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Our Team

Tracey George, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Tracey George is the vice provost for faculty affairs at Vanderbilt University. George is also the Charles B. Cox III and Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law and Liberty and holds a secondary appointment in political science.

As vice provost, her portfolio includes faculty hiring and retention authorizations, faculty appointments and promotions, faculty awards and honors, and endowed chair appointments. She works with academic leaders across campus to enhance Vanderbilt’s efforts to support faculty.

George teaches Contracts and Evidence in the law school, where she has earned the Hall-Hartman Teaching Prize eight times. In her scholarship, George brings a social science perspective to a range of topics, including judges and courts, judicial selection and elections, legal education and the legal profession, and contract law and theory. She has published numerous studies in which she examines how institutional design influences actions and outcomes in state and federal judicial systems. She is also a recognized expert on the study of legal education.

George received a J.D. from Stanford University Law School and an M.A. in political science from Washington University. She was a tenured professor at Northwestern before joining Vanderbilt in 2004.

Kamal Saggi, Associate Provost

Kamal Saggi is the Dean of Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Science and the Frances and John Downing Family Professor of Economics.

Professor Saggi has published extensively in the areas of international trade and economic development. Two major themes underlying his research are: (i) the inter-relationships between intellectual property rights protection, trade, and technology transfer in the global economy; and (ii) the economic underpinnings of the rules and regulations of the contemporary multilateral trading system as embodied in the major trade agreements of the World Trade Organization and its dispute settlement process.

Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Associate Provost for Academic Advancement

Tracy Sharpley-Whiting is Associate Provost for Academic Advancement, leading the external review process for academic programs across the University.  Sharpley-Whiting is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor of Humanities (African American and Diaspora Studies and French) as well as Chair of African American and Diaspora Studies, and Director of the Callie House Center (link).

She is a specialist in eighteenth and nineteenth-century French Studies, Black European Studies, Jazz-Age Black Paris, and African American Studies. Sharpley-Whiting is the author/editor of fifteen books, including the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. She is senior editor of the journal, Palimpsest, and co-series editor of the book series, “Philosophy and Race.” She has also served on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association (2014-2018).

Sonya Hubbard, Executive Assistant to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs


Pronouns: she/her

Sonya Hubbard is Executive Assistant to Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George. In addition to supporting the Office of the Vice Provost, Sonya also provides support to the Office of Digital Education, the Office of Academic Program Review, Assessment & Accreditation, the Office of Faculty Appointments, and the Office of Faculty Development. Sonya relocated to Nashville from Michigan to be closer to family. She has been at Vanderbilt since 2017. Sonya holds a BS in Financial Markets and Investments from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and in her spare time, she loves to read, draw, take nature walks, and organize.

Derek Bruff, Director, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Derek Bruff is assistant provost and executive director of the Center for Teaching, as well as interim director of the Digital Commons and a principal senior lecturer in mathematics. As assistant provost, Bruff plans and oversees faculty development and educational initiatives for the Office of the Provost. Derek has been at the CFT since 2005, and he directs CFT programming for faculty and other instructors, helping them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas in teaching. Learn more about Derek’s work, including his 2019 book Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, on his blog, Agile Learning.

See the Center for Teaching Team here.

Eric Cummings, Director, Office of Academic Program Review, Assessment, and Accreditation (OAPRAA)

Dr. Eric Cummings has been hired as the inaugural Director of the Office of Academic Program Review, Assessment, and Accreditation (OAPRAA), and has taken on the role of SACSCOC Institutional Liaison for Vanderbilt. Dr. Cummings spent the last 14 years at Cumberland University where he was most recently Dean of the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts; and Professor of Education. At Cumberland, Dr. Cummings taught in the educator preparation programs at the graduate and undergraduate level, as well as freshman first-year experience classes, and in the Master of Science in Public Administration program. He helped lead Cumberland through multiple SACSCOC reviews, worked with joint CAEP/TN Department of Education approval, led their initial educator programs accreditation effort, and has been a consultant for several types of institutions across the Southeast on SACSCOC reaffirmation work. In a previous life, Eric was an instructor at the North Carolina Outward Bound School. He, his wife, and three children have lived in Nashville since 2007.

See the OAPRAA team here.


Gianna Mosser, Director, VU Press

Gianna Francesca Mosser, is the director of Vanderbilt University Press. She was the previous editor in chief of Northwestern University Press, and worked in a range of areas within Northwestern’s publishing program over the last decade, including acquisitions, editorial, and grant management. 

Mosser joined Northwestern University Press in 2009 as a journal managing editor and project editor, where she oversaw submission, peer review, and production procedures for Islamic Africa. She also worked in acquisitions as an assistant editor and acquisitions editor before being named editor in chief in 2016. As editor in chief, she was responsible for lists in critical ethnic studies, comparative literature, early modern studies, Chicago regional trade, and theater and performance studies.

Within a year of taking the helm of acquisitions, Mosser expanded title output at Northwestern University Press from 60 to 70 books annually and refined the trade program to increase revenue and public engagement. She also worked closely with the senior management team to improve fundraising efforts and discover new opportunities for campus partnerships.

Mosser’s first position in scholarly publishing was at the American Sociological Association, where she served as journal managing editor for Social Psychology Quarterly, a flagship journal of the American Sociological Association. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts in humanities from the University of Chicago.

Mosser was instrumental in securing and administering a number of grants during her tenure at Northwestern University Press, including several awards to support scholarly publishing activity from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

She is also an active member of the Association of University Presses, where she previously chaired the professional development committee and supported the establishment of a national mentorship program.

See the Vanderbilt University Press team here.

Jermaine Soto Head Shot

Jermaine Soto, Director of Faculty Development


Pronouns: he/him/his

Jermaine Soto holds a B.A. in English from Cornell University, an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University and is a Ph.D. Candidate at Syracuse University.

In addition, Jermaine recently received a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. His research interests include: the use of Intergroup Dialogue practices and pedagogy to critically engage social issues and the role of counter-narratives and ‘testimonios’ in creating culturally relevant educational spaces. Soto has spent much of his career in Education engaging topics of equity, diversity and inclusion. At Syracuse University, he was a Lecturer, researcher, and facilitator for the Intergroup Dialogue Program and directed the Conversations about Race/Ethnicity (C.A.R.E) program for the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Upon his arrival to Tennessee, Soto was awarded a Dissertation Fellowship in the Sociology department at Middle Tennessee State University and has been a featured panelist and speaker focusing on issues of race and ethnicity at various events throughout Tennessee.

Soto came to Vanderbilt University to serve as Director of Operations for the Vanderbilt University’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion where he developed and facilitated diversity education training for university staff and consulted with various divisions and areas on their diversity initiatives. Jermaine Soto’s current responsibilities as Director of Faculty Development for the Office of Faculty Affairs include: developing faculty engagement experiences that supplement the faculty life cycle from recruitment to retirement; leading inclusive excellence training in collaboration with the Office for Inclusive Excellence; representing the Office of Faculty Affairs on various committee

s and initiatives; leading Vanderbilt’s participation in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program and other duties as necessary in supporting faculty success.

Jermaine is also a certified Cook Ross trainer of Unconscious Bias for the Vanderbilt University campus as well as an experienced Intergroup Dialogue facilitator.

Mallika Vinekar, Director of the Office of Digital Education

Mallika Vinekar is the director of the Office of Digital Education. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Mallika worked in the education technology sector at Coursera. During her time there, she helped shape the company’s strategy for building its online degree portfolio. Previously, she was a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Mallika holds a BA in Urban Studies and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


Danielle Certa headshot

Danielle Certa, Assistant Director of Faculty Appointments


Pronouns: she/her

Danielle Certa serves as the Assistant Director of Faculty Appointments for the Office of Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Provost. Danielle came to Vanderbilt in 2009 after 10 years in the advertising and entertainment industries, relocating to Nashville from Los Angeles. She worked for former Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan Wente from 2010 to 2014 when Wente served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at VUMC. Danielle accepted a position in the Office of Faculty Affairs in 2015 working for then Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Initiatives John Geer (now Dean of the College of Arts and Science). In her role as Assistant Director, Danielle provides expert analysis and guidance on behalf of the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George regarding faculty appointments, reappointments, and promotions; search processes; review processes; faculty data collection as it pertains to federal compliance requirements; as well as ensures compliance with university policies and procedures. Reporting directly to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George, Danielle also works closely with the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, all school deans’ offices, and the Academic Affairs Process Solutions and Implementation group.  In 2019, Danielle was named to the Staff Steering Committee for Women’s Initiatives, serving as co-chair of the Professional Development subcommittee before serving as co-chair of the renamed StaffWAVE council beginning mid-2021.

Danielle received her undergraduate degree in Film from Emerson College and is currently a student in the Master’s of Liberal Arts and Sciences program in the College of Arts and Science.

Megan ColeMegan Cole, Senior Program Coordinator


Pronouns: she/her/hers

Megan Cole is the Senior Program Coordinator for the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Megan is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a Tennessee native. She previously worked in finance and faculty support at Vanderbilt Law School. As program coordinator, she oversees a variety of tasks, including website execution, faculty action processes, and data management.

When she isn’t at Kirkland Hall, she enjoys cooking, playing trivia, and scouring thrift stores for hidden gems.

Mary Pizzullo, Program Coordinator


Pronouns: she/her

Mary Pizzullo serves as the Program Coordinator for Faculty Affairs for the Office of Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Provost. Mary obtained her B.A. from Arcadia University in Theatre Arts & English in 2009. After graduating, Mary served as the Production Manager for the Summerstage Youth Program and Assistant Stage Manager for theatre productions at People’s Light & Theatre Company. She joined the staff at Change Church in Ewing, NJ as Campus Administrator in 2012. While there, Mary helped start three new locations, focusing on building systems and volunteers. She moved to Nashville, TN, in 2020 to help start CAPACITY Church. She worked as an administrative assistant in the Pediatric Department at Meharry Medical College before joining the Faculty Affairs team at Vanderbilt University in 2021. Here, Mary focuses on faculty appointments, reappointments, promotions, search processes, and other special projects.

When she is not at Vanderbilt, you can find Mary curled up with a good book, volunteering in the community, or out enjoying Nashville’s arts scene.

Michelle Augustine, Graduate Assistant

Michelle Augustine is the Graduate Assistant for the Office of Faculty Affairs and a 1st-year Master of Education candidate in the Leadership and Organizational Performance program in Peabody College. Prior to this, Michelle was an AmeriCorps VISTA Member working in program development and coordination for refugee services at a local nonprofit organization. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish from The University of Texas at Dallas and is a St. Louis native. Michelle’s favorite thing about Nashville is its welcoming atmosphere and beautiful nature.