Planning and Research Staff
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Alicia Simmons, M.S.W., Ph.D., Executive Director
Phone: 256-782-8145 | E-mail:

Dr. Alicia Simmons is an experienced change management executive in higher education, small business and not for profit organizations. She employs theory, research, technology, and business intelligence to collaboratively define organizational vision, mission, goals and strategies. With more than 20 years of experience implementing change through project management, fund raising, communication and team leadership strategies, she has often created collaborative lateral lines of business as infrastructure. Dr. Simmons employs various strategies to measure change and its impact on individuals, organizations and communities. She managed complex multi-million dollar federal contracts, taught at the University of Georgia, conducted national conferences and events, and created professional development opportunities for educators in child care, Head Start, K-12 and higher education.  Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Jacksonville State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia. 

DeLane Hodge, Secretary to the Executive Director
Phone: 256-782-8144 | E-mail:

Lynn Garner, Project Manager
Phone: 256-782-8159 | E-mail:

Lynn has managed complex projects for over ten years. Before joining JSU, Lynn worked as a contractor for the US Department of Homeland Security and later the US Department of Defense. Currently, Lynn is the Project Manager for the Jacksonville State University Institute for Research and Collaboration. She assists faculty with sponsored programs during the post award phase. For the Collaborative Regional Education (CORE) Project, Lynn serves as the conference manager.  Her duties include planning professional development activities and building relationships with teachers, administrators, and other personnel from 20 school systems. Lynn also manages research center development at JSU. She collaborates with faculty and captures their research center agendas for submission to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Lynn earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and her Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Jacksonville State University.

Tienhan Ma, Coordinator of Assessment
Phone: 256-782-5109 | E-mail:

Tienhan Ma was recently promoted from the position of research assistant, which she held since July 2004. She has a BA degree from Suchow University and a MA degree from the University of Mississippi.

Ms. Ma, a native of Taiwan, moved to Jacksonville with husband Stan and son, Andrew in May 1990, and came to work in the Office of Assessment at JSU in September 1998.

Allison Newton, Coordinator of Proposal Development
Phone: 256-782-5108 | E-mail:

Ms. Newton holds a B.S. degree in Geography from The University of North Alabama with a minor in English. She earned her Master's Degree in Public Administration at Jacksonville State University, with a concentration in Environmental Science.

Prior to joining the office of Planning and Research in 2010, Ms. Newton served as an adjunct faculty member at JSU from 2006-2010 teaching Human Geography and World Regional Geography. Before teaching, Ms. Newton served as the Associate Director for The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE), a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate geographic learning. She currently serves as an Executive Board Member for the NCGE. Before moving into the world of higher education, Ms. Newton worked in private enterprise for 10+ years.

Ms. Newton is active with the National Geographic Society's State Geographic Alliance Network. She supports the performance of Alliances by supporting legislative efforts at the national and state level, providing assistance with grant writing, and assisting with the development of strategic planning within the Alliances.

Kim Presson, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness
Phone: 256-782-8142 | E-mail:

Ms. Presson began working at JSU in February 2005. She came to JSU from ITC DeltaCom as a Coordinator for Government and Industry Relations where one of her many duties was the monthly downloading and reporting line, cost, and customer data to the FCC and State Public Service Commissions. Before working at DeltaCom, she worked as in Human Resources and was a Secretary in the Anniston Division of Alabama Gas Corporation. Since coming to JSU she has worked in the Registrar's Office and the Child Development Center.

Ms. Presson has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Office Administration from Troy University and an MPA in Business Administration from Jacksonville State University.

John Rosier, Director, Institutional Research and Assessment
Phone: 256-782-8157 | E-mail:

John Rosier has a B.S. degree in Computer Information Systems and a M.S. degree in Computer Systems and Software Design from Jacksonville State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama.

John began his career at JSU in 1999, in the Department of Information Technology as a computer programmer. From 1999 to 2008, he has held several positions in the Application and System Support group; he has been a part of several large projects that included Y2K, development of a mainframe testing environment, and was part of the Sungard Banner technical implementation team. He has extensive experience with Oracle, IBM midrange and mainframe platforms and their operating systems.

He joined the Office of Planning and Research in September 2008.

Blake Hunter, Technology Analyst, Institutional Research and Assessment
Phone: 256-782-8189 | E-mail:

Blake Hunter received his B.S. degree from Jacksonville State University in May of 2012. While in school he worked as an aide for the Department of Information Technology in the Academic Computing and Network Support group and also worked as a technical specialist at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.  After graduating he began working in the Department of Information Technology as a computer programmer. He worked in the Application and System Support group to meet the University’s reporting needs and administered the University’s document management software, ApplicationXtender.

He joined the Office of Planning and Research in November 2013.