International Studies & Programs

Home > About > Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

VIPP's advisory committee consists of MSU and community members, as well as two representatives from VIPP participants on a rotating basis. Its goal is to provide broad, high-level guidance and advising to VIPP's operations, development, strategic directions, and best practices. It advocates for VIPP programs, services and activities across MSU departments, colleges, centers, and community and other outside organizations.

Frank Fear

frankfear_side_by_side.jpgProfessor and Senior Associate Dean emeritus
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
MSU Senior Fellow in Outreach and Engagement 

Frank A. Fear is professor emeritus from Michigan State University where he served as a faculty member for over thirty-five years and worked in various administrative positions including department chair, acting statewide associate director of MSU Extension, founding director of Bailey Scholars Program, and vice dean of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He is Senior Fellow, MSU Outreach and Engagement, and received the Charles Glizzo Award for International Diplomacy awarded by MSU International Studies and Programs. Frank is primarily interested in how public and nonprofit institutions serve the public good. His blog, "For the Public Good," is on Tumblr. Frank is Managing Editor of The Sports Column (Baltimore, MD) where he writes a column on topics associated with sports and society. He writes regularly about social issues for Los Angeles-based publication, LA Progressive. He also works as a strategic planning consultant for the Dean's Office of MSU International Studies and Programs.  

Eric Freedman

EricFreedmanUpdated.jpgProfessor, School of Journalism
Former Associate Dean, International Studies and Programs

Eric Freedman is Professor of Journalism and former Associate Dean of International Studies and Programs. During his 20-year newspaper career, he covered public affairs, environmental issues, and legal affairs for newspapers in New York and Michigan, winning a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a legislative corruption scandal. He teaches environmental journalism and serves as Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. He also teaches public affairs reporting, international journalism, feature writing, and media law and serves as Director of the school’s Capital News Service, a professional-level internship program in which students cover state government for more than 25 newspapers and online news outlets across Michigan. Freedman earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University, his law degree from New York University and his master’s degree in resource development from MSU. Internationally, he has taught journalism as a Fulbright scholar in Lithuania and Uzbekistan, led workshops and seminars for professional journalists in Central Asia, and lectured to students in Singapore, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Japan and Kyrgyzstan.

He served for three years as an International Scholar in the Open Society Foundation’s Academic Fellowship Program, where he worked with faculty members in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan.

As a professional journalist and freelancer, Freedman has written for newspapers and magazines on such environmental issues as habitat protection, parks and public lands, toxic substances, extinction, ecotourism and government regulation. At MSU, he directed the Australia Media, Environment, Culture and Tourism study abroad program, the Reporting in the British Isles study abroad program, and a freshman seminar abroad on environment and media in Scotland.

Norman Graham

NormanGrahamUpdated.jpgDirector, European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies Center
Associate Dean, James Madison College

Norman A. Graham is professor of International Relations at MSU's James Madison College of Public Affairs. He also serves as the director of the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University.

Prof. Graham's long term research interests include international security and economic relations, international organization, Central and Southeastern Europe, and Central and South Asia. He has taught at Columbia University and led the Yale University Summer Seminar on International Business. He has also served as a Research Associate with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Futures Group. He served as Associate Dean of James Madison College from 1999-2011, and Acting Dean 1998-99 and 2006-7.

His teaching at MSU focuses on international economic relations and development, the European Union and related international organizations and the foreign policies of European and Eurasian countries. He directs the Center's summer overseas study program on "International Relations in Brussels" in conjunction with the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the European Union and NATO, alternating also as director of the summer program on “Environmental Science and Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin” in collaboration with several Greek and Turkish universities and research institutes.

His current research focuses on industrial and technology development in the European Union, technology transfer and defense conversion in Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet Union, the future of Eurasian security, and the political economy of transition and environmental policy in Central Asia and the Caucasus. He was the recipient of an MSU Teacher-Scholar award in 1993. His published research includes eight books and numerous articles.

Graham earned his BA in European and Asian History from the University of Akron, his M. Phil. in International Relations and Political Economy from Columbia University, and his PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.

Chris Holman

Chris Holman headshot.jpeg

Chris Holman, a former high school teacher, coach, university instructor, and college Dean, has become one of Lansing’s most prominent businessmen. He is a successful entrepreneur with more than 40 years of experience and has affected practices and policies in the state of Michigan throughout his career. Chris has been promoting the Michigan business community since the 1980s. He is one of the original founding members of “Michigan Celebrates Small Business”, an annual celebration of Small Business successes that draws over 1,000 business, Owners/Managers, each year. He previously hosted a Sunday morning TV show called “Business Today” on WILX TV 10 and prior to that, he was a business editor and on-air personality at WLNS TV 6. In 2011 Chris ended a 14-year run as a daily morning radio show host on WILS 1320 and WJIM 1240. 

In 1984, Chris founded H&H, Inc., a Lansing marketing /consulting firm. Soon after, he started The Greater Lansing Business Monthly magazine in 1987, selling it in 2013. On July 4, 2011, Chris launched a statewide 24/7 business news Internet website and broadcast company called “Michigan Business Network.” He is currently the CEO of the company and the primary host of the network’s anchor program, “Michigan Business Beat,” which airs each weekday on the stream but is available 24/7 as a podcast. He has also been involved in international business for over 30 years and owns a factory near Beijing, China. 

In early 2006, Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Chris as Michigan's Small Business Advocate. He served as a liaison between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and small business owners across the state of Michigan while working closely with the Michigan Business Ombudsman’s office.

 Chris is involved with several other business ventures and serves on numerous community boards. He has 25 years of experience as a bank board member of three different banks. He has also served as Board Chairman of the Capital Area United Way and as Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. Chris served on the Board Chairman of The Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, for 20 years with many of those years as the Board Chair. He is a Past-President of the Rotary Club of Lansing, Past Chairman of the SBAM (Small Business Association of Michigan), and also Past-Chairman of the NSBA (National Small Business Association) in Washington DC, during which he met with the president during his tour on Business Matters and in the Rose Garden for the signing of the J.O.B.S ( Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act. 

Due to his passion for education, he served for several years as chairman of the tri-county Keep Learning Committee, which has been renamed T3, an organization dedicated to bringing educators to the development of the workforce. Most recently, Chris assumed the role of State President of AARP of Michigan. He has also been serving for the past several years on the advisory board of the Detroit office of the Chicago Federal Reserve. 

Chris holds two degrees from Eastern Michigan University and has been a Lansing-area resident for more than 40 years. He has been married to his wife Louse for 45 years, and they have three children and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren. 

Charles Mickens


Charles Mickens served as the Associate Dean of Innovation and Technology and Chief Information Officer at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School for 18 years. Before that, he was employed by the State of Michigan for over 20 years in the Departments of Licensing and Regulation, Civil Service, and the Department of Information Technology Management and Budget.

Charles graduate of the College of Social Science at Michigan State University. He lived in Thailand and studied Thai language, history, and culture for six months as part of the study abroad program at Michigan State. He has served on the Lansing Community College Technology Curriculum Advisory Council, as an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan; on the boards of Michigan State University-Kresge Art Museum,  the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the College of Social Science Alumni Board, the Michigan Festival, and as the President of the Michigan Management Information Systems Association.

Currently, Mickens is a member of the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority and served as the chairperson in 2012 to 2013. He is on the boards of the Rotary E-Club of Houston, the greater Lansing Sister Cities Commission, and the Capital Regional Community Foundation. He enjoys cooking, jazz, and travel.  He and his wife Helen's hobby is traveling, especially trips throughout France and China. Charles enjoys giving back to the community. He is a member of the Information Technology Empowerment Center Girls 2020 Giving Society and is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow. 

Keith I. Bezant Niblett

keithniblett.jpgAssistant Director, International Relationships & Executive Development Programs
The Eli Broad College of Business

Keith Niblett is the Assistant Director of Executive Development Programs in the the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. In this role, focusing on Customized and International programs, he is working on whole program design, marketing and sales, teaching and support, and continuous improvement and strategic geographic and portfolio development.

Keith also is Chairman of the Board at a fast-growing US National Home Owners Association services company and a senior Board member of a New York-based international manufacturing and marketing company, which has over twenty manufacturing units in every major continent in the world. 

To learn more about Keith, check VIPP's blog


Colleen Pero

Former Deputy Director at Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Colleen Pero was Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Prior to her appointment, she was a partner in Pero Consulting, Inc., a public affairs consulting firm based in Laingsburg, Michigan, for ten years.  During this time, the majority of her clients and projects have centered on legal and judicial issues and campaigns. In 2013, the Federalist Society of Michigan acknowledged her leadership in conservative legal circles by awarding her the Grano Award.

Colleen’s prior legal experience includes serving as General Counsel to the (Lamar) Alexander for President Campaign and as an attorney for Dickinson, Wright in Lansing, and Winstead McGuire, Sechrest & Minick in Houston.  She currently serves as a Michigan Supreme Court appointee to the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners (where she serves on the Public Policy Committee).  In 2014, she was one of 12 lawyers named by the Court to the Michigan Supreme Court Task Force charged with examining the role of the State Bar of Michigan, especially as it relates to First Amendment issues. Colleen also is a frequent presenter to U.S. State Department-sponsored international delegations on the rule of law and the Michigan judicial system.  She currently serves as a contract Special Assistant Attorney General for Attorney General Bill Schuette, working with senior staff on special projects, including human trafficking and school violence. 

Colleen earned her B.A. from Michigan State University, her M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and her J.D. from the University of Houston.  

Jiaguo Qi

JiaguoQi.jpgProfessor, Geography
Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations

Dr. Jiaguo Qi is Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations and Professor in the Department of Geography at Michigan State University. He also serves as a Project Scientist in the NASA-MAIRS program. His research focuses on two areas: integrating biophysical and social processes and methods in understanding land use and land cover change; and transforming data into information and knowledge.

Through research projects funded by different agencies including NASA, NSF, USDA, USAID, he uses case studies in different parts of the world to understand the nature of the coupled natural-human systems that play into global change. The geographic area of his research includes projects in North America, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, East and West Africa, South America, and Australia. His recent research integrates environmental and social sciences to investigate the consequences of the socioeconomic reform on land degradation in China, and climate change impact on human systems in East Africa.

Won Song

drwonsong.jpgProfessor, Food Science and Human Nutrition 


Dr. Won Song, a professor of human nutrition in the Department of Food Science at Michigan State University, has been an active researcher and teacher since she joined the MSU faculty as an assistant professor. Her research training and interests reside in nutritional epidemiology; community nutrition; food consumption behaviors in relation to chronic diseases; dietary patterns and health risks at the national and international settings; biomarkers and predictors for nutritional status in large populations with emphasis on the subgroups at risk; national nutrition surveys and its application in research; and nutrition education – theories and application of technology. She has recently been focusing her research activities on maternal child health, especially in those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

She has received numerous recognitions for her research and teaching accomplishments, served on many university-wide, national and international committees for professional organizations and industry, and advised and mentored numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and international visiting scholars extending her research expertise. She has published over 10 books and chapters, over 100 peer-reviewed articles, and delivered over 250 presentations to the professionals.

Mary Anne Walker



Mary Anne Walker works at Office of Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation. She served as the Director of the Global Engineering Office at Michigan State University. She has been working in the field of international development, research, education and training for more than 30 years. Her passion is in working with students on applied research and learning endeavors engaging global partners.  Mary Anne has taught and consulted on topics of community and economic development and financing public/private alliances through building extensive networks.

Sung Lee



Dr. Sung Lee 


Dr. Lee is a retired physician specialized in Ob/Gyn. During his 40 years practice, he delivered about 5,000 babies in Lansing area. Following his retirement, he continues his medical professions by working in Malawi for around three months a year. He is currently serving as the Director of Okemos Ob/Gyn Associates and Women's Well-Being Clinic; Chairman of the Korea Committee; a member of the Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission; and a member of the East Lansing Rotary Club.

Dr. Lee is passionate about international education and exchange for young people. He has been the driving force of a Korean-American high school exchange program for the last 10 years, where 15-20 Korean students visiting and studying at Holt High School for three weeks every February and the same number of American students study in Korea in July.