to read more below about the talented faculty members in our graduate program in higher education.
Meet our Faculty
Associate Professor of Higher Education/Program Director, Master of Arts in Higher Education/ Director, The Ernest L. Boyer Center
Dr. Cynthia A. Wells
Associate Professor of Higher Education/Program Director, Master of Arts in Higher Education/ Director, The Ernest L. Boyer Centercwells@messiah.edu
Dr. Cynthia A. Wells has provided leadership to FIPSE-funded research on Academic Affairs – Student Affairs Partnership programs. Prior to her current role, Cynthia served as Vice Provost/Dean of Students at Messiah College and in various Student Affairs capacities at Wright State University. Cynthia teaches graduate coursework in higher education as well as undergraduate coursework in the college’s interdisciplinary studies program. Cynthia has published and presented on general education, academic and student affairs partnership programs, racial reconciliation, and college student faith formation. She currently serves as a scholar for the NetVUE (Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education) Scholarly Resources project of the Council for Independent Colleges. She is active in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU). For link to Dr. Wells curriculum vitae, go here.
Bachelors in Religious Studies, and Psychology, Occidental College
Master of Science, Wright State University
Ph.D. in Higher Education, The Ohio State University
Assistant Program Director and Adjunct Professor, Master of Arts in Higher Education
Dr. Rebekah Basinger
Assistant Program Director and Adjunct Professor, Master of Arts in Higher Educationbasinger@messiah.edu
Rebekah Burch Basinger is an independent consultant in the areas of board development and fundraising and also a Governance Mentor with In Trust, an organization that focuses on leadership development in Christian higher education. Rebekah has been a member of the development teams of three church-related colleges, including as vice president for advancement at Houghton (NY) College. In addition, she coordinated a three-year Lilly Endowment-funded project for the Coalition of Christian Colleges and served as director of the Foundation of Independent Colleges of Pennsylvania. Rebekah is the co-author of Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry (Jossey-Bass, 2001), a theme she continues to explore in numerous articles, book chapters, speaking engagements, and her blog, Generous Matters.
Bachelor of Arts in English, Trinity College
Master of Arts in English, Wichita State University
Ed.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies, Temple University
Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Ronald Burwell
Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropologyrburwell@messiah.edu
Dr. Ron Burwell has taught at Messiah College since 1985. During that time he has taught courses in sociology and anthropology including Social Science Research Methods. In addition to his teaching, Dr. Burwell has served in several administrative roles including Assistant Dean and Director of Academic Assessment. His Academic Assessment role included responsibility for program evaluation of academic programs at the college. Professor Burwell has also conducted research funded by a number of organizations including the U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE grants), Lilly Foundation, the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities, World Relief Corporation, and the Brethren in Christ Church.
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Wheaton College
Master of Arts in Anthropology, New York University
Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Foundation of Education, New York University
Director of Athletics and Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Athletic Leadership
Mr. Jack Cole
Director of Athletics and Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Athletic Leadershipjcole@messiah.edu
Jack Cole leads the nationally recognized intercollegiate program at Messiah College including the Falcon Athletic Network and the Messiah Athletics Hall of Honor. Prior to his current role, Cole has served as the head golf coach, men’s basketball head and assistant coach, the Health and Human Performance Department Chair, and a faculty member since first arriving to Messiah as an instructor in 1985. During his tenure as Department Chair, he conceptualized and developed the school’s Sports Management major and grew the Health and Human Performance Department to the institution’s third-largest academic department. He is an active member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), among other organizations.
Bachelor of Arts in History, Teacher Certification and Physical Education, Malone College
Master of Education in Sports Science, Ashland University
Vice Provost/Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology
Dr. Kris Hansen-Kieffer
Vice Provost/Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiologykhansen@messiah.edu
In her current role, Kris Hansen-Kieffer gives leadership to the following areas, Athletics, Career and professional Development Center, College Ministries, Health and Counseling, Student Conduct, Student Involvement and Leadership Programs, Residence Life, and the Intercultural office.. Kris has been a frequent presenter and consultant on assessment and how assessment informs and improves Student Affairs work. She is active in the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).
Bachelor of Science in Fitness and Leisure Management, University of Nebraska
Master of Science in Physical Education with a specialization in Exercise Science, South Dakota State University
Ed.D. in Adult and Higher Education Administration, University of South Dakota
Executive Vice President for Business Development and Chief Academic Officer at Emerge Education, LLC.
Dr. Jim Hunter
Executive Vice President for Business Development and Chief Academic Officer at Emerge Education, LLC.email@example.com
Dr. Hunter is the Executive Vice President for Business Development and Chief Academic Officer at Emerge Education, LLC. Jim has 15 years of experience at the administration level within higher education institutions. He now uses that experience to help connect higher education institutions with solutions that allow them to move from surviving to thriving. He oversees activities related to the business development of Emerge Education and the academic strategy for Emerge’s partner institutions. Dr. Hunter has held roles as the VP of External Relations, Academic Dean and Director of Online Enrollment at Crown College (MN). He has been an adjunct graduate instructor at the University of Minnesota and Crown College. His most recent publication is “Donations for Difference? An Examination of the Relationship between Institutional Distinctiveness and External Funding”.
Bachelor of Science in History and Bible, Pillsbury College.
M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Crown College
Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration, University of Minnesota
Independent college admissions consultant
Dr. Peggy Jennings
Independent college admissions firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jennings is an independent college admissions consultant at Jennings College Consulting, where she helps students and parents find the best college fit for their future and navigate the complex world of Higher Education. She has nearly 35 years’ experience in both higher education administration and in teaching. While completing her doctorate in Higher Education at Indiana University-Bloomington, she taught several courses in IU’s master’s program in college student personnel administration. She has held student affairs leadership positions at colleges as varied as West Virginia University, Bethany College, Salve Regina University and Dickinson College.
Bachelor of Arts History and Psychology, DePauw University
Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling, Miami University
EdD in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Indiana University
Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Operations, Houghton College
Dr. Matthew Webb
Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Operations, Houghton Collegemwebb@messiah.edu
Matthew Webb currently serves as the Associate Athletic Director and Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Houghton College. He has taught numerous classes over the years at Houghton as well as teaching in the Masters of Strategic Leadership program at St. Bonaventure University. Matthew is a member of the Association of Christians in Student Development (ASCD), American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
Bachelor of Science in Communication, Bethel University
M.A. in Higher Education, Alfred University
Ph.D. Organizational Leadership, Regent University
Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service-Learning, University of South Carolina
Dr. Dottie Weigel
Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service-Learning, University of South Carolinadweigel@messiah.edu
Prior to her work with the Office of Student Engagement, Dottie Weigel served on the publications team at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Currently, she is the Bottom Line editor with About Campus. She has presented at several national conferences and published on topics such as student development theory and transition in the first year of college.
Bachelors in English, King University
Masters in Student Development, Appalachian State University
Ph.D. in Higher Education, University of South Carolina