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Contact CASA at 413.559.5498 to set up an appointment.

Who We Are

The CASA deans can assist students and faculty with questions and concerns about a range of advising issues. Sometimes it makes more sense for students to talk to the dean most familiar with a particular area of concern. The CASA deans are generalists as well as specialists.

Rachel Rubinstein, dean for academic support

Rachel Rubinstein, associate professor of American literature and Jewish studies, received her B.A. in English from Yale University and her Ph.D. from the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University.

Professor Rubinstein's teaching and research interests range across American literature and culture, with a particular focus on ethnicity and immigration, as well as Jewish and Yiddish literatures.

She serves on the editorial board of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History and co-edited Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture in Honor of Ruth R. Wisse (Harvard U Press, 2008). Her work has appeared in American Quarterlyand Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, and she is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination (Wayne State University Press, 2010).

Anne Downes, senior associate dean

Anne Downes works with students who are in their sixth through tenth semesters. She can address all issues having to do with Division III (filing, advanced educational activities, exceptions, and extensions). She oversees the admissions process for students seeking readmission to the College and those interested in applying for the All But Div III (ABD) degree program.

Ernie Alleva, associate dean

Ernie Alleva received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University, and teaches in the School of Cognitive Science. His main teaching and research interests are in moral and political philosophy; the philosophy of education; and the history of philosophy. His current projects include work on philosophical issues regarding work and recent work on liberal political theory. At CASA, Ernie focuses on Division II, especially on developing ways to assist students in formulating their concentrations and planning their Division II studies.

Zena Clift 90F, associate dean

Zena Clift works with students who are in their third through fifth semesters. She assists students with transitioning from Division I to Division II, navigating Division II, and addresses issues having to do with college life and making the best use of the advising relationship and academic support services.

Laura Melbin, assistant dean

Laura Melbin works with students who are in their first and second semesters. She assists students with understanding and fulfilling Division I and transitioning to Division II. She also provides support as students adjust to college life, and can help students make the best use of the advising relationship and academic support services. Laura oversees the Peer Academic Resource Center (PARC) located in the first floor of the library, where students help one another with academics and navigating the requirements of each division. Her background is in counseling, community organizing, and public health, but she also worked at a veterinary school!

Aaron Ferguson, director for accessibility resources and services

Aaron Ferguson works with students with documented physical, learning, psychiatric, sensory, and medical disabilities to identify appropriate accommodations, strategies, and support services with the goal of allowing students the opportunity to work and perform to their aptitude. Aaron also consults with students without documented disabilities who are seeking resources for formal diagnosis or are just looking to learn about strategies and supports available through OARS or across campus. Aaron can work with any Hampshire student one-on-one and facilitates workshops throughout the year to develop academic and personal strategies for academic success. As the director of OARS, Aaron works to facilitate growth of the accessibility community to collaboratively identify and address physical, programmatic, and academic barriers. He is available to consult with students, student groups, faculty, and staff to learn how to create accessible experiences at Hampshire and to serve as allies in accessibility. Aaron has worked in higher education and accessibility services since 2003 and joined the Hampshire community in the summer of 2015.

Stana Wheeler, administrative assistant; enrollment coordinator

Stana Wheeler is the College's enrollment coordinator. She provides the relevant College administrators with all student status changes, as she is the contact person for all students on leave, field study, and exchange. As the administrative assistant to the dean of advising, Stana can answer many general questions about advising and Hampshire in general and refer students to the appropriate dean for more specific information. She also stocks the world-renowned candy bowl in the advising office.

Katie Stiefel, advising assistant

Katie answers questions about forms, College policies, and advising office procedures. For questions concerning individual students or details about academic planning, she will refer you to the appropriate advising dean.  

Jessica Ortiz, director of new student programs

Jessica is responsible for assisting with the implementation and management of academic and student life programs and support services for incoming and new (first year and transfer) students. She supports logistical and planning operations for new student orientation, facilitates regular programs and events for new students, identifies and prioritizes ways to provide additional academic and student life support services to new students, and assists in developing collaborative initiatives between the Center for Academic Support and Advising and the office of student life.

Stay In Touch
Snail Mail
Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA)
Mail Code AC
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone + Email
Fax: 413.559.6098