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Benedictine creates academic advisory board to improve student experience

August 6, 2013

MesaMesa, Arizona ~ Benedictine University at Mesa has announced that a new academic advisory board will take the lead in ensuring that its academic programs are rigorous and relevant and help students achieve their educational and professional goals.

The new board will make recommendations to help maximize students’ potential and complement the University’s lecture-free curriculum. Professors will be using innovative techniques in the classroom to challenge students to actively learn, utilize technology and apply acquired knowledge.

Benedictine recognizes that today’s students have new options for identifying learning styles upon which they can successfully build to earn their degrees and acquire the skills they need to compete in the global marketplace. This is something Benedictine believes is essential for teaching the next generation of college students. The advisory board will work with the University to achieve this common goal.

The Benedictine University at Mesa Academic Advisory Board will advise the branch campus’s administration on academic programs and help promote ways for students to earn internships and other work experience placements. The board will also make recommendations regarding campus and extracurricular development.

Current board members are Michael L. Carroll, Ph.D., Benedictine University at Mesa president; James B. Kenney, Ph.D., board chairman; Sheri Dahlstrom, chief nursing officer at Banner Desert Medical Center; Phillip A. Austin, chairman of East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Bob Brown, president and CEO, Catholic Charities Community Services in Phoenix.

Also, Michael Dixon, host of “The Bishop’s Hour” on Immaculate Heart Radio KIHP 1310 AM; Chris Glover, City of Mesa councilman; Steve Grosz, an instructor with East Valley Institute of Technology; Ryan Hanning, director of Parish Leadership Support at the Diocese of Phoenix; and Daniel L. Schulte, Ph.D., of Psychological and Consulting Services.

The advisory board also includes Robert Schultz, assistant director of education and visual arts at the Mesa Arts Center; Lt. Kelvin Smith of the Mesa Police Department; Shirley Strembel, dietetic internship director and manager of the Office of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health; and Rani Madhavapeddi Patel, Ph.D., IBCLC, president, Nuts on Nutrition.

Also, Maureen Zimmerman, Ed.D., a Food and Nutrition faculty member with Mesa Community College; and Joe Cotroneo, executive vice president and general manager of Crescent Crown Distributing.

In addition to guiding the University’s academic direction, the advisory board will help lead the campus’s expansion of student life activities, including special events and intercollegiate athletics.

Benedictine University at Mesa classes begin September 3 at Gillett Hall, located at 225 E. Main St. in downtown Mesa. There is still time to apply for fall. For more information, please visit or call (602) 888-5500.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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