Dr. Lynn Gillette, President

Before assuming the presidency of SNC in 2011, Dr. Gillette served in the capacity of Executive Vice President and Provost for 3 ½ years, overseeing all academic departments and the registrar’s office, financial aid, information technology, admissions, student affairs, food services, library, and academic support services. The students at Sierra Nevada College selected him as Faculty Member of the Year twice and as Executive of the Year twice, and he earned a special award for outstanding leadership and entrepreneurial thinking in 2011.

Dr. Gillette also serves as a faculty member in the Tulane University Executive MBA programs in New Orleans and Houston where he teaches Change Management. He has received nine outstanding teaching awards from Tulane.

Prior to joining Sierra Nevada College, Dr. Gillette served as a Vice President at Spalding University. His areas of responsibility included institutional research and effectiveness, information technology, retention, academic support services, and compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). As the university’s SACS accreditation liaison he led the institution’s highly successful reaffirmation of accreditation process. In addition, Dr. Gillette taught economics courses to traditional and adult students. In 2006, he received the Spalding University Outstanding Teaching Award for Educating Adult Learners.

He has also served in administrative positions at three other universities and held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A & M University. At Southern Methodist University, he received a university-wide outstanding teaching award, and at the University of Texas, he ranked in the 98th percentile of all faculty members on a graduating senior exit survey regarding the professor who had the most influence on students’ intellectual development.

Dr. Gillette has given over fifty presentations at professional conferences and to business executives on topics such as institutional effectiveness, accreditation, retention, leadership, change management, teaching excellence, and active learning. He has also served on over ten SACS accreditation on-site visiting teams, and he also serves as an accreditation evaluator for NWCCU.

He received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. in Economics from Texas A & M University. He is also a graduate of the Management Development Program at Harvard University.

Shannon Beets, Executive Vice President and Provost

Since her arrival at Sierra Nevada College seven years ago, Shannon beets has held positions including Dean of Enrollment Services, Assistant Provost, Registrar, Associate Provost for Graduate Programs and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and ran the Las Vegas campus of SNC for three years as Dean of Teacher Education. In 2007 she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at Sierra Nevada College for her work on accreditation, and she led the preparations for the NWCCU Comprehensive Evaluation visit in April 2012, when Sierra Nevada College received five commendations.

Shannon is deeply committed to designing innovative curriculum around applied, high impact practices that can produce measurable, real-world outcomes for students. She has worked closely with the SNC faculty to develop core themes based on the college’s academic mission and with the campus community to strengthen and develop the liberal arts, professional preparedness, entrepreneurial thinking and sustainability at the college. Shannon believes that a liberal arts education provides value to students and is committed to using cutting-edge assessment techniques to prove it.

In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Shannon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities where she teaches classes in ethics, critical thinking, women’s studies, religion, Nevada Constitution, American history and popular culture. Shannon earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Religion and Philosophy from the University of La Verne and an M.A. in Women’s Studies in Religion from Claremont Graduate University. Prior to coming to Sierra Nevada College, Beets spent 14 years in higher education administration at various institutions.

Dan O’Bryan, Associate Provost

A Reno native, Dr. O’Bryan earned his B.A.in English Literature at the University of Nevada, Reno; his M.A. in English Literature at the University of California, Berkeley; and his Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Washington. He taught philosophy at Truckee Meadows Community College and literature, history, philosophy and religious studies at Old College in Reno, Nevada before coming to Sierra Nevada College in 1992. Currently, he teaches the Nevada Constitution, the Senior Course on Ethics, American Literature and Masterpieces of World Literature.

O’Bryan became the Associate Provost in 2007, assisting in the daily functions of the academic dimensions of the college.  He is the chair of the Curriculum Committee, works with department chairs and faculty to create annual goals and is an arbiter in any academic conflicts. His interests include historiography and the challenges that new perspectives such as postmodernism offer to traditional historical understanding; philosophy in terms of the intersections between Asian and Western thought; the psychological and sociological dimensions of religion; and the role of literature as the most sensitive reflection of any historical epoch.

In his role as Humanities Chair and Associate Provost, he has altered the direction and intellectual content of Senior Projects to raise the level of intellectual rigor while standardizing the approach; Senior Projects are carefully assessed on the basis of approach and application, content and knowledge of the topic, connections between the discipline and other areas of study and the disciplines as generally understood in the current academic world. The Senior Projects, together with the Junior Art Portfolio Review, the Business Plan Competition and the Governor’s Cup in the Business Department and the independent research typical of the Science Department now lead to the Senior Symposium, an active demonstration of the emphasis on a culture of excellence and academic achievement at the college.

Sue Johnson, Chief Financial Officer

Sue Johnson has brought over 25 years of progressive executive management experience to SNC. She began her career as a Senior Staff Accountant at Grant Thornton, one of the top account firms in the nation. She subsequently served for over 9 years as the Chief Financial Officer for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, overseeing a $160 million budget and directing the functions of accounting, finance, purchasing, credit, regulatory compliance and strategic planning/analysis, among others.

Following her time at Harrah’s, Sue served as the Acting Chief Financial Officer for Carson City where she coordinated the operations of finance, risk management and purchasing; worked with bond counsel to coordinate bond sales; and directed the annual comprehensive financial report. She subsequently served for two separate one year periods as Carson City’s Internal Auditor. Prior to coming to SNC, she worked for Freeman & Williams, LLP, a Carson City based accounting practice where she developed and managed their internal control review services for a widely diversified clientele.

Sue has a comprehensive understanding and deep appreciation for the meaning of the liberal arts and has a passion for providing financial direction to Sierra Nevada College.

Nicole Ferguson, Vice President of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Information Technology

Nicole Ferguson began her career at Sierra Nevada College in 2007 as Director of Financial Aid. During 7 successful years in this position her accomplishments included completing unqualified single audits each year, working on numerous committees to improve the state of the college, and acquiring progressively expanding supervisory responsibility over employees and campus functions. She was promoted to Vice President in 2014, and currently oversees Admissions, Financial Aid, Marketing, IT, the SNC website and the Campus Store.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Sierra Nevada College in 2002, and worked for a number of years in the financial aid industry before coming to SNC.  She has worked under President Lynn Gillette for five years, during which time he has acted as a mentor, helping refine and hone her successful change management skills.