Greg Gunderson, Ph.D., joined Park University on January 15, 2016, after serving as vice president and chief financial officer at Webster University in St. Louis since 2011.
At Webster, he directed the financial processes of the University’s 68 campuses in addition to managing facilities, campus security, purchasing and internal audit. Prior to that, Gunderson spent nine years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ultimately serving as assistant vice chancellor for business operations in the Office of Academic Affairs.
His experience in the private sector includes working as a project controller at ConAgra in Omaha, Neb., director of finance at APAC Customer Services in Omaha, and as a tax accountant at both Cray Research and Arthur Anderson in St. Paul, Minn.
Selected “CFO of the Year” by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2014, Gunderson earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Gunderson enjoys being active in the community. In St. Louis, he served as a trustee on the Frank Lloyd Wright House Park Board and as a board member of the St. Louis Contractor Loan Fund. He also co-chaired Webster University’s United Way campaigns and served on a taxing authority board for the city of Webster Groves, Mo.
A native of Omaha, Gunderson’s family includes his wife Laurie, who is interim director of the Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition, and their sons David, 19, a college freshman, and Jack, 17, a high school junior. Gunderson enjoys a variety of hobbies, including woodworking, restoring old cars and curling.
Chief FInancial Officer
Brian Bode was appointed as interim chief financial officer of Park University in August 2016 after joining the University as controller in August 2015.
Bode has more than 16 years in higher education. Most recently, he spent nine years at Kansas City Kansas Community College, serving as vice president of student and administrative services, dean of financial and administrative services, and associate provost. In addition, he was controller at the University of Saint Mary for five years. Bode retired from the U.S. Army in 1998 as a lieutenant colonel with more than 21 years of service, including stints as the resource and budget manager at the Fort Leavenworth (Kan.) Simulation Center, assistant dean of resources at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.) and comptroller for the 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Bode earned his Master of Business Administration from Troy (Ala.) University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Chief of Staff
Laure Christensen serves Park University as chief of staff. In this capacity, she works closely with the president in a variety of ways, serving as an advisor and manager of administrative, operational and financial affairs. Christensen oversees reporting needs, organizes communications, coordinates special events with other departments and serves as the main administrative liaison between the Office of the President and multiple areas, including Executive Staff and Park’s Board of Trustees. Christensen also guides administrative professionals university-wide through the Park Pirate Professionals.
Christensen began her career with Park in July 2003 and served in a variety of roles in the School for Arts and Humanities, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the President. In 2011, she was honored with the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education award.
Prior to coming to Park, she served as office manager and an events specialist at Vic Gutman & Associates, a special events firm which coordinates special events for the city of Omaha and area not-for-profit organizations.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Roger P. Dusing serves Park University as associate vice president and chief human resource officer, directing the human resources and payroll operations for the University, as well as serving as Park's Title IX officer. In addition, he represents the University on the board of the Kansas City Professional Development Council, a consortium of area schools providing faculty and staff development programming.
Dusing joined Park in 2011 after 30 years as a human resources executive and consultant for several Kansas City area businesses. He has literally been on the University’s Parkville Campus his entire life as a student, adjunct faculty member and son of two of Park’s longest tenured employees.
Dusing earned a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University. He is currently a doctoral student pursuing a degree in business with a concentration in human resources from Northcentral University. Dusing is the board chair for Benilde Hall, a program in Kansas City, Mo., providing housing and treatment to homeless men with addiction and mental health issues. He was recognized as Human Resources Executive of the Year by American Business Media in 2008, and he is the author of I'm Fired?!? A Business-Fable About the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, a book on job search techniques.
Douglas J. Fiore, Ph.D., was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs in February 2016. Fiore, who has spent his entire career in education, previously served as interim provost at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, a position he held since August 2014. He began his duties at Ashland just two months earlier as the dean of the Dwight Schar College of Education. Prior to joining Ashland, Fiore spent nearly seven years at Virginia State University, Petersburg, Va., most recently as associate provost for extended education for one year. Other stints at VSU included: assistant provost for general and continuing education, and professor of education; dean and professor of educational leadership, and special assistant to the provost; and dean of the Doctor of Education program and associate professor of educational leadership. Fiore also spent one year serving a fellowship with the esteemed American Council on Education.
Additional experience in higher education includes: director of the Office of Professional Practice with the Virginia Department of Education; assistant/associate professor of graduate education, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.; and assistant dean, College of Education, and assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Ga.. Fiore also spent 13 years in public K-12 school systems as a principal and teacher in Indiana and Virginia.
Fiore has won awards for his leadership, teaching and scholarship, including the prestigious Distinguished Paper Award from the American Educational Research Association, and he has authored or co-authored eight books for school administrators Fiore earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational administration from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind. He also received a Master of Science in education from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education/speech arts and sciences from Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
Vice President and General Counsel
Executive staff member Courtney E. Goddard was appointed to the position of vice president and general counsel in July 2014. Goddard previously served the University as associate vice president and general counsel since 2007. Prior to coming to Park, she represented more than 30 colleges and universities in private law practice.
A noted expert in the field of higher education law, Goddard has been a featured speaker at several national conferences for the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She is also a lauded leader in the Kansas City philanthropic community. She has served on multiple civic and charitable boards, including the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Harvest Ball Society and the St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, and she served as co-chair of the Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care’s “Champagne and Chocolate” event. In 2014, Goddard was named a “Rising Star of Philanthropy” by Nonprofit Connect, and she was named to the 2014 NextGen Leaders class by the Kansas City Business Journal.
Goddard earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree in criminology from Florida State University. Goddard has also earned a “BV Distinguished” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Shane Smeed was appointed vice president of enrollment and student services at Park University in September 2015. Smeed has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, holding a variety of student-centric positions. In his role at Park, Smeed provides strategic and operational leadership to a department that includes the deans and directors of marketing, enrollment, student financial services, international student admissions and services, student services, campus center operations and athletics.
Prior to joining Park University, Smeed served as vice president of admissions at Kaplan University, vice president and chief operating officer of Ottawa (Kan.) University, metro president for DeVry University’s Kansas City campuses and inventory planner for the Boeing Co. in its materials management division.
Smeed is pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education administration from St. Louis University. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management and holds a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology.
A resident of Parkville, Smeed’s family includes his wife Angela, who owns and operates an interior design business, and their children Samantha, 14, Andrew, 12, and Landon, 7. In addition to Smeed’s volunteer work with Boy Scouts of America, he also serves the City of Parkville as an appointed Planning & Zoning Commissioner.
Chief Information Officer
David Whittaker, a Kansas City Northland native, was appointed to serve Park University as its chief information officer in January 2016. In his position as CIO, Whittaker is charged with ensuring that the University’s technology applications, networks, telecommunications and data security meet the current and future needs of the University.
Whittaker spent the previous 18 years with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, most recently as chief information security officer and director of the Office of the CIO since 2013. Between 2005 and 2013, Whittaker served as a director in a trio of areas within BCBSKC — director of strategic planning, director of application development, integration and database administration and director of data center operations. He also served the organization as an enterprise architect and as senior programmer analyst/web architect. Whittaker began his professional career as a lead software analyst for Black and Veatch at its Kansas City, Mo., office for six years.
Whittaker, who grew up in Gladstone, Mo., earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in systems and data processing from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.