Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Logo
Apply to SIUE

School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education
Educational Leadership
Contact Us

We want to hear from you!

CSPA Faculty Profiles

Core Faculty


Dr. Pietro Sasso, Assistant Professor & Program Director 

Professional Webpage: 

Dr. Sasso holds an M.S. in Student Affairs and Counseling from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Old Dominion University. He brings over 15 years of progressive administrative responsibility working in several functional areas including student activities, residence life, and student success.  His research interests include identity construction of traditional undergraduates (college student development), alcohol misuse in higher education (student health outcomes), diversity in college access, and masculinity in higher education. Pietro has written and co-edited 7 textbooks, authored approximately 40 scholarly publications, and facilitated over 40 regional/national presentations. His texts include Today’s College Students, Higher Education & Society, Colleges at the Crossroads: Taking Sides on Contested Issues, and The Dynamic Student Development Meta-Theory:  A New Model for Student Success, Fraternities & Sororities in the Contemporary Era, and Student Activism in the Academy. He is the recipient of the AFA Dr. Charles Eberly Research Award from AFA and is the ACPA Men and Masculinities Emerging Scholar-In-Residence for 2017-2019. He teaches student development and research courses within the CSPA program. 


Dr. Laurel Puchner, Professor 

Dr. Puchner holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Professor of Educational Psychology and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. She teaches qualitative research methods and educational psychology in a variety of graduate programs, including K-12 administrator preparation and college student personnel administration. She has published in the areas of women’s literacy in developing countries, professional development of teachers, action research, and teacher education for social justice. She is currently doing research on how higher education leaders view their own and their institutions’ efforts to promote diversity and to meet the needs of diverse students. She has been active in SIUE’s Safe Zone for the past 12 years, serving primarily in the areas of training and curriculum development. She teaches Research Methods and Final Project within the program. 


Dr. Tianlong Yu, Professor 

Dr. Yu holds a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. His research includes social foundations of education, moral education, multicultural education, and comparative education. He teaches EPFR 522: Diversity in Higher Education.

Dr. Snipes

Dr. J.T. Snipes, Assistant Professor

Dr. Snipes is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Prior to his faculty appointment he worked for over 12 years in higher education administration. Most recently he worked for Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) the largest interfaith organization in America. Currently, his research interest focuses on religion and spirituality in higher education, African American collegiate students, and critical race theory in education. He recently completed his award-winning dissertation entitled, “Ain’t I Black Too: Counterstories of Black Atheist in College.” It explores the narratives of secular African American students in college. He is currently editing a volume on critical religion and spirituality in higher education. He teaches a varieity of research methods and foundations course across the CSPA curriculum. 

Dr. Hall earned her BA in English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, MA in Communication Arts through the School of Education at Webster University, and EdD in Higher Education Leadership at Maryville University. Dr. Candace Hall is a scholar-practitioner committed to understanding how increased support impacts faculty's research productivity, development of innovative teaching strategies, and faculty-student engagement within and outside the classroom.  She has previously worked in a variety of higher education institutions across academic and student affairs including advising, academic administration, and student activities. Her research interests include the recruitment, retention, and support of faculty across institutional types with a keen interest in underrepresented faculty.  Candace is a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and has served within the organization in various capacities. Within the CSPA program, she coordinates field placements and teaches a number of courses across the program curriculum. 

Jacob Wilson, Postdoctoral Faculty Research Fellow

Jacob Wilson

Jacob is a PhD candidate in Higher Education at the University of Arizona studying student voting efforts on college campuses. Previously he attended Iowa State University, where he received his BA in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. He also attended The George Washington University and received his MA in Higher Education Administration. He has worked on several campaigns, interned at the U.S. Department of Education, managed an academic internship program in Washington, DC, and taught undergraduate leadership courses at the University of Arizona’s College of Education. Jacob is the founder and co-chair of the Missouri Courage Scholarship, a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to college-bound high school seniors working to enhance the lives of LGBTQ people and advance social justice. His research examines college civic engagement, voter enragement, and social movements. He supported by a national grant from Campus Compact through the College Election Engagement Project.  He teaches a a variety of courses in the CSPA program. 

Affiliate Faculty


Dr. Jeffrey Waple

Dr. Waple earned a doctorate in educational administration in 2000 from Illinois State University, a master’s in guidance and counseling in 1995 from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s in biology from Heidelberg University in 1991.Dr. Waple has over 20 years of professional service in student affairs and currently is the Vice-Chancellor at SIUE where he provides leadership the entire Division of Student Affairs. He teaches EDAD 574: Leadership and Administration of Higher Education.


Dr. Sarah Laux

Dr. Sarah Laux earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. She has close to 10 years of experience in student affairs and higher education in areas of student life, community engagement & philanthropy, and admissions. Dr. Laux is currently the Associate Director of the Kimmel Student Involvement Center at SIUE and is entering her 8th academic year at SIUE. She has been an active member of ACPA – College Student Educators International since 2010 and has served on several convention planning teams in various roles.


Dr. Franklyn Taylor

Dr. Franklyn Taylor holds an EdD from educational leadership is from Northern Arizona University. He is Vice President of Student Affairs at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. Previously, he was Assistant Campus dean for student affairs and enrollment management at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County and worked in mid-level positions in residence life at Northern Arizona University and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


Dr. Kyle R. Williams

Dr. Kyle R. Williams serves as the Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards at Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Voice from Otterbein College, Masters of Science in Education from Old Dominion University and a Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He is also active within his professional associations: The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) where he serves on the 2019 Boston Convention Planning Team and past chair for the Pan-African Network; the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) where he serves as a member of the Multicultural Awareness Committee and presenter for the Graduate Student Symposium; and the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA) where he is active in the Diversity Committee and past recipient for the Diversity Scholarship.


Dr. Geet Vanaik

Dr. Geet Vanaik is Dean of International Affairs at Greenville University.  In 2015, Dr. Vanaik was appointed to chair of the International Education Council (IEC) for Missouri and Illinois. Dr. Vanaik received her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis and her Masters in Biotechnology Management from SIUE.

facebookoff twitteroff vineoff linkedinoff flickeroff instagramoff socialoff