New Appointments Within Provost’s Office

August 20, 2020

From left: David Simpson, Ke'Anna Skipwith, Joe Martel-Foley and Durga Suresh-Menon

Citing the need for more community builders and changemakers, Wentworth Institute of Technology Provost Ian Lapp announced new roles and responsibilities for several people at the university.

Durga Suresh-Menon has been named the new dean of Graduate Education, while Joe Martel-Foley was named associate provost, David Simpson was named provost initiatives coordinator for inclusive excellence, and Ke’Anna Skipwith was named assistant provost for advances in learning.  

Biographical Sketches

Joe Martel-Foley

Dr. Martel-Foley joined Wentworth as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in 2015 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. He co-chaired the High-Value Learning Working Group during the recent strategic planning process. He chaired the Enrollment and Admissions Subcommittee of the faculty senate and co-led the process resulting in the University electing to utilize test-optional admissions. He has taken part in a variety of student-focused efforts in advising, student success, and retention leading an advising initiative and championing the use of the Navigate advising platform. He was honored by our students with the President’s Award for Excellence in Advising.

This summer, Martel-Foley spearheaded the launch of the Wentworth Engineering Honors Society, celebrating the achievements of students across engineering disciplines. His focus on student success and inclusive excellence also show up in his research, where he has been studying the introduction of bias education in foundational engineering courses as well as the integration of cross-college undergraduate research into coursework and design experiences.  Martel-Foley received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Union College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering science from Harvard University.

David Simpson

Dr. Simpson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Engineering. He joined Wentworth in 2018 from the University of California, Davis where he served as the Associate Director for the Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Laboratory. At Wentworth, he is collaborating on a new undergraduate program in biological engineering and an undergraduate research program centered on the development of biological models in regenerative medicine using microsystems and high-throughput platforms. Additionally, he is actively working to develop practices to support inclusive pedagogy and build diversity, equity, and inclusion programs as part of the University’s strategic plan.

Among his many contributions to our community, Dr. Simpson serves as the vice-chair of the Faculty Senate. He also serves on the board of directors for local non-profits engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes. His current research centers on stem cell biotechnology and cardiac tissue engineering and has been featured in top-tier journals, including Circulation, Stem Cells, and Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Simpson received a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from the University of Virginia and a doctoral degree from the joint biomedical engineering program at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Ke'Anna Skipwith

Skipwith joined Wentworth in 2017 as the Director of Online Learning. She has over a decade of experience in implementing innovative academic strategies and high-quality solutions to elevate the student learning experience. Most recently, she and her team launched Wentworth’s Online Learning Hub, which was instrumental in providing faculty and students best practices, effective teaching tips, online resources, and access to on-demand webinars during the transition to remote learning. She currently serves as host of an innovative podcast regarding online teaching and learning featuring members of the Wentworth community.

Skipwith is also the advisor of CROWNS, a Wentworth student organization committed to fostering community and a support network for diverse women for their academic and professional endeavors. She has authored several peer-reviewed articles and presented on topics such as fostering diversity in learning, creating communities to connect online learners, and academic and digital accessibility. She is also the co-author of the book, Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies. Skipwith received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Trinity Washington University, a master’s degree in learning technology from Drexel University, and she will receive a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Northeastern University later this year.

Durga Suresh-Menon

Suresh-Menon has had an accomplished career at Wentworth, where she has worn many hats over 19 years at the University from faculty in Computer Science and Networking to her appointment a year ago as Special Assistant to the Provost for Graduate Programs. While faculty, she received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the President’s Award for Excellence in Service, and was named Woman of the Year. She has been a faculty mentor, a senator, a search committee chair, member of the community standards board, and graduate coordinator.

As Special Assistant to the Provost for Graduate programs, Suresh-Menon acted as an architect to the restructuring of graduate programs and provided strategic guidance to the university. She was instrumental in revamping and launching the master’s degrees in civil engineering, applied computer science, and project management as 4+1 programs. She led the effort for the university to be certified for Integrated Path to Architecture licensure. She has also been instrumental in creating a new portfolio of graduate scholarships, academic excellence and diverse leaders. This year the graduate enrollment will grow significantly thanks to her collaborative efforts across the university. Suresh-Menon received a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Madras University, a master’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Saint Joseph’s University, and she will receive a doctoral degree in computer engineering from Northeastern University later this year.



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