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Dean's Office

Dr. Ruth E. Lugo, Dean
, Ext. 3427

Dr. Ruth E. Lugo is the Dean of the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education (ACSHSE) at Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) and for the past four years she has served as a member of the Academic Council which serves as Provost. She earned her B.A. at the University of Puerto Rico; M.A./Ph.D. from the State University of New York, Stony Brook; and A.M. from Middlebury College, Madrid Program.

During her tenure at MCNY she has developed curriculum and implemented new programs including the college's first undergraduate liberal arts program in American Urban Studies and the Master of Science in Education and Special Education programs. She has helped the college secure over a million dollars through Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions and Title V Coop grants. These and other funds have resulted in positive institutional changes such as the establishment of the Learning Enhancement Center (which provides support services to students in the areas of writing and mathematics) and several mathematics laboratories and tech-enabled classrooms as well as the provision of training and preparation for teachers in math and science. She also helped secure funding for college-wide mentor services and leadership development training for students through the Niarchos Foundation.

For over two decades she has volunteered for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the Northeast Region and Puerto Rico as a consultant, evaluator and team chair in the accreditation process. In this role she identifies the strengths and development needs of higher education institutions, reviews governance policies, academic programs effectiveness and the delivery of student services. She has led the candidacy process for the first institution in Latin America to seek international accreditation with Middle States: the Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile and now Universidad Andres Bello. She has also served as an evaluator for the Puerto Rico Council on Higher Education since 1996 and was appointed to be the Institutional Accreditation Liaison for Middle States representing the College.

Her twenty five years of experience in higher education academic administration is evidence by serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Chair of the Counseling Department at LaGuardia Community and Dean of Students at Lehman College as well as various academic administration positions at New York City Technical College of the City University of New York, Montclair State University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She currently serves on the board of FOCUS, Hispanic Community Center for Development and is a former Trustee of the New Jersey Performing Art Center in Newark, New Jersey. She is the past president and founder of the Hispanic Women's Leadership Institute Alumni Association at Rutgers University and former board member of ASPIRA of New Jersey. She has taught courses in Latin American Literature and Hispanic Languages and Literature at La Guardia Community College, William Paterson, and Montclair State Universities.

She has participated in postgraduate leadership training programs at the Institute for Educational Management and the John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Program of Public Management (both at Harvard University), The Center for Creative Leadership, and Cornell University's School for Labor Relations. Other honors and competitive awards include: American Council on Education National Forum for Women in Higher Education; American Council on Education Fellow; American Council on Education Institute for Chief Academic Officers; Leadership America; National Hispana Leadership; the Executive Leadership Fellow from the League for Innovation in the Community College and a Ford Foundation Fellow. She was the recipient of Educational Leadership Award from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc., in New York City and has been recognized by the Hispanic Business Magazine as one of Top 100 Influential Leaders in Academia.


Dr. Heide Hlawaty, Chair of General Education & Liberal Arts Programs
(BS, SUNY Stony Brook; M.A., Hunter College; EdD. St. John's University) Ext. 2440 ,

Dr. Hlawaty received her BS at SUNY Stony Brook in Biochemistry with an International Studies Minor, MA in Biological Sciences at Hunter College and her Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership at St. John's University. She taught educational research, brain-based learning, and elementary education science at Georgia College and State University before returning to New York. Prior to teaching in higher education, she taught high school science for 12 years in Queens and on Long Island, and was a Fulbright grantee in Bochum-Langendreer (in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany).

Dr. Hlawaty's research interests include learning styles, science education, and attitudes regarding queer-identity individuals. As a professor and chair, she teaches in the Bachelor of Professional Studies and the Bachelor of American Urban Studies programs.


Dr. Patrick Ianniello, Director of the Master of Science Degree in Education program
(BA, Long Island University; MS, Brooklyn College; Advanced Certificate in School Administration and Supervision, Brooklyn College; PhD Steinhardt School of Education, New York University)
, Ext. 2424

Dr. Ianniello has served as a principal, assistant principal and an elementary school teacher in New York City Public Schools for 34 years. He has extensive experience in the professional development and evaluation of teachers, planning and implementing best practices in the elementary school curriculum and integrating technology in classrooms. Dr. Ianniello received his doctorate in educational communication and technology at New York University.


Erica Levy, Assistant Dean, the Audrey Cohen School of Human Services and Education
, Ext. 2412

Erica Levy is coming to MCNY from Columbia University, where she worked as a Graduate Assistant at both Barnard College in the Office of the Provost, Dean of the Faculty and most recently at Columbia University, Center for Student Advising: Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program. She also worked at Columbia University, School of Continuing Education as an Academic Adviser to post-baccalaureate students. Prior to Columbia University, she was an Assistant Director in the University Freshman Center at St. John's University. She worked most exclusively with first-year College of Pharmacy and Health Science students while conducting research on “Academic Preparedness of Incoming Students and its Effect on University Retention”. Ms. Levy's counseling experience comes from prior work in secondary and post-secondary institutions around the New York area. As Assistant Dean, Ms. Levy is responsible for the school's administrative affairs and working closely with program chairs and directors. She also supervises the CASAC Certification program and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Ms. Levy graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences with a concentration in Health and Human Services and a minor in Sociology. In 2004, she completed her M.S.Ed. in Counseling Education from Hofstra University. She is currently an Ed.M. candidate at Columbia University, Teachers College in their Higher and Postsecondary Education program.


Natasha R. Johnson, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator
(BA, Columbia University; JD, CUNY School of Law)
, Ext. 4008

Dr. Johnson is an academic, activist, artist and attorney. Dr. Johnson is currently an Assistant Professor/Program Director for Metropolitan College New York's Human Services Program, Bronx Extension Center. Previously, she served as an Anti-Trafficking Legal Specialist drafting reform legislation in the Solomon Islands and as the Director of Education working to better serve homeless, foster care, and at risk LGBT youth. Dr. Johnson was also legislative counsel to both the Immigration and Civil Rights Committees of NY City Council. Dr. Johnson created the only program -to date- that specifically provides holistic legal services to African survivors of domestic violence in NYC. In addition, Ms. Johnson is a certified teacher having taught in NYC high schools. Dr. Johnson is a recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship and a Fulbright Specialist Fellowship at Durham University, UK, and a host of other awards. She lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on issues of domestic violence, gender based violence, and human rights. Recently she directed her efforts to starting a non-profit agency, Globalizing Gender, which provides capacity building, rule of law, and governance consultancies to countries/institutions working to better serve survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). As a photographer, Dr. Johnson exhibits works that offer social commentary on the intersection of art and social justice. Her work strives to create just systems locally, nationally, and internationally.


Dr. Dehlly Porras, (BS, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, MS, The College of New Jersey, EdD, Columbia University. Special Assistant to the Dean, the Audrey Cohen School of Human Services and Education)
, Ext. 2411

Dr. Porras' higher education professional career covers faculty and administrative positions. She has been a professor of mathematics for 26 years, currently teaching mathematics at MNCY. She also serves as a curriculum development and academic support consultant for the Dean at the college. She has been both a faculty member and administrator at LaGuardia Community College – City University of New York in Long Island City. As an academic administrator, she has served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in North Branch, New Jersey. Prior to joining RVCC, she served as Instructional Dean at Montgomery College in Maryland, and as Dean of Liberal Arts, Sciences and Health Sciences at Hudson Valley Community College – State University of New York in Troy, New York.


Mary Ann Ortiz, Project Coordinator/Assistant to the Dean of the Audrey Cohen School of Human Services and Education , Ext. 2414


Rae Mack, Program Director of Welfare to Careers Project , Ext. 3805

Rae Mack has served as the director of WTCP for eleven years. She is responsible for recruitment, fundraising and managing the two sites (MCNY and Medgar Evers College/CUNY). She has been instrumental in transitioning a two-year pilot project into a viable, fully operational program that has lasted for over a decade and serviced over 200 students. She has worked in the arena of training and education for 17 years servicing dislocated workers, at-risk youth and adult learners.


Theresa Grant Rahman, Career Coordinator of Welfare to Careers Project , Ext. 3812


John Edwards, Job Developer of Welfare to Careers Project , Ext. 3811

John Edwards work with participants of the Welfare to Career Project to help them think critically about their chosen field of study and career alignment. He coaches participants to develop effective job-search strategies, resumes and other marketing materials, salary negotiation, interview coaching, networking, self-marketing, as well as entrepreneurial ventures.

For more than a decade, John Edwards has been at the forefront of the career development and training services field. He was Co-Founder and Partner in IManage Development, a company dedicated to working with organizations to improve performance management, specializing in the areas of Diversity, Leadership and Team Building.

John has worked with HR professionals, management teams and staff from companies in a wide range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, academia, manufacturing, and nonprofit. Examples include: Estee Lauder, Girls Scouts of America, Henry Schein, Bronx Lebanon, Mission Society, Montefiore Medical Center, WPIX, and Metropolitan College of New York. John commanded large-scale career development and outplacement services for some of New York City's largest training and development operations.

John served on the program committee for the Human Resources Association of New York and was a member of the Career Development Specialist Network. John currently sits on the Board of HERITAGE, Inc., a nonprofit arts organization.


Vanessa Cruz, Coordinator for Master of Education Program , Ext. 2408

Ms. Cruz, formerly Executive Assistant to the Provost and Senior Vice President, came to MCNY in 2003 after several years in the financial, non-profit and higher education fields. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Long Island University and her MPA from MCNY. Ms. Cruz believes in MCNY's Purpose-Centered Education and works to uphold the standards and integrity of the model.


Dr. Richard G. Zalman, CASAC Coordinator
, Ext. 2430

Dr. Zalman holds a B.A. degree in English from Queens College, C.U.N.Y., a Master of Arts in Teaching in Bilingual Education, and a research doctorate in Reading and Language from Northwestern University. While a graduate student there, he funded the first Right-to-Read Academy in Illinois, under the U.S. Office of Education. In 1988 - 1989, he was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow by M.I.T., earning a Master of Science in Management degree as a part of M.I.T.'s Sloan Fellows Program. Dr. Zalman had the opportunity during his Sloan thesis research to revisit his earlier doctoral research into adult literacy education in community settings, and extend his findings to adult literacy education in employee workplace settings. The research was funded by the Society for Human Resource Management Research Foundation, and was published in HR Magazine.

Dr. Zalman began teaching at MCNY in 2003, after a thirty-year career in private industry as a Human Resources executive in Financial Services, Pharmaceutical and Automotive industries. He earned the designations of Senior Professional in Human Resources, Certified Compensation Professional, and Accredited Diplomate in Employee Training and Development. Dr. Zalman was a founding member of the Technical and Skills Training Division of the American Society for Training and Development, and Chaired the Functional Standards Committee for Training and Development for the Society for Human Resource Management.

Dr. Zalman has also served as Assistant Professor of Education at Kansas State University and Marymount College of Kansas, and has taught courses in Business for Franklin Pierce College. In addition to his CASAC responsibilities, Dr. Zalman is also the Faculty Advisor to the Beta Mu Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, MCNY's College-wide undergraduate academic honor society, and has served in that voluntary capacity since 2006. Currently, Dr. Zalman teaches hybrid courses in the Bachelor of Arts in American Urban Studies Program (BAUS), as well as undergraduate and graduate courses for the School of Business at MCNY.

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Mailing Address MCNY (431 Canal Street New York, NY 10013 · 529 Courtlandt Avenue Bronx, New York 10451)
Phone Number  (800) 33 THINK | 212 343 1234