Program Faculty

Harriet Schwartz, PhD, Chair of the MA in Student Affairs

Harriet Schwartz, Program Chair

Dr. Schwartz is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling and Chair of the Master’s of Arts in Student Affairs program at Carlow University. She is also the Lead Scholar for Education as Relational Practice with the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute.

Prior to joining the faculty at Carlow, Dr. Schwartz worked in student affairs. She was a career consultant for the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University where she also served as an assistant director in the Career Center and previously as Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs. Dr. Schwartz also worked at Bard College as Director of Career Development. She began her work in higher education as Academic Advisor/Counselor for the men’s basketball team at the University of Hartford. She also counts her undergraduate experience as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper as important in her development as an educator.

Dr. Schwartz is particularly interested in integrating social justice and social action into the curriculum and her other professional work. She frequently teaches “Social and Cultural Context of Counseling” and in the fall semester of 2016 she introduced a new elective “Psychologies of Poverty.” She is also the faculty advisor for Carlow’s LBGTQ student organization. Outside of Carlow she co-hosts a monthly virtual group in which white women working in education and therapeutic practice seek to more deeply understand white privilege and engage in anti-racism work.

Dr. Schwartz earned her PhD in Leadership and Change at Antioch University and her MS in Counseling and Certificate in Student Personnel at Springfield College.

Jessica Ruffin, faculty in the MA in Student Affairs program

Jessica Ruffin, Faculty

As the Senior Leader of Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Human Services, Ms. Ruffin leads efforts to advance equity and inclusion across DHS. This work includes strategies to support the internal workforce in addition to working with providers on services delivered to the community.

Most recently, Ms. Ruffin was the Director of the Social Justice Institutes at Carlow University. Her responsibilities included the oversight of the Grace Ann Geibel Institute for Justice and Social Responsibility, and the Centers for Community-Engaged Learning and Youth Media Advocacy. Ms. Ruffin has also held positions with several local organization including Coro / Public Allies Pittsburgh, Amachi Pittsburgh, and YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.

Ms. Ruffin serves as the co-chair of Allegheny County Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention Community Advisory Board. She also serves on the board of the Hilltop Alliance, the Gwendolyn J. Elliott Institute of Gwen’s Girls, and the Board of Commissioners for PACE Pittsburgh. She was recently appointed by Mayor William Peduto to the City of Pittsburgh’s Human Right’s Commission.

Ms. Ruffin earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and her MBA from Chatham University. 

Diane Hightower, Faculty

In the book, “Leadership Jazz”, Max DePree draws on the musical genre of jazz to explain his sense of what lies at the core of leadership; what you hear and what you feel; connecting one’s voice with one’s touch. Diane Hightower maintains a voice that centers on how student affairs translates to student advocacy, and a touch that focuses on student development, and the relationships and experiences shared as each student grows and develops.

Along with her siblings, Ms. Hightower co-founded Hightower Scholars, Inc. (HSI) in 1999 where she serves as the Executive Director. The mission of HSI is to provide academic support and college readiness programming for students of color from western Pennsylvania. She is also very involved in community engaged learning as exemplified by her volunteer service on the YWCA Westmoreland County Board and the Peoples Library Board, and her special project management work with Westmoreland Community Action.

Most recently, Dean Hightower was appointed the chief student affairs officer at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC); and she also served as the Dean of Student Support Services at DePauw University, the Director for the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy at Chatham University; the Dean of Judicial Affairs at Washington & Jefferson College; the Special Assistant to the President and Director of Multicultural Affairs at Lake Forest College; and the Assistant Director of Lincoln University’s Master of Human Services Program. Her career began at the New Kensington Campus of Pennsylvania State University.

Dean Hightower earned her bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Later she pursued a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in the Higher Education program at Pennsylvania State University, received a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh, and was awarded a Citrin Leadership Program certificate while a member of the WCCC senior staff.


You will also take courses with our Professional Counseling faculty