LEAPS Council

The LEAPS Council of Educators is composed of senior faculty and academic deans from multiple disciplines who are recognized for their commitment to advancing the educational mission of UMB. The council provides leadership to the LEAPS co-directors and steering committee with guidance and recommendations on behalf of constituents in their disciplines. The council meets at least semi-annually to discuss progress and future plans, and to ensure that each school’s needs are reflected in LEAPS programming.

Susan Bindon 
Associate Professor, Director of the Institute for Educators, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, School of Nursing

Susan Bindon, DNP, RN, NPD-BC, CNE, CNE-cl, is an associate professor, director of the Institute for Educators, and associate dean for faculty development at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She maintains a faculty practice in nursing professional development at the University of Maryland Medical Center and manages a statewide Nurse Support Program II grant to prepare clinical nursing faculty across Maryland. 

She is the current president of the Association for Nursing Professional Development, and previously served five years as co-editor of the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development. She won the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award, was named an Emerging Leader by the Southern Regional Education Board, and is a fellow in AACN's Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing program. 

She is certified in nursing professional development through the American Nurses Credentialing Center and as an academic nurse educator and clinical nursing faculty through the National League for Nurses. She has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has presented widely.  

Christina Cestone 
Executive Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and Program Director, Health Professions Education

For more than 20 years, Dr. Christina Cestone’s career has focused on workplace and professional education, collaborating with subject matter experts to build specialized knowledge and skills and to advance their educational practice.

Dr. Cestone received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she conducted research in faculty learning communities, instructional methods, motivation, and interprofessional education. Prior to transitioning from industry to academia in 2006, she earned a master’s degree in Human and Organizational Learning from The George Washington University. Her expertise is in program evaluation models and techniques, assessment, and curriculum and instructional development involving active learning methods. Dr. Cestone presents her work nationally with recent publications in Medical Science Educator; and the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education and Policy.

Andrew Coop 
Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Pharmacy

Andrew Coop, PhD, is professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and has been a leader in education for over two decades with over 30 educational presentations at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).  Coop has a passion for communicating with the public about the impact of drugs of abuse. He was featured on WMAR ABC2 Baltimore, participated in three University-organized educational opioid panels around Maryland, presents at Rotarian meetings, and has been quoted in publications including The Atlantic, The Smithsonian, the Washington Post, and the best-selling book Dreamland. He is sought for lectures on his expertise on the chemistry and pharmacology of drugs with abuse liability, has served as an expert witness in federal and state criminal trials, and testified to the U.S. Senate HELP Committee in February 2019 on approaches to treat pain during the opioid crisis.

Coop is a recipient of the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, was named the 2019 Maryland Chemist of the Year, is a fellow of both the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and received the James E. Wynn Memorial Award from the Chemistry Section of AACP.  He co-designed four courses in the groundbreaking Medical Cannabis Sciences and Therapeutics MS program, and is proud to have mentored a number of PhD students — four of whom became faculty members themselves at schools of pharmacy. 


Deborah Eisenberg 
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Piper & Marbury Professor of Law, Francis King Carey School of Law

Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, JD, is the associate dean for academic affairs and Piper & Marbury Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She serves as faculty director of the law school’s Dispute Resolution program and Center for Dispute Resolution, ranked among the top 15 dispute resolution programs in the nation. Eisenberg teaches across the law school curriculum, including first-year civil procedure, conflict resolution simulation courses, and law school clinics (Mediation Clinic, School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Worker’s Rights clinics).

Eisenberg is a recognized scholar in the areas of dispute resolution, mediation, negotiation, and equal pay. She has served in a variety of national legal education leadership positions. She is the current chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Dispute Resolution Section. In the past, she has served as co-chair of the ADR Committee for the AALS Clinical Law Section and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Legal Education, ADR, and Practical Problem Solving (LEAPS) Project. In addition to law teaching, she conducts trainings on strategic negotiation, mediation, mediation ethics, and restorative practices. She is an experienced mediator in civil litigation and employment matters.  

Eisenberg came to academia after 15 years of experience in complex civil litigation. She received her JD from Yale Law School in 1994 and graduated valedictorian with a BA in political science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1991.

James B. Kaper 
Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, the James and Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor, and Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, School of Medicine

James B. Kaper, PhD, is vice dean for academic affairs, the James and Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor, and chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). He joined the UMSOM faculty in 1981 and quickly assumed teaching responsibilities for medical and graduate students. For medical student education, he has served as course director of the Host Defenses and Infectious Diseases course, chair of the Curriculum Coordinating Committee, and chair of the Medical Education Advisory Committee. He was elected to the Pass and Susel Academy of Educational Excellence and currently serves as the chair of the Executive Board of the Medical Education Leadership Academy (MELA). For graduate student education, he served as program director for the National Institutes of Health-funded Immunity and Infection T32 training grant from 2007 to 2019. He has trained more than 60 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, many of whom now hold leadership positions in leading academic institutions. In 2019, he received the ASM D.C. White Award for Interdisciplinary Research and Mentorship in Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology. 

Violet Kulo 
Associate Professor and Program Director for the MS in Health Professions Education (HPE) program, Graduate School

Violet Kulo, EdD, MS, MA, is an associate professor and program director for the MS in Health Professions Education (HPE) program in the University of Maryland Graduate School. She is also a member of the Graduate School's Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy (PALLA) team.

Kulo's research interests include instructional design, learner engagement, student assessment, and evaluation of innovative educational programs. She is passionate about preparing competent, effective, and exemplary interprofessional health professions educators, leaders, and researchers. She has been involved in various interprofessional collaborations and co-authored four book chapters and several articles that have appeared in a number of journals, including BMC Medical Education; MeEdPublish; Genetics in Medicine; Journal of Physician Assistant Education; Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants; Journal of Technology and Teacher Education; Journal of Science Education and Technology; Educational Technology; Computers in the Schools; Science Scope; and International Journal of Science Education.

Kulo received her BEd in mathematics and economics from Moi University in Kenya, MA in mathematics from Morgan State University, and her MS and EdD in instructional design and technology from Lehigh University.

Amanda Lehning 
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Amanda LehningAmanda Lehning, PhD, MSW, is the senior associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She received a MSW with a focus on policy practice and advocacy from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in social welfare from the University of California Berkeley. From 2014 to 2016, she was a Health and Aging Policy Fellow with the Office of the Surgeon General. Her primary teaching areas are in policy, community organizing, and organizational leadership. Lehning’s research examines the policies, programs, and neighborhood infrastructure that impact the ability of older adults to age in place, with a particular focus on potential inequities by race and income.

Mark Macek 
Assistant Dean for Curriculum Innovation and Scholarship, School of Dentistry

Mark Macek, DDS, DrPH, is the assistant dean for curriculum innovation and scholarship at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He has been a faculty member at the school for more than 20 years, serving in a variety of teaching and mentoring roles. He is particularly interested in teaching best practices and educational technology.

Patricia Meehan 
Associate Dean and Assistant Professor, School of Dentistry

Patricia Meehan, DDS, BSN, is an associate dean and assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Meehan received her DDS degree from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1993, as well as her certificate in periodontics in 1995. She practiced in Washington, D.C., until assuming a full-time position with the Department of Periodontics in 1997.

From 1997 to 2004, she taught full time in the Department of Periodontics, serving as co-course director for the year II periodontics course, GP periodontics supervisor, attending dentist at University Hospital’s General Practice Residency, and co-director of the dental school’s ethics courses. She was a faculty provider in the UM FDSP faculty practice from 1995 to 2004.

Prior to attending dental school, she was a registered nurse, working in multiple clinical areas including pediatric oncology, medical ICU, and hospital epidemiology at the National Institutes of Health. In 2004, she assumed the role of director of admissions and subsequently as assistant dean of admissions. She currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs and teaches part-time with the Periodontics Department.

Yolanda Ogbolu 
Associate Professor, Chair of Partnerships, Professional Education, and Practice, and Past Director of Global Health, School of Nursing

Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, is an associate professor, chair of partnerships, professional education, and practice, and past director of Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON). She teaches in UMSON's and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s master’s in public health programs with a focus on interprofessional global health and health equity education. Her research seeks global and local solutions for advancing health equity. Funded projects address social determinants of health, community social isolation, cultural competency, and health disparities in neonatal outcomes. Ogbolu has implemented multiple health equity research studies focusing on improving health equity by examining the adoption of cultural competency standards and policies in local hospitals; community-based approaches to addressing social determinants of health across multisectoral organizations; and community social isolation in West Baltimore using a global learning model. 

Ogbolu brings to academia 25 years of clinical practice experience in maternal child health. She is well known for her collaborative leadership style that she applies for multisectoral teamwork locally and globally in reaching and engaging local and global stakeholders. Ogbolu also actively seeks translation of her research into public health policy. In 2009, she served as a legislative intern in the Maryland General Assembly with the chair of the Subcommittee on Minority Health Disparities. Ogbolu has served on two governor’s task forces: the Maryland Infant Mortality Task Force Epidemiology Group (2011) and as co-lead on Maryland’s Task Force on Cultural Competency (2012-2013) under the direction of the Maryland Office of Minority Health. Currently, she leads the Social Determinants of Health Task Force for Baltimore, a first of its kind in the nation. 

Donna L. Parker 
Professor of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, School of Medicine

Donna L. Parker, MD, is professor of medicine, senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). She oversees the work of the Office of Admissions, the Office of Medical Education, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Office of Student Research. Parker has worked to develop and launch the Medical Education Leadership Academy (MELA) at UMSOM, and she helped to develop and co-directs the Leaders in Education: Academy of Presidential Scholars (LEAPS) initiative, a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campuswide educational academy. She is a member of the UMSOM Pass and Susel Academy of Educational Excellence. Parker is the recipient of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2017 Careers in Medicine Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Award and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring. She and other members of the UMSOM undergraduate medical education team were awarded the UMB Founders Week Educators of the Year Award in 2021. She is a 2021 Educational Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) alumnus.

Parker is a general internist and fellow of the American College of Physicians. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, receiving the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2014.

Michelle Pearce 
Professor, Graduate School

Michelle Pearce, PhD, is a professor in the University of Maryland Graduate School, where she directs the Integrative Health and Wellness graduate certificate program. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center. She is a faculty liaison at the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she helps faculty members improve their teaching skills and effectiveness in the classroom. In this capacity, she also created and directs the Online Teaching Community and the Professional Development Coaching program.

Pearce is a clinical psychologist licensed to practice in Maryland, with a specialty in cognitive behavioral therapy, mind-body stress reduction methods, and coping with illness. She received her PhD from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive behavioral therapy at Duke University Medical Center and a second fellowship in spirituality and health at the Duke Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health. She researches the relationship between religion/spirituality, coping, and health, as well as the integration of spirituality into the practice of psychotherapy. Her current research includes the development of a spiritual competency training for mental health graduate students, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. She is the co-developer of the national online training program for mental health providers called Spiritual Competency Training in Mental Health. 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 is the coauthor of Religion and Recovery from PTSD.

Joan Pittman 
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Social Work, and Director of the MSW program, Universities at Shady Grove

Joan Pittman, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C, is a clinical associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) and the director of the MSW program at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). She has been teaching courses and developing curricula in the areas of clinical practice and group work for the past 13 years. Additionally, Pittman has 15 years of clinical social work experience in outpatient mental health clinics using individual, group, and family modalities. She is a licensed mental health provider (LCSW-C) and board-approved supervisor in Maryland. Pittman’s research interests include improving social work education and practice in the areas of group work training, critical thinking, connecting theory and practice, global education, and interprofessional collaborative practice.