At present, the Cabinet is comprised of the following individuals and their roles:

Damián J. Fernández, Ph.D.


The President serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the College with responsibility for ensuring the success of the institution’s mission, enrollment growth and management, academic integrity, fiscal stability, fundraising, personnel, and physical plant management. The President provides vision and strategic leadership to college operations and engages the governing board, faculty, staff, and students in realizing the future of the College’s extraordinary potential. The President acts as a mentor for vice presidents, faculty, and staff, collaborates on strategic issues impacting the college, and serves as the decision-maker for all aspects of campus operations, policies, practices, and activities.

Dr. Damián J. Fernández is currently serving as President. He assumed the presidency June 1, 2023. A Cuban immigrant who grew up in Puerto Rico and a first-generation college student, Fernández comes to Warren Wilson with more than 30 years of experience in teaching and leadership positions at both private and public institutions. Most recently, he served as President of Eckerd College.

Fernández received his bachelor’s from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Miami. He is a National Science Foundation grant recipient, and he sat on the Board of the American Council on Education (ACE) and on the Association of Governing Boards Council of Presidents.

Jay Roberts, Ph.D.

Provost & Dean of the Faculty

The Provost and Dean of the Faculty has oversight over Academic Affairs (all academic programs and degrees, faculty recruitment and evaluation, faculty development, curriculum standards and accreditation, student success offices, the library, careers and internships, land resources, and international education); Student Life (all Counseling and Wellness Centers, the Chaplain and Center for Spiritual Life), the Work Program, International Education, and Career Services. The combination of Provost and Dean signifies a special responsibility and relationship with the academic faculty and the academic mission. This role is also responsible for strategic planning and implementation of initiatives to further integrate the principal components of a Warren Wilson education (academic, community engagement, and work) in both design and function.

Roberts joined Warren Wilson College in June 2020 as Vice President of Academic Affairs and, as of July 1, 2021, transitioned to Provost and Dean of the Faculty. Previously, Roberts spent 20 years at Earlham College as a Professor of Education and Environmental Studies, serving 7 years as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Roberts is a 2019-20 Fellow with the American Council on Education [ACE] and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Experiential Education. Roberts is a noted authority on experiential learning, publishing multiple articles and books on the subject. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University, a Master of Education from University of Virginia, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Lawrence University.

Alan Russell

Vice President for Administration & Finance / CFO

The Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO is responsible for the overall budget and expenditures of the College. In addition, this position has direct oversight for the following units: Finance and Accounting, Facilities Management, Public Safety, Risk Management, Human Resources, Financial Aid, Information Technology, Student Store, Auxiliary Rentals, Swannanoa Gathering (summer music program), and Dining Services. This position manages facilities needs for all events on campus, as well as contract management and legal services as needed by the College. The Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO is also responsible for strategic planning and implementation of all operational initiatives.

Russell, MBA, accepted the position of Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO, and began his work on August 8, 2022. Russell is a graduate of Babson College and received his MBA from Columbia University. His career has included working as an adjunct professor, work in the for-profit sector in finance and manufacturing, as well as primarily in the non-profit sector. Russell’s assignments as an interim executive in higher education have included stints at Cambridge College, University of Central Arkansas, Landmark College, University of Wisconsin Parkside, and Wesley College. Additionally, he served as interim CFO at Warren Wilson in 2013, when he developed excellent working relationships on this campus with many, especially the Controller’s Office.

Bob Nesmith

Vice President for Enrollment

This position is responsible for the recruitment of undergraduate students to the College, searching for individuals who demonstrate strong academic ability and curiosity, personal integrity, and alignment with the College’s mission. The Vice President has oversight over Admissions and Financial Aid.

Nesmith was appointed VP for Enrollment on September 6, 2022. A graduate of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, Nesmith worked at his alma mater in Admissions for almost 27 years, serving the last 12 years as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Under his leadership at Centre, he and his team recruited 12 of the 13 largest classes in college history, dramatically increased the number of international students, and doubled the enrollment of students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, including Black, Latinx, multiracial, and first-generation students. Nesmith also served on the senior leadership team at Centre and worked closely with its Board of Trustees.

Valerie Gliem

Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Marketing, and Strategic Communications

The Vice President has oversight of the philanthropic and communications functions of the College. She and her team design and implement annual and multi-year fundraising campaigns, and articulate and promote the unique brand and value proposition of the College to prospective and current students, their families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. The team uses fundraising, creative and brand management, messaging, communications integration, and market analysis to advance the mission of Warren Wilson College.

Gliem joined Warren Wilson College on June 1, 2023. With more than 23 years of experience in advancement, marketing, communications and executive Board support, she brings broad knowledge and understanding of the shifting higher education landscape, and a successful track record of creating and implementing tactics to support enrollment and fundraising growth.

Previously she served as Vice President for Communications and Administration and Secretary of the College at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. A first-generation college graduate, Gliem earned a bachelor of arts in journalism, a bachelor of science in wildlife and fisheries science, and an MBA from Penn State University.

Tacci Smith

Dean of Students

The Dean of Students reports to the Provost and is responsible for all aspects of Student Affairs and also serves as the College’s Title IX Coordinator. This position has oversight over the following units: Student Activities, Residence Life, Spiritual Life, Health and Wellness, the Counseling Center, the Queer Resource Center, as well as the Wilson Inclusion, Diversity and Equity [WIDE] department. The Dean of Students serves on both the Provost Leadership Team and Cabinet to ensure careful coordination, collaboration, and representation of student life issues within the senior leadership of the College.

Smith joined Warren Wilson College in 2016 as Director of Student Activities and has since served in a variety of student-focused positions. Smith recently served as the Associate Dean of Student Life Engagement where her work focused on student communication and advocacy.

Prior to her work at the College, Smith was the Associate Dean of Students and Director of New Student Orientation at Kenyon College in Ohio. She received her B.A. in Communications/ Broadcasting and Psychology from Otterbein College and her M.A. in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University.

M. Z. Yehudah, Ph.D.

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives

The Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Initiatives is responsible for guiding the efforts to conceptualize, define, assess, nurture, and cultivate diversity as an institutional and educational resource. The Director for DEI Initiatives leads in the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in support of the College’s strategic plan to create a learning and working environment where all in the campus community have an opportunity to succeed and thrive. This role is designed to lead the College’s effort toward building and sustaining a diverse and culturally vibrant campus.

Dr. Yehudah joined Warren Wilson in May of 2021 as Director of the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity (WIDE) within the Student Life division. In July of 2022 he was appointed to his current role and joined the Cabinet to bring his leadership and expertise in DEI to the College as whole.

Dr. Yehudah holds a B.A. in Communication and a M.A. in Africana Studies from the State University of New York at Albany as well as a Ph.D. of African-American Studies from Temple University. Dr. Yehudah’s career in higher education has included more than 17 years of experience and leadership in teaching, researching, mentoring, and practicing in the fields of multicultural affairs, diversity, and social justice.

Heather Schalk

Director of Human Resources

The Director of Human reports to the VP for Administration & Finance and is responsible for the overall development and delivery of human resources services for Warren Wilson College which include but are not limited to benefit administration, recruiting and onboarding, performance management, employee relations, employee wellness, and compliance and regulatory oversight. The Director will set the stage for an excellent employment experience for staff, faculty, and applicants. Combining knowledge with compassion, the Director serves as a strategic partner and an advisor to campus leadership in all efforts to attract, retain and develop the top talent needed to serve the students of today and tomorrow. The Director will balance compliance (regulatory, policy and procedural), creativity, and professional customer service, promoting the kind of employee engagement that leads to overall institutional success.

Schalk joined the College in December of 2019, just prior to the pandemic.  She has a background in Human Resource roles spanning over twenty-five years with sixteen years spent in the University of Maryland System. At the University of Maryland Global Campus, Schalk was the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Organization Development Consulting implementing an HR Business Partner model at that university. Schalk closed out her tenure with the University of Maryland System as the Faculty Liaison at Salisbury University. She then transitioned to Wesley College in Dover, DE; a small private college for the three years prior to coming to Warren Wilson College as the Director of Human Resources. Schalk holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bowie State University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Robin Martin-Davis

Director of Athletics

The Director of Athletics reports directly to the President and is responsible for developing and executing a strategy for recruiting student-athletes to Warren Wilson College, evaluating the potential for additional athletic programs, and making recommendations to the President for future expansion, raising the profile of College athletics, evaluating and implementing athletic policies, evaluating coaches and staff, and managing the budget. The Director of Athletics develops and implements a vision for athletics, including creating annual and long-term strategic plans for the Department of Athletics that further Warren Wilson College’s strategic plan, educational mission, and recruiting goals. This position is also responsible for establishing a culture of excellence within the department with clear accountability and high standards for students, coaches, and staff.

Martin-Davis joined Warren Wilson College in June of 2014 as Head Women’s Basketball Coach. As a basketball coach, she has compiled over 100 wins, 3 USCAA National championship berths and one EMAC conference championship. Martin-Davis added to her basketball duties the SWA position within a few years and then transitioned to serve as Associate Athletic Director for two years before being named Athletic Director in June 2022.

Robin holds a master’s degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern and a bachelor degree from Clarion University. Martin-Davis’s role on the administrative side has been compliance education, NCAA education, coordinating all transportation, handling medical claims, game day management, creating and updating our inside athletics webpage as well as working on streamlining and updating our athletic staff and student-athlete handbooks.