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Miami University has initiated an ambitious and innovative project to identify opportunities to strengthen Miami to better support its teaching, research, and service missions. As we begin strategic planning in early 2024, MiamiTHRIVE will guide the university in reimagining Miami to serve the dynamic needs and interests of students now and in the future.

With this work,

Transform our university

Honor our mission

Realize our potential

Innovate programs and offerings

Value our people

Embrace excellence

MiamiTHRIVE Working Groups

The beginning phase of this initiative will be led and run by about 45 Miami faculty and staff administrators who have been selected to join four working groups that will identify opportunities to strengthen Miami’s programs, offerings, and position within the higher education landscape. These team members from across the university bring critical expertise in their respective areas and deep knowledge of the university and its constituents. The groups have begun meeting and will solicit engagement and input from all disciplines and areas across the Miami community. These work streams and teams are:

Miami Bold Strategy

Evaluate current and future student needs and develop bold strategies to meet those needs. This work group is led by:

  • Michael Crowder (lead), Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
  • Jayne Brownell, SVP Student Life
  • Brad Bundy, VP, University Advancement
  • David Creamer, SVP Finance and Business Services
  • Ande Durojaiye, VP, Miami Regionals
  • Brooke Flinders, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Nursing
  • Eric Hodgson, Associate Professor, Emerging Technology in Business and Design
  • Cody Powell, Associate VP, Facilities Planning and Operations
  • Melissa Thomasson, Associate Dean for Faculty Excellence and Professor of Economics

Academic Programs

Academic Programs will consider what academic program options Miami should consider to support the Miami Bold Strategy. ​This work group is led by:

  • Carolyn Haynes (lead), Sr. Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives
  • Cristina Alcalde, VP for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
  • Renée Baernstein, Senior Associate Dean and Professor of History
  • Anne Farrell, Professor and Interim Chair of Accounting
  • Nancy Parkinson, Clinical Faculty Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Health
  • Anna Radke, Associate Professor, Psychology
  • DJ Rao, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Systems Analysis
  • Drew Reffett, Associate Dean for Educational Excellence and Professor of Accountancy

Enrollment Strategy

Enrollment Strategy will explore and develop opportunities that Miami can focus on to build student interest in Miami and optimize student enrollment. This work group is led by:

  • Brent Shock (lead), VP Enrollment Management and Student Success
  • Amy Bergerson, Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education
  • Greg Brainard, Sr. Director of Miami Online
  • Cathy Heinz, AVP Enrollment Marketing and Communications
  • Bethany Perkins, AVP Admissions​
  • Jessica Rivinius, VP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  • BaShaun Smith, AVP and Dean of Students.

Operational Improvement

Operational Improvement will assess how Miami is performing across key operational areas and identify opportunities for Miami to improve in these areas. This work group is comprised of sub-groups across multiple areas, and led by:

  • Advancement:
    • Brad Bundy (lead), VP, University Advancement; Bruce Guiot, Associate Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer, Miami Foundation; Mackenzie Rice, President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Miami University Foundation, Assistant Vice President for University Advancement, Donor Engagement, and Board Relations.
  • Auxiliaries and Facilities:
    • Cody Powell (lead), Associate VP, Facilities Planning and Operations; David Sayler, Director of Athletics; Geno Svec, Special Assistant, Housing, Dining, Recreation and Business Services.
  • Finance:
    • David Ellis (lead), Associate Vice President for Budgeting and Analysis; Lindsay Carpenter, Associate Vice President for Budget and Analytics; Bruce Guiot, Associate Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer, Miami Foundation; Jennifer Morrison, Chief Accounting Officer; Jeff Pidcock, Director of Budgeting and Business Transformation.
  • Human Resources:
    • Dawn Fahner (lead), Associate VP of Human Resources; Kenya Ash, Associate Vice President for Equity and Equal Opportunity, Title IX Coordinator, and Section 504 and ADA Coordinator; Gary Barnes, Director of Compensation; Ruth Groom, Associate Vice President for Academic Personnel.
  • Instruction and Research:
    • Susan McDowell (lead), Vice President for Research and Innovation; Lindsay Carpenter, Associate Vice President for Budget and Analytics; Tom Mays, Associate Professor of Commerce; Darryl Rice, Associate Professor of Management; Padma Patil, Associate Vice President, Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
  • IT Services:
    • David Seidl (lead), Vice President, Information Technology and CIO; Troy Travis, Assistant Vice President, Enterprise Operations.
  • Procurement:
    • Mark Taylor (lead), Chief Procurement Officer; Allen Sizemore, Associate Director of Analytics and Data Administration.

Steering Committee

Support and guidance to the work groups outlined above will be provided by a Steering Committee composed of leaders from the Board of Trustees and Executive and Academic Leadership:

Board of Trustees

  • Mary Schell, Chair​
  • Steve Anderson, Trustee​
  • Biff Bowman, Trustee​
  • Mark Sullivan, Trustee​

President and President’s Executive Cabinet members

  • Gregory Crawford, President
  • Jayne Brownell, SVP Student Life
  • David Creamer, SVP for Finance and Business Services and Treasurer
  • Liz Mullenix, Provost and EVP for Academic Affairs
  • Ted Pickerill, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
  • Jessica Rivinius, VP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Brent Shock, VP, Enrollment Management and Student Success
  • David Seidl, VP for Information Technology and CIO
  • Amy Shoemaker, VP and General Counsel
  • Randi Thomas, Esq., VP, ASPIRE

Deans and Academic Leadership

  • Jerome Conley, Dean, University Librarian
  • Jenny Darroch, Dean, Farmer School of Business
  • Amity Noltemeyer, Interim Dean, College of Education, Health, and Society
  • Chris Makaroff, Dean, College of Arts and Science
  • Beena Sukumaran, Dean, College of Engineering and Computing
  • John Weigand, Interim Dean, College of Creative Arts


In October, university leaders announced the new initiative and began assembling the work groups. Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm with deep expertise advising institutions of higher education on areas such as strategy and growth, began conducting a strategic opportunities assessment and will be providing a review of the current higher education landscape. The initial assessment will include extensive engagement across the Miami community in a variety of forms, including interviews, working sessions, focus groups, and surveys. This assessment, which will serve as a foundation to the strategic planning process, will be presented to the Board of Trustees early 2024. From there, the university will build its new strategic plan with the input and involvement of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and all its stakeholders.