top of page

our Leadership


According to the University Center of Lake County By-laws, the Governing Board acts as the Board of Directors of the corporation and is composed of Up to 8 residents of Lake County, including one member of the College of Lake County Board of Trustees. Up to 6 representatives are from the member institutions including one student. Members shall reflect the diverse regions, groups, and employers that reside in the county. The representatives of member institutions shall include the Chairperson of the Council of Member Institutions and up to four other representatives chosen by the Council of Member Institutions from among its members. Of these four Governing Board positions, only one seat can be held by a representative of a proprietary institution. The student member shall be elected by the Center’s Student Advisory Committee.

2024 Governing Board Members

Julie Dunston - Chair

     Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Bryan Watkins - Vice Chair

     Community Member

Gerri Songer - Secretary

     CLC Board of Trustees

Trevor James -Treasurer

     CMI Vice ChairNorth Park University

Kathy Johnson 

     Emeritus, University of Illinois Springfield (Retired)

Gwen Kanelos  

     CMI, Concordia University Chicago

Julie Shroka 

     Alternate, CLC Board of Trustees

Marisa Buscaglia 

     CMI, National Louis University 

Melba Rivera 

     Community Member

R. Shayne Cofer 

     CMI Chair, Northeastern Illinois University 

Rich Anderson 

     Community Member

Teddy Anderson 

     Community Member


     Student Representative


The Council of Member Institutions (CMI) is composed of institutional representatives appointed by the chief officer of each of the member institutions plus the College of Lake County. The CMI elects its chairperson, vice-chairperson, and representatives to serve on the Governing Board. Those elected to the Governing Board represent the CMI itself and not their individual colleges or universities. The slate of Governing Board candidates usually tries to achieve a balance of public university and private university representatives. They cannot serve on the Governing Board for more than three consecutive two-year terms. The Council considers a variety of matters including recommendations from various Center committees, and in turn advises and assists the Board in matters such as:

  • facilitating inter-institutional communication.

  • identifying needed instructional support facilities and services.

  • assessing local needs.

  • electing representatives to the Governing Board.


The CMI has significant responsibility for reviewing applications for membership and proposals to bring additional degree or certificate programs to the University Center. They make recommendations to the Governing Board about each program proposal or membership application and the Governing Board (or its Executive Committee) makes the final decision to approve or deny the applications/proposals. 

2023-2024 CMI Members

Shayne Cofer, Chair

    Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,

    Northeastern Illinois University

Trevor James. Vice-Chair

     Associate Dean of SPS, Associate Professor/Director of the Business Program/Biblical Studies,

    North Park University

Jennifer Davidson​​​

     Assistant Vice President Educational Affairs,

     College of Lake County

​Gwen Kanelos

     Vice President for Enrollment Management, 

     Concordia University Chicago

Nick DeFalco

     Executive Director, Transfer Recruitment & Admissions, 

     DePaul University

Suhad Tabahi

     Director of the School of Social Work, 

     Dominican University​​

​​Marisa Buscaglia

     Executive Director of Enrollment, Community College Relationship Management,

      National Louis University ​​

Ron Smith

     Director of Community College Partnerships,

      Northern Illinois University

Alicia Fleming

      Assistant Chief Learning Officer, Academic Operations,

      Oak Point University

Andrea Koepke

      Dean of Academic Affairs,

      St. Augustine College-Lewis University

​​Julie Dunston

     Director, School of Applied Engineering & Technology/Director, Technology Off Campus

     Degree Programs,

     Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

​​Elza Ibroscheva

     Associate Provost & Professor, Mass Communications,

     Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Aaron Boettcher

     Associate Director Admission, 

     University of Illinois Springfield

Sophia Gehlhausen Anderson

     Assistant Director, University Academic Programs and Services,

     University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

2024 CMI meeting dates:

February 29

May 16

August 1

November 7

bottom of page