Our Staff

The Graduate College Staff is here to support you. For general questions, please contact graduatecollege@kent.edu. For questions related to graduate admissions, please contact Graduate Admissions in the Division of Enrollment Management. For questions regarding existing applications, you may contact gradapps@kent.edu, or gradadmissions@kent.edu.


Headshot of Sarah Beal

Sarah Beal, Ph.D. | she/her | Professional Development Specialist

sbeal5@kent.edu, 220C Cartwright Hall

Sarah is the Professional Development Specialist in a joint appointment with the Center for Teaching & Learning at Kent State University. She holds a PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Roman dining practices. Sarah’s teaching focuses on designing student-centered learning environments that are active and inclusive, and she is interested in incorporating gamification and game-design principles into the classroom. She also has experience with online and hybrid pedagogies. 

Roles: teaching support and programming, including group workshops and individual consultations; mentoring Graduate Student Fellows and Teaching Fellows



Shelby Burkhart Headshot

Shelby Burkhart, M.Ed. | she/her | Administrative Operations Manager, Office of the Provost

sburkha7@kent.edu, Office of the Provost (2nd Floor Library)

Shelby is the Administrative Operations Manager in a joint appointment with the Office of the Provost at Kent State University. She holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs and a certificate in Institutional Research and Assessment. 



Roles: leaves of absences, additional employment, graduate assistants, academic policies


Headshot of Christa Porter

Christa Porter, Ph.D. | she/her | Associate Dean, Graduate College; Associate Professor, HIED

cporte24@kent.edu, 314B University Library

Christa is the Associate Dean in the Graduate College and Associate Professor in Higher Education Administration & Student Affairs. As a leader, teacher, and scholar, she is guided by an equity-minded, collaborative, engaged, and critical praxis. Her areas of expertise include: (1) policies and practices that influence the trajectory of Black women in higher education; (2) student development at the intersections of identities; and (3) theory, research, and praxis in higher education (how and why we do what we do). She has been nationally recognized for her scholarship, teaching, and service, and her work appears in various peer reviewed journals and edited texts. Dr. Porter earned her doctoral degree in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia, her master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her bachelor’s degree in Social Relations and Policy from James Madison College at Michigan State University.

Roles: strategic plans for graduate education; practices and policies concerning graduate students; faculty development and retention; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts 


Headshot of Alexxus Sidney

Alexxus Sidney | she/her | Special Assistant

asidney@kent.edu, 314G University Library

Alexxus is the Special Assistant in the Graduate College. She received her Bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State in 2020. Prior to her role in the Graduate College, Alexxus gained experience as a Resident Assistant and Conference Assistant at Kent State, as well as experience as a Student Desk Receptionist for University Housing.



Roles: programming, communications, student highlights, award processing and distributions, re-enrollment, mentoring Graduate Student Fellows


Headshot of Manfred van Dulmen

Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D. | he/him | Senior Associate Provost; Dean, Graduate College

mvandul@kent.edu, Office of the Provost (2nd Floor Library)

Manfred is the Dean of the Graduate College. He also serves as Senior Associate Provost and is a Professor of Psychological Sciences. At Kent State he has held administrative leadership positions at the department, college, and university level. He has provided leadership to various university-wide initiatives including Kent State University’s response and strategy during the COVID-19 Pandemic. His leadership style is data-driven and value-oriented with a commitment to DEIB and faculty, staff, and student success. He earned his PhD in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota and MA in Psychology from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands).  

Roles: oversight of graduate education, policies, and standards; advocating for graduate student needs