President's Cabinet

A headshot of SAIC president Elissa Tenny

Elissa Tenny


Elissa Tenny was named president in July 2016, becoming the 15th executive and first woman to lead the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in its more than 150-year history. A career-long proponent of art and design education and the liberal arts, Tenny is an advocate of interdisciplinary practice; diversity, equity, and inclusion in college and throughout society; and the global citizenship role artists, designers, and scholars fulfill, influencing the world at large.

While at SAIC, Tenny has had broad responsibility for overseeing the School’s world-renowned academic programs, strategic direction, and operations across all facets of the institution. During her tenure, the School completed its first-ever major fundraising campaign at 110 percent of goal. She has centered the student experience through further fundraising and planning efforts—which have increased student scholarships, promoted wellness, and expanded career-building experiences for students. Additionally, opportunities for research have increased under Tenny’s leadership, and she personally served as principal investigator for Spencer Foundation-funded research projects involving six Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) schools. Throughout, she has remained a leader in the field, having contributed to AICAD and National Association of Schools of Art and Design conferences, delivered the keynote address at the 40th anniversary celebration for The New School’s School of Media Studies, been named a notable woman in both education and as an executive by Crain’s Chicago Business, and ranked sixth on Newcity’s list of Chicago notables, “Art 50 2017: Who Makes Art Work.”

A headshot of Gene Adams, Chief Information Officer

Gene Adams

Chief Information Officer

Gene has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1997, overseeing teams that serve both the museum and SAIC. His team manages and maintains our technology infrastructure and protects the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital assets throughout the organization.

A headshot of Denise Banks, Chief Human Resources Officer

Denise Banks

Chief Human Resources Officer

Denise oversees the development and execution of all human resources strategies for both SAIC and the Art Institute of Chicago museum. In her role, Denise drives workforce planning, talent acquisition, and employee development initiatives.

A headshot of Martin Berger, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Martin Berger

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs 

Martin has 30 years of experience in higher education and, as provost, he oversees a broad range of academic and administrative departments. An active historian of US art and visual culture, Berger is also the author of three books and an exhibition catalog: Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood (2000), Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture (2005), Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography (2011), and Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle (2013).

A headshot of Tom Buechele, Vice President for Campus Operations

Tom Buechele (BFA 1990, MFA 2017)

Vice President for Campus Operations

Tom’s responsibilities include managing facilities and operations, enhancing the School’s built environment, and overseeing Campus Security. He is also responsible for managing academic resources such as the Media Centers, instructional shops, and specialized academic facilities. This unique blend of departmental responsibilities creates an inclusive and effective team with a shared mission to manage, plan, and operate support services in a specialized educational institution. 

A headshot of Cathy Carlson, Vice President of Financial Analysis and Planning.

Cathy Carlson

Vice President of Financial Analysis and Planning

As vice president of financial analysis and planning, Cathy serves as the leader on every aspect of SAIC’s finances. She manages the strategic budget development process and partners with campus leaders to ensure the fiscal health and sustainability of School resources. She oversees contract negotiations, management reporting tools, long-range planning related to operations and capital planning, and forecast analysis. Cathy is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 10 years of experience in higher education finance.

A headshot of Delinda Collier, Dean of Graduate Studies at SAIC

Delinda Collier

Dean of Graduate Studies 

In her role, Delinda oversees the School's graduate programs. She is also a scholar of modern and contemporary African art, media theory, and Cold War-era global art. She is the author of two books: Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information Colonialism and Angolan Art (2016) and Media Primitivism: Technological Art in Africa (2020).

A headshot of Leslie Darling, Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Leslie Darling

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

As executive vice president and general counsel, Leslie oversees legal operations for both the School and museum. Leslie has extensive experience managing diverse legal issues in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. 

A headshot of Dawn Gavin, Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Dawn Gavin

Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dawn oversees undergraduate studies at the School. Her work investigates issues of loss, appropriation, identity, and displacement, employing a range of media from collage and installed drawings to digital video. 

A headshot of Allison Green, Chief of Staff at SAIC

Allison Green (MA 2009)

Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Allison has worked at SAIC for 16 years, and has supported the Office of the President since 2011. She received her master of arts in Arts Administration and Policy from SAIC. As chief of staff, Allison is responsible for driving strategy for the Office of the President. She also serves on the Board of Directors for America's Urban Campus. 

A headshot of Alexandra Holt, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at SAIC.

Alexandra Holt

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

To best serve the missions of the museum and School and enhance collaboration across central administration, Alexandra oversees human resources, information services, enterprise systems, accounting, and the endowment. She has spent her career serving the private and public sectors in the arenas of infrastructure, budget, and finance. 

A headshot of Debbie Martin, Interim Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Debbie Martin

Interim Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Debbie leads the Student Affairs team who support the needs of a diverse and creative student body. She and her team work to support students' academic, artistic, and personal success, well-being, and career readiness. Debbie has more than 30 years of experience in student affairs, where she has led the development and strategic direction of various student services and programs. As the senior student affairs administrator for the campus, she is responsible for providing leadership for the areas of Academic Advising and CAPX, the Wellness Center, Residence Life, Student Support, International Affairs, Campus Life, Korean and Chinese Advising, and Student Success.

Camille Martin-Thomsen

Camille Martin-Thomsen

Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

As dean of faculty and vice president of academic affairs, Camille oversees the quality and coordination of SAIC’s academic programs, research and professional practice activities, and faculty diversity and inclusion efforts. Camille is also a professor in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects here at SAIC, a registered architect and researcher, and the founding principal of both Martin-Thomsen Architecture, PLLC and TCM Studio.

A headshot of Rose Milkowski, Vice President of Enrollment Management at SAIC

Rose Milkowski

Vice President of Enrollment Management

As vice president of enrollment management, Rose crafts and implements strategies to identify and support prospective and incoming students, ensuring equitable access, success, and retention. With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Rose oversees admissions, financial services, and enrollment marketing at SAIC. 

A headshot of Sekile M. Nzinga, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Sekile M. Nzinga

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As the inaugural vice president, Dr. Nzinga works to advance the School’s commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, accessible, anti-racist, and equitable school community by serving as thought and action partner alongside leadership, faculty, staff, and students throughout the School. Sekile brings a wealth of expertise as an intersectional feminist scholar, educator, and executive leader, having worked across academic, governmental, and not-for-profit sectors. 

A headshot of Devarajulu Ravichandran, Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer

Devarajulu Ravichandran

Vice President of Educational Technologies and Chief Information Officer

Devarajulu leads Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT), consisting of five teams that strategically partner with SAIC students, faculty, and staff to achieve their goals, utilize appropriate technology, and reimagine processes for current and future needs.

As a school-wide resource, CRIT explores, implements, and administers solutions in support of Admissions, Student Financial Services, Continuing Studies, faculty affairs, space and inventory management, websites, security and compliance, and general administrative functions. CRIT also maintains a data warehouse for cross-functional reporting and analysis.

Support services include the help desk, service bureau, advanced output center, print services across campus, computer hardware lifecycle management, teaching and learning support, and administrative software acquisition. CRIT collaborates with the central Information Services department for IT needs that span the school and the museum.

A headshot of Courtney Rowe, Vice President for Advancement at SAIC

Courtney Rowe

Vice President for Advancement

Courtney leads SAIC’s fundraising and alumni engagement programs and provides strategic leadership and oversight of philanthropic activities, including major gifts, planned giving, stewardship, alum and parent engagement, and corporate and foundation relations for the world-renowned art and design college.