President MearnsPresident Geoffrey S. Mearns serves as the 17th president of Ball State University. After joining the University in 2017, he helped to develop a new strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path. During his tenure, President Mearns has pursued initiatives that have increased alumni engagement and fundraising and enhanced the University’s commitment to the community, most notably through its innovative partnership with Muncie Community Schools. President Mearns earned his undergraduate degree in English from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Virginia. After a legal career that included serving as a federal prosecutor, he held academic and administrative roles at Cleveland State University before serving as president of Northern Kentucky University.

Charlene Alexander

Dr. Charlene Alexander serves as Ball State University’s Chief Strategy Officer where she is responsible for helping the University execute the imperatives outlined in its strategic plan. Dr. Alexander also oversees Ball State’s Offices of Institutional Research and Decision Support, Community Engagement, and Inclusive Excellence. Throughout her career, Dr. Alexander has been a champion for initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. She formerly served at Ball State as a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services - where she directed the School Counseling program for 16 years - and as Associate Provost for Diversity and Interim Associate Vice President for Community Engagement. Under her leadership, Ball State developed its first Diversity Strategic Plan and released its first statement on the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Alexander’s efforts led to Ball State receiving the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for the first time in 2016. Dr. Alexander spent four years at Oregon State University (2017-2021) where she served as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an M.S. in Counseling and Guidance and a B.A. in Psychology from Creighton University.

Seth BeckmanSeth Beckman has served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Professor of Music at Ball State University since 2019. He maintains an active career as an administrator, pianist, and pedagogue, performing across the U.S. and Europe, including venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Beckman is a visiting evaluator and team leader for the National Association of Schools of Music and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Performing Arts Leadership in Higher Education. His articles on performing and pedagogy have been published in journals like American Music Teacher. In 2020, he was featured in "The Leadership Decade: A Playbook for an Extraordinary Decade" by Buddy Hobart. Beckman is actively engaged in community service, including co-chairing the Arts & Culture program management team for Next Muncie, as well as serving on boards of organizations like ACHIEVA, Animal Friends, The Little Sisters of the Poor, and Project Leadership.
Jennifer CoyDr. Jennifer Coy is the Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Ball State University and the Director of the Graduate Program in Computer Science.  She has over 20 years of experience in instruction, curriculum design, and administration at three different universities.  She has previously served on the Strategic Planning Committees at Saint Joseph’s College and Anderson University and is excited to contribute to the newest Ball State Strategic Plan.  She earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Physics from Purdue University, and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science & Engineering and Engineering Physics from the University of Toledo.  Her research interests lie in the applications of computing to other realms of science to foster new discoveries through interdisciplinary collaborations.
Ligia Gomez FrancoLigia Gómez Franco is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology Department at Ball State University. As a bilingual Spanish/English Developmental and Educational Psychologist, her research interests focus on studying factors that support language development of monolingual and bilingual children who come from diverse cultural contexts. Dr. Gómez is particularly interested in the role parents, teachers, and technology play in fostering vocabulary learning and reading comprehension.
Abby HaworthAbby Haworth serves as the Director of Student Life at Ball State University. With a passion for empowering students, Abby oversees a wide array of programs and initiatives aimed at enhancing the university experience. Recognizing the importance of leadership development, Abby has experience developing leadership programs and trainings that equip students with skills and confidence to become effective leaders both on campus and beyond. Abby is particularly invested in first-year experience, orchestrating Weeks of Welcome and Summer Bridge programs designed to acclimate new students and foster a sense of belong. Abby is deeply committed to fostering a vibrant campus community. She works closely with student organizations and the Student Government Association to amplify student voices and address campus needs effectively.
Julie HopwoodJulie Hopwood serves as the Senior Associate Vice President for Business Affairs. In this role, Julie serves as a trusted strategic advisor to the Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer, managing and advancing key university strategic priorities and high-impact special projects. Julie simultaneously directs and manages campus emergency management, safety operations, and business continuity planning. She also leads the fiscal, business, and administrative operations of Business and Auxiliary Services, encompassing a $50.5 million budget and sixty percent of the Division of Business Affairs workforce of service, staff, professional and temporary employees. With 20 years of experience in higher education administration, Julie has an extensive background in university strategic planning and implementation. She is a graduate of The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Planning Institute and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Institute for Educational Management (IEM). She also earned her Executive Master’s in Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) from Arizona State University, MPA from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, MS from Syracuse University S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and JD from University of Idaho College of Law.
Jill LacyJill is a proud graduate of Ball State University where she received bachelor’s degrees in both Exercise Science and Political Science. She holds a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Indiana University - Bloomington and has completed the Executive Education Program in Corporate Board Governance at Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Jill currently serves as the President of the Lacy Foundation which runs the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series®, from which she is a graduate of SKL Class XXXVI. Previous professional positions include the Assistant Director of Student Activities and Organizations at Missouri State University and as the Program Director for Greek Life at the University of Cincinnati. Currently, Jill serves on the boards of Leadership Indianapolis, chair-elect for the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Ball State University Women of Beneficence Leadership Council, and the Ball State University Foundation. She also serves as a national vice president for Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity, Inc and on the Board of Directors for the Alpha Chi Omega National Housing Corporation. Previous board involvement includes the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, and the Children’s Museum Guild. Jill and her husband, Peter, have three adult children, including a son who is a senior at Ball State.
Kristen McCauliffKristen L. McCauliff (Ph.D. University of Georgia). Dr. McCauliff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Ball State University where she teaches classes and advises graduate students in the areas of rhetorical theory, criticism, and media analysis. Her articles have appeared in a number of journals including Communication Studies, Women & Language, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Journal of Faculty Development. And her co-authored book entitled Listening to Women on the Right: Communication Strategies of Today’s Female Republican Politicians was published in 2017 with McFarland Press. She also serves as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development at Ball State University where she supports faculty support initiatives across campus including Communities of Practice, High Impact Teaching Practices, Freedom of Expression, New Faculty Academy, and Open Educational Resource adoption.
Lathay PeguesLathay Pegues was born in Muncie, IN, and graduated from Muncie Central High School, where he was co-captain of the celebrated Bearcat basketball team. Lathay furthered his education at Indiana University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After graduating from IU Lathay landed his first job as news reporter with WGEM in Quincy, Illinois. He worked his way up to “lead anchor” for WGEM News Weekend Edition and won a Regional Emmy Award for excellence in Journalism. Lathay eventually moved on to a bigger market, reporting for WVTV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two years into that job, he decided to put his career on hold and chase another dream. He moved back to his hometown and launched JohnTom’s Barbecue Sauce, inspired by his grandfather’s secret sauce recipe. Lathay started working as a news reporter again, this time for the Muncie Star Press. After seven years of juggling a career and small business, Lathay decided to permanently leave the journalism world and start working full time for JohnTom’s. Since then, the company has landed accounts with the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, University of Notre Dame, and Ball State University, to name a few. The sauce also won “Best Sauce in Indiana” from Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. In his spare time, Lathay volunteers throughout the Muncie community, serving as Commissioner for Delaware County Housing Authority, Committee member for Delaware County Community Foundation, and member of Next Muncie. He is the host of “765 Business Journal” radio show on WMUN. Lathay also enjoys playing drums, grilling, walking the Muncie trails, and creating memories with his family.
Alex PerryAlex Perry arrived at Ball State University in February 2022 and currently serves as the Deputy Director of Athletics.  In his role, Perry serves as the number two executive for the department of Athletics and has primary sport supervision of the football, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s tennis programs. Additionally, Perry has operational oversight of the Athletic department’s business office, human resources, events and facilities, NCAA compliance, financial aid, and equipment operations. A native of Morris, Ill., Perry attended Indiana University and was an offensive lineman for the Hoosiers football program. During his time as a student-athlete, he was a three-time Academic All Big-Ten honoree. He holds two degrees from Indiana, earning an undergraduate degree in management (2010) and a master’s degree in athletic administration/sport management (2011). He also holds one degree from Butler University, earning a master’s degree in business administration (2018).
Stephanie Simon-DackAfter serving as the Associate Dean of the Graduate School for 5 years, Stephanie Simon-Dack was named Vice Provost for Research in October of 2022. Joining Ball State in 2009, Dr. Simon-Dack not only embraced the teacher-scholar model, but also built her research agenda in the field of cognitive neuroscience, receiving an NSF MRI (Major Research Instrumentation) grant in 2013. Dr. Simon-Dack has embraced the tenants of Destination 2040 through her teaching, scholarship, and mentoring, and later through her time at the Graduate School, where she focused on increasing clarity around graduate student policies and enhancing student mental and academic wellness through a variety of programming initiatives. Dr. Simon-Dack believes strongly in the example Ball State has set for integrating scholarship and mentorship cohesively, such that the faculty experts creating and shaping our fields of knowledge are the very same professors in the classrooms partnering with our students. She is proud to oversee a vibrant and engaged team of staff and research administrators in the Office of Research at Ball State who support our faculty in all of their many scholarly, research, and creative endeavors.
Alex BuxtonAlex is a Senior majoring in Interpersonal Communication Studies and is also enrolled into the Accelerated Master’s Program for Organizational and Professional Communication Development. On Campus, he is involved as the General Chair of the Homecoming Steering Committee, Chair of the CCIM Dean’s Collegian Advisory Council, and President of both the National Residence Hall Honorary and Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society. He is also involved in independent Communication Research and will work as an Ed Shipley Fellow with the BSU Foundation. Outside of Ball State, Alex is keenly involved with the Boy Scouts of America as a summer camp administrator and youth advisor/counselor. Professionally, Alex wants to work in Higher Education as a Professor or Administrator and find a way to stay involved in the summer camp program.