School of Graduate Studies

The Graduate School was formed during the academic year 1918-19. Twelve graduate students were enrolled at that time, with five departments offering graduate courses. Fast-forward to the present day, and the school offers graduate education and training in biomedical, health, and human service sciences.


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Carlos A. Faerron Guzman, MD, MSC

Health Equity

In addition to his Graduate School roles, Dr. Faerron Guzmán is the director of the Centro Interamericano para la Salud Global (CISG) in Costa Rica, the associate director of the Planetary Health Alliance at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at Harvard University. Dr. Faerron Guzmán began his career as a primary care doctor in a rural area of Costa Rica, where he worked closely with migrant and Indigenous populations. His work seeks to redefine the meaning of leadership and global health through innovative educational approaches. Dr. Faerron Guzmán follows a framework of equity in health and human rights as guiding principles and firmly believes in progress in health through community empowerment, action/research, and participatory education. He earned his medical degree at the University of Costa Rica and his MSc degree in international health at Queen Mary University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Additional studies include social justice at the International Institute for Health and Development in Scotland and social innovation for health from INCAE Business School in Costa Rica. He is a fellow of the Central American Healthcare Initiative.

Shani Fleming, MSHS, MPH, PA-C

Language, Literacy, and Culture

Health Professional Workforce Diversity

Professor Fleming has devoted her career to promoting social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the health care community. She serves as an associate professor in the Graduate School’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program and Intercultural Leadership Certificate Program. She also is an executive team member of the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy. She has significant clinical, academic, and leadership experience as a PA, practicing primarily in underserved communities and advocating for and coordinating curricula addressing social determinants of health, LGBTQ+ care, and cultural humility within PA education programs. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and earned master’s degrees in public health and health science from George Washington University. She is a diversity and inclusion leader within national and state organizations, reaching thousands of underrepresented racial and ethnic high school and college students and advocating for increased representation in the health professional workforce. She encourages, leads, and fights for inclusive and just environments for faculty, staff, and students. She is pursuing her PhD in language, literacy, and culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, completing a dissertation examining the impact of advancing academic credentials on health professional workforce diversity.

Erin Golembewski, PhD

Graduate Education

Dr. Golembewski oversees master’s and PhD students at the Graduate School. She also is the principal investigator for the collaborative AGEP-T: PROMISE AGEP (Association for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) Maryland Academy. She serves on several committees and organizations, including the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Executive Committee.

Cheri Hendrix, DHEd, MSBME, PA-C, DFAAPA

Physician Assistant Education

Dr. Hendrix is responsible for the overall management, development and implementation strategies regarding program rankings, residency programs, facilities development, and scholarship of physician assistant (PA) education for the UMB/Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) collaboration. She earned her doctorate in health education from A.T. Still University in 2011 and her Master of Science in engineering and applied physics of biomedicine from Johns Hopkins University in 1998. Dr. Hendrix’s first career was as an engineer, earning four U.S. patents in medical imagery device design. Deciding to pursue her PA education, she became a 2003 graduate of AACC’s PA program and completed a postgraduate PA residency in general surgery at Duke University Medical Center in 2004. Her practice as a certified PA spans a multitude of specialties including general, vascular, and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, and urgent care. Dr. Hendrix has spent the last 16 years in higher education; her passion in developing students’ critical thought processes at the graduate and postgraduate levels has allowed her to excel in her roles in PA education. She is a highly sought-after lecturer on the national stage and has earned a solid reputation for curriculum development that cultivates critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills in PA and medical residents. She is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a member of the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants, the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Physician Assistant Education Association.

Courtney Jones-Carney, DPA, MBA

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr. Jones Carney focuses many of her efforts on advancing student success and the development of cultural competencies to inform professional practice. Additionally, she challenges students, faculty, and staff to critically examine themselves and the ideals that they hold about others while understanding the role of oppression in the formation of policy, practices, and procedures in institutions and systems. She continues to hold a leadership role in administering, analyzing, and sharing the findings of the UMB Student Climate for Diversity Survey and serves as an ex-officio member of UMB’s Diversity Advisory Council. Dr. Jones Carney’s research areas of interest include the impact of microaggressions, intercultural development, and the relationship between acts of discrimination on campus climate and employee engagement. She is an alumna of Morgan State University and completed her doctoral studies in public administration at the University of Baltimore. Her dissertation examined the relationship between exposure to racial and ethnic microaggressions and employee engagement.

Gerald Kayingo, PhD, MMSC, PA-C

Education Leadership

Clinical Practice

Global Health

Professor Kayingo has extensive experience in scholarship, education, leadership, clinical practice, and global health. As assistant dean of research, Dr. Kayingo seeks to advance the research mission by nurturing scholarship and the growth of extramural research funding for physician assistant education and practice. His research interests relate to health professions education, health care delivery science, and the intersection of infectious diseases and substance use disorders/addiction. His clinical interests are in primary care settings as well as advancing rural health. Nationally, Professor Kayingo has served as a board member for various organizations and as associate editor of BMC Health Services Research. He has co-authored three books on health professions education and published extensively on health systems science and infectious diseases in peer-reviewed journals. He is a recipient of several awards, including a university book prize, the 2016 American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) PA Student Academy Mentor Award, the 2015 AAPA Research Publishing Award, and the 2014 Jack Cole Society Award from Yale University.

J. Howard Kucher, DPA, MBA

Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Kucher is an internationally recognized thought leader in social entrepreneurship and the lead author of “Social Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach to Social Innovation.” His research interests focus on the practical applications of social enterprise, with a particular interest in faith-based contexts. Before joining UMB, Dr. Kucher led the Baltimore Social Enterprise Collaborative, a program that was nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum and helped more than 60 area nonprofits develop new models for meeting the needs of their constituents while increasing the sustainability of their organizations. He has successfully secured over $70 million in working capital on behalf of mission-oriented enterprises and assisted more than 100 area nonprofits and social enterprises in developing new models for meeting the needs of their constituents while increasing the sustainability of their organizations. He earned a Doctorate in Public Administration with a concentration in social entrepreneurship from the University of Baltimore, where he also earned an MBA with an entrepreneurship specialization. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Kean University, a graduate certificate in urban theology from the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary and University and has earned certification as a project management professional and a new product development professional. He is an advisor, coach, and mentor to several regional social change initiatives including the Boost Program at Innovation Works and the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins University. Among his many honors, Dr. Kucher has been recognized as a Baltimore Renaissance Seed Scholar, an Unsung Hero of Small Business, and a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship.

Diane Martin, PhD, MA


Quality of Later Life

Dr. Martin has been committed throughout her career to developing high-quality, impactful, and engaging academic and non-academic activities designed to increase the knowledge and skill sets of professionals and paraprofessionals employed in the senior service and care industry. As an applied gerontologist, her research has centered on quality-of-later-life initiatives, including person-centered care and aging in place. Dr. Martin is a member of the Gerontological Society of America and the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education. She earned her doctorate in psychology with a concentration in aging from Northcentral University, her master’s degree in experimental psychology from Towson University, and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Jenny Owens, ScD, MS

Health Equity

Technology-Assisted Community Support

Dr. Jenny Owens serves as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor in the University of Maryland Graduate School. She has over a decade of experience in graduate education and further leads the Graduate Research Innovation District (The Grid), an innovation hub designed to support student entrepreneurial ventures through education, early-stage funding, and programming. Her background in health science, combined with coursework in leadership and business fundamentals and a doctorate with a focus in human centered design and user research gives her a unique perspective on designing innovative education for students in the health professions. Dr. Owens' research interests include health equity, medical housing as a health-related social need, and access to healthcare in healthcare deserts. She co-chairs the Advocacy and Awareness Committee of the Healthcare Hospitality Network, a national network of 140 medical housing organizations across the United States. She is a Warnock Social Innovation Fellow and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab. She is also an alum of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, a prestigious national leadership program that fosters collaboration—between people from all fields and professions that have an influence on people’s health—to build just and thriving communities.

Michelle Pearce, PhD

Spiritual Competency in Mental Health Care

Dr. Pearce is a clinical psychologist who researches the relationship among religion/ spirituality, coping, and health as well as the integration of spirituality into the practice of psychotherapy. She has developed a national online training program for spiritual competency in mental health care and directs the Integrative Health and Wellness graduate certificate program. She also teaches several Graduate School courses on mind-body interventions, health coaching, self-care for professionals, and writing for the public. She is the author of the books “Night Bloomers: 12 Principles for Thriving in Adversity” and “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Christians with Depression: A Practical, Tool-Based Primer.” She also co-authored the book “Religion and Recovery from PTSD.” Her areas of clinical expertise include cognitive behavioral therapy, mind-body stress reduction methods, existential issues, and behavioral medicine to address the intersection of mental and physical illness.

Roger J. Ward, EDD, JD, MSL, MPA

Institutional Effectiveness

Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Dr. Ward was named UMB provost and executive vice president in October 2021 after serving in interim roles since January 2020, when he also was named dean of the Graduate School. These are the latest in a series of upward moves for Dr. Ward at UMB. He was promoted to senior vice president for operations and institutional effectiveness in January 2018, serving as UMB’s chief operating officer and directing departments and initiatives that promote institutional effectiveness and assure accountability including human resources, strategic planning, enterprise risk management, and institutional accreditation. In addition, he oversaw areas that promote University compliance and transparency, including the offices of research integrity, conflict of interest, human research protections, and education and equal access. On the academic side, Dr. Ward is dean of the Graduate School after serving as vice dean, where he was responsible for building graduate programs that are self-sustaining and responsive to evolving needs of the health and human services workforce in the state. Dr. Ward joined UMB in March 2009 as the associate vice president for academic and student affairs. He served as chief academic officer and interim dean of the Graduate School during the 2011-2012 academic year. In June 2012, Dr. Ward was named UMB’s first chief accountability officer and was promoted to vice president for academic affairs in October 2013 and to vice president of operations and planning in June 2015. He served as interim chief human resources officer from October 2014 to November 2015. Before joining UMB, Dr. Ward served as assistant vice president for student affairs at the New School in New York and also held senior administrative positions in the City University of New York system. Dr. Ward holds an associate’s degree in data processing/computer programming from Kingsborough Community College, a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s in public administration, both from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He holds a Doctor of Law degree from New York Law School and a Master of Science in Law (cybersecurity) from Maryland Carey Law. Dr. Ward also holds a Doctor of Education degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been teaching on-site, online, and in a blended environment since 2004 and has taught graduate courses in ethics, the history of higher education, leadership and organizational behavior, legal issues in higher education policy, and cybersecurity policy, among others.