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Jiseon lee isbara 

Provost Jiseon Lee Isbara

The Provost is the Chief Academic Officer of the College and is responsible for all aspects of academic life at Otis. The mission of the Academic Affairs division is to promote student learning and success through exceptional educational programs, opportunities, and support.

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. 

Areas of education delivery and student support include:

The Provost also serves as the academic liaison to the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and chief administrative liaison to the College’s academic governance bodies, the Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate, and the part-time faculty union. 

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

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

Jiseon Lee Isbara is a passionate and experienced educator and administrator who promotes creating academically rigorous, innovatively practical, and culturally inclusive learning environment. As a practicing artist, she exhibits nationally and engages with viewers through lectures and discussions. Her interest in progressively diversifying gateways to encourage versatile perspectives is manifested in her pedagogy and community engagement. Jiseon served as Interim President, Dean of Academic Affairs, and Fibers Department Head/Professor at Oregon College of Art and Craft and Assistant Professor in Textile Design at East Carolina University.  She earned her MFA, one from Colorado State University and one from Ewha Womans University and BFA from Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.    



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.



matthew penkala

Matthew Penkala

Academic Affairs Projects Manager
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:




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.

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Academic Leadership


Andrew Armstrong, Director of Technical Support Services
Inez Bush, Interim Executive Director of Extension/Pre-College Programs
Heather Cleary, Interim Director of the Library
Meg Cranston, Chair, Fine Arts
Peter Gadol, Chair Graduate Writing
Jill Higashi-Zeleznik, Chair, Fashion Design
Linda Hudson, Chair, Foundation
Michele Jaquis, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies & the
Artists Community Teaching (ACT) Program

Annetta Kapon, Interim Chair, Graduate Fine Arts
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
Deborah Ryan, Chair, Toy Design
Rich Shelton, Director of Integrated Learning
Melissa Lo, Chair, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Jean-Marie Venturini, Director of the Learning Centers