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.
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.
Interim Executive Director, Communication + Journalism
Juliet Pinto, PhD, Interim Executive Director of the School of Communication and Journalism and an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism + Media, studies environmental communication in Spanish- and English-language media. She has developed classes in environmental journalism and communication, and has taken students to the Galapagos to report on issues pertaining to resource use and management. Her award-winning documentary on sea level rise, “South Florida’s Rising Seas,” aired in January 2014 and was repurposed by PBS NewsHour for their national newscast, as well as featured in the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald. A member of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda honor society, she earned her doctorate in Communication from the University of Miami, her master’s in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Boston University.
Associate Dean of Students
David Rifkind, Associate Dean of Students and Associate Professor, teaches courses in architectural history, theory, and design. His first book, The Battle for Modernism: Quadrante and the Politicization of Architectural Discourse in Fascist Italy, won the 2011 Premio James Ackerman and was published in 2012 by the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio and Marsilio Editori. His essays have won best article prizes from two flagship journals, the Journal of Architectural Education and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.
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.
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.
Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication
Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver
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.
Kopenhaver joined FIU in 1973 and rose through the ranks to become dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2003, a post she held for nearly nine years. Over the course of her tenure, Kopenhaver was instrumental in creating programs and opportunities for students, particularly women. In what has historically been an industry largely dominated by men, Kopenhaver was frequently one of the few women to hold leadership positions and be part of the decision-making process within the communications fields.
Lillian Anne Abreu
Program and Outreach Officer
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.
In her twenty-year career in the nonprofit field, Lillian has served as a clinician and community grass roots advocate, who has dedicated her career to empowering underserved communities in the states of Florida, Illinois, and New York.
Before joining FIU, Lillian’s expertise in community engagement, development and social entrepreneurship assisted both public and private organizations in meeting their strategic objectives by working with multidisciplinary teams to implement innovative programs, which serve the community. Presently, Lillian resides in the Village of Biscayne Park in Miami, FL and is dedicated to her family, friends, and adopted Lab named Maxi.
Anan Bakir, Office Specialist, provides administrative and clerical support to the Dean’s Office. His first language is Arabic, and he is also fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian. Anan is currently pursuing an associate’s degree in Public Administration at Miami Dade College. He will then transfer to FIU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Interpreting and Translation.
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!
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.
Aaron Pikula, Administrative Assistant, provides office support to the Associate Dean’s at the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA). In addition, he provides support to the Development Officer and Associate Director of Alumni Relations. Before moving to Miami and joining CARTA, Aaron worked in medical administration in Santa Barbara, California. Aaron graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from The State University of New York, College at Buffalo in 2013. He plans to pursue a Master degree in Higher Education Administration from FIU.
Marketing Account Manager
Sunem Roque, Marketing Account Manager for the Office of the Dean. In this capacity Sunem develops and executes communications strategies, including marketing, media relations, and public relations, for College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts. Sunem has a Master’s of Science in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Florida International University.
Executive Director, Operations
Lilia Silverio-Minaya, Director of Administrative Services, oversees the financial management, budget process, and marketing efforts within CARTA. She is also the College’s Human Resource Liaison. Lilia graduated from FIU with her Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 2005 and a Master of Science in Finance in 2007. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Administration at FIU. Her research area is the impact of performance funding in higher education inputs and outcomes.
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, 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.
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.
Advancement and Alumni Relations
Director of Development
Kristin Bird, Director of Development, is a native South Floridian, and holds a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management from the University of Florida. Kristin’s career in fundraising and development started in Gainesville, Florida, where she worked as a Development Director for the Florida 4-H Foundation and a Donor Relations Officer for the University of Florida Foundation. Since returning to South Florida, Kristin has worked as Director of Donor Relations at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. She joined the team at Florida International University in 2013 as the as the Senior Development Officer at the College of Education, and is now a Director of Development for the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts.
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.
Cultural and Community Engagement
Senior Special Events Manager
Office Manager/ CARTA Innovation Lab Manager
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.
Arts @ FIU
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.