Executive Leadership Team Briefs



Bret Danilowicz

Dr. Bret Danilowicz
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Bret Danilowicz, Ph.D. Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs,joined FAU, July 1, 2018. Danilowicz served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University since 2012. Prior to this position, he was dean of the College of Science and Technology at Georgia Southern University from 2006-12. He also has held a faculty position at University College Dublin in Ireland.As leader of FAU’s Division of Academic Affairs, Danilowicz oversees FAU’s 10 colleges and more than 180 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels for more than 30,000 students. Related areas, such as the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the University Registrar, the University Libraries, the Office of Information Technology, and the Lifelong Learning Society, also come under the division’s umbrella.Danilowicz earned a Ph.D. in zoology from Duke University; an M.B.A. from Georgia Southern University; an M.A. in education: leadership and management from The Open University in the United Kingdom; and a B.S. in biology with a minor in computer science from Utica College of Syracuse University. 


Daniel C. Flynn

Daniel C. Flynn
Vice President of Research

Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, joined FAU in January 2015 to oversee research administration in the Division of Research, which includes the Office of Sponsored Programs, Research Integrity, Research Accounting, Technology Development, Veterinary Services, Research Communications and the Florida Atlantic University Research Corporation. Prior to joining FAU, Flynn served as Associate Dean for Research in the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences where he helped grow the research enterprise by 60 percent, promoted invention disclosures, faculty patent applications and developed undergraduate entrepreneurial and research programs. He served as the founding Associate Dean for Research and Economic Development at The Commonwealth Medical College, a new medical school in Scranton, PA. Flynn spent 17 years at West Virginia University where he served as a Professor and Deputy Director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. During his career, he has been awarded more than $40 million in research funding, has published 72 research articles and has served on an editorial board, advisory committees and study sections for NIH and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He earned his bachelor’s at the University of Maryland, College Park, and his doctorate at North Carolina State University. He conducted his post-doctoral work at the University of Virginia.


Peter Hull

Peter Hull
Vice President, Public Affairs

Peter Hull joined FAU in May 2014. He oversees the Office of University Communications, which includes university-wide marketing initiatives, internal communications, FAU’s online presence through FAU.edu and social media, university branding, media relations and creative services.  A former newspaper reporter, Mr. Hull has worked for The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), Inside Business (Norfolk, Va.), the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.), and The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.). In 2005, he was award a 1 st Place in Business reporting from the S.C. Press Association.  Mr. Hull joined FAU after six years at Clemson University where he was communications and marketing director for economic development. In this role he was responsible for communications at Clemson’s 10 off-campus enterprise campuses and research and education centers across South Carolina.  Peter attended University Centre Croydon in London, England, and received a Master of Arts from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.


David Kian

David Kian, J.D.
Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel

As chief legal officer, Mr. David Kian is responsible for supervising and managing all legal matters affecting Florida Atlantic University. Primary responsibilities include serving as legal counsel to the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees; providing legal and policy analysis and advice to the University President and all senior administrators; directing all litigation and administrative proceedings involving the University at the hearing, trial and appellate levels; supervising and coordinating representation with outside counsel; assisting in the development of University compliance plans for federal and state regulations; and developing and presenting training sessions, panels, and guest lectures on an array of legal topics affecting the University. Mr. Kian has served as FAU's General Counsel since 2004. Previously he was Associate General Counsel and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Florida, an associate with the law firm of Hill, Ward & Henderson, P.A., and a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Steven D. Merryday. Mr. Kian received his B.A. and J.D. degrees with honors from the University of Florida, where he was a National Merit Scholar, a National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholar, a Wentworth Scholar, a Judge James B. Whitfield Constitutional Law Scholar, and a National Finalist in the American Bar Association's National Appellate Advocacy Competition.


Larry Faerman

Larry Faerman, Ph.D.
Acting Vice President, Student Affairs & Enrollment Management

Larry Faerman, Ph.D. joined FAU in 1999 as Area Coordinator for Housing and Residential Life and has served the university in many roles over the years. In 2016, he was named Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. As Acting Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, he oversees all aspects of student life, promoting a campus culture that embraces student success through academic excellence, leadership development, and civic responsibility. He oversees the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, which provides a wide array of programs and services to FAU’s student body. Dr. Faerman received a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Science and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University. He earned his Doctorate of Educational Administration and Leadership from FAU.  


Danita Nias

Danita Nias
Vice President for Advancement
Chief Executive Officer, FAU Foundation

Danita Nias joined FAU in October 2016 to lead the university into a new era of donor relations and to spearhead a capital campaign. Nias oversees all FAU fundraising efforts, including principal gifts, planned giving and alumni relations. Prior to arriving at FAU, she served as senior associate vice president for external affairs at the University of Florida. In that role, she was responsible for managing a portfolio of major donors and prospects while managing the university’s campaign strategy and structure for volunteers. From 1995 to 2011, Nias held numerous leadership positions at the University of Maryland, including assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. She has a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in personnel and labor relations from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at Maryland and a Master of Social Science with a concentration in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. 


Stacy A. Volnick

Stacy A. Volnick, M.Ed.
Vice President, Administrative Affairs
Chief Administrative Officer

Stacy A. Volnick is a longtime member of the Florida Atlantic University community, having received her bachelor’s degree in communication and her masters degree in education leadership.  She became a member of the University's administrative staff in 1991, advancing steadily through the ranks. In 2013 she was named Vice President for Administrative Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer. As Vice President Administrative Affairs, Ms. Volnick oversees areas including; Public Safety, Facilities Management, Environmental Health & Safety, Human Resources, Business Services, Emergency Management, Board of Trustee Operations, President’s Office Operations, the Eleanor R. Baldwin House (the President's on-campus residence) and the University Ombudsman.  Additionally, Ms. Volnick administratively oversees the Offices of the Inspector General and University Compliance.


Brian White

Brian White
Vice President and Director of Athletics

Brian White was named Vice President and Director of Athletics in March 2018. An experienced administrator and proven fundraiser, White joined FAU from the University of Missouri, where he was named senior associate athletics director in 2015 before becoming deputy athletics director for external relations in 2016.. At Missouri, White oversaw all external units, including development, marketing, ticket sales, strategic communications, Mizzou Sports Properties, and the Mizzou Network. White led fundraising efforts that set the single-year Missouri athletics department records of more than $50 million (more than doubling the previous year) and 11 seven-figure gifts. In addition, the department secured the necessary donations that allowed the Board of Curators, which oversees the University of Missouri system, to approve a funding model for a $100 million expansion of Memorial Stadium set to be completed before the 2019 football season. White’s family is highly-respected in collegiate athletics. His father, Kevin, is Duke University’s vice president and director of athletics; his oldest brother, Mike, is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Florida; and brother, Danny, is vice president and director of athletics at the University of Central Florida.


Russell Portrait

Dorothy Russell
Interim Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Financial Officer

After retiring in 2017 as Vice President of Financial Affairs and CFO, Dorothy Russell rejoined the FAU Executive Leadership Team in an interim capacity in September of 2020. Throughout her nearly 40-year career, Russell has gained experience in resource planning, analysis, budgeting and risk assessment and has extensive experience in sponsored research administration, institutional analysis and campus security and budget administration. Before joining FAU, she was vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Michigan-Flint and assistant director for finance and administration at the Institute for Social Research, a comprehensive research enterprise at the University of Michigan. She possesses an A.B. from the University of Michigan, a certificate from the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University, and has completed graduate work at the Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan.

In 2016, she won the award for “CFO of the Year for a Nonprofit Organization” at the South Florida Business Journal's CFO Awards event.