The Future of Higher Education Panel

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
1:45 p.m. (Link opens), 1:50 p.m. (Panel begins)
Click here to register.

The Future of Higher Education Logo


This event is part of St. John’s University’s 150th Anniversary celebration. An expert panel will present on the future of higher education, careers, and how St. John’s University is addressing these issues to be a preeminent force in higher education for years to come.

Click here to register.

Event Overview

  • The panel will be held on Webex. 
  • The entire St. John’s University community is invited to attend (inclusive of students, faculty, employees, and alumni). 
  • Moderator and discussants will have audio and video.  Attendees will be muted with no video. 
  • Attendee questions are encouraged.  Questions should be submitted through the Q&A box. 
  • Audience questions will be interwoven within the conversation as deemed appropriate by the moderator. 
  • The audience is encouraged to use the chat function during the session.


Emily D’Alessandro Headshot

The School of Education
Class of 2021
2020-2021 President's Society Member

Emily is a senior Childhood Education major at St. John’s University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education in May 2021. She is enrolled in the five year program to earn a Master of Science in Education in May 2022. Over her four years at St. John’s University, she has been involved in a variety of organizations. Most recently, she was inducted as a member of the 2020-2021 President’s Society, which is the highest honor at the University. Since her sophomore year she has worked for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a Student Ambassador, where she leads campus tours to prospective students and their families. 

Academically, Emily serves as the Secretary on the Executive Board of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. She is also employed at the University Writing Center as an undergraduate writing consultant. There, she works one on one with her peers to help guide them through the writing process. Emily also had the honor of being a member for the National Society of Leadership and Success, the St. John’s University Honors Program, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. Her accomplishments also include being a recipient of the Provost's Scholarship. Emily is looking forward to completing her education at St. John’s University and beginning her career as an elementary school teacher. 


Nikhil Yadav Headshot

Program Director, Information Technology
Assistant Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics and Science
St. John’s University

Nikhil Yadav, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science at The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies. He regularly serves as session chair for Engineering Education research at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference. He has published research articles at the FIE and IEEE Integrated Stem Education Conferences, (ISEC) to name a few.

Dr. Yadav’s research interest lies in predicting student performances from assessment material using machine-learning techniques. With academia impacted by COVID-19, he explores the use of artificial intelligence to predict and aid student performance in distance learning scenarios. This can help in intervention strategies by focusing on students who need attention earlier, rather than later, in a course. His current research also explores psychophysiological signal analysis for ambient computing using IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) and AR (Augmented Reality) technology. 

Prior to St. John’s, Dr. Yadav earned a doctoral degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Florida. When he is not quarantining, you will find him playing fetch with his cavalier poodle, Yogi.


Leigh Hall Headshot

Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education
Literacy Research Center and Clinic
University of Wyoming

Leigh A. Hall, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Wyoming (UW), where she holds the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education. She taught middle school language arts and social studies in Houston, TX, before returning to graduate school to earn a doctorate in literacy education. Prior to coming to UW, Dr. Hall was at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Hall’s research centers on helping adolescents improve their academic reading and writing abilities. She examines how teachers can work with diverse learners to help them improve their literacy practices within the context of the classroom. Dr. Hall is particularly interested in the role technology plays in enhancing instruction to achieve these goals.

Her research has received several awards, including the Outstanding Dissertation award from the International Literacy Association, the Early Career Achievement Award, and the Edward B. Fry Book Award for Empowering Struggling Readers: Practices for the Middle Grades (both from the Literacy Research Association). She has published in such journals as Research in the Teaching of English, the Journal of Literacy Research, the Teachers College Record, and the Harvard Educational Review.


Col Chris Mayer Headshot

Colonel, US Army
Associate Dean for Strategy and Initiatives 
United States Military Academy

Chris Mayer, Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Strategy and Initiatives and an Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point and a career Army officer. His responsibilities include strategic planning, curriculum development, accreditation, and assessment.

Dr. Mayer teaches courses in the areas of ethical theory, the ethics of war, political philosophy, and the philosophy of religion. He serves as an evaluator and member of the Committee on Applicant and Candidate Institutions for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. As an evaluator for the Quality Assurance Commons, he works with colleges and universities to evaluate and strengthen their efforts to prepare students for the future of work.

Dr. Mayer is an Association of Professional Futurists/European Futures Observatory emerging fellow and was a Teagle Assessment Scholar with the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College from 2011 to 2018. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Virginia.

Simon Moller

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor, Biological Sciences
St. John’s University

Simon Geir Møller currently serves as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Following a four-year North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-funded postdoctoral position at Rockefeller University Simon was appointed as an assistant professor in 2001 and as associate professor in 2004 at The University of Leicester, UK. In 2006 Simon was appointed as Professor and Chair of Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Stavanger, Norway and held a joint professorship at The Norwegian Centre for Movement Disorders. In 2009 Simon founded and became Director of Centre for Organelle Research, a research center dedicated to organelle biology. He also founded the biotechnology company Plastid Corp in 2007. Simon was appointed as a tenured professor at St. John’s University, Department of Biological Sciences in 2011 and in 2014 as the Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Research. In 2015 he became Senior Vice Provost. In 2018 he was appointed Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs. On July 1, 2019, he was appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Simon maintains an active research laboratory and has published more than 80 research articles and book chapters in prestigious journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Genes and Development, and EMBO Journal. He has received international recognition for his contribution to sciences including The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Young Investigator Award, The Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB) Young Scientist Award, The Society of Experimental Biology (SEB) President’s Medal in Cell Biology and The Promega International Scientific Prize. Simon is also an elected member of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Technology and has had numerous advisory board and board member positions within the biotechnology industry sector.