Course Catalog


Simmons College was chartered in 1899 in accordance with the will of John Simmons. In 2017, in recognition of the comprehensive nature of its programs - bachelors, masters, and doctoral - Simmons applied to and received approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to become Simmons University.  The overall governing body of the University is the Board of Trustees. The Board is entrusted with the management of the business, property, and affairs of the University, including setting overall policy for the University, appointing the president and officers of the University, approving the granting of degrees and other academic functions, and ensuring the responsible use of its assets for the long-term health of the institution.



Board of Trustees
Simmons Trustees are the ultimate fiduciaries of Simmons University. They oversee all of Simmons’s institutional affairs in accordance with the University's charter, bylaws, evolving statements of mission and purpose, and strategic plan.  The Board of Trustees is responsible for governance of the University and for monitoring the implementation of its policies, as distinguished from its day-to-day management or administration, which is the responsibility of the President and other administrative officers of the University.

The President is appointed by the Board of Trustees and is the chief executive officer of the University, responsible for academic and financial administration in accordance with policies established by the Board. Senior vice presidents and vice presidents report to the president. The president acts as a liaison between the Board of Trustees and the faculty, works with members of the Board and the Simmons community to plan and budget for future needs, and fosters an open, collegial environment for faculty, staff, and students. In addition, the president works closely with alumnae/i, business, government, foundations, educational associations, and other external constituencies and ensures that Simmons University plays an active role in Boston-area community relations and higher education on a national level.

On July 1, 2020, Lynn Perry Wooten became the ninth President of Simmons University. Since 2017, Dr. Wooten has been the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, where she was a member of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business leadership team, encompassing the three schools -- the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the Johnson Graduate School of Management, and School of Hotel Administration. President Wooten’s research interests include crisis leadership, strategic human resources management, positive organizing routines, workforce diversity and competitive advantage, and development of emerging leaders. She is a prolific author of journal articles and has published two books: Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During and After a Crisis. Dr. Wooten majored in accounting at North Carolina A&T State University, graduating as valedictorian of her class; she received her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and her Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 1995.

Interim Provost
Russell Pinizzotto, Ph.D., began serving as Simmons’ Interim Provost in May 2020. He previously served as an Interim Provost for various institutions, most recently for Carlow University in Pittsburgh, where he established the College of Professional Studies for adult and nontraditional learners. He was also the Interim Provost at Merrimack College where he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. During his tenure as Wentworth’s Provost from 2010 until 2015, his accomplishments included boosting enrollment by 25%; increasing retention and graduation rates; developing nine new undergraduate and six new graduate programs; and increasing the revenue of the College of Professional and Continuing Education by over 50%. Dr. Pinizzotto received his BS in Physical Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology; his Engineer’s degree in Materials Science from UCLA; his MS in Astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia; and his PhD in Engineering in Materials Science from UCLA.

Vice President and Chief People Officer
Suzanne Murphy, Vice President, Chief People Officer, was first appointed in 2010 to ensure the success of Strategy 2015 initiatives. Prior to coming to Simmons, she was special assistant to the president at Emmanuel College and was an adjunct faculty member in their Graduate and Professional Programs. Ms. Murphy's experience spans multiple industries from financial services, to management consulting, to higher education. Previous companies and positions include Monitor, a Cambridge-based strategy consulting firm specializing in top management issues most critical to long-term competitiveness. At Monitor, Murphy was a member of the Global Human Assets Team, focused on talent management and leadership development. At Arthur Andersen, a former big 5 consulting firm, she was a Manager in their Change Management practice, focused primarily on the financial services industry. Murphy sits on the board of directors for a nonprofit, Delta Projects. She has done both volunteer work and fund raising for the American Red Cross and Best Buddies. Murphy holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from the Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College.

Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management
Laura Brink Pisinski is the Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management. Ms Pisinski is overseeing the major renovation of the academic campus, including the transformation of Lefavour Hall into the University’s science facilities; planning for “One Simmons,” the creation of a modern living and learning campus for Simmons; and for ongoing facilities management. During nearly 13 years of service to Simmons, Pisinski has held positions of increasing responsibility and scope within the Advancement Department. She started as a front-line fundraiser for leadership annual gifts; she was promoted to Major Gifts Officer, to Director of Major Gifts and Campaigns, to Assistant Vice President and most recently to Associate Vice President. Before coming to Simmons, Pisinski worked in enrollment management, where she chaired the annual meeting for the New England Association of College Admission Counselors as well as a presidential task force on retention. She holds a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree in communications management from Simmons University.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Kathy Rogers is Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Simmons. She joined Simmons in 2002 as General Counsel and was promoted to Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees in 2007. Previously, she was a partner at the Boston law firm of Yurko & Perry, and served as a business litigator at Hutchins, Wheeler & Dittmar, and at Widett, Slater & Goldman. Before joining Simmons, Rogers advised and represented numerous Boston-area colleges and universities in litigation and risk management, particularly in cases involving disability and employment law issues. She writes and speaks on disability and higher education issues and was named an In- House Leader in the Law in 2010 by Lawyers Weekly. She has a B.A. from Regis College and a J.D. from Northeastern University.

Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice
Dr. Stephanie Berzin, prior to her arrival at Simmons, served as Assistant Dean for the Doctoral Program at the Boston College School of Social Work, where she co-led the curriculum redesign and the development of a strategic vision around social innovation, social entrepreneurship, leadership, and resource development. She also served as co-director of the BC Center for Social Innovation, which works to build the evidence-base for social innovation, prepare tomorrow's social sector leaders, and promote the capacity of existing agencies to respond to social issues. Dr. Berzin also works with social sector leaders to develop their innovation skills both locally and abroad. Her most recent book was published by Oxford University Press, Innovation From Within: Redefining How Nonprofits Solve Problems (2018). Dr. Berzin graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, earned her MSW from Columbia University, and a PhD from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences
Dr. Marie desJardins leads collaboration among faculty and other stakeholders in pursuing the growth and development of College programs and initiatives, align an interdisciplinary collaboration that increases pathways from undergraduate to graduate study in growing fields, and promote a culture of research and scholarly productivity through innovative teaching and engaged learning. Prior to joining Simmons, Dr. desJardins served as Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's College of Engineering and Information Technology, where she oversaw multiple assessment activities, including leading a successful re-accreditation of four undergraduate engineering and computing undergraduate curriculum. A career educator, Dr. desJardin has published over 100 scientific papers in journals, conferences, and workshops. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory. Dr. desJardins graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in engineering and computer science, and earned her PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dean of the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities
Dr. Brian Norman is a scholar of American and African American literature, professor of English, and academic administrator who most recently served as Associate Vice President of Faculty Affairs and Diversity at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. He has taught a wide range of courses in literature and culture, and he founded Loyola's program in African and African American Studies. His research projects engage with questions of identity, belonging, justice, and the relationship between literature and social change. Dr. Norman is a distinguished scholar who has written or edited several books; his most recent are Neo-Segregation Narratives: Jim Crow in Post-Civil Rights American Literature (University of Georgia Press 2010) and Dead Women Talking: Figures of Injustice in American Literature (Johns Hopkins University 2013). He recently spent his sabbatical as a research fellow at the Dresher Center for the Humanities at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in environments studies, women's studies, and French from Pacific Lutheran University, and an MA and PhD in English from Rutgers University.

Deputy Provost and Dean of the Undergraduate Program
Dr. Catherine Paden is an accomplished scholar and educator. In her role, she works closely with faculty to review and revise policies around the undergraduate academic experience. Dr. Paden's research and teaching interests focus on racial politics, social movements, interest groups, and how underrepresented groups gain political representation. She is the author of Civil Rights Advocacy on Behalf of the Poor (2011, pb 2013), which assesses whether, and how, low-income African Americans gain representation in anti-poverty legislative battles. Her current research examines the impact of local civil rights and economic justice organizing on national policy and interest group priorities. She has published her research in the DuBois Review and has contributed research on the Nation of Islam to a volume on religion and American politics (University of Virginia, 2012). At Simmons, Dr. Paden has previously served as the Faculty Assistant to the Dean on Diversity Initiatives, on the Dean's Diversity Task Force, and on the President's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (PDIAC). Deputy Provost Paden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from Vassar College and a PhD in political science and government from Northwestern University.

Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences
Dr. Lepaine Sharp-McHenry joined Simmons in August 2019, leading the largest of Simmons’ four Colleges, promoting and strengthening innovative teaching and engaged learning, continuing to build a culture of research and scholarly productivity and to enhance programs within and across disciplines both inside CNBHS and across the University. From 2013, Dr. Sharp-McHenry served as Dean of the College of Nursing at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. Prior to that, she was at the University of Arkansas for 15 years, first as a faculty member and later as the Assistant Director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Nationally, she has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and as a site visitor on accreditation teams for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). She has also received official recognitions of her expertise at a state level, including several appointments by the Governor of the State of Arkansas. Dr. Sharp-McHenry holds an Associate of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master’s of Science in Nursing (clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric mental health), and a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.