Landmark College Welcomes New Leaders
Luciani becomes a VP; Murrell, Connelly, and Bissell join the College
by Solvegi Shmulsky
Landmark College is pleased to announce new leaders in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Department of Safety and Security. After inclusive search processes, the community welcomes these individuals to the professional staff of the College.
Michael Luciani, Vice President for Student Affairs
Longtime head of Student Affairs Michael Luciani was promoted to Vice President for Student Affairs, effective July 1, 2014. Luciani has served Landmark College since 1996 in roles that range from hands-on work with students and families to high-level leadership. Luciani holds an M.B.A. and a B.A., both from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Dr. Peter Eden, Landmark College president, explained the value of Luciani’s expertise in Student Affairs. He said, “An important element of a college education is the social aspect, which takes place outside of conventional learning spaces such as classrooms. Landmark College recognizes this and has promoted Michael Luciani to vice president so that he can provide vision and leadership to sustain a vibrant campus community.”
The Vice President for Student Affairs works to strengthen the College community, promoting the core values of respect, honesty, safety, and understanding. In a message to students, Luciani wrote, “In Student Affairs, we work with work with one goal in mind—to build the best community we can that will enrich your life and make you a better, stronger and bolder person.” In his new role, Luciani will lead the strategic planning process for Student Affairs and provide leadership for the departments of Residential Life, Counseling & Health Services, Athletics, Student Activities, Adventure Education, Judicial Affairs, and New Student Orientation.
Stephen Murrell, Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management
Stephen Murrell started directing the Landmark College Department of Safety and Security on June 16, 2014. Murrell explained that he is drawn to this community so that he can have a positive impact on the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. He said, “I am really looking forward to partnering with the Landmark College community to foster a safe, fun working and educational environment for years to come.”
Murrell hails from New Jersey’s Andover Township, where he served as a sergeant and patrol officer for more than 15 years. In his role as sergeant, Murrell engaged in leadership activities including supervising officers, communicating with the public, serving as an Active Shooter instructor, and overseeing multiple budgets. Before his career in law enforcement, Murrell worked for the New Jersey Parks Service and volunteered on conservation projects in South Africa and Costa Rica. Murrell holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Felician College in New Jersey, where he graduated with honors in 2010.
Murrell currently lives in Putney, Vermont. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his five-year-old son and reading “sword and sorcery” fantasy novels. He encourages members of the community to contact him or stop by the campus Safety and Security office anytime.
Patrick Connelly, Dean of Students and Director of Student Engagement
Patrick Connelly began his post as dean of students on July 1, 2014, taking over for Luciani when he was promoted to Vice President for Student Affairs. Connelly said, “I'm excited to join the vibrant campus community that is Landmark College.”
Before coming to Landmark College, Connelly served for a decade in the Office of Student Engagement at Smith College, where he worked directly with students, advising and training over 100 student organizations that launched 600 events annually. Connelly also provided leadership within the administration, managing a $150,000 budget, creating an online assessment tool, and writing policy on matters related to student life on and off campus. Before his posts at Smith, Connelly served as the assistant director of the Collis Center at Dartmouth College and the assistant director of Student Life at Sacred Heart University.
Connelly looks forward to working alongside faculty and staff who are passionate about individual student success. He said, “I aspire to find new ways to engage students outside the classroom, allowing them to develop habits and skills that will serve them throughout their lives.”
Currently, Connelly is pursuing an Ed.D. in educational policy and leadership at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a M.S. in educational leadership and a B.A. in sociology, both from Central Connecticut State University. Connelly lives with his partner in Chester, Vermont. When he is not at work or in school, he enjoys cooking, gardening, and skiing.
Monika Bissell, Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Monika Bissell joined Landmark College as Vice President for Academic Affairs on July 1.
“I’m thrilled beyond belief, and so honored to be chosen to be part of this community,” Bissell said. “Landmark College is such a dynamic place. Student service is clearly at the top of everyone’s list, and that really resonates with me.”
Dr. Peter Eden, president of Landmark College, said, “We could not be happier to have an administrator and educator like Monika join this progressive and growing college.”
Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today, Landmark College is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities (including dyslexia), ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The College offers two- and four-year degree options, a graduate-level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently. Students, faculty, and professionals from around the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model, designed through research and practice to help all students become confident, empowered, and independently successful learners.