TY to my colleagues, the students & advocates joining us today to support Educational Opportunity Fund $ in budget pic.twitter.com/01T6mxWXeD
— Steve Sweeney (@NJSenatePres) May 23, 2016
Ms. Zuzack spent 39 years in active roles in student financial aid administration. She retired in 2017 from her post at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) where she served as Vice President, State Grant and Special Programs for 11 years. Previous to her years at PHEAA, Ms. Zuzack was a financial aid administrator at the Community College of Allegheny County and financial aid director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Zuzack served as President of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA) from 1994-1995 and as President of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA) from 2003-2004. Additionally, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) from 2003-2005 and served on two NASFAA Executive Committees. She also served on the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA) Higher Education Regulatory Study (HERS) as a panelist. Most recently, Ms. Zuzack served as President of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP). Recognized for her leadership in financial aid administration, Ms. Zuzack has received both the PASFAA and EASFAA Distinguished Service Awards, PASFAA Lifetime Membership Award, EASFAA Leadership Award, EASFAA Volunteer Award, and NASFAA Leadership Award. Ms. Zuzack holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grove City College and two Master’s Degrees, one in Clinical/Community Psychology and one in Student Personnel Services in Higher Education, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has completed her coursework for a doctorate in Adult Education at the Pennsylvania State University and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Administration and Leadership Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Areas of expertise: Student Financial Aid, Strategic Planning, Legislative Advocacy
Ms. Riley has worked in equal opportunity programs for nearly 20 years. For the past 14 years, she has worked at Wilkes University in the Act 101 Program as the Assistant Director and Counselor. She has also served as an Undeclared Major’s Advisor and teaches a career planning course. In 2011, Karen had the honor of being presented the Academic Support Award from The Teacher Recognition and Effectiveness Committee (TREC) at Wilkes University. While continuing to currently serve Wilkes University students as the Assistant Director and Program Counselor for the Act 101 Program, she has the opportunity to work with many first-generation college students from low-income families who face financial, social, and academic barriers to a college education. A first generation college student herself, who depended on financial aid and a part-time job, she has the privilege to be in this advisor/counselor role that allows her to get to know the students, their fears about college as well as their talents and strengths. For the past two years, she has also had the opportunity to support students by serving as Secretary of the Act 101 Pennsylvania Association for Educational Opportunity. She took on this additional commitment because the state was significantly decreasing funding for Pennsylvania student support programs. In this position, she could be part of a collective voice and work with the Executive Committee to advocate retaining state funding for the support services these students need to achieve their college degrees. Traveling to Harrisburg and throughout the state to be a strong advocate for the Act 101 Programs and student financial aid has added yet another dimension to the work Karen does to support students.
Areas of Expertise: Academic Advising, Career Counseling, Student Counseling, Student Financial Aid, Student Development
Dr. Glenn Lang is the Assistant Secretary of Higher Education for Academic Affairs and Student Programs (Retired), Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (NJ). His career in higher education dates back to 1974. Since 1979 he has served in New Jersey higher education in the former Department of Higher Education, in the Commission on Higher Education and most recently in Office of the Secretary of Higher Education in various roles including Acting Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education (July 2010 to August 2011), and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (1992-1012). In his most recent role as the chief academic affairs officer at the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education he oversaw institutional licensure and exceeding mission reviews, managed relations with regional and federal accreditation bodies including Middle States, and represented the agency on the academic issues and transfer articulation committees of the NJ Presidents’ Council and the Higher Education Student assistance Authority and the Educational Facilities Authority. He also oversaw the statewide student programs including the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), Minority Academic Careers Programs, the NJ State GEAR UP project, the Federal College Access Challenge Grant which accounted for over 85% of the agency’s annual budget. He was the principal author of NJ’s recent successful GEAR UP application resulting in a 6-year $24 million grant from the USDOE and the co-author of the original NJ GEARUP application in 1999.
He is the immediate past-president of Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs in Higher Education. He served as a member of the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Advisory Board and the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel national training team on student retention and graduation strategies. He has also served as a reviewer for the CAS Standards for TRIO and Other Opportunity Programs and a member of the TRIO Clearinghouse which led to the development of the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity and Education. His recognitions include New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators – Thomas C. Scott Distinguished Service Award (2014)the Proclamation from the New Jersey Assembly Recognizing Service to NJ (2013), and New Jersey Senate Recognizing Service to NJ (2012).
Areas of Expertise: Strategic Planning, Student Financial Aid, Program Development and Evaluations, Government Policy and Advocacy, Accreditation and Licensure
Mr. Robert D. James presently serves as an owner of a management consultant firm and speaker service. Most recently he served as Vice-President for Student Affairs at Victory University, a small Christian College in Memphis, Tennessee. He was responsible for all retention activities, Residence Life, Career services, Advisement, Counseling, Student Life and Athletics. Mr. James joined the Victory staff after retiring from the SUNY System Administration team in May, 2012, where he served as Associate Provost for Opportunity Programs for 22 years.
As Associate Provost for Opportunity Programs, Mr. James was responsible for the administrative oversight of the University’s undergraduate and graduate access programs for New York State’s underprivileged population. The Office of Opportunity Programs is responsible for providing funding to 43 participating campuses for program operation, provides training for campus directors, and enforces policy guidelines to ensure compliance with the legislative intent of the program. Each year, approximately 11, 000 students are served.
Prior to that position Mr James served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Special Programs where, in addition to being responsible for the undergraduate and graduate programs on SUNY campuses, he managed and provided funding and oversight to SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Centers, Counseling and Outreach Centers and the Bridge program. Annual Budgets for these programs ranged from 50 to 70 million dollars.
While the last 22 years have been spent as Associate Provost for Opportunity Programs, Robert James served the opportunity programs community, across New York State, for the last 34 years. Mr. James was formerly Director of the Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY College at Brockport in 1976 and Director of the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in 1979. During his service as Senior Director of the Office of Special Programs in 1989, Robert served as Interim Executive Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute of Non-Violence.
He has served on many boards during his career and has received numerous awards for outstanding service to the profession and community including the New York State Governor’s Award. After serving as President for ten-years, Mr. James currently serves as the Tri-State Administrator for the Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs in Higher Education, which joins opportunity programs across the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
Mr. James academic endeavors resulted in a Bachelor Degree in Science and Master of Science Degree from SUNY Brockport in 1972 and 1975 respectively. He has completed all coursework for his doctorate in Education Administration at SUNY Albany and will soon complete his dissertation. He is married to Cheryl Holley- James and has three children and five grandchildren.
Areas of expertise: Managing and funding of Access programs for At-Risk students in Higher Education, Retention Strategies for at-risk students in higher education, Public speaking, Enhancing Black Male persistence in Education, Mediation and conflict resolution and Counseling, self and wealth development.