During your time at SIPA you will have three primary advisors. You will be assigned a Dean from SIPA’s Office of Student Affairs whose primary responsibility is to advise you on the Core requirements and to connect you to both SIPA and Columbia resources. Students in the MPA-DP, PESP, and PEPM program will be advised by designated staff members from each program.
We recommend that beyond the beginning of your time at SIPA, that you set up a time during your first semester to sit down with your Dean to discuss in more depth your academic and professional plans.
OSA Advising Office Hours FALL 2019
Deans in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) advise students on academic matters related to the MIA and MPA Core Curriculum and assist students with general questions related to their studies (course load, grading options, university services, etc.) For advising related to concentrations or specializations, students should consult with the relevant concentration/specialization director and/or program assistants.
Senior Assistant Dean
Dean Brown joined SIPA in 2001 and has been an Assistant Dean in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) since 2005. In addition to general advising responsibilities, Dean Brown oversees International Travel and Risk Management, Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals, and Academic Policies and Status Monitoring. He provides operational and logistical support to internal OSA services, including enrollment data and reporting, and works closely with other deans and university departments to improve delivery of student-centered services to SIPA students.
After leaving Columbia University, School of General Studies, where he majored in East Asian Studies, Dean Brown worked in Japan as an ESL teacher, education administrator, translator and editor. He came to SIPA believing that by helping students achieve their academic and professional goals in public service he is participating in the collective dynamic of improving the lot of all humankind. This keeps him hopeful about the future.
Urbano T. Garza
Senior Assistant Dean
Areas of Responsibility: Student Assistantship and Scholarship process at SIPA, FGV dual degree program and AUC exchange program.
Dean Garza has been a member of the SIPA Office of Student Affairs (OSA) since 2006. He provides general advising in addition to being responsible for the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN), under whose umbrella SIPA students are able to obtain dual degrees with our international partners.
Dean Garza holds a Bachelor's degree from Columbia University, a Master of Arts in Higher Education from Teachers College, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to SIPA, he worked as Senior Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Columbia College and also as Assistant Dean and Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.
Dean Waysome has been a part of the Columbia University community since 2002 and has served in multiple capacities in OSA. She is currently responsible for registration services at SIPA. In addition she oversees SIPA's International Dual Degree and Exchange programs and partnerships. Her previous professional experiences include, admissions, international programming and counseling.
Dean Waysome holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Elmira College and a Master of Arts in International Education from Columbia University, Teachers College. She is originally from the Caribbean and has lived in New York City for many years.
Areas of Responsibility: SIPA Assistantships, Housing liaison, Student Affairs.
Tan Nguyen has been part of the Columbia community since 2002, where he worked at Columbia’s International Students and Scholar’s Office (ISSO) as an assistant director. He joined SIPA in 2006, where he managed the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) when it was first launched. Currently, in his role as an Assistant Dean at the Office of Student Affairs, he administers the SIPA Assistantship process.
Dean Nguyen graduated from Yale University with a BA in Philosophy, spent 3 years in Germany as a Robert Bosch Tutor and Fellow after graduation, received his MA at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies SAIS (did the Bologna program in Italy – which partly explains his enthusiasm for the value of study abroad), was born in Vietnam and grew up in Orange County, CA.
Dean Beirne has been a part of the Columbia University community since 2003. He is responsible for development and coordination of student activities and events at SIPA, as well as major events including New Student Orientation, Commencement, and Graduation. In addition to his general student advising responsibilities, Dean Beirne manages SIPA's ungergraduate dual degree programs and serves on multiple university-wide committees.
Prior to joining SIPA, Dean Beirne worked as the Director of Education Programs for the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) at Columbia University, where he managed international study-abroad and executive education training programs. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Columbia College, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from SIPA, and is currently enrolled at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law where is pursuing a Juris Doctor (JD).
Samantha Shapses has worked for the past 15 years at Columbia and New York University as a student affairs dean and professional focusing on leadership, student engagement and social justice in higher education. Samantha holds an Ed.D. from NYU in Higher and Postsecondary Education, a master’s degree from NYU in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and a bachelor’s from Washington University in St. Louis in Comparative Arts and Women’s Studies. Samantha is also a trained facilitator in cross-cultural communication. Her research and publications have focused on multicultural education and social justice. Samantha has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University and Teachers College, Columbia University, where she teaches courses on social justice education and higher education administration.
Melanie Pagán joined the Office of Student Affairs in June 2019 with over 10 years of experience in higher education at institutions including Yale University, Connecticut College and Columbia University. Her previous professional experience includes graduate student life and wellness, registrar/academic services, graduate residence life, multicultural affairs, student housing, and admissions.
Dean Pagán holds a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Sociology from Bradley University. She is involved with ACPA College Student Educators International as the Chair of the Latinx Network and presents yearly on the needs and experiences of graduate students and marginalized/minoritized students. She is originally from Puerto Rico and was raised in Chicago. Her pronouns are she/her/hers/ella.