Fall 2023 | European and Asian Adventure

Faculty & Staff

Exploring countries in Europe and Asia, this voyage gives participants a truly impactful study abroad adventure on our floating college!

We are a diverse team of academic experts and professionals

Under the leadership of the executive dean, academic dean, and dean of student life, Semester at Sea faculty and staff are a team of innovative and stimulating educators who are passionate about international education and focused on developing a dynamic and compassionate shipboard community.

Voyage Administrative Team

Rameen Talesh
Executive Dean
Rameen Talesh
Executive Dean

Dr. Rameen Talesh is the Associate Vice Chancellor-Student Life & Leadership and Dean of Students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He served as the Dean of Student Life on Semester at Sea (SAS) Fall 2014 and is excited to be returning to the shipboard experience. One of his favorite memories was coaching women’s and men’s SAS basketball teams in friendly matches with the University of Havana.

Throughout his career, Rameen has worked with various programs and departments including undergraduate housing, campus activities, clubs & organizations and cross-cultural services. His 33 years of professional experience in student affairs administration has covered both public and private institutions of various sizes including University of California Riverside, California State University Northridge (CSUN), and Occidental College.

Rameen received his Doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Southern California where he teaches graduate courses in the Rossier School of Education as an adjunct Associate Professor. He earned his Master’s in Public Administration from CSUN, and his BA degree in Political Science from UCI.

Rameen believes that the experiences in the classroom are enhanced by the experiences outside the classroom. On his campus, he is affectionately known as the “Fistbump Dean”. You can follow him @deanrameen. He is looking forward to sailing on the voyage with his wife and enjoys spending time with his grandkids, playing basketball, doing yoga and has been known to sing from time to time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NJbQI_rwBY

Jeff McCubbin
Academic Dean
Jeff McCubbin
Academic Dean

Jeff McCubbin served as the Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University from 2011-2019. Prior to that he was a University Distinguished Professor of Exercise Science and Executive Associate Dean in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University (OSU).  He directed an internationally recognized graduate program in Movement Studies in Disability in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences at Oregon State University. International students is his graduate program were from Finland, Germany, Korea, China, Singapore, Canada, Greece and Kuwait. His research and teaching interests have focused on the role of physical activity and exercise on improving functional skills and reducing secondary complications of disability.

He completed his BS degree from East Stroudsburg State College (PA) in 1976; his MA in Special Physical Education from the University of Connecticut in 1977, and completed his PhD from the University of Virginia in 1983. Jeff McCubbin was inducted as a fellow in the prestigious National Academy of Kinesiology in 1998. He will be a professor emeritus of Health and Exercise Science and Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at CSU.

Jeff and his spouse Debbie love to travel, visit grandchildren, engage in community based non-profit leadership, and find ways to enjoy exercise no matter the season.

Chela Chomicki
Dean of Student Life
Chela Chomicki
Dean of Student Life

Dr. Chela Chomicki has gone from being a door-to-door bookseller to writing books; from being a community health educator to running health organizations. Dr. Chela has been committed to promoting the holistic well-being of individuals, families and communities through her work, service, education and research domestically and internationally.  She has conducted research and service in over 80 countries and numerous states throughout the US.  She earned her PhD in Human Ecology with a concentration in Health Disparities within the Latino and African Diaspora; her Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelors in Spanish and Business Administration.  She has been a longstanding advocate for those that are marginalized because she knows what it feels like to be disenfranchised.

Dr. Chela currently serves as the President and CEO of CC Strategic Solutions which is a leadership and management consulting and research firm.  Much of the foundational skills that she trains leaders on stems from her 12 years of experience in Residence Life at multiple universities.  She has worked in private/public sectors, non-profits and the federal government to develop scalable strategies, create innovative programs and develop exceptional leaders who improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities around the world.

Terra Gargano
Assistant Executive Dean
Terra Gargano
Assistant Executive Dean

Terra Gargano teaches courses in cross-cultural communication and international education in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, DC.

She taught English in Japan for three years and sailed as the Assistant Executive Dean for the Spring 2004 voyage before joining the faculty at Howard Community College, the University of Maryland, and ultimately American University. For the last several years, she taught a Complex Problem course, What does it mean to be educated?, for the living and learning Community Based Research Scholars Program, a course that critically examined the purpose and meaning of education through varied lived experiences. She also teaches a course on storytelling in international relations and an intercultural communication class that expands student understandings of intercultural transitions and border crossings through autobiographical narratives.

Administratively, she served as the Program Director and Faculty Advisor for Online Programs in SIS, with students logging into classes from over 15 timezones. She has served as a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Teaching Research and Learning and has consulted for international organizations transitioning to virtual spaces. She has received several faculty awards from the University, including the Outstanding Performance for Innovation in Online Teaching, the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, and the Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time Appointment.

Throughout her twenty-five-year career in international higher education, she managed dozens of institutional collaborations worldwide. She is constantly learning alongside her students about the ways culture impacts perceptions, worldviews, and communication. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in International Education Policy.

She was raised in a small western Pennsylvania town by a large Italian family, where she spent Sundays making homemade pasta in her grandma’s kitchen. She appreciates a good story, enjoys standup comedy, and is a fierce skeeball competitor.  She is looking forward to exploring new places and revisiting some familiar sites with her husband Brett and two teenagers, Zola and Rocco.


Faculty

Steven Anderson
Carlson Arnett
Linda Austin
Linda Austin
Adina Batnitzy
Adina Batnitzy
Brian Butki
Lisa Daunhauer
Douglass Dineen
Douglass Dineen
Trevor Gates-Crandall
Laurie Glover
Aaron Hahn Tapper
Aaron Hahn Tapper
Mohammad Homayounvash
Mohammad Homayounvash
Scott Ingram
Amber Johnson
Amber Johnson
Jeffrey Leopold
Robert Mason
Robert Mason
Alex Nalbach
Alex Nalbach
Katrina Savitskie
Katrina Savitskie
Avi Spiegel
Avi Spiegel
José Luis Suárez-García
José Luis Suárez-García
Marc Vincent

Staff

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