Office of the Dean Directory


Brian Schriner

Appointed Dean in 2011, Brian has over 26 years of higher education teaching and administrative experience. Under his leadership and and the faculty’s expertise, the College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts’ (CARTA) has ascended to national prominence. Fully committed to a trans-disciplinary mission to drive the information, innovation, and cultural economy of South Florida, in five years CARTA has strategically grown from 1,200 students to more than 4,000 students and from 70 full-time faculty members to 125; raised nearly $20M in philanthropy and auxiliary revenues in support of the students’ success; and annually exceeds $25M in total revenues. In support of the University’s commitment to community engagement, Brian expanded the College to Miami Beach and launched the CARTA | Miami Beach Urban Studios in the iconic 420 Building on Lincoln Road, where now more than 100 graduate students in design, visual arts, and the performing arts work collaboratively with members of the community and work in the CARTA Innovation Lab. In addition to his administrative work as Dean, Brian is an accomplished author having published five books and numerous scholarly articles. He is also a past recipient of FIU’s prestigious Teaching Incentive Award, has been named Instructor of the Year, and has twice been named to FIU’s College of Business Administration’s Circle of Excellence For Teaching.


Lilia Silverio-Minaya
Assistant Dean of Students + Strategic Planning

Lilia Silverio-Minaya serves as Assistant Dean of Student Services + Strategic Planning and Executive Director of Finance + HR at the FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. Lilia holds undergraduate (2005) and graduate degrees (2007) from FIU. She started the PhD as a part time student in Fall 2015 and is currently ABD. Her dissertation examines the impacts of performance-based funding in higher education which falls under the broader research areas of performance, public and finance management. She has over 10 years of relevant experience in higher education and is fluent in Spanish and English.


Marilys Nepomechie
Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives

Marilys R. Nepomechie, FAIA, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Professor, is a practicing architect and 2015-16 President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Her professional and academic projects – focused on urban resilience and on the design of sustainable, affordable housing and infrastructure – are included in the archives of the National Building Museum. Funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the CINTAS Foundation, her work has been honored with over 40 design and research awards, national and international exhibition, and wide publication.

John Stuart
Associate Dean for Cultural and Community Engagement

John Stuart, AIA, Associate Dean for Cultural and Community Engagement, Director of Miami Beach Urban Studios, and Professor, is a practicing registered architect in the State of Florida. He is also an architectural historian and a visual artist developing collaborative research projects on complexity, community, identity, technology, the environment and public space with funding from Van Alen Institute, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Science Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Shahin Vassigh
Associate Dean of Faculty Development

Shahin Vassigh, Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Professor, has a Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Planning, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. She has considerable professional experience through her work at various consulting engineering firms ranging from bridge design/analysis to large-scale building construction and design. She has built a nationally recognized body of research work focused on improving structures and technology education by developing alternative teaching pedagogies that utilize digital media.

Maria Elena Villar
Associate Dean of Strategic Communication

María Elena Villar administers and oversees of the College’s public relations, marketing, advertising, and special events. She is also an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the School of Communication + Journalism at Florida International University and teaches courses in communication theory, research methods, multicultural communication, and advanced seminars in strategic communications. She holds a doctorate in communications and master’s in public health from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University.


Britton Davis
Senior Coordinator of Administrative Services

Under this role Ms. Davis works on the finance and budget under the Office of the Dean as well as specific projects throughout the College. Britton graduated from FIU’s School of Business in 2012 and began working with the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts Office of the Dean as an Office Manager while focusing on with Human Resources and Budget. In February 2015, she began working in CARTA’s very own School of Music as the Budget Coordinator where her primary focus was budget processing of purchasing and forecasting. We are excited that Ms. Davis has returned to the Office of the Dean where she hopes to establish new budget procedures and further skills that benefit the College and the Department units to fulfilling the University’s mission!

Nicole Kolich
Senior Special Events Manager

Nicole Kolich, Senior Special Events Manager, serves as the lead for CARTA events involving the Dean, and provides support and counsel to other CARTA units regarding event protocol. She graduated from FIU in 2004 with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Communications.  Nicole has over 13 years experience in event management and protocol.  She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Hospitality Management.

Hansel de Haro
WebMaster / IT

Hansel de Haro, Web Master, is responsible for designing and managing the College’s websites, while also providing IT and technical support for the Dean’s Office. Hansel has a master’s degree in Architecture from FIU and stayed within the CARTA family after graduating.

Carmen Quintero
Director of First Impressions/Receptionist

Carmen Quintero serves as the Director of First Impressions/Receptionist for the Office of the Dean for the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA). Carmen provides general administrative support, assist with meetings, scheduling, and monitors the mailbox. Carmen joins FIU after over 17 years of experience with Hewlett Packard and has a certificate in Computer Business Systems.

Sunem Roque
Human Resources Manager

Sunem Roque, Human Resources Manager for the Office of the Dean for College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA). In this capacity Sunem works with the Executive Director of Operations on the planning, implementation and coordination of human resources activities to maximize the strategic use of resources. Sunem has a Master’s of Science in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida International University. Sunem also facilitates FIU’s Service Excellence trainings with the purpose of training staff on FIU’s customer service standards. To this extent, Sunem aims to provide outstanding customer service, as well as to recruit and retain a diverse workforce. Her primary focus is on the day-to-day activities for issues related to Administrative and staff positions within CARTA.

Sharon Spallone
Human Resources Coordinator

Sharon Spallone, Human Resources Coordinator for the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts, served in the U.S Army for 10 years and has over 20 years of experience in Executive Administration and Office Management. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from FIU in Business Administration.

Rashida Taylor
Finance Manager

Rashida Taylor, Finance Manager, is responsible for budgeting, forecasting, and analyzing the financial activities of various funding sources within the Dean’s Office. She graduated from FIU with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting in 2011, later obtaining a Master of Accounting from FIU’s Graduate School of Accounting in 2012. She began working at FIU in 2008 as a student and then working full time within the CARTA Dean’s Office in 2012.

Linda Woolfson
Senior Executive Assistant to the Dean

Linda Woolfson, Senior Executive Assistant to Dr. Brian Schriner, Dean of the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and to Lilia Silverio-Minaya, Executive Director of Operations. Linda provides executive office support, calendar maintenance and facilitation of meeting arrangements, and processing of visit requests. Linda has over 20 years of experience in Executive Administration, Office Management, and Event Planning. Her well-rounded experience represents strong analytical skills, staff and office management, event coordination, and fundraising.


Oliver Ionita
Director of Development
Cell: 312-330-1483

Mr. Ionita has more than 20 years of fundraising experience, working for prestigious organizations including Jazz at Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Architecture, Design & the Arts.

He holds a Bachelor in Music Performance from The Juilliard School and a Masters of Arts in Performing Arts Administration from New York University (NYU).
Mr. Ionita partners with Dean Schriner and CARTA faculty and staff to identify strategic priorities and generate philanthropic support for the College.

Maria Claverie
Associate Director of Alumni Relations

Maria G. Claverie, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, holds a master’s degree in International Development Education from FIU. She has worked in higher education for more than 15 years and joined the CARTA team in 2011. Maria oversees the planning of alumni events, serves as the CARTA Alumni Liaison to the central Alumni Office, and engages alumni in the life of the College. She is also responsible for identifying prospective alumni donors and matching their philanthropic priorities with the College’s needs and their engagement with the Annual Fund. Maria also identifies, manages, and processes sponsorships for CARTA.


Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver
Executive Director

Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver is executive director of the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication and dean emeritus and professor of the SJMC. She was named the Outstanding Woman in Journalism and Mass Communication Education for 2009 by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. A nationally known expert and researcher on the First Amendment, the scholastic and collegiate press, and the role and status of women in communication, she is the author of more than 115 scholarly articles, monographs and books.

She is past president of AEJMC, College Media Advisers, the Student Press Law Center, and the Community College Journalism Association. She holds the Wells Memorial Key from the Society of Professional Journalists, only the second woman in the history of the organization to win that award at that time, the CMA Distinguished Service Award, the AEJMC Newspaper Division Distinguished Service Award, the AEJMC Outstanding Leadership Award, the FIU Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Torch Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rowan University. In 2011 she was awarded FIU’s Distinguished University Service Medallion for her outstanding contributions to FIU, as well as her distinguished service to the profession and the community.

Lillian Anne Abreu
Research Associate and Program Specialist

Lillian Anne Abreu is currently the Program and Outreach Officer at the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University (FIU). She is also pursuing a doctoral degree at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at FIU.

Ms. Abreu received a Master in Science in Fundraising Management and Nonprofit Administration from Columbia University, New York. She also holds a Master in Science in Social Work from Loyola University and a Bachelor in Science in Social Work from Florida State University.


Jacqueline Thompson
Office Manager/ CARTA Innovation Lab Manager

Jacqueline (Jacqui), Office Manager , oversees the Urban Studios as well as the CARTA Innovation Lab, she is a trained MakerBot technician, ensuring students, faculty, and guest have properly functioning 3D printers. Jacqui has an associates degree in Urban Planning from University of Technology in Jamaica and a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from FIU, Jacqui has worked in the CARTA family for 6 years.


Mark Marine
Program Director

Mark Marine, Program Director of FIU By Design and CARTA’s Facility and Auxiliary Services, serves as the liaison between CARTA and FIU’s Facilities Management Office. Since becoming Director, Mark has overseen the construction and renovation of several CARTA facilities, including: DM-150 theatre renovation, VH-100 photography lab, Sculpture Lab and Workshops, W-01C Ceramic Lab, Paul Cejas School of Architecture building, as well as overseeing the rental of all CARTA auxiliary spaces such as the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center, Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS), and Theatre rentals. Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from FIU in 2000 and his Master of Architecture from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2003.


Regina Bailey
Senior Project Manager

Regina Bailey, Senior Arts Manager of Arts @ FIU, works collaboratively across the university, and specifically with the Arts @ FIU Task Force, developing a plan for the ARTS; expanding opportunities for student success; increasing funded research and creative opportunities and establishing a focused, inclusive branding campaign that elevates the arts. She has been engaged in the arts at FIU for over 25 years as a staff member of The Wolfsonian – FIU and the Art Museum at FIU. In addition, she is a Senior Fellow in the Honors College. She holds an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

Miami Urban Future Initiative

Chris Caines
Executive Director

Chris Caines, Executive Director of the Miami Urban Futures Initiative, joined FIU from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation where he served as Interim Miami Program Director and worked to develop and execute a community outreach and grant strategy focusing on advancing the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami. Caines has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Wesleyan University and is currently an MPA Candidate at Florida International University pursuing a concentration in Community Development. He serves as vice chair on Miami-Dade County’s Millennial Task Force’s Transportation Committee and has been named a Harvard Business School Young American Leader and a Legacy Magazine 40 under 40 Black South Florida leader of today and tomorrow.

Michael Aquino
Program Assistant

Michael Aquino, Program Assistant of the Miami Urban Futures Initiative, graduated from FIU with a degree in Business Administration in Management with a minor in Global Media Communications.  Prior to joining the CARTA family, he provided direct assistance to the operations unit, under the MBA programs, for the FIU Chapman Graduate School of Business at FIU Downtown in Brickell. With an extensive background serving in various councils within the FIU community, he brings valuable experience working within the university’s student and academic affairs.  

College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts
Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199
PH: 305-348-7500 | Fx: 305-348-6717