UDC Appoints New Chief Academic Officer, Key Leadership Roles

UDC Appoints New Chief Academic Officer, Key Leadership Roles

June 18, 2024

University of the District of Columbia Appoints New Chief Academic Officer, Key Leadership Roles

UDC is pleased to announce several new appointments to leadership positions at the university, including Chief Academic Officer.

On June 4, the UDC Board of Trustees approved the following university leadership appointments:

April Massey, Ph.D., has been appointed Chief Academic Officer (CAO).

Massey has served as Interim Chief Academic Officer at UDC since September 2023. Prior to that role, she served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, beginning her tenure in 2014. There, Massey focused on three key areas: career development, student experience and aligning both to help guide institutional effectiveness metrics.

Massey is a trained speech-language pathologist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in speech and hearing science from The Ohio State University; a Master of Arts in speech-language pathology from the University of Cincinnati; and a Doctor of Philosophy in child language/sociolinguistics from Howard University. Her work has focused on providing scaffolding for faculty across the career lifecycle, as well as promoting high-impact and integrated learning for students, from classroom to career.

Massey’s current priorities target learning circles that support faculty success; leadership coaching programs for faculty, staff and students; program-level assessment and curriculum mapping; scholarship of teaching; and exploration of signature work as a platform for strengthening the academic community among a diverse and largely nontraditional, commuter student body.

Massey’s role as CAO is effective as of June 17.

Dr. April Massey
April Massey, Ph.D.

Taneka S. Miller, Esq., has been appointed Vice President for Government, Community and Corporate Relations.

Miller most recently served as Deputy General Counsel, General Practice, for D.C. Public Schools.

Her prior roles include Executive Director for State and Local Affairs for UDC; Director of Legislative and Government Affairs and Senior Policy Adviser for the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education; Legislative Counsel, Education and Labor for the D.C. Council; and Executive Director for Postsecondary Opportunities for the New York City Department of Education. Miller’s work has focused on advancing urban education through legislative affairs, policy development, strategic planning, teaching and advising.

Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Juris Doctor from Howard University.

Miller’s role as Vice President for Government, Community and Corporate Relations is effective as of July 15.

Taneka S. Miller, Esq.
Taneka S. Miller, Esq.

Maria Byrd has been appointed Vice President for Innovation and Transformation.

Byrd is currently Associate Vice President for the UDC Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, an office she has led since its launch in 2016. Prior to that role, Byrd spent five years as Project Management Unit Manager in the UDC Office of Information Technology. She has also held roles with D.C. government, The Wharton Group and Northrop Grumman.

Byrd attained a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Hofstra University and a Master of Public Administration from American University.

Byrd’s role as Vice President for Innovation and Transformation is effective as of June 17.

Maria Byrd
Maria Byrd

Ellen Jefferson has been appointed Interim Vice President for Human Resources.

Jefferson has served as a Senior Human Resources Consultant with PRM Consulting for more than 20 years, contributing to sectors that include higher education, nonprofits and corporate enterprises. Since February 2024, she has worked with the UDC Human Resources team. Prior to her consulting career, Jefferson held HR leadership positions at Howard University, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Reebok International and Pearson Government Solutions. Her expertise includes employee relations, talent acquisition, benefits administration, compensation and workforce development.

Jefferson holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Arlington, as well as a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in labor and industrial relations and a Master of Public Administration with specialization in personnel administration, both from Howard University.

Jefferson’s role as Interim Vice President for Human Resources is effective as of June 17.

Ellen Jefferson
Ellen Jefferson

LeKisha M. Jordan has been appointed Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and Partnerships.

Jordan most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor to the D.C. Council Committee of the Whole, focusing on education policy efforts for Chairman Phil Mendelson. Her prior roles include Managing Director of Policy Fellowships and Programs at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) and Policy Analyst, Education, for the North Carolina Governor’s Office.

Jordan is a graduate of Spelman College, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in education and public policy from the University of Georgia.

Jordan’s role as Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and Partnerships is effective as of August 12.

LeKisha M. Jordan
LeKisha M. Jordan

Patrick Gusman has been appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Corporate Relations.

This is an expanded role for Gusman, who currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for UDC. He has been with the university since 2018, with a focus on strategic initiatives. His prior roles include Chief Innovative Officer at the National Urban League, Chief of Operations at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, President of the Equal Footing Foundation and Managing Director of Chrysler Financial, France.

Gusman holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.

Gusman’s role as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Corporate Relations is effective as of June 17.

Patrick Gusman
Patrick Gusman

The university is also conducting leadership searches for the positions of Chief Advancement Officer, Vice President for Human Resources, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, and Vice President for Information Technology.

UDC welcomes and congratulates all our new appointees. We will continue to provide updates as university leadership works with the broader UDC community to implement our 2024-2029 strategic plan, Delivering on the Promise.