College of Arts and Sciences Staff Bios
Dr. Sunda-Meya is the Acting Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana and Norwood Endowed Professor of Physics. A scientist, teacher, and humanist, he has displayed the discipline to remain at the forefront of research, and the generosity of spirit to share these accomplishments with students. With his persistent support to engage students and faculty, he has developed an environment for success for students. He has established programs that blend scholarships, curricular refinements, mentoring, and support activities designed to attract, retain and graduate more African American students in STEM.
National Science Foundation (NSF), US ARMY, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP), NASA as well as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have funded his interdisciplinary research. His research interests include thin film devices, growth and characterization; cell penetrating peptides for drug delivery; robotics/mechatronics and autonomous system; K-12 STEM and curriculum innovation; makerspace and engineering education. He is an award-winning teacher and mentor, having won Xavier University Norman C. Francis Award for both Service (2011) and Teaching (2013). More recently, the American Physical Society has recognized him nationwide with the 2021 Excellence in Physics Education Award.
Dr. Sunda-Meya received his BS in physics from North Carolina Central University (2001) and his PhD in Physics from North Carolina State University (2007). He also holds a BA and a laurea (MA equivalent) in Philosophie and a BA in Theology from Gregorian University (Rome, Italy).
Dr. Dangale Robinson Meda
Dr. Dangale Meda holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Birmingham, AL, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering from Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL. Dr. Meda is a former Adjunct Professor and Lecturer within the Department of Physics & Dual-Degree Engineering at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), and a former Assistant Vice President in the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs at XULA. Dr. Meda holds several professional certifications including Leadership, Research Development, and Research Administration & Management.
As Assistant Dean, Dr. Meda is part of the leadership team for the College of Arts and Sciences and provides support to the Dean in the operation of academic affairs. Areas of responsibility include community outreach, partnership development, supervision, and management of off-site and special programs. The Assistant Dean works with the Dean in the management of accreditation, assessment, and strategic planning. The Assistant Dean supports the College by helping the Dean in Institutional planning, policy formation, and curriculum development.
As Assistant Dean, Dr. Meda’s work relates to the professional development for College Faculty and the overall vision of the College of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Meda works towards developing and improving school/college policies, procedures, rules and regulations, and acts as an administrative coordinator for the same with faculty. She provides leadership to build and strengthen relationships within and across departments and other colleges/departments within the institution, with commodity/industry groups, alumni, and professional organizations. She assists with Accreditation, including helping in the preparation of documents for the SASCOS accreditation process, and with the establishment of Memorandums of Understandings with External Educational Partners.
Dr. Meda holds significant and effective administrative throughput that allows her to bring support, direction, and productivity to the University as well to the XULA’s Faculty and Staff.
Originally from Jackson, Alabama, Dr. Meda currently resides in the greater New Orleans area with her husband and three children.
Chelsea Dureseaux earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. She’s a Michigan native who has been rooted in New Orleans since 2012.
Ms. Dureseaux currently serves as the Executive Assistant in the College of Arts & Science. She is experienced in Student Affairs; working closely with Student Conduct and Residential Life. Her interest includes developing ways to maximize the student experience, offering a supportive and safe space for students during their collegiate experience and developing efficient processes in her workspace.
Gerald A. Villavasso, Jr
Gerald Villavasso currently serves as an Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. His duties and responsibilities include: determining compensation for part-time and summer faculty, analyzing full-time faculty loads and determining overload compensation, managing CAS operational budgets, creating reports for senior administration, editing and publishing the annual university catalog, and performing other tasks as needed.
Prior to joining Xavier, Gerald worked in the financial services industry as a personal financial advisor. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Science from Xavier University of Louisiana and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.
As a native New Orleanian, he enjoys participating in and attending the various festivals and cultural events that the city offers. He also enjoys photography, gardening, and a variety of fitness activities.
Dr. Richard Peters
Richard Peters earned a Bsc. (1st Class Honors) from the University of West Indies in Chemistry & Management. He has a Masters of Business Administration from Pace University and a PhD. In Strategic Management from Florida Atlantic University.
Richard presently serves as an Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. His research interests are in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability (CSRS) with an emphasis on social innovation and Christian Leadership. He has published articles in business-related journals and has presented at numerous international, national, and regional conferences. He is a reviewer for academic journals and an associate editor of Business and Society Review. He also sits on the advisory board of the Global Jesuit Case Series and is a board member for the Society for Case Research.
He is also passionate about bringing impactful change to communities and environments. He has worked with colleagues, organizations, and students on issues related to social responsibility and sustainability and has participated locally as well as internationally to promote social responsibility and sustainability education and efforts.
He is a husband, father and remains a proud ‘Trinbagonian’.
Dr. Tiera S. Coston
Tiera S. Coston is a proud alumna of Xavier University of Louisiana. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Tulane University and a J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Dr. Coston joined Xavier’s staff in 2013 as the STEM Educational Improvement Specialist in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development (CAT+FD). She has also served as the Assistant Director for Mentoring and Pre-Law Advising. Dr. Coston has more than 13 years of experience supporting faculty and in the areas of pedagogy, curricular development and enhancement, and mentoring.
She has collaborated with faculty to develop their teaching and mentorship in projects sponsored by Innovation through Institutional Integration (iCUBED), Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD). She has conceptualized, developed and implemented three different mentorship education programs that are currently ongoing at Xavier - Preparing Mentors and Advisors at Xavier (P-MAX), Entering Research at Xavier University of Louisiana (ER-XULA) and Mentee-to-Mentor (M2M). She is a National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Certified Facilitator, which requires demonstration of consistent and effective facilitation of mentoring-themed workshops and seminars.
She has facilitated these events and Xavier, throughout the United States and abroad. She mentors undergraduate research and pre-law students as well as freshly minted Xavier alumni whose goal is to gain entry into graduate or professional school programs. She has had the privilege of teaching general biology and the various iterations of College Experience. In all of her work, her ultimate goal is to facilitate and promote the success of Xavier’s students for the fulfillment of Xavier’s mission.
Dr. Marcus S. Cox
Marcus S. Cox serves as Associate Dean, Graduate Programs and Summer School and Director of the Center for Continuing Studies and Distance Education in the College of Arts & Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. He earned an undergraduate degree in marketing and a master’s degree in history from Southern University and a master’s degree in business administration from The Citadel School of Business Administration. Dr. Cox received his doctorate degree in African American history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Throughout his professional career, he has held leadership positions as Founding Director of the African American Studies, Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Dean of The Citadel Graduate College with leadership responsibility of Evening Undergraduate Studies. He holds the distinction of being the first African American faculty member appointed to the position of Dean in the 172-year history of The Citadel Military College of South Carolina.
Professor Cox specializes in African American civil-military history, the Modern Civil Rights Movement, African American history, and U.S. history post-1945. He is the author of over a dozen articles and reviews on the history of African American military personnel, black higher education and military training programs at black colleges and universities. He is also the author of Segregated Soldiers: Military Training at Historically Black Colleges in the Jim Crow South. Dr. Cox’s current book project uses the U.S. military’s landmark studies on race relations in the armed forces, Freedom to Serve (1950), The President’s Committee Equal Opportunity in the Armed Forces (1964) and From Representation to Inclusion (2011), to assess racial progress in the armed forces today and explain why the U.S. military continues to be a societal barometer for social progress in America.
Among many organizations and associations, Dr. Cox is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Knights of Peter Claver Inc., the American Conference of Academic Deans, the Southern Historical Association, and the Association of the Study of African American Life and History.