Institutional Leadership


 

Dr. Michael G. Scales
President           
Nyack College & Alliance Theological Seminary

Michael G. Scales is president of Nyack College, founded in 1882 and Alliance Theological Seminary, founded in 1960. Both institutions of Christian higher education have New York campuses in Rockland County and Manhattan and an extension site in Puerto Rico. Dr. Scales was inaugurated on April 27, 2007. In June 2015, the Nyack/ATS Board of Trustees unanimously extended his role as chief officer for a fourth term.

Prior to assuming the role of its president, Dr. Scales served Nyack College/ATS as Executive Vice President (2000-2003) and Vice President for Advancement (1989-1993). The Gadsen, Alabama native earned his BS (1975) in Bible and theology from Toccoa Falls College, his MA (1978) in humanities from Western Kentucky University, and his Ed.D. (1988) from the University of Georgia.

Married to the former Susan Lynn DeLany for more than three decades, Dr. Scales and his wife are the parents of two daughters and two sons and the grandparents of four grandsons and two granddaughters.

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Dr. David Turk
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Turk has an extensive relationship with Nyack, which began when he enrolled for undergraduate studies and subsequently completed his bachelor's degree in English in 1975. He later earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. in English at New York University.

Dr. Turk served as Nyack's director of Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), 1978-1984; English Department professor, 1978-1997; chair of the English Department, 1992-1997; director of Nyack's Drama Ensemble, 1984-1997; and dean/vice president for Nyack College New York City 1997-2002 and became Nyack College’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2005.

In Nyack's English Department, Dr. Turk has taught 20 different courses, specializing in Shakespeare and Milton. He has also directed 20 plays and musicals. In addition, he has led numerous student groups for studies in London, England and regularly leads book discussions at public libraries.

In 2016 Dr. Turk re-launched Nyack College’s drama program and directed the successful productions of West Side Story (2016) and In the Heights (2017) in the NYC theater district.

Dr. Turk has also served as an Evaluation Team Chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The MSCHE is an accrediting agency for higher education institutions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Mrs. Karen Davie
Director of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator

Karen is responsible for overseeing employee benefits, payroll, employment policies, employee relations and Title IX compliance. She diligently serves the employees of Nyack College and is passionate about making Nyack College a great college to work for. With admirable success, she is the administrator of the high-benefit, cost-effective employee health insurance plan and enhancements to the retirement plan. Prior to joining the Nyack College staff, she was an employee benefits consultant at two large firms in New York City, specializing in health and welfare benefits. 

Karen completed both undergraduate and graduate studies majoring in mathematics. Her bachelor’s degree was earned at Houghton College in Houghton, New York and a master’s degree at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.

Karen is a member of Living Christ Church in Nyack, New York where she currently serves as Assistant Treasurer and a member of the personnel team. She also serves on the Benefit Board of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.

With her husband, Keith, and their three sons, Rockland County is her home. Karen enjoys staying active and supporting the many athletic pursuits of her family.

Dr. Antoinette Gines-Rivera
Director of Alliance Graduate School of Counseling

Dr. Antoinette Gines-Rivera is a graduate of Regent University where she obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology & Counseling with a specialization in Counselor Education & Supervision.
She also earned a dual MS degree in Bilingual Education and Bilingual School Psychology from Fordham University in NYC, after which she worked for the NYS Department of Education for ten years before pursuing her doctorate.

Dr. Toni’s duo-language bilingual abilities afforded her the opportunity to conduct an emic international research study where she investigated the counseling needs of the Honduran population in-country. Her study has been published in an ACA (American Counseling Association) publication in 2013, titled Counseling Around the World: An International Handbook. This publication has opened countless doors for Dr. Toni to speak publically abroad and in the United States where she teaches and trains those who are working in the trenches of helping the native Hondureńo and Latino family with their hardships and suffering. Currently, Dr. Toni is working with the Bhatt Foundation in developing the Honduras Mental Health Systems, which is also projected to be implemented in India and Africa.

Dr. Toni’s passion for counseling and spiritual well-being comes on the heels of her own childhood trauma which became her catalyst to developing into the resilient woman she is today. She has learned to embrace the biblical truth that suffering is what God uses to prepare and train us to be a beacon of light for others who suffer in this world. Through her journey of faith in God, inner healing and education, she has found her passion and purpose in the world. Dr. Toni’s story is featured in Pastor Jim Cymbala’s 2017 released book, The Rescue, where he tells the powerful stories of seven people. She has also been featured in Laura Contreras Rowe’s 2009 book, Aim High: Extraordinary Stories of Hispanic & Latina Women.

As Director of AGSC, Dr. Toni’s objective is to guide applicants interested in Mental Health counseling in navigating through the process of discovering their passion, dreams and highest career choice potential. Choosing a graduate school can have a significant impact on one’s future profession, ministry, and personal life as counseling is both a calling and a responsibility requiring competency, compassion, discipline and discipleship.

Dr.  Charles Hammond
Dean of Students, New York City Campus

Dr. Hammond joined the staff of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary in 2005 as assistant to the 11th president.  For nearly three decades, he has served as an associate pastor at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church.

Dean Hammond serves as a member of several boards in the Tri-State New York region including Christ Tabernacle, New York School of Urban Ministry, Grace Gospel Tabernacle and Praxis Connection.

Charles earned a Ph.D. from Trinity College of the Bible and Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana. The title of his published doctoral dissertation is “Second Generation Korean American Presbyterians revitalizing their faith by adapting to North American Culture.” He earned a Master of Professional Studies in Urban Ministry at Alliance Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in business administration at New York University.

He and his wife, Myrna Marie, have been married for 36 years. They are the parents of Charles III and Melinda and enjoy their three grandchildren—Tekoa, Avery and Jax.

Dr. David Jennings
Executive Vice President & Treasurer

David C. Jennings is the Executive Vice President and Treasurer for Nyack College where he has held various senior leadership roles since 1996.  His wide-ranging portfolio includes responsibility for the following functions and departments:  business services, accounting, budget management, investments, human resources, outside counsel, real estate, risk management, auxiliary services, NCAA Division II athletics, facilities management, information technology and marketing.

During his tenure at Nyack, Mr. Jennings has led a variety of initiatives to support Nyack's operations at multiple campuses.  His finance and operations teams have facilitated the following projects: implementation of a new cross-function integrated administrative computer system, successful move from an NAIA to Division II NCAA athletic department with expansion to 12 sports, implementation of a cost savings self-insured health plan, remodeling of the food service facility and introduction of new menu and service stations, renovation and restoration of many College-owned residential properties and the development of a marketing team.

One of the more significant projects Mr. Jennings led was the successful negotiation of the lease and ultimate purchase of the New York City campus where he managed the construction of the build-out and coordinated the physical move to the new campus.  He strategically increased physical assets with property purchases adjacent to the Nyack, NY campus and negotiated a land swap with the New York State Parks Department.  Under his financial leadership, Nyack College’s endowment has grown from $3 million to over $12 million.

Mr. Jennings started with Nyack College in 1991 as the Director of Campus Services before spending three years on the staff of New Life Fellowship in Elmhurst, Queens as the Executive Pastor.  In 1996 he returned to Nyack College as Assistant to the President for Advancement and then Vice President of Advancement where he provided leadership to the fundraising and promotion areas of the College.  In 1998 he assumed the role of Vice President and Treasurer before being named Executive Vice President and Treasurer in 2003.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, Mr. Jennings served as the Interim President of Nyack College.  It was during that time that the College received a $1 million lead gift to launch the Cheryl Phenicie School of Nursing.  Mr. Jennings managed the plans and implementation of the construction of the nursing labs, classrooms and faculty suite. He has also been instrumental in developing relationships that have led to strategic gifts for other key initiatives and projects including the Elizabeth “Betty” Knopp Memorial Scholarship, New Life Community Health Center Nursing Scholarship and The Miovski and Mansfield Families Music Hall at the New York City campus.

Most recently, Mr. Jennings led a partnership with the Manhattan Christian Collaboration Center to launch CoLab New York City on the seventeenth floor of the New York City campus of Nyack College.  This collaborative space has dedicated office suites, single work spaces, hotspots, lounge, shared common spaces and four conference-style rooms that partners can reserve for meetings, training sessions and events. Partners already participating include: The Navigators NYC, CRU, Movement.org, LEAD.NYC, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, Beacon Christian Community Health Center, Christian Union, Safe Haven Network International, American Church Group New York, New York Media Initiative and the Grace and Mercy Foundation.

Mr. Jennings has also applied his administrative strengths to community service for the poor.  In 1996 he served as a catalyst to launch a ministry in the Philippines that has given birth to several educational and micro-business ventures.  In 2000, in conjunction with a team of others, he started a health ministry in Elmhurst, NY.  Today, he continues to volunteer as the Executive Director of the New Life Community Health Center that utilizes a volunteer staffing model to provide nearly 3,000 annual medical and dental visits to immigrants, homeless and the uninsured for free.

In 2003 Mr. Jennings received an honorary doctorate from Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary in Zamboanga City, Philippines.  He is married to Cindy and they reside in Nyack, NY with their daughter, Hannah.

Dr. JoAnn Looney
Dean, School of Education

Dr. Looney came to Nyack in 2004 as an associate professor of education and was promoted to Chair of Childhood Education in 2006 and then to Dean in January 2008.  She is a graduate of Rosemont College (B.A. Education/Political Science), William Paterson University (M.Ed. Special Education/Physically Handicapped/Neurologically Impaired;  Post-M.Ed. Certificate in  Learning Disabilities) and Seton Hall University (Ed.D. in Educational Leadership).

Her experience includes teaching in elementary and special education contexts, and  she served as a member of a Child Study Team as Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT-C). While at Nyack, Dr. Looney led the School of Education to NCATE Accreditation (2011), Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) (2017) and to the national recognition of eight education programs.  Additionally, she was the primary author of the Master of Science in Childhood Education, the Master of Science in Special Education and the Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Childhood Special Education programs.

Dr. Looney teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate levels (online and in class) and supervises childhood, special education, early childhood education and TESOL student teachers/interns placed in Rockland County or in New York City.

She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for New York State Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (NYACTE) and for Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School, one of the School of Education's partner schools in Manhattan.

Dr. Gwen Parker-Ames
Dean, Division of Student Success

Gwen Parker-Ames is the associate dean in the Nyack College Division of Student Success on both the Rockland and Manhattan campuses and is also the director of Nyack’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

Active in her local church and community, Dr. Parker-Ames is the associate minister for youth and families at St. Paul Baptist Church in Montclair, NJ and is the executive director of Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) in Montclair, New Jersey. Her chaplaincy residence with the Spiritual Care Association in New York City will be completed in spring 2018. 

An educator and advocate for youth and children, her research on the educational challenges of children affected by Hurricane Katrina resulted in funding for service-learning opportunities for high school and college students as well as partnerships with Louisiana school districts. Her leadership and passion for mission work has opened pathways for engaging religious communities in closing the achievement gap for children failing to progress and mentoring children affected by the 2005 hurricane to transition from crisis to college.

Several organizations have recognized her leadership role in designing youth development programs including the National Character Education Partnership, Phi Delta Kappa, Girl Scouts of the USA and the New Jersey Association of Schools and Administrators. Dr. Parker-Ames is a recipient of the Community Service Award from the National Council of Negro Women of Orange New Jersey. The National Council of Negro Women of Montclair New Jersey, the American Legion and the Northeast Earth Coalition each presented her with Humanitarian Awards.

Dr. Parker-Ames earned an Ed.D. at Columbia University Teachers College. She also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and New York Theological Seminary.

Mr. Jeff Quinn
Vice President for College Relations

Jeff oversees the overall College Relations effort including donor relations; alumni relations and services; special events; publications and media relations and database and operations management. He oversees College efforts in raising annual fund support for Nyack and ATS from individuals, corporations and foundations and serves as a corporate representative at public events.

He assists the President in cultivating relationships with major donors as well as with the design of corporate messaging. Jeff is a 1984 graduate of Nyack College (BA, English) and holds Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Columbia University Teachers College.  He is an actively teaching faculty member in the Pastoral Ministries department and is a Doctor of Ministry degree candidate at Alliance Theological Seminary.

Mr. Jeff Rickey
Vice President for Enrollment

Jeff Rickey joined Nyack after a decades-long career in enrollment. He brings a wealth of experience from his previous positions as Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and at Earlham College in Richmond, IN. He was also Dean of Admissions at George Fox University in Newberg, OR.

In a consulting role, he has served several private colleges throughout the U.S., guiding them in student recruitment, admissions and financial aid programs while effectively using institutional resources and honoring institutional missions.

Jeff has had a profound impact on enrollment-challenged institutions. His energy, creativity and commitment to serving prospective students and their families as they navigate the college admissions process is exceptional. He has helped schools increase applications and enrollment, nurture diversity in enrollment and expand the international student population.

He is a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), for which he served as Finance Committee Chairman. He has more than three decades of membership with The College Board and six years with the New York Association for College Admissions Counseling.

Jeff has addressed audiences at professional development conferences and parent and student groups. He is also quoted regularly in the national, regional, and local press and in education and admissions blogs.

He holds a Master of Science in Leadership from Grand Canyon University and completed a Bachelor of Science in business and economics at George Fox University.

Dr. Bennett Schepens
Assistant Provost and Director of Institutional Assessment

Ben grew up on a ranch in Eastern Montana.  He attended the University of Montana and became a science teacher and coach of volleyball, basketball and softball.  After teaching three years he attended Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN where he earned an M.Div. 

Ben married Dona Moerer in 1979 and moved back to Eastern Montana for two years teaching science and coaching.  In 1981 he and Dona were sent by the C&MA to Quito, Ecuador to serve at the Alliance Academy, a school for missionaries’ children.  They served in Quito for 14 years and for 12 of those years Ben was the Director of the Alliance Academy.  During that time their three children were born.  He also completed a M.A. in Educational Administration and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Alabama.

The Schepens moved to Nyack, NY in 1995 after Dr. Schepens accepted a position as professor of secondary education.  Dona soon moved into a position in student accounts at Nyack College eventually becoming Assistant Treasure.  Dr. Schepens became the Director and later Dean of the School of Education and led the school in its first NCATE accreditation in 2005.  He moved to the position of Assistant Provost in 2007 with responsibility for college and seminary assessment, institutional LMS, new program proposals with NYS, and served as Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Dr. Schepens still serves in the position of Assistant Provost.  Dona has stepped down from her position at Nyack College and is now a Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Living Christ Church in Nyack.  Two daughters, Sarah and Jennifer currently serve with the C&MA in France and Colorado Springs respectively.  Diana is in the final year of her doctoral studies in math at Montana State University.

Dr. Anita Underwood
Dean, School of Business & Leadership

Dr. Underwood is the founding director of Nyack’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program offered on both the Rockland County and Manhattan campuses.

An organizational psychologist, she has extensive global experience in the areas of strategic planning, change-management, leadership development and talent management. In addition to her corporate experience in senior and executive roles, she has worked as a management consultant for CEOs and executive teams to improve organizational effectiveness and competitive advantage. Her corporate success made her an invaluable resource for leaders of churches and educational institutions in the areas of strategy formulation, leadership development and accreditation.

Dr. Underwood’s career began at UNISYS Corporation as manager of international education and continued in executive roles at corporations including Equitable Life Insurance and PepsiCo. At Dun and Bradstreet, she was vice president of organizational management.

During her tenure in the corporate world, she also maintained a commitment to institutions of higher education. She served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and held directorships on the Board of Overseers for the Graduate School of Business at the University of Connecticut; the Advisory Board for the Minority Summer Institute at the University of Michigan and the Board of Directors for American Assembly Collegiate Schools of Business.

Dr. Underwood has been featured in several international publications and is profiled in Who’s Who Among Global Business Leaders. Recognized by many organizations for her impressive civic and community contributions, she has received business achievement awards from groups such the African American Chamber of Commerce, The National Alumnae Association of Spelman College - New York Chapter, the Harlem YMCA and the Corporate Women’s Network. Her professional affiliations include memberships in the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Management.

Dr. Underwood earned a Ph.D. in community psychology from the University of Michigan; an MA in clinical psychology from Fisk University in a joint program with Meharry Medical College; and a BA from Spelman College.

Mrs. Wanda Velez
Dean of Students, Rockland County Campus

Wanda Velez joined the staff of Nyack College in 2001 and served as the Director of Alumni Relations until 2003, when she joined the Office of Student Development as a Resident Director for Simpson Hall. Her tenure at Nyack has included a broad spectrum of responsibility from fundraising, community engagement and leadership development to crisis intervention, mentorship and spiritual formation. Previous experience as a youth director, a staff developer, a counselor in training program trainer for the Salvation Army Greater New York Youth Division.

Named Dean of Students on the Rockland County residential campus in 2010, Wanda oversees all aspects of campus life. In addition to her oversight of policies, procedures and a code of conduct for students, she has been instrumental in changing the culture of Residence Life raising the standard of maturity, responsibility, accountability and community. She created and implemented a student leadership selection and mentorship process.

Ordained as a minister of the gospel in June 2011 by the Gathering Place Global Ministries, Dean Velez takes a holistic approach to her leadership role with a heart for seeing young men and women rising to realize their full potential. Going above and beyond the call of duty, Dean Velez has invested in the lives of hundreds of students via numerous outreach ministries and small groups, as well as one on one mentoring. For Nyack’s rite of passage program, “Woman,” she has been a curriculum facilitator and mentor. For the past eight years, she has served as a Spiritual Formation director.

The first in her family to attend college, she arrived at Nyack to pursue undergraduate studies when the institution was embarking on the journey towards intentional diversity. The Bronx native is among the campus leaders who have witnessed the influx of students from the Tri-State New York urban communities.

Wanda’s ethnic identity and personal journey empower her to be an effective leader--on campus, in her home church, and in the community. Her passion for “story” has been a driving force behind her leadership style. She believes we are most effective when we are willing to share our own stories of failures, as well as successes, to impact the lives of others. As result, she has been influential in developing hundreds of students leaders at Nyack College.

In addition to earning her BA in English at Nyack College and her Master of Professional Studies at Alliance Theological Seminary, Dean Velez is an alumna of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) Women’s Advanced Leadership Institute (WALI) and the Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development Institute (M-ELDI). A mentor for the C&MA Metro District certificate program for women, “Empower,” she regularly serves as a conference speaker and as a panelist for higher education and ministry events.

Dean Velez is currently pursuing her Doctor of Ministry at Alliance Theological Seminary.

Dr. Ronald Walborn
Vice President
Dean of Alliance Theological Seminary &
College of Bible & Christian Ministry

Dr. Walborn was appointed dean of the seminary in 2008. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for The Christian and Missionary Alliance since May 2005.

In 1984, he earned an undergraduate degree in history at Nyack College and a Master of Divinity at Alliance Theological Seminary in 1988. Dr. Walborn has pastored C&MA churches in Connecticut and California. He planted Risen King Community Church in Redding, CA in 1989. While living in Redding for 10 years, he completed his doctoral studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.

After a time in church leadership, he returned to Nyack and grew the Pastoral Ministry program into one of the largest divisions at the college. His passion for connecting the lost to the love of God and his commitment to bringing renewal to the church make him a popular guest speaker at retreats, conferences, camps, and mega-churches.

Dr. Kwiryung Yun
Dean, School of Social Work

Dr. Kwi Yun has been a leader of the Nyack social work program for the last 18 years, first as director of the Bachelor of Social Work program and then as the dean of the School of Social Work.  With the vision of preparing students to become “competent and compassionate catalysts,” who are rooted in their relationship with Christ, she implemented curriculum, along with social work faculty members, that integrates social work education with a Christian worldview developing a context that facilitates spiritual formation.

Desiring to provide students with the opportunity to learn beyond their own boundaries, she created an international social work course and has been leading an annual Global Service-Learning trip to the Philippines for the past 10 years.  The trip explores the issues of poverty and sex trafficking while developing relationships with children and their families in the community.

Dr. Yun’s research interests are stress, coping, and self-care among social work students, and the impact of the international trip on the students.  She has presented her papers at numerous professional conferences including Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW).

She earned her Ph.D. and MSW from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI and her BSW from the Sacred Heart College for Women in South Korea.  She also worked as a mental health counselor and hospital social worker before joining Nyack College.