Febrary 10, 2014

Rivier University appoints new Vice President for Academic Affairs

Vess brings more than 20 years of higher education experience to the role

Rivier University announces the appointment of Dr. Deborah Vess to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs. With more than 20 years experience in higher education administration, Dr. Vess will lead all academic programming in the five divisions of the University as well as oversee academic services.

DVessSm“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Vess’s academic leadership to the University,” said Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, president. “Dr. Vess comes to us as a very experienced academician with broad expertise in the liberal arts, faculty development and research, accreditation and assessment, international initiatives, and program development.”

Prior to joining Rivier, Dr. Vess served as associate provost for undergraduate studies at CUNY-College of Staten Island, N.Y. where she oversaw the Macaulay’s Honors College, the Verrazano School, the Teacher Education Honors Academy, the Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development, and the Center for International Service.

During her time at CUNY-College of Staten Island, Dr. Vess helped to expand the number of freshmen learning communities, developed guidelines for faculty led study abroad programs and completed negotiations for an international MBA collaborative.

Previous to Dr. Vess’ service at CUNY-College of Staten Island, she served as special assistant to the provost, interim director of assessment, coordinator of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and professor of history and interdisciplinary studies at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga. Dr. Vess’ research interests extend to medieval history and her work has been published in such journals as “The Handbook of Research on Computer Mediated Communication,” “Mystics Quarterly,” and “The American Benedictine Review.”

Dr. Vess holds a Ph.D. in European history from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, Pa., a B.MUS. degree in piano performance from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and a B.A. in philosophy from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

With vast experience at both private Catholic and public universities, Dr. Vess will focus on developing programs and initiatives that will advance the institution, foster enrollment, lead faculty, and enrich teaching and learning. “I am delighted to join Rivier University and look forward to contributing to our unique mission to “transform hearts and minds to serve the world,” said Dr. Vess. “I have found Rivier to be a welcoming, creative community that has deeply engaged our mission. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, administration, members of the Board of Trustees, and the community as we move forward with creative program development to meet critical areas of need that best serve the region and the mission.”


Founded in 1933 by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Rivier University is a Catholic institution recognized for distinctive academic programs, offering many of the region’s leading programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels. With Nashua as our home and the world as our classroom, the Rivier experience ensures that students develop leadership skills as well as an awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures in New England and around the world.