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Community Leadership Faculty

Leadership Core Faculty


Debra BeckDebra Beck, Ph.D., Adjunct Instructor of Community Leadership

 Debra has served on local, state, regional and national nonprofit boards, in a variety of leadership positions. Those experiences launched her current consulting practice and continued scholarly explorations.  Debra’s second master’s degree (organizational communication) and her doctor of education (adult and post-secondary education) culminated in qualitative research focusing on nonprofit governance topics.  Debra has taught public administration courses in the online environment since 2001.  She currently teaches community leadership and public administration courses while continuing her consulting work.

Gae Broadwater, MS, MPA, Adjunct Instructor

Gae is a state specialist for community and economic development with the Cooperative Extension Program at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, KY.  Since 2000, she has provided state and regional leadership for educational programming and technical assistance in the areas of community capacity building, entrepreneurship (adults and youth), facilitation methods, and organizational effectiveness.  Prior to her current position, she was a training specialist with the National Diversity Center at Kentucky State for the Cooperative Extension System.  Gae has more than 25 years of community-based experience working in Indiana, New Jersey, Georgia, Mississippi, and now Kentucky.

Laura DeatonLaura Deaton, J.D., Adjunct Instructor of Community Leadership

Laura attained her JD from Duke University School of Law.  Frequently called a “one-person nonprofit SWAT team,” Laura is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader and consultant with a focus on successfully helping nonprofits through major transitions.  Laura’s focus is on building capacity within nonprofits through a development of knowledge, skills, and resources. Her dedication to cultivating, mentoring, and coaching emerging leaders is part of her demonstrated commitment to the sector as whole.  She currently teaches “Creating the Future of your Community” within the Community Leadership concentration.  She is a member of the National Council for Responsive Philanthropy and the Society for Nonprofit Organizations.

Matt DooleyMatt Dooley, MA, Adjunct Instructor

Previously a senior consultant with First Side Partners, Matt is a consultant and project manager with more than 25 years as a non-profit executive and board member, helping organizations meet the challenges of today.  His expertise includes organizational capacity building, short and long-range planning, fundraising and board development. He teaches courses in nonprofit management at for several universities and organizations. Prior to joining the consulting ranks, Matt was Director of Administration for the Pittsburgh Opera from 1992-97.  Matt also served as the Executive Director of Young Audiences of Eastern PA for 12 years.

Debra ThompsonDebra Thompson, President, Strategy Solutions, Inc.

Debbie is president of Strategy Solutions, Inc. a firm that provides strategic planning, market research and project management services to organizations and communities who want to grow and thrive.   She teaches Organizational Development and Leadership, Community, and Change in the Community Leadership concentration. Debbie holds a masters degree in business administration from Gannon University.  She has presented at numerous regional, state and national conferences and was named one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Best Women in Business for 2001.  Her community service work earned her designation as one of Erie’s “Dynamic Dozen Women Making History” 2003. She was a finalist for the international Stevie Award for Women in Business 2006 in the Technology Innovator category.