GREG GUNDERSON, PH.D.
Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., joined Park University on January 15, 2016, after serving as vice president and chief financial officer at Webster University in St. Louis since 2011.
At Webster, he directed the financial processes of the University’s 68 campuses in addition to managing facilities, campus security, purchasing and internal audit. Prior to that, Gunderson spent nine years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ultimately serving as assistant vice chancellor for business operations in the Office of Academic Affairs.
His experience in the private sector includes working as a project controller at ConAgra in Omaha, Neb., director of finance at APAC Customer Services in Omaha, and as a tax accountant at both Cray Research and Arthur Anderson in St. Paul, Minn.
Selected “CFO of the Year” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2014, Gunderson earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Gunderson enjoys being active in the community. In St. Louis, he served as a trustee on the Frank Lloyd Wright House Park Board and as a board member of the St. Louis Contractor Loan Fund. He also co-chaired Webster University’s United Way campaigns and served on a taxing authority board for the city of Webster Groves, Mo.
A native of Omaha, Gunderson’s family includes his wife Laurie, who is interim director of the Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition, and their sons David, 19, a college freshman, and Jack, 17, a high school junior. Gunderson enjoys a variety of hobbies, including woodworking, restoring old cars and curling.
Vice President of Facilities
Brian, who joined the University in August 2015 as controller and was promoted to the role of CFO in May 2016, now oversees the University’s facilities and administrative operations across Park’s 42 campuses nationwide. As part of this, Brian will administer Park’s deferred maintenance and master plan, as well as construction of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center on the University’s Parkville Campus. Groundbreaking for the Plaster Center, home of Park’s School of Business and the Park Global Warrior Center, is expected in spring 2020 on the east side of the University’s entrance. Brian’s expertise in facilities management and planning will be of great value as we embark on these large-scale, high-profile projects.
Prior to joining Park, he spent nine years at Kansas City Kansas Community College, serving as vice president of student and administrative services, dean of financial and administrative services, and associate provost. In addition, he was controller at the University of Saint Mary (Leavenworth, Kan.) for five years. He also served as CFO at Demolition Interior Specialists, a turnkey demolition contractor based in Kansas City, Mo. Bode retired from the U.S. Army in 1998 as lieutenant colonel with more than 21 years of service, including stints as the resource and budget manager at the Fort Leavenworth (Kan.) Simulation Center, assistant dean of resources at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.) and comptroller for the 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Bode earned his Master of Business Administration from Troy (Ala.) University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
LAURE A. CHRISTENSEN
Chief of Staff
Laure Christensen serves Park University as chief of staff. In this capacity, she works closely with the president in a variety of ways, serving as an advisor and manager of administrative, operational and financial affairs. Christensen oversees reporting needs, organizes communications, coordinates special events with other departments and serves as the main administrative liaison between the Office of the President and multiple areas, including Executive Staff and Park’s Board of Trustees. Christensen also guides administrative professionals university-wide through the Park Pirate Professionals.
Christensen began her career with Park in July 2003 and served in a variety of roles in the School for Arts and Humanities, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the President. In 2011, she was honored with the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education award.
Prior to coming to Park, she served as office manager and an events specialist at Vic Gutman & Associates, a special events firm which coordinates special events for the city of Omaha and area not-for-profit organizations.
ROGER P. DUSING, ph.d.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Roger P. Dusing serves Park University as associate vice president and chief human resource officer, directing the human resources and payroll operations for the University, as well as serving as Park’s Title IX officer. In addition, he represents the University on the board of the Kansas City Professional Development Council, a consortium of area schools providing faculty and staff development programming.
Dusing joined Park in 2011 after 30 years as a human resources executive and consultant for several Kansas City area businesses. He has literally been on the University’s Parkville Campus his entire life as a student, adjunct faculty member and son of two of Park’s longest tenured employees.
Dusing earned a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University. He earned his doctorate in business with a concentration in human resources from Northcentral University. Dusing is the board chair for Benilde Hall, a program in Kansas City, Mo., providing housing and treatment to homeless men with addiction and mental health issues. He was recognized as Human Resources Executive of the Year by American Business Media in 2008, and he is the author of I’m Fired?!? A Business-Fable About the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, a book on job search techniques.
Chief Financial Officer
Rana Lacer was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Park University in October 2019. Lacer spent the previous 10 years at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, starting as director of finance before ultimately being appointed chief financial officer where she managed an annual budget that exceeded $500 million and financial administration of $940 million in assets, including the 3.2 million square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center, one of the busiest convention sites in the world. Prior to her roles with the LVCVA, Lacer served as director of finance for the City of Lansing, Kan., for seven months following a five-year stint as director of finance for the City of Killeen, Texas.
Lacer, a certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.
Michelle Myers, Ed.D.
Michelle (Shellie) Myers, Ed.D., was appointed provost of Park University in October 2018. She had served as dean of the University’s College of Education and Health Professions since joining Park in July 2010.
Prior to joining Park, Myers served administrative stints as associate dean, assistant dean and acting assistant dean in the Division of Education at Queens College, the City University of New York, as well as interim associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services at the University of Central Missouri. In addition, she served as an assistant professor, then associate professor at UCM, and as assistant professor at Southeast Missouri State University. During her time at QC-CUNY, Myers served as coordinator of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Myers earned her Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and pedagogy, and her Master of Education degree in teaching physical education, from the University of Arkansas. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Kentucky University.
Emily D. Sallee, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Professor of English
Emily D. Sallee, Ph.D., is associate provost and a professor of English at Park University. Sallee joined the University as a faculty member in 2005 and was appointed associate provost in 2016.
Sallee has held a variety of leadership positions at the University, including Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages, Program Coordinator for First-Year Writing, and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
As associate provost, Sallee leads initiatives aimed at supporting and recognizing faculty accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service. These initiatives include faculty orientation and mentoring, professional development for full-time and adjunct faculty, and faculty-related policies and procedures. Sallee also serves as the University’s Higher Learning Commission accreditation liaison officer.
Prior to arriving at Park, Sallee worked in the writing across the curriculum program at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Ks., where she also taught courses in first-year writing and technical communication. She earned a Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing and Master of Arts in language and literature from the University of Kansas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and secondary education from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.
SHANE B. SMEED
Shane B. Smeed was appointed vice president of enrollment and student services at Park University in September 2015. Smeed has 20 years of experience in higher education, holding a variety of student-centric positions. In his role at Park, Smeed provides strategic and operational leadership to a department that includes the associate vice presidents, deans and directors of marketing, enrollment, student financial services, international student admissions and services, student affairs and services, campus center operations, strategic initiatives and athletics.
Prior to joining Park University, Smeed served as vice president of admissions at Kaplan University, vice president and chief operating officer of Ottawa (Kan.) University, metro president for DeVry University’s Kansas City campuses and inventory planner for the Boeing Co. in its materials management division.
Smeed is pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education administration from St. Louis University. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management and holds a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology.
A resident of Parkville, Smeed’s family includes his wife Angela, who owns and operates an interior design business, and their children Samantha, 16, Andrew, 13, and Landon, 9. In addition to Smeed’s board assignments with the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Foundation, Inc. and Synergy Services, he also serves the City of Parkville as an appointed Planning & Zoning Commissioner.
Chief Information Officer
David Whittaker, a Kansas City Northland native, was appointed to serve Park University as its chief information officer in January 2016. In his position as CIO, Whittaker is charged with ensuring that the University’s technology applications, networks, telecommunications and data security meet the current and future needs of the University.
Whittaker spent the previous 18 years with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, most recently as chief information security officer and director of the Office of the CIO since 2013. Between 2005 and 2013, Whittaker served as a director in a trio of areas within BCBSKC — director of strategic planning, director of application development, integration and database administration and director of data center operations. He also served the organization as an enterprise architect and as senior programmer analyst/web architect. Whittaker began his professional career as a lead software analyst for Black and Veatch at its Kansas City, Mo., office for six years.
Whittaker, who grew up in Gladstone, Mo., earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in systems and data processing from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.