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President's Executive Council

Chief of Staff Beth Bower

Beth Bower, Chief of Staff to the President,, ext. 6134
Ms. Bower joined Salem State in December 2007, bringing over 20 years of government affairs and higher education experience to this position. She previously served as the special assistant to the provost and archivist, and director of the Moakley Institute at Suffolk University, as well as director of external affairs for the Central Artery Project. Ms. Bower holds an MA in anthropology from Brown University, and a BA in history from Simmons College.


Chunju Chen

Chunju Chen, Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Decision Support,, ext. 2046
Dr. Chen joined the Salem State University community in 2016. Chen has 15 years of experience as executive director of institutional research at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She subsequently served as assistant provost of institutional research, planning and assessment at Northern Michigan University. Dr. Chen has extensive experience working across divisions to provide a full range of institutional research functions and strategic planning support to promote a climate of data-driven decision-making. Dr. Chan holds a PhD and an MA in Vocational and Technical Education from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and a BA in Foreign Languages for Science and Technology from China University of Geosciences.


Karen House

Karen House, Vice President for Finance and Business,, ext. 6120
Ms. House joined Salem State university in 2014 and is responsible for the development of the institution’s annual budget and the multi-year financial plan, including the allocation of fiscal resources in support of the university’s academic and administrative programs; and for overall fiscal accountability. A graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, she holds in addition a master’s degree in business administration and a graduate certificate from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. House has extensive experience in the private sector as an accountant, internal auditor and management accountant. She began her career in academia at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, progressing to associate vice president for business affairs/comptroller before joining Keene State College in 2000.


Scott James

Scott James, Vice President of Enrollment Management, Student Life, and Marketing,, ext. 6243
Dr. James joined the Salem State University community in 2008 and has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. Before joining the team here at Salem State, he served at Lesley University, first as the university registrar and then as the associate vice president of enrollment management. Dr. James holds an EdD in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University, an MEd in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University, and a BA in psychology from Boston University.


John Keenan

John Keenan, General Counsel and Vice President of Administration,, ext. 6400
A former Massachusetts state representative for the 7th Essex District, John D. Keenan joined the university in 2014 and is responsible for the university’s day-to-day operations in support of its academic mission. He is also responsible for the oversight of capital planning and facilities, human resources and equal opportunity, information technology, risk and asset management, and university police. Additionally, he oversees the maintenance of appropriate internal controls consistent with the rules and regulations of the state and the board of trustees. John Keenan, who resides with his family in Salem, is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Suffolk University Law School. Prior to his election as state representative, he served as an assistant district attorney for the eastern district of Essex County, city solicitor for the city of Salem and an attorney in his own law practice.


Lisa McBride

Lisa McBride, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion,, ext. 3022
Dr. McBride joined Salem State University in 2016 and is responsible for leading efforts to create a university-wide diversity plan and partnering with members of both the university and external communities on issues of diversity, inclusion, and social justice.  Prior to this position, she served as the inaugural chief diversity officer at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and held several positions in the Florida and Pennsylvania State University Systems including associate professor in the criminal justice department and special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Dr. McBride began her career as a police officer and federal criminal investigator working in various international as an undercover operative.  She holds both a BS and MS from Indiana State University and a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University.  


Cynthia McGurren

Cynthia McGurren, Vice President of Institutional Advancement,, ext.7591
Ms. McGurren joined the Salem State community in 1983 and has over 20 years of higher education, public affairs and, more recently, fundraising experience. She has served as vice president since 2004, during which time the university's endowment has increased by 120 percent. Previous positions at the university include director of college relations and special assistant for external affairs for Salem State president emerita Nancy Harrington. From Dec. 1996 to Apr. 1999, Ms. McGurren was the district coordinator for U.S. Representative John F. Tierney. She holds a BS in general studies from Salem State University. 


David Silva

David J. Silva, Provost and Academic Vice President,, ext. 6240
With over 15 years of administrative experience, Provost Silva joins Salem State in March 2015. He has served in numerous capacities at the University of Texas at Arlington, including his role as founding department chair of the newly established department of linguistics. In 2007, he was appointed vice provost for academic affairs where he was responsible for a broad portfolio of academic initiatives, and then went on to become the university’s vice provost for faculty affairs. As a scholar of linguistics, Dr. Silva has an extensive research portfolio that focuses on phonetic variation and language change in Korean. He has also published and presented on issues germane to university-level teaching and assessment. His scholarly work has been funded by the Fulbright Program, the Korea Foundation, and the Academy of Korean Studies, among many others. Dr. Silva holds a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University, a master of arts in linguistics degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in linguistics, both from Cornell University. His teaching career began at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he became a full professor of linguistics.


Cabinet Members for Academic Year 2016-17 (PDF)

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