Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Dr. James Zhang, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, began his tenure as the chief academic officer at Kettering University in June 2014.

Zhang has been the Dean of The Kimmel School at Western Carolina University since 2012 and has been an Electrical Engineering faculty member at the university since 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Hunan University, a master’s degree from Indiana University in Telecommunications and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Purdue University, both in Electrical Engineering. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications and holds seven U.S. and international patents.

“I am extremely excited to join Kettering University and work with the outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Zhang said. “The University truly has a remarkable track record of producing exceptional graduates prepared to solve global challenges and excel in leadership positions in industry. I’m passionate about Kettering’s ability to harness the power of experiential learning and am committed to enhance Kettering’s endeavors to deliver a world class STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Business education to its students.”

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Vice President for Administration and Finance

Mr. Tomas W. Ayers, Vice President for Finance and Administration, joined Kettering in July 2012.  He serves as Treasurer to the Board of Trustees and is head of all activities involving university finance including accounting, cashier’s office, payroll, purchasing and student accounts; Human Resources; and all areas of facility management including business operations, planning and construction management, campus maintenance and central receiving.

Mr. Ayers comes to Kettering University having most recently served as the Executive Vice President for Operations & Treasurer at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, which has been consistently ranked among the top ten regional colleges in the Midwest.  He led the operational areas of accounting services, human relations, auxiliary services, physical plant and technology services.  He was also responsible for leading the budgeting process and for the management of endowment investments.  During his time at Huntington, the institution experienced significant enrollment growth and greater financial stability.  Two highlights of his experience at Huntington were overseeing the construction of an 80,000 square-foot state-of-art undergraduate science hall and mentoring two of his staff to go on to serve as vice presidents at other private colleges.

Prior to Mr. Ayers' service at Huntington University, he served as Business Manager & Director of Personnel at Earlham College and as Director of Financial Aid at Taylor University.

Mr. Ayers earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Taylor University and later received both a master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration and a master’s of Business Administration from Ball State University.

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Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations

Ms. Susan L. Davies, CFRE, became the Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations in March 2012.

She is head of all activities involving alumni relations, development including corporate and foundation giving, annual giving, estate and planned giving, and prospect management.  Ms. Davies has over 20 years of fund-raising and management experience.  She is a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (C.F.R.E.) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from CMU.

Previously, Ms. Davies was the Vice President of University Relations at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. In that role she had responsibility for leading a successful campaign that raised more than $110 million.  Prior to that, she worked at Michigan State University in their development program.  Ms. Davies has served on several boards including most recently, CFRE International, the credentialing body for fundraisers world-wide, serving two years as chair.

“Kettering has an outstanding academic reputation coupled with experiential learning that makes graduates well prepared for the workplace,” explained Ms. Davies.  “I am pleased to be joining Kettering University at this exciting time of vision and growth.”

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Vice President for Marketing, Communications and Enrollment

Mr. Cornelius (Kip) Darcy became the Vice President for Marketing, Communications and Enrollment in April 2012.  He is head of all activities involving marketing, public relations, communications, admissions, financial aid and enrollment services.

Mr. Darcy previously directed admissions for both the Washington University School of Law and the University of California Hastings College of Law.

Most recently, he managed field enablement and communications for Blue Coat Systems, Inc.  At Blue Coat Systems, he developed a communications strategy and organization for a technology-focused 400+ member field team.  Mr. Darcy also spent several years with HP Software, where among other programs he was responsible for expanding technology initiatives to micro banking organizations in Africa.

He holds both an MBA and a Master’s of Art degree in International Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis.

Mr. Darcy said he is thrilled to be joining the University.  “I am looking forward to working with the members of the Kettering community to evangelize the educational innovation Kettering delivers in the areas of Business, STEM and cooperative education,” he said.

Mr. Darcy is from San Francisco.

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Vice President for Kettering Global Campus

The Vice President for Kettering Global Campus reports to the President and provides strategy, administration and management for online, corporate and continuing education at Kettering University.

The Kettering Global Campus (KGC) brings the Kettering brand to the world with online courses and trainings that employ interactive and immersive technology in the classroom. KGC serves the educational needs of students seeking degrees in business, science, technology, engineering and math who choose not to seek a residential campus experience but demand the high quality education Kettering University offers its students. 

The focus of Kettering’s Global Campus includes online:

  • Graduate Programs
  • Corporate Training
  • Continuing Education for Maintenance of Professional Engineering Licenses
  • Undergraduate Programs
  • Specialization Certificates

Kettering Global’s emphasis is on innovative approaches that meet the demands of STEM and business related jobs. According to a study by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, there are nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. that are unfilled because the manufacturing sector cannot find people with the appropriate skill sets (U.S. News and World Report, 2012). Worldwide the need for engineers to meet the demands of society in the future is estimated to be in the millions.

Desirable skills in business include critical thinking, complex problem solving, judgment and decision-making, knowledge of computers and electronics, and active listening (Forbes, 2012). These are precisely the skills a Kettering degree will develop. KGC will meet the demand for these highly skilled and desired professionals through its quality online programs, degrees and certifications.

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University Counsel

The University Counsel directs the Office of University Counsel (OUC), reports to the President, and provides legal advice to the Board of Trustees, the President, the administration, faculty, and staff in their capacity as agents conducting University business on legal matters involving or affecting the institution. 

The Office of University Counsel (OUC) serves as a liaison between the University and its related and affiliated entities in a variety of legal and policy areas and also advises the University administration on a broad range of initiatives, policy matters, and issues, including those related to:

  • Business Transactions & Contracts
  • Employment
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Information Technology & Security
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer
  • Real Estate
  • Sponsored Programs & Research Compliance
  • Academic & Student Affairs

The OUC provides managerial services with respect to program implementation as assigned by the President. It also provides administration and educational services for a wide range of audiences, including training programs internally on legal and policy matters and educational programs outside the institution for legal audiences and general audiences on matters affecting Kettering University and higher education in general. The OUC also engages in crisis and opportunity management and preventative counseling, including the identification of high-risk activities and enterprises conducted by the University and the development of strategies for coping with the risks. 

The OUC does not provide legal services to faculty, staff or students in their personal matters, nor does it represent or advise employees with claims against the University. Students with personal legal issues should contact the Office of Student Life for assistance.

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Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Ms. J. Betsy Homsher assumed the position of Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students in October 2011. Her responsibilities include all co-curricular programs and activities; Campus Safety; health, counseling, and insurance services; residence life, recreation services, multi-cultural student initiatives, and K-12 outreach.

Ms. Homsher came to Kettering in 2002 from Central Connecticut State University where she taught American History, Women's History, and Gender Studies. Previously, she held administrative positions at the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco State University. At Kettering, she has held the positions of Director, Women Student Affairs; Associate Dean of Students; and Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Periodically, Ms. Homsher teaches in the Liberal Studies Department.

Originally from California, she holds degrees in American History and Humanities. Recently, her monograph "'Priceless Treasures:' The Society of Women Engineers Archives as a Source for American History," appeared as the lead article in the Society's 60th Anniversary journal.

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Vice President for Instructional, Administrative & Information Technology

Ms. Viola M. Sprague came to Kettering in November 2008 as Executive Director of Information Technology (IT).  She is the Chief Information Technology Officer for the University in maintaining existing technologies, as well as focusing on strategic technology solutions.

Ms. Sprague came to campus from Spectrum Health Systems in Grand Rapids, Mich., where she served as the Applications Manager/Project Manager for the Technology and Information Solutions department.

She began her career at Wayne State University on the main campus working with their student systems and technical support.  Most recently she was an IT manager for the Wayne State University School of Medicine. During her time at the School of Medicine, she participated in the implementation of the SunGard Banner student system and various other software implementations.

Ms. Sprague holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and an MBA from Wayne State University.  She is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

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