Our Faculty are subject matter experts who care deeply about the mission and the students of Granite State College. They enjoy opportunities to share their real-world expertise and help you apply what you learn in a way that’s meaningful to your personal and professional goals.

Learning from instructors who are active in their field will provide you with a unique experience as a student: they understand your goals, challenge you in the classroom, celebrate your milestones, and support you if you encounter any challenges during your experience balancing your college education with the rest of your responsibilities.

Faculty Spotlight

Below you’ll find a selection of Faculty Bios. They’re updated on an ongoing basis and we encourage you to visit this page frequently to learn more about our instructors.

Instructor Burgess Smith
Burgess Smith, M.A. Undergraduate History (B.A.)

I hold an Ed.D. in higher education with a specialization in online learning from Nova Southeastern University, and an M.A. in history from the Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on American public thought. In addition to teaching I spent many years as a college executive, developing adult, baccalaureate programs at a wide variety of colleges and universities.

I discovered adult, non-traditional learners in my early teaching years, and this experience set the rest of my academic career. I believe the growth of continuing education arguably is the most significant trend in higher education since the end of World War II, and I’ve always found working adults the most stimulating learners with whom to work.

I now spend my time as a Senior Lecturer and Faculty Fellow at Granite State, as Executive Director of the Upland Headwaters Alliance (a group of conservation agencies in western Maine and the Mount Washington Valley) and as a Board of Directors member for two of these agencies. This means if I'm not parked in front of my computer I'm probably somewhere in the Maine woods or canoeing its waters.

Classes taught include:
- U.S. History to 1865
- U.S. History 1865 to Present
- The Vietnam War
- American Government & Politics
- Living in a Digital Democracy
- History of New England
- History of World War Two
- Humanities in an Age of Technology
- European History, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century

Instructor Derek Merceir
Derek Mercier, M.Ed. Undergraduate Math Studies with Teacher Certification (7-12) General Special Ed (B.A.)

I'm a full-time math teacher at Concord High School. I have been teaching high school math for 14 years and have been an adjunct professor at Granite State College for four years. I have a math degree from Ithaca College in upstate New York. I also have my master's and CAGs from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. I currently live in Concord with my beautiful wife and my two lovely boys.

Classes taught include:
- MATH 502: Math for Our World

Instructor Edward Alkalay
Edward Alkalay, J.D. Undergraduate Business Management (B.S.)

As a co-founding member of Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC, our practice involves all civil litigation (including real estate, business and zoning and planning issues), employment law, personal injury law, and criminal defense. From 1999 to 2004, I was an Assistant United States Attorney at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and handled a case load of over 70 cases for the federal government. Prior to that, I worked as a federal law clerk to the Honorable William I. Gafinkel in Connecticut and to the Honorable James T. Turner in Washington, D.C. From 1993 to 1997, I worked as a prosecutor and Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York City. When not working as a lawyer, I am an active songwriter and musician, with three CDs to my credit. For further details visit www.edalkalay.com.

Classes are discussion based with participation encouraged but not required. In order to maximize the learning experience for all involved, it's important that the classroom be a place where students feel comfortable asking questions, contributing differing opinions and exploring ideas that may be unfamiliar. This can only be possible in an environment where respect for differences and tolerance are the norm, and as such, all students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which supports this spirit. Assignments typically involve short writing assignments and either a take-home or in-class mid-term and final.

Classes taught include:
- MGMT625: Legal and Ethical Issues in Business

Instructor Liz Gauffreau
Elizabeth Gauffreau, M.A. Undergraduate Individualized Studies (B.A.)

I was a nontraditional college student (married with a young child) when I completed my bachelor's degree in English with a Concentration in Writing at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I majored in English because I had discovered the power of writing in 9th grade English ("Barn Burning"), and I wanted to be a part of that world. I've been a part of it ever since: as a reader, as a writer, as a teacher, and as an appreciative listener at Literary Flash & Poetry Slam competitions sponsored by the New Hampshire Writers' Project.

Classes taught include:
- CRIT502: Conducting Critical Inquiry

Instructor Gail Poitrast
Gail Poitrast, Ed.D. Undergraduate Mathematics, Grades 5-8 (B.A.)

Over my 35-year career in education, I have taught mathematics and mathematics education courses to students in middle school, high school, and college. I taught in SAU #48, both at Russell School and Plymouth Regional High School, from 1985 until 2014, and now teach mathematics at the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS), and has been a faculty member at Granite State College since 2002. I presently serve as a senior lecturer, faculty fellow, Lead Mathematics Faculty for Quantitative Inquiry, and as a member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. In the spring of 2007, I was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from Granite State College. I recently earned her Doctorate of Education degree at New England College in Henniker, NH.

During my career, I have presented several workshops on topics ranging from using data to drive instruction to middle/secondary mathematics teaching methods. Some of my presentations have included Assessment and Faculty: Navigating Troubled Waters at the 2009 NEEAN Fall Forum Assessment Conference and Data-driven Journey to Improve Student Learning at the NSDC National Summer Conference. One of my latest publications was as a contributing author of a chapter in Becoming Life-Long Learners—A Pedagogy for Learning About Visionary Leadership. My dissertation, Exploring the Path to Equitable Online Education: Secondary Students' Perceptions of Best Practices to Maintain Motivation and Persistence in an Alternative High School Program, researched what high school students felt helped them succeed in their online classes.

Classes taught include:
- EDU 652: Aspects of Mathematics Learning

Instructor George Wattendorf
George Wattendorf, J.D. Undergraduate Criminal Justice (B.S.)

After serving an enlistment in the U.S. Army I went to college and finished my B.A. at Keene State. After graduating from college in 1982, I attended the 62nd NH Police Academy and began working as a police officer in Peterborough, NH. I left the police department in 1985 to attend law school full-time. After graduating law school in 1988, I returned to police work and retired from the Dover NH Police in 2005, after a total of 20 years as an officer and prosecutor. Following that I was in private law practice for 3 years, and currently work in the security field. During my law enforcement career I was a instructor at the NH Police Academy, and a trainer at numerous state and national law enforcement seminars on the topics of stalking and targeted violence in the workplace. I have published articles in the NH Bar Journal and national law enforcement journals on those topics. I have been teaching law and criminal justice courses as an adjunct professor at Granite State since 1994.

My teaching philosophy:
I view myself as more of a facilitator than a lecturer. My challenge is to spark your interest in a topic. My teaching style is to design interesting and real world course assignments and to motivate you to learn even beyond what is required in the syllabus. Selected topics are based on contemporary events impacting society, often controversial. You can agree or disagree with these topics as long as you support your position. I specifically ask you to engage in problem solving, independent critical thinking, essay writing, and Internet research, all to focus on skills that you will need to advance in your career. If you are working or planning to work in the criminal justice or legal field, my goal is for you to feel like you are better prepared to enter or advance in that profession. Even if your not planning to work in the legal field, the law is a subject which impacts all professions and having an awareness of how law evolves in our society is valuable asset.

Classes taught include:
- CRIM 500: Intro to Criminology

Instructor Jonathan Kipp
Jonathan Kipp, CSP, CRM Graduate Business (M.S.)

Jonathan D. Kipp, CSP, CRM, serves as Operations Manager for Primex3 where he oversees the Education, Training, and Risk Management services provided to members. He joined Primex3 in 1986 as the organization’s first Loss Prevention Manager and has subsequently served in several different roles. Mr. Kipp graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in Business Administration in 1977, and a Masters in Public Administration in 2012. He earned the designations Certified Safety Professional (CSP) in 1989 and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) in 2009.

Throughout his career, Jonathan has had numerous, challenging opportunities to effectively lead and communicate. In business he has been a senior manager for a good portion of his career, and has helped to guide organizational strategy. As a volunteer he co-chaired a committee to oversee the relocation and construction of a church and school, and also served as an assistant fire chief and emergency incident commander. He is a contributing author to several text and reference books.

Classes taught include:
- MGMT 500: Principles of Management

Kath DesRoches
Kathy DesRoches, Ed.D. Graduate Leadership (M.S.)

I earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Plymouth State University in 2014. I completed both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNH. I have spent my career working in education. Personally, I love to learn and I find it as equally satisfying to work with others as they learn. I am the Program Manager for the M.S. in Leadership at Granite State College and Senior Lecturer.

Program Director:
- M.S. in Leadership

Instructor Kristen Bequeath
Kristen Bequeath, D.A., M.S. Graduate Leadership (M.S.)

For more than 15 years, I have worked in the telecom industry. Currently, I serve as the Director of Service Delivery with an organization spanning across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In this role, I lead a variety of functions and teams ranging from Program Management to Service Delivery Metrics.

I have worked and led operations through major initiatives and change over my tenure. This vast experience in change initiatives provide both insight and strengths as a practitioner in leadership to share in the classroom.

I completed a Doctoral of Arts program with Franklin Pierce University in Leadership Studies with a focus in Organizational Culture and Behavior. I earned both a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.S in Organizational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. This combines a theoretical approach to her experience as a practitioner and brings a comprehensive instructor to the classroom.

I have been married for over eighteen years and currently lives in southern New Hampshire with my family. I love to watch my sport fanatic children play, in addition to swimming, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

Instructor Mark Jewell
Mark Jewell, N.D., Ph.D. Graduate Leadership (M.S.)

Greetings - I'm Dr. Mark Jewell, an Adjunct Instructor in the Graduate Leadership Studies at Granite State College. I currently hold the position of Bureau Chief, overseeing the Welfare to Work Program for the NH Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Family Assistance. My management experience spans over 32 years in both for-profit and non-profit settings. In addition, I have 15-plus years teaching at various colleges throughout New Hampshire; predominately in the field of Organizational Management, Leadership, and Human Service Systems.

My teaching philosophy is to bring a realistic perspective of practice to the classroom, coupled with the philosophy and foundations of organizational theory and management. I use an open style instructional method, relying on discussion, exercises, and reflection by his students. I believe that in order for a person to effectively learn, they first need to synthesize the information provided, and then draw from their own conclusions and insights.

I possess a B.S. in Human Services, an M.S. in Human Service Administration, and two post-graduate degrees in Naturopathy, and Holistic Health.

Instructor MaryBeth McNicholas
MB McNicholas, M.B.A., P.M.P., C.S.M. Graduate Project Management (M.S.)

Mary Beth McNicholas has over 25 years of project and program management experience in health care, insurance, manufacturing and professional services industries overseeing large, complex ERP application implementations, transformation and Merger and Acquisition programs.

Mary Beth's Project Management teaching philosophy centers around her belief that PM is learned best using a hands-on approach where students experience the application of PM skills and techniques in the classroom or online course work.

She holds an MBA (finance concentration) from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH and holds certifications in both PMP and CSM (Certified Scrum Master).

Program Director:
- M.S. in Project Management

Nick Marks
Nick Marks, M.B.A., M.S. Undergraduate Marketing (B.S.)

Hello! My name is Nick Marks, and I've been a faculty member in higher education since 2005. My background is in business, and I've worked in higher education as an administrator for approximately fifteen years. In my spare time, I am also a doctoral student at Plymouth State University where I am pursuing a degree in Leadership, Learning and Community. I live in the Lakes Region in New Hampshire with my wonderful wife and two young boys. Though I'm not the 'avid' athlete I wish I could be, I enjoy spending time biking and running during the summer and trying to avoid the snow as much as possible in the winter!

In my courses I place heavy emphasis on a practical application of the course content. Memorizing terms and concepts is tedium - real learning occurs with action, and with application of course concepts to real life scenarios. Weekly discussion boards focus on these practical applications and I encourage students to interact with one another as a means of sharing ideas and perspectives. Case analyses provide students with an opportunity to apply the concepts they learn in the course and offer perspective on potential action plan scenarios. Group projects allow a collaborative learning opportunity to occur as students work together to plan, implement, and present projects during courses. We all learn from each other, and no matter how many times I teach a course it is important to me that we all come away from the course with more knowledge than when we started!

Classes taught include:
- MGMT514: Principles of Marketing

Instructor M. Patrick McGowan
Patrick McGowan, M.S. Undergraduate Allied Health Leadership (B.S.)

Patrick attended Truman State University, where he received his bachelor's in English and Theatre. He settled in New Hampshire with a family of four. He works at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in the Medicaid Public Insurance Office. He received his Master's Degree from Springfield College in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Public Health.

Classes taught include:
- HLTC 612: Community, Culture, and Health

Instructor Susan Dame
Susan R. Dame, M.Ed Undergraduate Applied Studies: Human Services and Early Childhood Development (B.S.)

Susan Dame has taught Early Childhood Education and special education classes since 1985.

Classes taught include:
- EDU 602:Young Children with Exceptionalities