Higher-Ed Leaders Who Have Been Recently Appointed or Promoted
Berkshire Community College (Massachusetts) announced that Jennifer Berne has joined the college as the vice president of academic affairs. Berne previously worked as the dean of liberal arts at Harper College in Illinois. Prior to that, she served as an associate professor and department chair for the Department of Literacy and Elementary Education at Northern Illinois University. Earlier in her career she spent a number of years at National Louis University, as a member of the faculty and later as the department chair, focused on reading and language. Berne is a prolific writer and presenter, and has been involved in the work of Achieving the Dream, she is an Aspen Presidential Fellow and she has been engaged in the accreditation work of the Higher Learning Commission. Berne earned her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a master’s degree in English literature and composition theory from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. in teacher education from Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Frederic MacDonald-Dennis has joined Berkshire Community College (Massachusetts) as the academic coordinator of the TRIO Program. MacDonald-Dennis, who lives in North Adams, comes to the college from Normandale Community College in Minnesota, where he has been the TRIO Director for the past three years. He brings with him over 25 years of experience in higher education administration including positions at the University of Minnesota, Haverford College, Art Institute of Philadelphia, University of Michigan and Emory University. The TRIO (Talent, Resources, Initiative, Opportunity) Program at BCC is a federally funded program that provides free support services to students with an academic need as defined by the Federal government and meet one of the following criteria: neither parent graduated from a four-year, college; the student is receiving financial aid; or the student has a documented learning or physical disability. Mac- Donald-Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations communication and a master’s degree in organization communication, both from the University of Alabama.
Dawn Kirstaetter, vice president of advancement and strategic partnerships at Baltimore City Community College (Maryland) has been appointed to a three-year post on the Sinai Hospital board of directors. Kirstaetter has more 20 years of leadership in government, nonprofit and advocacy. She joined BCCC in 2017 and is responsible for fundraising, alumni affairs, communications, marketing and strategic partnerships in addition to serving as BCCC's primary liaison to the Office of the Mayor of Baltimore. Kirstaetter currently serves the Leadership Council of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore and is a board member of the Maryland SPCA, Georgetown University Hoya Hoop Club, and the SEED School of Maryland. She holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and an M.S.W. from Clark Atlanta University.
Valencia College (Florida) has announced the appointment of Kathleen Plinske to the newly created role of executive vice president and provost of the college. Plinske, who has served as president of Valencia’s Osceola Campus since 2010, oversaw construction of the college’s Lake Nona Campus in 2012 and was instrumental in mobilizing community and legislative support for the Poinciana Campus, which opened in 2017. She will continue to serve as president of the Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana campuses until a search for her replacement is completed. A native of Crystal Lake, Ill., Plinske earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and physics from Indiana University; a master’s degree in Spanish from Roosevelt University in Chicago, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida, and a doctorate in education from Pepperdine University in California.