Interim dean selected for School of Professional Advancement

Ilianna Kwaske, associate dean for academic affairs and senior professor of practice at the Tulane School of Professional Advancement (SoPA), has assumed the role of interim dean at SoPA effective Jan. 25. This announcement came as Suri Duitch, the current dean of SoPA, stepped down to serve as the interim president of Kingsborough Community College, which is part of the City of New York (CUNY) system.

As associate dean at SoPA, Kwaske set the strategy for online education at SoPA with a focus on designing, creating and administering industry-aligned programs for working adults. Through her vision, SoPA has been recognized as an innovative leader for its utilization of various learning modes, including online, on-ground and hybrid courses to create flexible educational pathways for a student body with diverse needs, interests and opportunities.

Throughout an extensive career in higher education, Kwaske has served as an administrator, professor and consultant. As an independent consultant, she specialized in conducting psychological assessments for executive searches, employee selection and development, as well as helping leaders manage organizational change. The daughter of Cuban immigrants and a native of Chicago, Kwaske earned a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Illinois-Chicago followed by a master’s degree in psychology and a PhD in industrial-organizational psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. 

“We are delighted to have someone so accomplished, experienced and dedicated to our students take on this crucial leadership role,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts and Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, wrote in a university-wide message. “We look forward to working with Ilianna to enhance the work and advance the mission of SoPA while we carry out a national search for Suri’s successor.”