UMass Boston

Meet the Dean’s Office Staff

Pratima Prasad, Interim Dean

Pratima Prasad, Interim Dean

A teacher-scholar and an academic administrator, Pratima Prasad joined the university in 2002 as a faculty member in the Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) Department. In this capacity, she taught a wide range of French courses, from introductory offerings to advanced electives in her area of expertise, nineteenth-century French literature and culture. Pratima guided the MLLC Department as Chairperson from 2011 to 2013, and was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) for several years before assuming her current position as Interim Dean of the college. 

Pratima has served in many leadership roles over the course of her career at UMass Boston. She chaired the Pre-Law Committee (a collaboration between CLA and the Office of Career Services and Internships), directed CLA’s Undergraduate Research Portfolio, co-chaired the Junior Faculty Mentoring Taskforce, and sat on the Provost’s Academic Policy Group. She has brought her passion for student success and faculty development to each of these roles. Her noteworthy service record earned her the UMass Boston Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2022. Pratima is also very active in her discipline. Currently, Pratima is the Vice President of the George Sand Association, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Nineteenth-Century French Studies journal. She participated for a number of years on the Executive Board of the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. She sees her Deanship as an extension of her service to the university and to the broader profession. As a strategic advocate for the liberal arts, she continues to be committed to initiatives that are aimed at supporting faculty in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, the Arts, and at enriching the academic experience of liberal arts students on our campus. 

As a faculty member, Pratima is involved with curricular programming and teaching within her home department of MLLC. A critical literary scholar, Pratima is a specialist of colonialism, Romanticism, and the history of European slavery in the nineteenth-century. She is currently finishing up a book that studies how nineteenth-century francophone literary texts engaged with slavery in the colonial Indian Ocean. You can check out her scholarly profile and publications here​.

David Pantalone

David Pantalone, Associate Dean 

David arrived at UMB in 2012 and joined the Dean’s Office in 2020.  Prior to his service as Associate Dean, he was Professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (2015-20) and held various other leadership roles across campus, including faculty advisor to the Queer Student Center and as a member of Faculty Council.  David trained as a clinical health psychologist with research expertise in behavioral aspects of the HIV epidemic and the physical and mental health disparities affecting sexual and gender minority individuals.  His teaching was primarily in the areas of undergraduate human sexuality, undergraduate and graduate-level psychopathology, and in providing clinical supervision to the doctoral students in their first clinical placements in the UMB Counseling Center.  David has served in a variety of professional service roles, including service as an editorial board member and associate editor for multiple scientific journals, a grant reviewer for U.S. and international scientific agencies, and a leader of various divisions and committees within the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.  He has won a number of awards for his work, including the 2023 Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship. You can listen to his talk here.
You can check out his faculty bio here.

Meet the Dean's Office Staff

Jennifer Gregg, Associate Dean

Jennifer Gregg joined the faculty at UMass Boston in January 2015as chair for the Communication Department. She served as department chair in Communication until joining the dean’s office staff as interim associate dean for 2022-23. She has served in a number of other important roles on campus, including twice as an elected member of the Faculty Council, the Academic Programs Committee of the university’s Strategic Planning Taskforce, and most recently as a member of the General Education Taskforce.Jennifer earned her PhD at Michigan State University, with specific emphasis on telecommunications. Her research focuses on the effects of technology, particularly in disadvantaged populations, and the use of technology in health care. She teaches courses in research methods, science communication, communication and technology, and media effects.  She has served in a variety of professional service roles, including as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals, a grant reviewer for U.S. scientific agencies, and as a member of the Public Interest Communications national working group. As Associate Dean, Jennifer serves as the Dean’s Office liaison for graduate programs and research, interacting directly with Graduate Program Directors on programmatic administration, and with Department Chairs on research and funding issues. She oversees the course scheduling process, contributes to personnel reviews, works with departments to assign large-enrollment course TAs, addresses student academic concerns, and contributes to budget planning. Jennifer serves as the Dean’s Office liaison to departmental administrators. You can check out her faculty bio here.

Professional photo of Rafael Jaen

Rafael Jaen, Associate Dean

Professor Jaen joined the UMB faculty in September 2013. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017 and to the rank of Professor in 2022. During his five-year tenure as the Chair of Performing Arts (2018-2023), he guided the department admirably, managing the operations of a complex three-program department while engaging meaningfully with external and community partners. Professor Jaen has also worked with critical stakeholders across the University, college, and department levels. Additionally, he has held high-profile leadership positions at prestigious national non-profit organizations, including the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Before joining the UMass Boston faculty, Jaen—a practicing professional costume designer for theatre, TV, and film, and author and editor of multiple books that have received accolades—was a faculty member at Emerson College, MA. At Emerson, he served as Emerson Stage's Resident Costume Designer for 23 years. Upon arriving at UMass Boston, Professor Jaen mentored students in the first Honors College Creative and Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship program focusing on Arts Management. He also partnered with Chancellor Motley's office to help with fundraising efforts by designing and manufacturing apparel for our 50th anniversary. A recipient of the Manning Prize for Teaching Excellence, Professor Jaen is firmly dedicated to our students and our mission. As Associate Dean, Rafael functions as the Dean's Office liaison for CLA departments' AQUAD review process. He is also the liaison to undergraduate-focused programs and initiatives (learning communities, McNair, study abroad, Early Alerts, internships, MHSP, etc.). He supervises the Undergraduate Research Portfolio program and oversees the Pedagogical Innovation Award. You can check out his faculty bio here. 
Profile picture of Professor Adugna Lemi


Adugna Lemi, Interim Director of McCormack Graduate School

Professor Lemi joined the UMass Boston faculty in 2004. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and to the rank of Professor in 2023. During his seven-year tenure as the Chair of the Economics Department (2015-2022), he oversaw the strategy and operations of both the undergraduate and graduate programs of the department. In addition to his leadership as chair, Professor Lemi has worked with stakeholders across the university and maintained a strong commitment to service at all levels. Within CLA, he has collaborated closely with the CLA Dean’s office on mission-critical initiatives, and he has been intimately involved in the McCormack Graduate School (MGS) for Policy and Global Studies programs and student supervision. Currently, he serves as the Interim Director of the McCormack Graduate School (MGS).

Professor Lemi has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Economic Development, International Trade, Applied Microeconomics, Multinational Corporations, the Political Economy of Development in Africa, and International Political Economy. His research interests focus on economic development in Africa, capital flow and its determinants in developing countries, multinational corporations and their role in developing countries, and issues of trade and poverty in Ethiopia. Professor Lemi’s scholarship has been published in journals such as World Economy, Empirical Economics, Transnational Corporations, Agricultural Economics, International Trade Journal, African Finance Journal, Journal of Economic Development, and International Journal of Education Economics and Development, among others. Currently, he is writing a book entitled “The Trade, Productivity and Poverty Nexus in Africa: Policy Implications and Recommendations.”

Prior to joining UMass Boston, Professor Lemi was a visiting assistant professor at Winona State University during AY2003/04. Between 2007 and 2014, Professor Lemi has served a visiting professor/consultant at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi, Kenya, during the summer months. At AAU, Professor Lemi has taught a course in “Trade Policy and Trade Data Analysis,” mostly for government employees, to help build the capacity of the country in trade negotiations. Since 2011, Professor Lemi has served as a visiting lecturer/consultant at the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he worked with Ph.D. students from several African Universities on their Ph.D. thesis proposals and offered a seminar course on International Trade topics.

Meet the Dean's Office Staff

Kim Ho, Assistant Dean

Kim joined the UMass Boston staff in 2005 as the accountant and grant administrator for the Institute of Community Inclusion. Kim also served as the Business Manager for the College of Liberal Arts before assuming her current position as the college’s Assistant Dean for Finance. She is responsible for the oversight and management of the unit budget, the management of fiscal functions related to budgeting, as well as needs assessment, allocation and analysis of resource use for the college.

Fiona O'Connor, Assistant Dean

Fiona joined the Dean’s office in 2017, and is an alumna of the College of Liberal Arts. Prior to her CLA Dean’s office role, she was the Business Services Coordinator for Academic Support Services and Undergraduate Studies. In the Dean’s office, Fiona is responsible for assisting the Dean and Associate Deans with personnel and hiring procedures for staff, tenure-track, tenured and non-tenure track faculty. She serves as the Dean’s office liaison to the Provost’s office and Human Resources for paperwork related to hiring and personnel. She is available to advise departments on personnel and hiring issues pertaining to faculty, as well as professional and classified staff.

Diann Simmons

Diann Simmons, Assistant Dean

Diann’s storied history at UMass Boston began in the Gerontology Department, from which she moved on to Institutional Research as an analyst. Since then, Diann has earned a PhD within the College of Education and Human Development. Diann is currently putting this broad knowledge of the university to work as the Assistant Dean responsible for course scheduling and events.


Eddie Sze

Eddie Sze, Business Manager

Eddie Sze joined the UMass Boston staff in 2009 as an accountant for the Institute for Community Inclusion, by way of State Street Bank’s Mutual Fund Department. Originally from Hong Kong, Eddie is a UMass Boston graduate and currently serves as the Business Manager for the Dean’s Office, College of Liberal Arts. Eddie is the contact for reimbursements and purchasing in the college.


Ana Frega

Ana Frega, Director of CLA Advising

As the Director of CLA Advising Ana works to ensure that all declared majors in the College of Liberal Arts benefit from professional academic advisors, as well as faculty advisors and mentors. Ana is a member of the National Academic Advising Association. She serves on their regional steering and conference planning committees, and has also been recognized as an “Emerging Leader” by NACADA. Ana is happy to help connect students to advisors, as well as field questions about advising.  

Elena Simaku

Elena Simaku, Executive Assistant to the Dean

As the Dean’s Executive Assistant, Elena serves as the direct primary contact, liaison and source of information of the Dean’s and Dean’s Office policy and procedures to the Department Chairs, CLA Faculty and Students, Chancellor's Office, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Human Resources, the Provost’s Office, the University President's Office as well as to external collaborators of CLA. She provides support and works closely with the Associate Deans and the Assistant Deans and serves as college liaison for CLA Senate. Under the direction of the Dean, Elena performs complex, varied and confidential administrative functions supporting the College’s strategic priorities and provides advanced executive administrative support to the Dean and Dean’s Office regarding communication, correspondence, scheduling and agenda managing, general office procedures and projects related to the work of CLA.  

Elena joined the CLA Dean’s office team in December 2022. Prior to that, she was an International Relations Officer for the Sector of International Relations, Research and Projects of Fan S. Noli University (Albania). She has a Bachelor’s in English Language and Philology and a Master’s in English Language Teaching with a Minor in Arts. 

Rachel Puopolo

Rachel Puopolo, Director of CLA First!

In her role as Director of CLA First! and Early Support, Rachel oversees the learning communities within the College of Liberal Arts: CLA First! and CLA SophoMORE. In addition, she is delighted to work on initiatives and programming for all new students in the College of Liberal Arts, including welcoming students to CLA on their very first day at orientation. Rachel has worked at the University since 2005, and earned her MEd in School Counseling at the University. She first joined the College of Liberal Arts in 2011 as an Academic Advisor.

Rachel was nominated for and received the 2023 Provost's Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring.

Louise Putnam

Louise Putnam, Assistant to the CLA Dean's Office

Louise came to UMass Boston from the University of Virginia in 2010 as the Visual Resources Manager in the Art Department where she worked for 7 years before joining the Dean’s Office staff. As the Assistant to the Dean's Office, she provides support to the Associate and Assistant Deans and assists the Business Manager with faculty and staff training on reimbursement procedures. She is also a contact point for CLA Department administrators and chairs for procedures and training on matters of HRDirect TimeKeeping & Approving and is CLA’s staff support for Curriculog.

Barbara Matteau, CLA Grants Administrator 

Barbara Matteau joined the CLA Dean’s office in an inaugural position as the CLA Grants Administrator.  A longstanding member of the National Council of University Research Administration, she has been active in Sponsored Research Administration for nearly 20 years. Prior to her position at UMass Boston, she worked for over 25 years at Harvard University in various roles but predominantly in Sponsored Research Administration. Her expertise spans both Pre-Award and Post Award Research Administration. In her role at CLA, she is available to meet both entire departments as well as with individuals to provide assistance in both identifying and applying for a variety of grants.  Her experience runs the gamut of Federal grant applications to such entities as the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) to Foundations such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Boston Foundation. She will work with you on all aspects of a proposal submission including budget and budget justification, narrative review, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) internal documents and the mechanics of navigating grant websites. She will also help facilitating award management including the paying of vendors and creation of contracts if an award is issued.  She also regularly posts grant ideas and support on Twitter:  @CLA_GRANTS