International Affairs Staff
Fahmi Abboushi, Ph.D., Director of Center for International Education
Dr. Abboushi joined Central State University (CSU) in 2015 as the Director of the Center for International Education (CIE). Dr. Abboushi is the university’s Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) supervising international students on campus. The CIE also manages the study abroad and faculty led programs, and the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs).
Dr. Abboushi received his PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton. He also received a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati. His undergraduate degree was in Sociology from Birzeit University in Palestine.
Before joining Central State University, Dr. Abboushi was an Associate Professor of education at Felician University in New Jersey. There he performed several roles, among them department chair, associate dean of graduate programs in the school of education, director of the online program, and an interim dean of the school of education.
What interest Dr. Abboushi the most is working with CSU students, foreign and domestic, to provide them with opportunities to study abroad and experience diverse world cultures. Having them achieve that is among the best rewards the staff of CIE can get.
Maria Potter, Assistant Director of Center for International Education
Maria Potter is the Assistant Director of the Center for International Education. She joined Central State University in 2017 as the Program Coordinator for the Center for International Education (formerly the Center for Global Education.) Previously she worked as a Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at Ocean County College in New Jersey and led study abroad programs to Morocco. There she served as the founding director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
Ms. Potter earned her MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and BA in Arabic with honors from the Ohio State University. As an undergraduate she studied abroad and interned in Tunisia, North Africa.
Ms. Potter is the university’s Designated School Official (DSO) and provides SEVIS services to international students on the F-1 student visa. She also is the university study abroad advisor and coordinates faculty-led study abroad programing. The Center for International Education also oversees the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) and YEAR Russian exchange students. The International Education Week celebrated on campus every November is also coordinated by the Center for International Education.
Dr. Paul A. Schlag, Executive Director of Honors & International Affairs
Distinguished scholar, professor and administrator Paul A. Schlag, Ph.D. is the Inaugural Executive Director of the Honors College at Central State University. Previously, Dr. Schlag served as the director and formerly as the associate director of the Centennial Honors College, as the inaugural chief of staff of the university, as an assistant department chair and as a professor at Western Illinois University. Having taught and developed in excess of 30 different online and in-person courses over his 20-year academic career, he received the highest awards for teaching at the department, college and university level, culminating with the Provost’s Award in Teaching. His impressive academic dossier includes a plethora of publications, including book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, popular articles and invited peer reviews. He has presented at conferences around the world and led a study abroad trip to Russia (he is fluent in Russian). As an engaged citizen, he has enjoyed serving as a coach and scout leader in the community, and also as the vice chair and board member of the Macomb Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.
Dr. Schlag graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership and earned Masters Degrees from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in Public Administration and the University of Georgia in Instructional Technology (with Distinction). He completed his doctorate in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Georgia.
An experienced, passionate, and dedicated higher education administrator, Dr. Schlag's academic interests include: student development, fiscal management, innovative teaching and learning, marketing, recruitment, retention, civic engagement, public administration, instructional technology, and lifelong learning. Higher education is a proven path to upward mobility and instrumental to fulfillment and development, so he desires that all individuals reap the multitudinous benefits of a university education.
Working with Central State University students on a daily basis is Paul's greatest reward and his sincerest wish is to see his students advance, grow, seek excellence and succeed. His teaching and mentoring centers around community service and his students are actively involved in learning through community engagement (Service Week
& Community Programs
Originally from Colorado Springs, Dr. Schlag has also lived in Utah, Russia (twice), Georgia, Illinois and Ohio. He and his wife Abigail have four outstanding children and love to read, play sports, be outdoors, enjoy music, volunteer and participate in church.
Dr. Theresa Aikens, Honors and International Advisor
An alumnus of Central State University, Theresa Aikens, Ph.D. (she, her) is the Honors and International Student Advisor. A passionate social psychologist with a concentration in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, Dr. Aikens is committed to helping people reach their aspirations. With over twenty years of experience working with students at different stages of the educational process, she is student-focused and engaged. As International Student Advisor, her desire is to prepare the international students for success by taking a more holistic approach to academic and professional development, social and community engagement, and cultural inclusion.
Dr. Aikens graduated from CSU with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. She went on to earn her master’s and Ph.D. in social psychology from Walden University. She is a member of Golden Key International Honor Society, Psi Chi International Honor Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society. An experienced psychology instructor, she currently teaches for the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSU. She is committed to the mission of academics, higher education, and CSU. Her goal is ensuring CSU students enjoy a healthy, rewarding matriculation culminating in a timely degree that will be useful and fulfilling for their future. She firmly believes that, ultimately, CSU students can be change agents for their families, their communities, and the world.
Dr. Aikens and her husband, Dr. Fred Aikens, also a CSU alumnus, have two adult children. Their daughter earned her bachelor’s degree from CSU in 2016. The Drs. Aikens also have the two most wonderful grandchildren ever.
Mrs. Wendy Hayes, University Liaison for Honors and International Student Affairs
Mrs. Hayes joined Central State University (CSU) in 2010 after a 24-year career in the automotive industry successfully managing product program development, cost improvement initiatives and human resources. An experienced administrator, Mrs. Hayes has exercised her knowledge and critical thinking skills in Facilities Management (Manager) and the Office of the President (Executive Assistant to the President; Chief of Staff), where she contributed to the development and implementation of the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan and the planning/oversite committees for the University Student Center, Botanical Garden, first apartment-style residence hall and upgrades to McPherson Stadium among other University accomplishments. More recently, under her leadership as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, the University experienced record new student enrollment (2018), maintained low on-campus infection rates amid the COVID-19 pandemic and expanded the entire Division’s student support services and activities to 100% online delivery.
Mrs. Hayes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and Public Policy (double major) from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Management from Kettering University, Flint, Michigan, and a Master of Science in Operations Management also, from Kettering University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and several other professional organizations.
Mrs. Hayes is a passionate student-centered leader. “The goal is to produce mature civic-minded life-long learners prepared for graduate school and or their chosen career fields. Support services, innovative programming, leadership opportunities and internships are the kinds of collegiate experiences that lead to achieving the goal, Student Success. This is our mission and daily focus.”
Together, she and her husband, Rev. Frederick Hayes, Sr. have three children and two grandchildren. The younger two children, Frederick Jr. and Taylor Marie are proud Centralians, 2018 and 2020, respectively.
Fun facts: Outside of Central State, Mrs. Hayes is an author, singer, song writer/composer and choir director who loves musical theater, sports, and roller coasters.