Practitioner Faculty

2017-2018 Practitioner Faculty (Undergraduate)


Shannon Cohen

Adam London

Alan Vanderberg

Erica Curry Van Ee

Anne London

Kim Walton

Jennifer Lattin

Jason Reep

Andrew Wolber

2017-2018 Practitioner Faculty (Graduate)


Haris Alibasic

David Klingensmith

Michael Reagan

Teresa Behrens

Susan Johnson

Tamela Spicer

Shannon Garrett

Sharon Mah

Nathan Steed



Dr. Haris Alibasic brings 20 years of expertise and experience in the public sector, including working for the United Nations Mission and the Office of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and directing energy, sustainability, and legislative affairs policies and programs for Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan. In Grand Rapids, he promoted policies resulting in significantly reduced energy usage and cost and spurring significant renewable energy investments. Dr. Alibasic has over 12 years of experience teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in public policy, public administration, economic development, and sustainability courses at Grand Valley State University and Davenport University, and more recently teaching courses at UWF in public service ethics, political economy of public administration, government contract law, and public administration in American society. He holds a BBA in International Business and Marketing and MPA from Grand Valley State University and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University and is a recipient of the Doctoral Scholarship, Commitment to Social Change. He is actively involved with the Bosnian American community and served as a past president of the Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB). He is a board member of the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina, an international expert team member of the Institute for Research of Genocide (Canada), and member of the Bosnian Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Science (BHAAAS). He received a North American Bosniaks Special Recognition Award in 2013 for outstanding contributions to the advancement of Bosniaks and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr. Alibasic has written and published extensively on the topics of administrative evil, sustainability, climate resilience, economic development, climate change and sustainable energy. He won the 2012 West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) The C.R. Evenson Award, and the 2011 Grand Valley State University's Sustainability Champion Award. 

Mary Dailey Brown

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Mary Dailey Brown teaches international NGO management.

  • Mary is founder, president and chief executive officer of SowHope. SowHope provides struggling women around the globe with health, education, and economic opportunities.
  • She has extensive volunteer and vocational experience having led over 100 volunteer work teams to over 30 counties.
  • She has an MPA from Grand Valley and a BA in photography and psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. .
  • She served as a White House photographer for both Presidents Carter and Reagan.

Mary Dailey Brown: "As the current president of an international NGO, I am able bring practical relevant applications from my experience in the field directly to the students. I believe this helps students to have a more real-world perspective of the topic I teach... An atmosphere of personal and diverse expression, while maintaining a deeply respectful attitude for everyone, is strongly fostered in my classroom. I believe heart-felt and thoughtful interaction in a classroom environment leads to a very profound and satisfying learning experience and valuable relationships for the future."

J. Devereaux Butler

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Dr. Dev Butler teaches organization theory and conflict management.

  • Dev has clocked over 3000 hours of teaching experience in classroom and workshop settings, including: a visiting professor at Chicago State University (4 years), a corporate trainer at Motorola (5 years), and managed the training and development team at Spectrum Health (6 years).
  • He most recently has been an organizational development consultant for Midwest businesses where he and his partners provide human resources support.
  • He is certified as a facilitator in the following: Managing Personal Growth (Blessing/White); DiSC (Inscape); 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Franklin Covey); Career & Choices Architect (Lominger); Impact Mapping (Advantage Performance Group); and Dispute Mediation in State of Michigan.
  • Dev earned a Ph.D. and MA. in psychology from Emory University and a MS in biology from Rhodes College.

Dev Butler: "Over the years, I have seen my teaching philosophy grow and mature. It used to be that I'd lecture, impart great wisdom and leave it for the students to figure out. I received very high evaluations for this approach. I have a gift for speaking-yet this did not necessarily translate into learning. This became evident to me in the corporate world, where the organization was spending tens of thousands of dollars to have employees in my class. The expectation was that they would "be different" when they completed the workshop. As a corporate trainer, I had to make my classroom more interactive, more practice-based using the knowledge, experience, and wisdom of the group. I have moved more into the role of facilitator rather than "knowledge imparter." Giving up "total control" of the classroom has been a challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. The students learn more, I learn more and as a result we have all increased our effectiveness."

Victor Cardenas


Victor Cardenas facilitates workshops related to preparing for careers in local government.

  • Mr. Cardenas has been a local government official since 2004. He is currently the assistant city manager at the City of Novi.
  • He is chair of the MLGMA Community Education Committee.
  • He currently serves as first vice president of the Grand Valley Alumni Association Board of Directors.
  • He has a Masters in public affairs from Indiana University and a BA in political Science from Grand Valley.

Shannon Cohen

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Shannon teaches the Introduction to Public and Nonprofit Administration course and designed the curriculum for the Community Coalition Building seminar, which she also teaches.

  • Shannon has been an active member of regional and national philanthropic and community development efforts for the past sixteen years.  Shannon has created, managed, and scaled several movements, initiatives, and incubator efforts designed to foster community renewal and stem public health ills, with a special focus on youth.
  • Shannon is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation fellow and has received several awards for her work and service including 2014 '40 Under Forty' Grand Rapids Business Journal Award, 2015 Influential Woman feature by the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Rising Star Award from Our Community's Children, and the Local Champion and Hero Award from the Michigan Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.
  • Shannon has an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Administration [cum laude] and a BA in Political Science and International Relations [magna cum laude]from Grand Valley State University

Shannon Cohen: "I am passionate about empowering emerging leaders to be transformative in the communities they serve.  Teaching allows me an opportunity to invest into the lives of students.  Each semester, I find great joy in fostering a human-centered design learning environment where students can explore their gifts, share collective wisdom, clarify purpose, and discover their leadership style.   My classes create space for theory to meet practice; innovation to meet emerging trends, and course assignments that help students grow as thought leaders ready for service in a knowledge based economy."

Ryan Cotton

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Ryan Cotton teaches organization theory and public management courses.

  • Ryan has been a city or village manager for over twenty years in Vermont and Michigan and he is currently serving as city manager of Holland.
  • He is a Michigan Certified Assessing Officer and a Credentialed Manager from the International City Managers Association.
  • He authored several professional articles, including one in the Michigan Municipal League's The Review (2008)
  • He earned an MPA from the University of Kansas, an MA in political science from Western Michigan University, and a BA in public administration from Miami University (Ohio),

Ryan Cotton: "I am a life-long learner, local government manager, and educator. I conducted shared learning experiences as part of strategic planning for the last two decades. The students consistently give my semesters high marks. Many of them request to have unpaid internships with my office. I mentored approximately ten GVSU students in such internships since 2005. I very much enjoy teaching one or two courses per year. It helps keep me current and is a joy to help others catch the love of public service. It also gives an opportunity to share a career of helpful tips to students that they seem to relish."

Erica Curry VanEe


Erica Curry VanEe teaches Strategic Management and Planning.

VanEe holds a bachelors degree in psychology and theatre from Eastern Michigan University, and a master's degree in public and nonprofit administration from Grand Valley State University. VanEe has spent the past two decades improving the effectiveness of leaders, organizations and communities. She is currently providing executive coaching on vision casting, systems thinking, stakeholder engagement, organizational strategy, program development, talent alignment and impact evaluation. Past experience includes:

  • facilitator for the National Youth Policy Institute and the Michigan Drop-Out Prevention Summit, and leads workshops on a variety of management topics including strategic doing, adaptive leadership, multigenerational differences in the workplace, assessing organizational lifecycles, improving program effectiveness, and evaluating for impact.
  • research and project manager for the Community Research Institute and national programs manager for the Grantmaking School, both part of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University:
  • senior manager for national advancement with the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment in Washington DC;
  • vice president for national advancement with KIDS HOPE USA;
  • director of extended learning with The Grand Rapids Public Schools;
  • program effectiveness senior associate with Heart of West Michigan United Way;
  • teen and adult program director with Girl Scouts, where she worked in Grand Rapids, Detroit, San Francisco and Germany.

Jennifer DeHaan

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Jennifer DeHaan teaches local government.

  • Jennifer DeHaan has over 10-years of experience working with local units of government to ensure the delivery of efficient and effective services. Currently, she serves as an independent consultant with Municipal Solutions, LLC and previously served as a Management Analyst for the Kent County Administrator's Office.
  • Jen has also worked for the cities of Kalamazoo and Wyoming and now works with local units of governments across the United States. She has extensive experience assessing the political, economic, and social impacts of a variety of legislative and budgetary issues. Her experience has led to service improvements, streamlining of policies and procedures, cost savings and cost avoidance, and revenue enhancements.
  • She has an MPA and a BA (graduating cum laude) from Grand Valley.

Jennifer DeHaan: "For me, teaching is an opportunity to present students with a combination of real-life examples and academic literature that instills in students an understanding and appreciation for local government. By engaging students in policy research and discussion, they have an opportunity to explore the complicated dichotomy of Public Administration which requires an aptitude for learning to balance competing interests in the support of the greater good. The bottom line, the classroom is a great opportunity to review the old and explore the new, as students have fresh perspectives and fresh ideas that keeps me on my toes as both a practitioner and an instructor."


Linda Falstad


Linda Falstad teaches grant writing.

  • Linda is founder and principal of Falstad Initiatives, LLC.
  • For eight years she served as Councilmember At-Large in the City of Holland
  • She previously served as director of Kids Hope USA and the Volunteer Center of the Greater Holland United Way.
  • She earned an MPA from Grand Valley and a BS in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lori Gibson


Lori Gibson teaches human resource management.

  • Lori is chief operating officer of Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge
  • She was formerly chief human resource officer at Spectrum Health Continuing Care.
  • She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources
  • She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Society for Human Resource Management, and American Society for Healthcare Human Resource Administration
  • She has a JD. from the University of Minnesota and an MS in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.

Terry Horton


Terry Horton teaches strategic planning.

  • Terry is technical assistance consultant with Grand Valley's Johnson Center for Philanthropy
  • She has twelve years experience in nonprofit consulting, management, grants management, fundraising, advocacy, program design, evaluation, and accountability.
  • She has conducted professional training seminars, including: Board Roles and Responsibilities, High Performing Boards, Achieving Healthy Partnerships, Business Planning for Nonprofits, Outcome Based Performance Evaluation, and Planned Giving.
  • She has worked on projects building civil society in Russia and Kyrgyzstan
  • She has a JD from Lewis and Clark Law School and a BA in humanities from the University of Texas at Austin.

Susan Johnson

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Dr. Susan Johnson teaches nonprofit management classes and research methods. She brings 25 years of nonprofit leadership and direct service experience to her work with students.

  • Susan has over 15 years of nonprofit executive experience, including CEO of Every Woman's Place and executive director of Volunteer Muskegon.
  • She is a contract monitor / site review analyst for the Michigan Department of Human Services.
  • She has consulting experience with nonprofit organizations, including strategic planning, evaluation, and board development activities.
  • She has served on many public service committees and board, including: Muskegon County Community Coordinating Council; United Way of Muskegon County Director's Advisory Board; Muskegon County Continuum of Care Homelessness Coalition; Muskegon County Emergency Needs Committee; and Muskegon County Multi-Cultural Committee.
  • Susan holds a Ph.D. in child and family ecology from Michigan State university and an MPA from Western Michigan University. In addition, she has earned certificates for Grants Specialist and for Nonprofit Leadership.

Susan Johnson:"When I left nursing years ago for a career change (first into special education and then into nonprofit leadership), nonprofit field-specific skill building was often a process of trial and error. There were few, if any programs designed to develop well-rounded and prepared nonprofit leaders. I was fortunate to have been mentored by a group of colleagues (and later professors) who enabled me to succeed, and in some cases when I was off track, allowed me to fail with dignity when it was safe to do so. Their contributions and value to me in my journey requires me to give back & to pay forward what others gifted to me. The exponential challenges and changes in the field of health, nonprofit and public administration requires leaders with a variety of cross-disciplinary skills and perceptions, innovative and critical thought processes, and collaborative strategies. I believe the creation of a supportive learning environment that allows exploration and synthesis through experiential activities is highly valuable to our students. Students act as both learners and teachers through the courses I teach, with the goal of introducing and creating self-directed learning perspectives in our undergrads. In my graduate courses, the utilization of the talents and variety of experiences students bring to the classroom setting facilitates a high-level platform for discussion, exploration and experimentation through diversity of perspectives, collaborative and cross-disciplinary approaches and innovative strategies."

Eric Klingensmith


Dr. Eric Klingensmith teaches emergency management.

  • Eric is a counselor at Grand Valley's Counseling Center, and the Crisis Coordinator in a joint position with the Counseling Center and Residence Life Office.
  • He is actively involved with several volunteer crisis and disaster response organizations including the American Red Cross and the Michigan-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).
  • He has a Psy. D. from Antioch University and a BS from the University of Central Florida.

Jennifer Lattin

e-mail: lattinje

Jennifer Lattin teaches grant writing and nonprofit management.

Jennifer K. Lattin has served within the world of nonprofits and higher education since her graduation from the College of St. Elizabeth where she completed her BA studies in Psychology and Human Resources. In 2003 Lattin completed her MPA from Grand Valley State University, School of Nonprofit Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Leadership & Management. Lattin is currently working through her Doctoral Degree in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Teaching, and Psychology at Grand Canyon University. Pursuit to higher education has been an inspiration from collegiate support and experiences working with leaders in the field at The Council of Michigan Foundations, The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, & The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Holland in addition to teaching Part Time within the College of Community and Public Service at GVSU since 2008.

"My professional development within nonprofits, education, and teaching has been inspired most by colleagues in the field and inspirational connections along life’s journey.”   My teaching philosophy includes a strong belief in active participation and personal integration among life, work, and family. My passion lies within engaging students to the mission of participating on campus, within the community, and always working to succeed personally as well as professionally. My focus for the upcoming years will include grounding my own passions while enhancing my academic role in the collegiate higher education atmosphere through continued research and dissemination.”

Sarah Lewakowski

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Sarah Lewakowski teaches Grant Writing.

  • Sara is executive director Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling and is a Limited License Psychologist.
  • She has served as the United Way of Greater Ottawa County's nonprofit campaign chair, on the United Ways Community Impact Cabinet, and on the Board of Directors for CALL 2-1-1 (Community Access Line of the Lakeshore)
  • She received the United Ways Pinnacle of Partnership Award in 2009 and the Out of the Box Award in 2007
  • She has a Masters in psychology and a BS in psychology & women's studies (graduating cum laude) from Western Michigan University.

Sarah Lewakowski My father was a professor and department chair of the history department at Kalamazoo College for close to 40 years. My mother was also a teacher in the Kalamazoo public schools. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and being able to share with students what I have learned working in the nonprofit world. I personally feel that it has been a gift to have this opportunity to follow in my parents' footsteps.

Jill May


Jill May teaches Grant Writing.

  • Jill is director of fund development at The Right Place, Inc.
  • Previously, she was the development director for the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art and community development director for the American Cancer Society
  • She has an MPA from Grand Valley and a BA in journalism/communication from Olivet College

Tera Qualls


Tera Qualls teaches nonprofit management.

  • Tera is a project manager for the Community Research Institute and Director of Communications and Advancement for the College of Community and Public Service at Grand Valley state University.
  • She is a co-facilitator of the Encore: Coming of Age Learning Lab, and facilitates other courses for nonprofit technical assistance and capacity building.
  • She founded the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids (YNPN.GR) in 2007, and spent four years as co-chair of the board. She also served as a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network national board, on the NGen Committee for Independent Sector, the Steering Committee for The Rapidian, and as Vice President of the League of Women Voters Grand Rapids.
  • Tera has an MPA and BS in public and nonprofit administration from Grand Valley.

Michael Reagan

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Mr. Michael Reagan teaches Human Resource Management.

  • Mike Reagan is president/CEO of Proaction Behavioral Health Alliance, a statewide non-profit health care organization based in Grand Rapids that provides substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention services. Reagan, who has a masters degree in counseling psychology, was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Honors Society in 2006.
  • Before Proaction, his nonprofit management / human resource management experience included being vice president of Project Rehab, director of Employee Assistance Center, and personnel and community relations director for Kent CAP.
  • He is active in three state and national health care associations: Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards (Provider Alliance Executive Committee); State Associations of Addiction Services (Executive Committee, Treasurer, and Chair of the Practice Committee and member of Moving Forward Alliance); and the International Community Corrections Association (Executive Committee)
  • He has a MA in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University and a BA in philosophy from Athenaeum of Ohio.

Michael Reagan: "My professional development has occurred primarily through my involvement as an active member in several national and state trade associations related to health care and the systems transformation of both behavioral health care as it is integrated into primary care and correctional related health care as it is integrated into continuing care in the community. This involvement has included attendance at regional and national conferences, presentation of workshops, development of policy papers, participating on panels etc. The work of these trade associations has focused significantly on workforce development, process and organizational change, public policy advocacy and development. All of this involvement was the application of best and promising practices at the systems and organizational levels."

Erin Skene-Pratt


Erin Skene-Pratt teaches nonprofit policy and advocacy.

  • Erin Skene-Pratt is founder and principal of Skene-Pratt Consulting, LLC, an independent consulting firm working with nonprofits in Michigan and nationally on public policy, communications, research and capacity-building efforts.
  • Previously, Erin served as the Michigan Nonprofit Association senior director of public affairs, where she advocated on behalf of the Michigan nonprofit sector with state and federal policymakers, trained nonprofit leaders on best practices for advocacy, represented MNA with the media, and promoted research to create a better understanding of the scope and operation of Michigan nonprofits.
  • Erin has an MPA from Western Michigan University and a BA in English and journalism from Michigan State University.

Nathan Steed

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Nathan Steed teaches health care law.

  • Nathan is an associate in the Health Law Practice Group at Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • He has worked in a variety of areas within the health law field, counseling clients in matters related to: patient privacy and information security under HIPAA; compliance with Stark and Federal Anti-Kickback Statutes,; the laws and regulations related to emergency treatment under EMTALA; procurement of equipment and technology at the hospital and physician practice level.
  • He belongs to the American Bar Association, Health Law Section, the American Bar Association Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) Taskforce, the American Health Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Michigan, Health Care and Technology Law Section.
  • He received a JD from Indiana University School of Law -- Bloomington, (graduating cum laude) and a BA in English from Brigham Young University (also graduating cum laude).

Nathan Steed: "I enjoy the teaching environment and working with students from a wide variety of fields. They each bring their own perspectives and experiences to bear and often ask interesting questions and pose novel hypotheticals that get me to think about the law in ways I had not previously considered. It provides an opportunity for us to learn together. The health law field is an exciting one to be involved in, given the current political, economic and demographic landscape, and I actively search out ways to be more involved. Teaching PA634 is just one of those ways."

Gleaves Whitney


Gleaves Whitney teaches leadership dynamics.

  • Gleaves Whitney is the director of Grand Valley's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.
  • He has authored or edited 14 books, including Religion and the American Presidency and Testing the Limits: George W. Bush and the Imperial Presidency.
  • He is a senior scholar at the Center for the American Idea in Houston, Texas, and he is the first senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.
  • Previously, he was was senior writer, chief speechwriter, and historian for Michigan Governor John Engler,
  • He has an MA in history from the University of Michigan and a BA in history and geography from Colorado State University.

Andrew Wolber


Andy Wolber teaches courses related to information technology.

  • Andy is an independent technology consultant who has led technology strategy and planning workshops for hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest.
  • He is the former executive director of Highway T (formerly NPower Michigan). He wrote the Information Technology section of the Michigan Nonprofit Management Manual published in 2010.
  • He previously served as executive director of the Dallas Historical Society for four years, and board chairman of the Dallas Arts District Friends. Andy spent three years in fundraising staff roles for nonprofit cultural organizations, including Dallas Black Dance Theatre.
  • Andy holds an MBA/MA in arts administration from Southern Methodist University, and a BA in music theory and composition from Spring Arbor University.