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
Assistant Program Director and Adjunct Professor, Master of Arts in Higher Education
Dr. Rebekah Basinger
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. Rebekah received her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Temple University.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Ronald Burwell
Dr. Ron Burwell, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology, has taught at Messiah College since 1985. During that time he has taught courses in sociology and anthropology including Social Science Research Methods. Dr. Burwell holds graduate degrees from New York University (M.A. and Ph.D.) as well as a M.Div. from Trinity Seminary.
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.
Vice President of Enrollment Management
Mr. John Chopka
John Chopka serves as Vice President for Enrollment Management at Messiah College. Prior to Messiah, he served at Malone College and The University of Akron. With a wealth of enrollment management experience at both private and public institutions, John brings expertise in higher education marketing, strategic planning, and student recruitment and financial aid. John recently served as Chair of the Commission of Senior Enrollment Officers for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is active in the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) John completed his MA in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron and is completing a PhD program in Educational Leadership at Alvernia University.
Director of Athletics, Assistant Professor of Sport Management
Mr. Jack Cole
Jack Cole is the Director of Athletics at Messiah College. In this role he 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. Cole holds a bachelor’s degree from Malone College in history and physical education and Master’s degree in sports science from Ashland University. He is an active member of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, among other organizations.
Vice Provost/Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology
Dr. Kris Hansen-Kieffer
Kris Hansen-Kieffer serves as an assistant professor of exercise science and the Vice Provost/Dean of Students at Messiah College giving leadership to the following areas, Athletics, Career Center, College Ministries, Health and Counseling, Judicial Affairs, Multicultural and International Student Programs, Student Involvement and Leadership Programs and Study Abroad. 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). Kris received her doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Dakota.
Adjunct Professor at CSU Channel Islands, CSU Northridge, and Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Dr. Jaimie L. Hoffman
Dr. Jaimie Hoffman currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at CSU Channel Islands, CSU Northridge, and Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, teaching face-to-face and online courses in assessment, communication diversity, and leadership to undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, Jaimie works as a part-time Strategic Development Analyst for the Vice President for Students Affairs office at CSU Channel Islands where she assists with division-wide assessment and training initiatives. Jaimie has had the opportunity to assist with creating both curricular and co-curricular programs including a multi-phase, outcomes-based leadership certificate program and an online doctoral program. During her time as a student affairs professional, Jaimie has worked in many Student Affairs functional areas including orientation, new student programs, leadership programs, residential education, judicial affairs, campus recreation, and career services. Jaimie received her Ed.D. in Leadership from the University of California Los Angeles and her research interests include assessment in higher education, access to higher education, and leadership development among college students.
Director of the Graduate Programs in Business and Leadership
Dr. Rob Pepper
Robert Pepper is the Director of Graduate Programs in Business and Leadership at Messiah College. He has served in numerous roles in Student Affairs including career development, residence life, student activities, new student orientation and academic advising. In addition, he has served as an assistant and head athletic coach and has taught courses at the undergraduate level on leadership and strategic management. His research interests include leadership development, organizational development, retention, the first-year experience, and student involvement. He is an active member of the Association of Christians in Student Development (ACSD). He enjoys working with individuals and groups on leadership development and self-assessment, organizational and team development, and individual and team motivation. Rob received his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.
Adjunct Professor of Business Law
Mr. Kelly Phipps J.D.
Kelly Phipps is the Advisor to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and Counsel and Special Assistant to the Board of Trustees at Messiah College. Kelly also teaches Business Law and Communications courses, and advises Pre-Law students. Prior to his current role, he served as Director of Development and Government Relations at Messiah. In addition, he is an independent consultant to educational clients regarding issues in economic development, community planning, strategic and master planning, project management, and development/fund-raising issues. Kelly received his J.D. in Law from the University of Akron School of Law, and his M.A. in History (Ethics) from Ashland University/Seminary.
Assistant Professor of Sport Management
Dr. Alberto Poxes Jr
A graduate of University of South Dakota, Assistant Chair of the department of Health and Human Preformance and Professor of Health and Exercise Science.
Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service-Learning, University of South Carolina
Dr. Dottie Weigel
Dottie Weigel is the Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Service-Learning at the University of South Carolina. Prior to her work with the Office of Student Engagement, Dottie 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. Dottie holds a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of South Carolina and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from King University and master’s degree in student development from Appalachian State University.
Assistant Professor of Higher Education/Director, The Ernest L. Boyer Center/ Program Director, M.A. in Higher Education
Dr. Cynthia A. Wells
Cynthia A. Wells serves as Assistant Professor of Higher Education/Fellow, The Ernest L. Boyer Center as well as Program Director for the Master of Arts in Higher Education program at Messiah College. She 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 seminar 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). Cynthia earned her Ph.D. in higher education from The Ohio State University.
Executive Director of the Center for Career Development at Gettysburg College
Dr. Kathy Williams
Kathy Williams is Executive Director of the Center for Career Development at Gettysburg College, a position she has held since 2000. She has worked in a variety of student affairs positions, primarily in liberal arts settings in her 30+ years in higher education, including residence life, student activities, academic advising, and continuing education. Outside of higher education, she has provided outplacement consulting services to such corporations as Kodak, Corning, Kraft General Foods, Bausch and Lomb and others. She completed her doctorate in higher education administration at The George Washington University, received her master’s degree from Western Michigan University, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Albion College in Michigan. Professionally, Kathy has special interests in how personal and professional values impact and inform one’s work, how young adults find their voice in the career development process, and how active learning experiences in the college years shape future decision making and career planning.