You are here

College Deans

James G. Breckenridge, Ph.D., has been appointed as the Dean the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Science. Dr. Breckenridge is the former Dean of the Walker School of Business and was appointed as the first chair of the Department of Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University. He designed the curricular requirements and gained accreditation for the new major in Intelligence Studies in 2002, the graduate program in Applied Intelligence in 2004, and the Graduate Certificate program in 2005. During his military career, his leadership responsibilities ranged from commanding the U.S. Army’s first unit to engage in combat since the Vietnam War (in Beirut, Lebanon 1983) to serving as a Professor of Military Science. During his military career he taught Middle Eastern History and served as the course director for the World History program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Breckenridge is a founding board member of the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), a former President of the Fairview School Board, and a former member of the Transportation Committee of the Erie Chamber of Commerce.


Michael Elnitsky, Ph.D., has been appointed as the Dean of the Zurn College of Natural and Health Sciences.  Dr. Elnitsky serves as the Chair of the Department of Biology and Director of Pre-Health Advising where he has worked with colleagues to grow each respective program.  Additionally, he has collaborated with faculty from several departments on curriculum and new program development, led the design and oversight of the renovation of research laboratories, and has considerable budgetary experience with both internal and external sources of funding.  Dr. Elnitsky's is also an accomplished scientist.  His research interest is on the ecological and physiological response of ectothermic animals, particularly insects, amphibians, and reptiles, to environmental stress, with special interest in the adaptations of animals for low temperature survival. His recent projects have focused on the impacts of climate change and elevated winter temperatures on the goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis), the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), and the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).


Mary B. Breckenridge (Missy), PH.D., has been appointed as the Dean of the Walker College of Business and Management. Since returning to Mercyhurst in the summer of 2012, Dr. Breckenridge has served as an associate professor and director of the Organizational Leadership graduate program. Most recently Dr. Breckenridge has served as the Dean of Graduate Studies. Prior to her return to Mercyhurst, she served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Notre Dame College (NDC) in Cleveland from 2008-2012. Prior to joining NDC in 2008, Missy spent the previous 13 years in a variety of capacities including graduate program director and associate dean of the Graduate College at Mercyhurst. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Virginia Tech, a Master of Science in education from the University of Southern California, a teaching certification in social science, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 


Leanne Roberts, Ph.D., has been appointed as the Dean of the Hafenmaier College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.  Dr. Roberts joined the Mercyhurst faculty in 2001 after working in public and corporate education for 12 years.  Dr. Roberts has been the Chair of the Education Department since 2011 and has also been an Associate Dean since 2009.  During her tenure at Mercyhurst, Dr. Roberts has led multiple initiatives including the Links to the Future program that was funded by a 1.2 million dollar federal grant and the Carpe Diem Academy that stems from securing more than 2.7 million dollars in grant funding. In addtion, Leanne created a half-day PreK program that runs in seven of Erie’s Public Schools, forged a partnership with Mercy Center of the Arts which is now run by a Director from the Education Department, and created the Mercyhurst Teach Away Program (MTAP).   Dr. Roberts was the coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL) through Duquesne University from 2005 to 2007. Service to the University has always been a priority to Leanne and she has served extensively on college wide committees including sitting for multiple terms on the Executive Committee as well as the Contract Committee of the Faculty Senate.


Associate Deans


Dr. Randy S. Clemons has been appointed Associate Dean of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences. Dr. Clemons was the Dean of the School of Social Sciences for the last six years and before that the Chair of the Political Science Department, where he is a Full Professor. He has served Mercyhurst in a wide-range of roles such as Faculty Senate President and on Rank and Tenure. In 2007 he won the “Distinguished Teaching Award” at Mercyhurst. He teaches and researches in both the international relations and public policy arenas and has presented papers at more than 30 conferences across the nation. Co-author of the textbook Public Policy Praxis (with a 3rd edition being released in 2016) and multiple book chapters, his recent research has appeared in the Journal of Public Administration; Foreign Policy Analysis (forthcoming), World Medical & Health Policy; Risks, Hazards, & Crisis in Public Policy; and Electronic Hallway. Additionally, he is an expert in simulations, has received grants in, and has been a professional consultant and facilitator in, the areas
of leadership, community development, and strategic planning/futuring – most recently working with the Erie County Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health / Intellectual Disabilities.


doolanDr. Amy Doolan has been appointed Associate Dean of the Walker College of Business and Management. She joined the Mercyhurst faculty in 2005 as a Professor of Accounting. Prior to joining Mercyhurst, she spent over a decade as a practicing accountant in the corporate, public and not-for-profit accounting sectors. Dr. Doolan has been the Associate Dean since 2011 and was the Chair of the Business Department from 2011-2014. She is the Assessment Coordinator for the Business Department, handling the reporting for both Middle States and IACBE business specific accreditations. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Doolan has served the University with participation on various committees including most recently Academic Policies and the Calendar Committee and in the past on Faculty Affairs, Academic Planning and Assessment, Faculty Research, and the Core Curriculum Advisory Committee. Dr. Doolan teaches throughout the accounting curriculum, covering courses at the introductory level as well as major specific courses in Cost Accounting, Intermediate and Advanced Financial Accounting. She has presented research on the topics of corporate governance and ethical issues in accounting and has published in the American Journal of Business Education. Her teaching interests are in the management/cost accounting area and she is beginning a research into the diverse methodologies used in teaching introductory management accounting as well as the primary learning styles exhibited by students from different disciplines when learning management accounting. 


Dr. Amy D. Parente has been appointed Associate Dean of the Zurn College of Natural and Health Sciences. An
Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Parente has authored over a dozen publications including several on innovations in pedagogy. In 2014, she was named an Educational Fellow by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in recognition for her contributions to Biochemistry education. In 2016, Dr. Parente will be President-Elect for the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences. She is also an accomplished researcher, and the author of Mercyhurst’s only patented technologies. The patent was developed in her laboratory to detect the artificial sweetener sucralose in environmental water samples. She led the design and oversight in the renovation of the Biochemistry laboratory. Over the past 15 years, she has secured nearly $700,000 in research funding and her research has been featured at national and international conferences. She is currently collaborating with experts in the field of fresh-water plastic pollution to understand the effects of microplastics on Great Lakes microorganisms. 

Gerard A. Tobin, Ph.D. has been appointed Associate Dean of the Hafenmaier College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. He has been teaching at Mercyhurst University since 1998. Dr. Tobin is currently the Chair of the Psychology Department recently leading the department through a redesign of the psychology curriculum. From 2006-2013 Dr.
Tobin served as Vice President for Student Life where he oversaw the development of several new initiatives including the introduction of the Multicultural Center and the Aspergers/Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst. From 1998-2006, Dr. Tobin served as the first full-time Director of the Counseling Center. While there, Dr. Tobin developed a training internship for doctoral students in counseling psychology. He has served on numerous trustee and college wide committees. Dr. Tobin is a licensed psychologist. He earned his A.B in philosophy from The College of the Holy Cross and his M.A. in philosophy and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago.