The College's academic mission and strategic goals are fulfilled through a consultative organizational structure that extends from its fiduciary Board through its Chief Executive Officer (President), Provost and Vice Presidents, Deans, Chairs, Assistant Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Staff, and Student leaders. Reporting directly to the President, each Senior Team member provides high-level expertise in and about their respective divisions, fields, and areas in support of the College mission, its community, strategic goals, compliance needs, and well-informed institutional decision-making.
Senior Team members serve on the President's Council on a rotating basis and regularly confer within their divisions and across divisions to ensure that work performed within each is well-informed. Similarly, Senior Team members help to ensure the effective sharing of information with other campus constituencies as part of Otis's robust system of shared governance.
As a collaborative leadership group, the Senior Team works and communicates in a manner that models Otis's Workplace Values and promotes workplace effectiveness and morale.
Vice Presidents and Divisions of the College
The President and following divisions comprise the College’s primary leadership structure.
The President, or Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is responsible for developing vision and priorities for the College, overseeing its day-to-day operations as carried out by the Provost and administrative divisions, and in accordance with the College’s Shared Governance processes. The President reports to the Board of Trustees, is a non-voting member of the Board, and is the chief College liaison to the Board. In advancing the College's vision, core values, and priorities, the President draws input on administration, organization, strategic planning, and compliance from the Provost and divisions, as well as through the Academic Assembly, Faculty Senate, the President's Council, numerous standing and ad hoc conferral groups, and the larger campus community.
The Provost, as Chief Academic Officer, is responsible for the planning, development, implementation, assessment and accreditation, and enhancement of all academic programs, policies, and supporting infrastructure. The Provost ensures academic excellence across all disciplines, and advances Otis' distinction by overseeing the recruitment and development of expert Department Chairs, a distinguished faculty, and academic appointees. The Provost oversees the planning, quality, and delivery of education provided by Otis, and supports student and faculty success. The Provost is the staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Educational Planning Committee and to the part-time faculty members' union. In the absence of the President, the Provost serves as acting Chief Executive Officer (in coordination with the Board). The Provost's Office works closely with the Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate in accordance with the College's principles of academic governance.
The Vice President of Campus Life promotes student success (retention and degree completion) at the College, leading educational support services and their assessment, and supporting student learning and development outside the classroom through the integration of co-curricular and curricular experiences. Campus Life manages Admissions and Enrollment Management, Office of Student Engagement and Leadership, Residence Life and Housing, Registration and Records, the Student Health and Wellness Center, Career Services, Title IX, Conduct, Student Related Campus Policies and Standards, and Extension and Summer Programs. Campus Life fosters a campus culture in which students learn to respect differences, take responsibility for their actions, exercise leadership, and attain their educational and professional goals. The Vice President of Campus Life is a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Campus Life Committee.
Communications and Marketing
The Vice President of Marketing manages the Communications and Marketing division and strategically shares important stories from and about Otis College. Through developing and managing the content and design of Otis.edu and the College's social media channels, overseeing and implementing creative services for strategic initiatives to increase brand recognition and resonance, spearheading public relations, and providing digital marketing support to meet key objectives, the division leads all efforts to share the Otis experience with the world. Communications and Marketing also provides strategic and critical communications support for campus leadership and crisis response. The Vice President of Marketing is a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Advancement & Marketing Committee.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)
The Vice President for DEIB mobilizes the college’s strategic thinking and planning as it relates to DEI, facilitates programs and educational opportunities that build an inclusive and affirming campus climate, and leads Otis College’s DEI Council to move the College in ways that align with our commitment to DEI. The commitment to DEI is best represented in our DEI Statement and our 10 Points: Standing Up for Equity. Signature programs include our Black Creatives Institute, BIPOC Student Summit, and our DEI Staff Education and Engagement series, to name a few. The Vice President leads the College's DEI Council with a focus on education and engagement, inclusive curriculum, and strategic communications.
The Vice President of Financial Services oversees Otis' financial planning processes, budget development, accounting and fiscal management, financial audits, payroll, financial aid, student accounts, contract negotiations, and investment management of Otis College funds (including the endowment fund). The VP also acts as the College’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and provides collaborative, client-focused data and analysis to the administration in support of fiscal policy-making and budgeting. Managing the Business Office, the VP administers thousands of transactions annually, hundreds of restricted and unrestricted accounts, and works with the campus community to ensure compliance with all Federal, State, and local regulations. The VP also works closely with senior leadership to help plan, guide, and implement fiscal management strategies and is a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Finance & Risk Management Committee.
Human Resources and Development
The Vice President of Human Resources and Development provides strategic leadership for all Human Resources and Development (HR&D) operations and activities, including but not limited to staffing, training and development, benefits, compensation, workforce planning, and labor relations. The VP serves on the College’s senior leadership team and leads comprehensive short and long‐range strategic initiatives, in partnership with members of the College, designed to advance and build support for changes and enhancements to HR&D programs and services in alignment with the College’s strategic objectives. The VP leads the Office of Human Resources and Development and serves as a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees’ Board Affairs Committee.
Informational Technology & Operations
The Vice President of Information and Technology oversees administrative and academic computing—managing campus IT environments and developing/disseminating technology standards, practices, and architecture. IT & Operations develops business practices and contracts, capital planning, design and construction services, environmental/campus planning, environmental health and safety, facilities management, security, purchasing, and other services, including the campus Office of Information Systems. IT & Operations promotes innovative practices connecting internal and external users by leveraging proven technology in support of the College's business functions. The VPserves on the Facilities Development Task Force and as a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Finance & Risk Management and Audit Committees.
The Vice President of Institutional Advancement manages the Office of Institutional Advancement and implements fundraising goals and objectives in the context of the College-wide strategic plan, including the engagement of major donors, foundations, and corporations, alumnx relations, communications, and special events. The VP works with the President, other division leaders, and the academic departments to facilitate a collaborative approach to College fundraising, including gift, grant, and bequest planning. The VP is a staff liaison to the Board of Trustees' Advancement & Marketing Committee.
Meet the Senior Team
Jiseon Lee Isbara
Provost Jiseon Lee Isbara is a passionate and experienced educator and administrator who promotes creating academically rigorous, innovatively practical, and culturally inclusive learning environments. As a practicing artist, she exhibits nationally and engages with viewers through lectures and discussions. Her interest in progressively diversifying gateways to encourage versatile perspectives is manifested in her pedagogy and community engagement. Lee Isbara served as Interim President, Dean of Academic Affairs, and Fibers Department Head/Professor at Oregon College of Art and Craft, and as Assistant Professor in Textile Design at East Carolina University. She earned MFA degrees from Colorado State University and Ewha Womans University, and a BFA from Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea. For more information see the Provost website.
Dr. Laura Kiralla
Vice President of Campus Life
Vice President of Campus Life, Dr. Laura Kiralla brings 19 years' of progressive leadership experience to her role. Holding an Ed.D. focused on Organizational Leadership, a M.S. in Higher Education Counseling, a B.A. in Psychology and Art History, and certificates in Conduct Administration and Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution, Kiralla has served as Vice President for Student Success, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dean of Student Affairs, and Associate Dean of Student Support and Career Services during her tenure at Otis. Throughout her career, Kiralla has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to student success, while also leading at Otis in the areas of enrollment management and the reorganization of the Otis Extension program. Her expertise in organizational dynamics, change management, staff/professional development, policy development, and legal issues in higher education has also brought much added value to the College. Kiralla published a study on the training of prospective college counselors. In addition to her administrative work, she has six years' teaching experience, delivering courses in Leadership Development and Change and Career Development and Theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Vice President of Marketing
Vice President of Marketing Lawrence Aldava previously served as the Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music, where he built and mentored a marketing team that increased revenue nearly 200 percent for summer intensive programs for high school students, and expanded social media engagement by 80 percent. Prior to his role at UCLA, Aldava served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Professional and Global Education at California State University, Los Angeles, where he developed strategic marketing plans for a diverse portfolio of extension and international programs. He is a lifelong Angeleno and received his BA from the University of California at Irvine and a certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University. For more information see the Communications and Marketing website.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Allison Graff-Weisner, brings over 25 years of experience working across educational and cultural organizations. Prior to her role at Otis College, Allison served as the Deputy Director for External Affairs at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art helping to build a foundation for the organization’s launch. Prior to this, Allison worked for two decades with local and national chapters of City Year, an organization that helps students and schools succeed, while preparing the next generation of civically engaged leaders working across lines of difference. She served as the Chief Development and Engagement Officer at the national level, working closely with the Board of Trustees and staff across 30 sites to raise annual revenue and oversee multiple campaigns. Allison holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School where she was awarded the John F. Kennedy Fellowship and the Women’s Leadership Fellowship, and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from UC Berkeley.
Vice President for Human Resources and Development
Vice President for Human Resources and Development, Karen Hill, is an accomplished human resources leader with over 20 years' experience. In addition to her exemplary degree qualifications, she holds an M.B.A. from UCLA with an emphasis in Marketing, a B.S. in Business, a Senior Professional Human Resources Designation, Leadership Certification from the Center for Creative Leadership, and a Strategic HR Certification. Her prior senior leadership positions—at such firms/institutions as Sony, USC, and DeviantArt—include Senior Vice President, Human Resources/Diversity & Inclusion; Vice President, Human Resources and Development; and Executive Director, Human Resources. Hill also serves on several non-profit boards. Throughout her career, she has focused holistically on organizations, and developed congruent people strategies to produce positive results. She brings a verifiable record of leading workplace culture and employee engagement initiatives, along with expertise in designing diversity and inclusion strategies and integrating them into organizational culture. Hill's expertise also includes fiscally minded and data-driven human resources perspectives that add efficiencies through such areas as business development, employee relations, risk management, and vendor relationship contracts.
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Vice President for Finance & Administration Ankush Mahindra brings to his role an M.B.A. in Finance and a B.S. in Accounting & Finance, along with six years' prior leadership experience as Otis' Chief Information Officer and as Assistant Vice President of Finance for another institution. As an experienced Information Technology, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Administrative Operations & Finance manager, Mahindra also has 20 years' prior technical experience in project management, application development, and strategic planning for a variety of enterprises. Since arriving at Otis, Mahindra has successfully implemented a comprehensive institutional technology systems overhaul. Before coming to Otis, he had collaborated on the development and operation of an innovative STEM partnership school for grades 3–8; there, he also implemented a construction project, managed institutional budgets, and provided cutting-edge technology for flexible classroom, lab, and maker spaces. Mahindra is a proven, highly pragmatic, versatile, and detail-oriented team leader and manager whose interpersonal skills, unique technical expertise, and finance background allow him to lead complex projects for top quality results on behalf of Otis.
Dr. Nicholas Negrete
Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Dr. Nicholas Negrete serves as a cultural change agent for the College. Reporting directly to the President and serving as an integral member on the Senior Team, Negrete is responsible for advising, developing, coordinating, collaborating, administering, and implementing a variety of duties related to DEI for the College and within the fields of art and design. This includes research, program development, best practices, policy creation, new initiatives, and activities that demonstrate the College's commitment to being a truly welcoming, inclusive, and supportive working and learning environment. The AVP for DEI partners primarily with the President, Provost, and Human Resources and Development, as well as College administrators, the campus community, and external partners to foster and enhance the College's vision, branding, reputation, and strategic goals related to DEI. For more information see the DEI Council website.
Associate Vice President for Special Projects
Associate Vice President for Special Projects, Nicole Nicholas is an experienced entertainment executive who has worked with major media companies to impact their creative and strategic businesses and a former Board of Governor for Otis College of Art and Design. Most recently, she was a Senior Consultant with Cognizant Consulting, where she leads strategy, project development, and implementation planning efforts to address some of film & television studios' most pressing business challenges. Previously, she worked closely with the senior management team at Endeavor Content, to use data to establish creative and corporate best practices in the first year of the company. As a lead Creative Executive at Fox Broadcasting, Nicole was responsible for managing the annual development and production cycles for several television series and live specials, including MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, and the Teen Choice Awards. She also worked with the FNG Global Strategy team to source strategic opportunities and monetize content packages across the entire Fox Networks Group entertainment portfolio, which included delivering for the NFL on FOX and the award winning Breaking2 documentary for National Geographic. Nicole's media experience also includes roles in CAA, on the Programming team at NBC network and as the Managing Producer for Debbie Allen's Dance Academy. A proud Los Angeles native, Nicole earned her MBA from USC and Management Science & Engineering degree from Stanford University.