Howard M. Wach (Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost)

Room: 602
(646) 313-8025

Howard M. Wach joined Guttman Community College as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in April 2017. Dr. Wach began his academic career as a historian, completing his doctorate at Brandeis University after undergraduate studies at Nassau Community College and the State University of New York at Albany. Prior to joining Guttman, Dr. Wach worked in the CUNY system for over 20 years as an adjunct assistant professor, a full-time faculty member, a director of instructional technology, an academic dean, and an interim Vice President of Academic Affairs. While most of that experience was at two community colleges, Bronx and LaGuardia, Dr. Wach also worked in the University’s Central Office of Academic Affairs, giving him a broad and deep knowledge of the community college mission and the University’s structure and organization. He has a practiced understanding of the roles faculty, staff, and administrators must play—and play in partnership—to create the strongest chance for students to graduate ready to pursue further  study and begin successful careers.

A passion for excellent teaching and a passion to learn have been the guiding principles of Dr. Wach’s professional life. He knows that demanding, attentive, humane, and honest teaching can transform students’ lives. At a time of vast inequality, there is no more important task and no more powerful engine of social mobility. He brings to the Provost’s job a deep conviction about the administrator’s core role: to create the everyday conditions and environment that lead to student success, and to help faculty and staff work together to meet that vision.

Mary E. Coleman (Vice President for Finance & Administration)

Room: 704-A
(646) 313-8022

Mary E. Coleman has joined the Senior Staff at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College to serve as the Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration. She is a dedicated and long-serving CUNY administrator. Most recently, she served for 17 years as the Vice President for Finance and Administration at Bronx Community College. Before working at BCC, Ms. Coleman served as the Dean of Administration and Finance at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College.

Mary was born in Ellisville, Mississippi, the youngest of four children. An accounting major, homecoming queen, and 1970 summa cum laude graduate of Jackson State University, Mary Coleman was named a recipient of the prestigious Louis Calder Foundation Fellowship Award; in 1972 she received a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

From 1973 to 1987, Mary Coleman worked as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for a multi-corporate designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of men’s and women’s apparel. Between 1987 and 1993, when she joined CUNY as a Dean at Hostos Community College, Mary Coleman served as Deputy Executive Director of American Field Service Intercultural Programs, Inc., a 55-nation student/teacher international exchange program and subsequently held a senior management position in the largest minority-controlled certified public accounting and management consulting firm in the country.

Mary sits on the Executive Board of the National Council of Black American Affairs, the American Association of Community College’s Global Commission on Education, and the International YMCA Board of Managers. Mary’s professional efforts focus on education, business, banking, accounting, and finance.

Stuart Cochran (Dean, Strategic Planning and Accreditation)

Room: 201
(646) 313-8031

As Dean of Strategic Planning and a member of the Senior Staff, Dr. Cochran is involved in many of the day-to-day issues of building a new college. As a member of the College planning team since early 2009 and a Deputy to the Project Director, he helped guide the process that led to approval by the CUNY Board of Trustees and the New York State Department of Education of the Application for Opening a New College and A Proposal for the Initial Programs of Study (January 2011). Since 2012 he has overseen the extensive work at the college in developing plans for assessment (both student learning outcomes and institutional effectiveness) and an accreditation site visit by NYSED that led to a vote in December 2012 by the Board of Regents accrediting the College for five years with an interim report after three years. He was the College’s co-liaison of the Foundations of Excellence first year self-study, and as the Middle States Commission for Higher Education accreditation liaison officer, he is co chairing the Steering Committee in a multiyear self-study process in preparation for a site visit in late March 2017.  Dr. Cochran is also the elected Secretary to the Guttman College Council.

Prior to his work at the College, Cochran served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for CUNY Collaborative Programs in the Office of Academic Affairs. In that capacity he helped design and oversee the conduct of quantitative and qualitative research on academic programs including College Now, the Middle Grades Initiative/GEAR UP, and CUNY Prep. He joined Collaborative Programs in 2000 as a co-director of Looking Both Ways, a professional development project for writing teachers at CUNY and New York City public schools. He earned his master’s and doctorate in English with a certificate in American Studies at the CUNY Graduate School and taught for ten years at Queens College at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Linda Merians (Chief of Staff)

Room: 706-C
(646) 313-8023

Linda Merians joined Guttman Community College as Chief of Staff in September 2013. She came to CUNY in 2012, working for The Graduate Center and the Invest in CUNY campaign. Previously, she worked at SUNY Stony Brook as Chief of Staff for President Shirley Strum Kenny. Dr. Merians earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees at the University of Maryland, and her B.A. from Manhattanville College.

An English professor by training, Dr. Merians served on the faculties of Bucknell University and La Salle University, where she taught classes in eighteenth-century British Literature, poetry, Shakespeare, composition, theory, women’s studies, and South African literature. She has presented papers at many academic conferences, and published articles and book reviews on a variety of topics. Her two books reflect her interest in British literature and culture. She conceived, edited, wrote the introduction and a chapter for The Secret Malady: Venereal Disease in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (1996). She is also the author of Envisioning the Worst: Representations of ‘Hottentots’ in Early Modern England (2001). Dr. Merians serves as the Executive Secretary of the East-Central/American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and is a passionate believer in public higher education.

Lynette M. Phillips (Legal Counsel)

(646) 313-8170

Lynette M. Phillips, an attorney specializing in higher education law for more than 20 years, is Legal Counsel for Guttman Community College. She also advises CUNY’s Graduate Center, Graduate School of Journalism, Macaulay Honors College and School for Professional Services.

Before joining CUNY, Ms. Phillips served as Vice President for Legal Services at Long Island University where she handled matters associated with daily and long term institutional operations, including risk management initiatives, governance, commercial transactions, human resource, student life and faculty matters, procurement, academic misconduct, fundraising, public safety, policy development and regulatory compliance. She managed many of the same issues as Associate Counsel at SUNY Stony Brook, from 2002 to 2010.