You are here

Academic Affairs

Jiseon lee isbara 

Provost Jiseon Lee Isbara

Specific roles and responsibilities are distributed among various leaders, including the Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation, the Interim Assistant Provost, and the Academic Affairs Projects Manager. 

The objective of Academic Affairs is to support faculty and academic staff in their effort to educate diverse students to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. It is committed to developing and improving curriculum, advocating for effective educational resources, working closely with chairs, directors, faculty, and instructional support staff, and collaboratively working with other college divisions to achieve the college’s mission

In collaboration with the Student Success division, the Provost oversees co-curricular offerings and student success-enhancing initiatives.

The Provost’s Office facilitates academic administration at the College, coordinates the Academic Meeting Schedule, organizes the Annual Faculty Convocation, conducts the annual Academic Excellence Awards and  Teaching Excellence Awards processes, and, in collaboration with Human Resources & Development, leads the New Faculty Orientation. See also: Faculty Events and Activities


Academic Affairs Administration

jiseon lee isbara

Jiseon Lee Isbara

Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6979


Primary Responsibilities

  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Academic Program Planning
  • Curriculum and Program Development
  • Academic Policies and Procedures
  • Assessment and Accreditation
  • Academic Division Budgets and Resources
  • Faculty and Academic Staff Recruitment and Development
  • Faculty Governance
  • Operations and Services
  • Administrative Systems
  • Academic Advising and Mentoring
  • Academic Support Services


Joanne Mitchell

Joanne Mitchell

Interim Assistant Provost
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6963


Primary Responsibilities

·         Assistant Provost

·         Academic Research

·         Institutional  Accreditation Support

·         Operational and Strategic Initiatives Support

·         Student Academic Success Initiatives Support

·         Budget Planning Support

·         Chair, Academic Integrity Committee

·         Chair, Academic Standing Committee

Joanne holds a B.A. in Economics and Government from Wesleyan University, a Master’s in Public and Private Management from Yale University, and an M.F.A. from CalArts. Since arriving at Otis in 2010, she has served as a Curatorial Intern in the Ben Maltz Gallery, Interim Academic Coordinator of the Foundation Program, Assistant Chair and Associate Professor in the Foundation Program, and most recently as a member of the Interim Provost Support Team. Her work has been exhibited at the Tsai Performing Arts Center, The Graduate Center - CUNY, SOMArts, and the LGBT Historical Museum among others.



kerri steinberg

Kerri Steinberg

Director of Faculty Relations 
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor


Kerri Steinberg earned her Ph.D. in Art History from UCLA. Before joining the Provost’s Office as the Director of Faculty Relations, Kerri served as the Interim Chair, Assistant Chair, and full time faculty in the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Kerri’s scholarship examines the intersection of visual representation, citizenship, and the politics of American Jewish identity. Her book, Jewish Mad Men: Advertising and the Design of the American Jewish Experience, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2015. Kerri has been an invited speaker at numerous symposia and conferences on various topics, including Art History pedagogy, graphic design history, and especially the branding and packaging of modern American Jewish identities.



matthew penkala

Matthew Penkala

Director of Academic Administration
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6815


Primary Responsibilities

  • Academic Affairs Project Management
  • Travel and External Study Management 
  • Academic Research Support
  • Divisional Calendar
  • Academic Meeting Schedule
  • Assessment and External Program Review Support
  • Budget Planning Support
  • Administrative Systems Support
  • Web and Publications Support
  • HEOA Compliance

Matthew Penkala is an artist whose paintings are included in numerous public and private collections nationally, and have been reviewed or featured in numerous publications and catalogues. Penkala came to Otis in 2012, following an interim faculty position heading the Painting Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He served as Academic Coordinator in Otis’ Foundation Program for two years before joining the Provost’s Office. He has also been the Faculty Leader for the Foundation Program’s Paris Travel Elective since 2013. He has worked for various Los Angeles-based design firms providing Art Direction and production for web and print based projects. Penkala earned his M.F.A. in Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. in Photography from Arizona State University.

Learn more about Matthew at:



dr. angila

Angila Romious, PhD

Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor


The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) develops, conducts, and coordinates research activities, supports institutional effectiveness, assessment and accreditation, enrollment management, grants, and related data-driven activities. IRE supports quality improvement by working with decision makers across the College to enhance the understanding, collection, and use of data in decision-making. The IRE Director also coordinates the preparation of required state and federal reports.

Angila Romious PhD has 9 over years’ teaching and professional experience in institutional research for higher education. In addition to her work as Director of IRE at Otis College, she teaches Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods for the Department of Sociology at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Romious also brings experience working with regional higher education accreditation agencies, conducting state and federal reporting, as well as analysis examining student success outcomes. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Ecology from UC Irvine.




Patricia Grajeda O'Neil

Executive Assistant to the Provost
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 846-2597


Primary Responsibilities

  • Provost Scheduling
  • Academic Meeting Schedule
  • Faculty Contracts
  • Administrative Routing
  • Budget Planning Support

Patricia Grajeda-O’Neil joined Otis February 2020 as the Executive Assistant to the Provost.  Patricia has over 15 years’ experience as an executive assistant.  Most of her career has been in Higher Ed, and with an entrepreneur who is a pioneer in her industry.   Prior to Otis, Patricia supported the Senior Director of Engineering and Architecture at the California Institute of Technology, where she assisted in managing a $320M capital projects budget.  Prior to joining CalTech, she served as an EA to the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Administration at Mount Saint Mary’s University, where she assisted in the management of the University Board committees, budget planning and project management.  Before joining higher ed, Patricia served as the executive assistant to the President and Co-Founder of an Independent Charter High School organization with an annual revenue of $163M.  At the Charter High School organization she managed twenty-two non-profit Boards and participated in Strategic Planning.  Patricia is fluent in her native language, Spanish.  Patricia majored in English Literature at California State University, Los Angeles.




Cliff Eberly

Academic Program Events Coordinator
Ahmanson Hall


Linda Robinson

Academic Program Business Coordinator
Ahmanson Hall


Jackie Young

Academic Program Business Coordinator
Ahmanson Hall



otis logo

Academic Program Administration


Kathrin Burmester, Interim Chair, Graduate Fine Arts
Meg Cranston, Chair, Fine Arts
Peter Gadol, Chair Graduate Writing
Jill Higashi-Zeleznik, Chair, Fashion Design
Linda Hudson, Chair, Foundation
Melissa Lo, Chair, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Steve McAdam, Founding Academic Chair, Product Design
Harry Mott, Chair, Digital Media
Kali Nikitas, Chair, Communication Arts & Graduate Graphic Design
Linda Pollari, Chair, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors
Joyce Mesch, Interim Chair, Toy Design
Michele Jaquis, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies & the
Artists Community Teaching (ACT) Program

Rich Shelton, Director of Integrated Learning
Heather Cleary, Interim Director of the Library
Jean-Marie Venturini, Director of the Learning Centers
Andrew Armstrong, Director of Technical Support Services