WP Psychology Professor and Dean’s Fellow Michele Cascardi Selected for Prestigious National Leadership Institute

Dr. Michele Cascardi

William Paterson University Psychology Professor Michele Cascardi, PhD—who also serves as a dean’s fellow in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences on campus—was chosen for a highly selective and prestigious leadership program for women in education: the June 2023 HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) Leadership Institute at Bridgewater State University. 

Cascardi attended the Institute this month and says the experience was transformative. “I was surrounded by talented and inspirational women. The program offered insightful and thought-provoking sessions from outstanding leaders in higher education, many of whom were HERS alumnae,” she explains.

Founded to fill leadership pipelines across the US “with dynamic women capable of ushering their respective institutions into a more inclusive and equitable future,” participation in the HERS program is by nomination and requires a detailed application for consideration. Cascardi, who was nominated by President Richard Helldobler, was one of 60 participants from across the nation this year.

“Dr. Cascardi is a distinguished scholar, an inspiring educator, and a highly effective administrator with a tremendous record of developing and launching high-quality academic programs,” said President Helldobler. “I was proud to nominate her for the prestigious HERS program because she is just the kind of future leader that will help institutions of higher education better serve their students during times of great change.”

A licensed clinical psychologist in New Jersey and New York, Cascardi was integral to the creation and accreditation of William Paterson’s doctor of psychology (PsyD) program in clinical psychology, which she directed from 2017 to 2020.

As a scholar, she has authored more than 70 publications, in journals and books, on the topics of intimate partner and relationship violence, bystander education to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, child maltreatment, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She has also developed and evaluated school-based programs in Philadelphia and the New York City-area to prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy dating relationships.

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institute of Justice and supported doctoral students in the PsyD program with tuition remission and a stipend.

In 2021, the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education appointed Cascardi to the NJ Higher Education Collaborative forum on student rights. In 2019, NJ Governor Phil Murphy appointed her co-lead of a higher education group focused on creating and fostering safe and inclusive learning environments.

For the past academic year, Cascardi has also served as chair of the department of communication on the WP campus. Under her leadership, the department has launched a new degree program in public relations and is working toward restructuring existing programs and creating certificates and new courses in response to industry needs and trends.

Using what she learned at the HERS Leadership Institute, Cascardi says she hopes to apply equity-minded leadership approaches on campus, calling attention to equity gaps in student outcomes and devising transformational strategies to redress them so that each William Paterson University student feels a sense of belonging and can reach their academic and professional goals.

“The HERS Leadership Institute was tremendously meaningful, and I am grateful for the University’s support to make it possible for me to attend,” she adds.