Division of Academic Affairs – Office of the Provost

Leadership

Howard M. Wach, Provost

Howard M. Wach
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Contact: Ayechia.Perez@guttman.cuny.edu

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. Read More

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.

Nicola Blake

Nicola Blake
Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs

Contact: Yolelda.Ira@guttman.cuny.edu

As Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at Guttman Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY), Dr. Nicola Blake is charged with building the academic reputation, increasing the impact, and expanding the reach of the College in order to fulfill the missions of the College and CUNY. Through guidance on strategic planning, innovative thinking, intra- and cross-divisional collaboration, and continuous assessment, Dr. Blake’s visionary leadership is key to Guttman’s institutional success.

In her role, Dr. Blake directs a broad range of academic matters within the College’s unique organizational structure: all Academic Programs and curricular processes; academic technology; workload and scheduling; faculty development and mentorship; and the digital Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation. Read More

Dr. Blake also oversees the implementation of all faculty personnel processes, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, appointment, reappointment, tenure, promotion, as well as scholarly and research activities.

In addition to her position as Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, Dr. Blake is Associate Professor of English at Guttman. Among other senior roles, she has served the College as Faculty Advisor to the Provost; Special Advisor to the Provost for Faculty Development and Mentoring; Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Coordinator; and Chair of the Faculty Personnel, College Personnel, and Curriculum Committees, respectively.

Dr. Blake has received extensive leadership training and was awarded the prestigious, highly competitive American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship for 2016-2017. As an ACE Fellow, she focused on student success initiatives, strategic planning, communication, and community partnerships at Westchester Community College of the State University of New York (SUNY). Dr. Blake is an alumna of the Higher Education Leadership Programs for Women (HERS), the Harvard Institute for Higher Education, and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Future Presidents Institute. Her expertise in curriculum and program
development, assessment, and strategic planning is internationally recognized by the US Fulbright Specialist Program (2015-2020).

Dr. Blake earned her B.A. with honors in English and psychology from the City College of New York, CUNY, and her Ph.D. in medieval literature from Rutgers University. She is the author of multiple articles in her field and on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Niesha Ziehmke

Niesha Ziehmke
Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Planning

Contact: Keteya.Harrison-Melville@guttman.cuny.edu

Dr. Ziehmke is an optimist who always strives to enhance the spaces she enters. She brings with her a passion and vision for higher education that is grounded in a commitment to racial and social justice. She earned her Masters in Education from the New School for Social Research and taught Spanish in a NYC public high school for six years. She then completed her Ph.D. in linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center, with a focus on methods for teaching academic English to students who speak non-academic varieties of English. Read More

While working on her doctorate, she administered an Educational Psychology research program in Self-Regulated Learning (SRL), sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study in Education at the Graduate Center. This work fostered for her a deep respect for the creation of pioneering curricula based on sound research, as well as an understanding of the critical role assessment plays in educational innovation.

From 2009-2013, Niesha served as Director for First College Year Programs at Brooklyn College. In this role, she designed and assessed innovative, research-based curricula and programming on a large scale, serving over six hundred freshmen each year and finding ways to help students learn, practice, and value the habits of successful students. More recently, Dr. Ziehmke served as Executive Associate for Academic Affairs at LaGuardia Community College where she worked collaboratively to take on the challenge of improving student success and assessment across the institution. Her LaGuardia portfolio included working closely with faculty and administrators from all divisions on strategic planning, assessment, and grant writing. The main focus of her work was
improving advisement, STEM success, and guided pathways from admissions to firstyear programs to transfer and career preparation.

Niesha’s key responsibilities in the Office of Academic Affairs are strategic planning, assessment, program oversight, career in the curriculum, career development and support, and grant writing. She is also Co-Director for the Center on Ethnographies of Work which champions career education grounded in the curriculum and focused on exploring the meaning of work in human lives and helping students develop a critical lens on the systems at play in the labor market and workplace. She is also the Principle Investigator on Guttman’s NSF Grant focused on researching the combined impact of Cultrually Repsonsive Pedagogy and transfer preparation on STEM success.

Directors and Administrators

Allyson Bregman

Allyson Bregman
Director of Curriculum and First-Year Experience

Email: Allyson.Bregman@guttman.cuny.edu

In April 2021, Dr. Allyson Bregman assumed the position of Director of Curriculum and First-Year Experience, after serving as Interim Director since July 2020. In this role, she oversees curriculum processes at the College, supporting the development of new proposals and managing the preparation and submission of proposals for University and NYSED approval. She also provides administrative leadership for the First-Year Experience program, including oversight of pre-matriculation programs. Dr. Bregman has an extensive history with the College, having served as a member of the New Community College planning team from 2010-2011, and as the Project Manager for the College’s Learning Analytics Initiative within the Center for College Effectiveness during the 2012-2013 academic year. Read More

In these positions, Dr. Bregman supported faculty and curriculum development, assisted in the creation of the College’s admissions and advising models, and contributed to accreditation efforts.

Prior to rejoining the Guttman community, Dr. Bregman spent seven years in college counseling, working directly with high school students as they planned for and applied to higher education institutions. Through this work, she gained a deep appreciation for students in transition and the support they need as they achieve their educational goals. After receiving her B.A. in psychology from Connecticut College, Dr. Bregman pursued her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Michigan, where she also earned a Master of Arts in educational policy and administration. Her graduate work focused on the educational aspirations and attainment of Latinx youth.

Chris Roth

Christopher Roth
Associate Director of Academic Technology

Email: Christopher.Roth@guttman.cuny.edu

Mr. Christopher Roth is the Associate Director of Academic Technology at Guttman Community College, CUNY, where he has also served as the Program Coordinator for iPASS and Academic Technology Coordinator. In his current role, Mr. Roth provides support for technology platforms such as Starfish, Digication, and Blackboard in addition to leading professional development for faculty and staff and spearheading various educational technology projects at the College. Prior to joining Guttman, Mr. Roth has worked as the Director of Technology for an event planning organization and the Office Manager for Special Events and Event Planning at the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds a Master of Science degree in information design and technology, with a concentration in educational and instructional design, from SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management with a minor in business from St. John’s University. Mr. Roth is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional co-ed business fraternity.

Administrative Staff

Ayechia Perez

Ayechia Perez-Cruz
Executive Associate to the VP for Academic Affairs and Provost (HEA)

Email: Ayechia.Perez@guttman.cuny.edu

Ms. Ayechia (pronounced: I-e-sha) Perez-Cruz is the Executive Associate to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Guttman Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She manages operations for the Office of the Provost, collaborates with internal and external constituents to execute special projects, provides faculty and student support services, as well as promotes the College’s mission and goals. Prior to working at Guttman, Ms. Perez-Cruz held administrative roles within the Executive Offices of Academic and Student Success and Institutional Development at Bronx Community College, CUNY. A proud CUNY alumna, she holds a Master of Arts degree in urban affairs from Queens College, a B.A. in political science/public administration, with a minor concentration in health administration, from Herbert H. Lehman College, and an Associate in Applied Sciences degree in secretarial studies (medical) from Bronx Community College. In her spare time, Ms. Perez-Cruz enjoys mentoring and working with causes close to her heart.

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Keteya Harrison-Melville
Academic Affairs Manager (HEA)

Email: Keteya.Harrison-Melville@guttman.cuny.edu

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Jazmin Lopez
Administrative Specialist to Dean (HEa)

Email: Jazmin.Lopez@guttman.cuny.edu

An invaluable member of the Division of Academic Affairs administrative staff. Ms. Jazmin Lopez specializes in faculty workload and collaborates on directing academic procedures, onboarding part-time faculty. She engages in data analysis to build capacity by streamlining processes and exploring collaborative, automated solutions. In addition, she serves as Administrative Coordinator for Guttman’s summer Math Start program. Committed to advancing educational equity, her previous work for a national nonprofit organization in the Washington, DC, metro area focused on evidence-based institutional improvement. Ms. Lopez is an alumna of the New York City-based Prep for Prep program. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Duke University and is in pursuit of a Master of public administration degree with a focus on policy analysis and evaluation.

Yolelda Ira

Yolelda Ira
Administrative Coordinator (aHEO)

Email: Yolelda.Ira@guttman.cuny.edu

Ms. Yolelda Ira is a seasoned Administrative Coordinator, with more than seven years of experience supporting executive higher education administrators in event planning, grant management, and office operations. In addition to her role at the College, she has served as the chair of the LGBTQIA History Month, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month Committees. Ms. Ira holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Queens College. In her spare time, she is a makeup artist who loves uplifting and encouraging women all ages.

Shaina Davis

Shaina Davis
College and Research Assistant

Email: Shaina.Davis@guttman.cuny.edu

Ms. Shaina (pronounced: Shay-na) Davis was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. After graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School, she began her college and professional career at her alma mater, Virginia State University (VSU), where she was the Performing Arts Coordinator for the Department of Student Activities. While obtaining her B.A. in mass communications at VSU, Ms. Davis joined the illustrious Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Since returning to New York, she has contributed to the Guttman’s Division of Academic Affairs as a College and Research Assistant. Outside of her responsibilities at Guttman, Ms. Davis dedicates her time to screenwriting, producing for film, and embedding herself into the many art forms around NYC.