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University Leadership

University President

Dr. Sarac founded VIU in 1998 with the vision of offering students from all over the world the access to higher education. Dr. Sarac has been considered a visionary in his field. As a talented educator, lecturer, publisher, and leader, Dr. Sarac contributes decades of accomplishments and experiences to the ongoing success of Virginia International University.


Executive Team

Executive Vice President of Student and University Affairs

Dr. Suleyman Bahceci joined Virginia International University (VIU) as the Executive Vice President of Student and University Affairs on May 1, 2015. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the departments of University Affairs and Student Affairs as well as the schools, including the School of Language Studies, the School of Online Education, and the School of Professional Development.

Previously, Dr. Bahceci was the Chief Executive Officer of Accord Institute for Education Research, which provides a wide variety of education services to public schools. His commitment to improving the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education prompted his involvement in education reform movement through starting up charter schools and non-profit education organizations. His visionary focus on data and STEM transformed the client schools into high-achieving schools.

In 2009, he joined Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation as the Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, the number of Magnolia Public Schools and their student enrollment doubled in size in three years. In 2007, he joined a group of high performing school leaders to found the Accord Institute for Education Research.  In 2003, Dr. Bahceci co-founded Willow Education, a non-profit public benefit corporation, aimed at promoting science and technology education in public schools. As the Board President of Willow Education, he initiated and led numerous projects, the most important of which was the BayTech-Oakland project, a public charter school located in the underserved community of Oakland.

From 2000 to 2009, Dr. Bahceci worked as the Research Scientist at Exelixis Inc., a biotechnology company in San Francisco, California. His works involved a variety of Drug Discovery projects at Exelixis. Serving as the molecular modeler for multiple projects, Dr. Bahceci demonstrated a strong scientific understanding of biology, chemistry, and modeling methods as well as excellent communication and organizational skills. His name has been listed as the co-inventor on the Inhibitors of Hedgehog Pathway and CDK Modulators patents.

Dr. Bahceci earned both his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.Sc. (hons) degree in Science Education and M.Sc. degree in Chemistry from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

Executive Vice President of Information Technology

In 2001, he received his diploma in software engineering and since then has worked with web application development and system maintenance.

He completed his Master of Business Studies (MBS) in 2003 from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal, and in December 2008 he received his master (MIS) degree in information system from Virginia International University.

Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Kovach serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating and overseeing programs and schools including the School of Computer Information Systems, the School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Public and International Affairs, the Director of Library Services and the Registrar’s Office.

Prior to joining Virginia International University, Dr. Kovach was Provost of the Mountbatten Institute (NY), a British graduate business institute, and oversaw academic programs with centers in New York City, London, and Bangkok. Dr. Kovach has over 36 years of higher education experience. During his career, he has held positions as Vice President of Student Retention at American Public University System; Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in the Purdue University system; Director of International Studies and Director of the Graduate Program in Organizational Leadership at Lewis University; Dean of Student Development at Benedictine University; Associate Dean of Students at Rhodes College; Director of Student Development at University of St. Francis, and Director of Residence Education at Boston University.

He served as President of the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) from 2012-2014, Past President from 2014-16, and Director of the Experiential Education Academy 2014-present. He was Treasurer from 2010-2012, and a member of the NSEE Board of Directors from 2008-2016. In addition, he has served on the Board of Habitat for Humanity, Loudoun County (VA).

Dr. Kovach has conducted over 100 presentations, workshops at both national and international conferences, has authored several publications, and has consulted at national and international universities on a variety of higher education topics. He has been a Lead QEP Evaluator for a SACS accreditation team and served as Principal Investigator for numerous grants (U.S. Department of Education grants as well as private foundation projects) that have addressed faculty development, student success, leadership development and experiential learning.

Dr. Kovach holds a doctorate in counseling and adult higher education from Northern Illinois University, a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in English from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science in English Education from Ohio University.

Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Assurance

Christina L. Koonts was born and raised in Fauquier County, Virginia. Upon graduating from Fauquier High School in 2003, Christina made the move to Newport News, Virginia to attend Christopher Newport University for her undergraduate education, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2007 with minors in philosophy and religious studies as well as sociology.

After completing her Bachelor’s Degree, Christina returned to the Northern Virginia area and began work at Virginia International University. She enrolled in George Mason University’s Graduate program in political science in the fall of 2008. Christina pursued and graduated with a Master of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations in December of 2010. Christina’s research interests throughout her educational career included economic development, comparative politics, and humanitarian policy. Christina currently works as VIU’s Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Assurance, and resides in her hometown of Fauquier County with her husband, two children, and a yellow lab named Marley.

Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing

Deborah Brent joined Virginia International University (VIU) as an Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing on January 4, 2017. In this role she provides leadership to the University’s Admissions department along with overseeing efforts in both Domestic and International Marketing. Deborah’s Enrollment Management team at VIU also includes the essential divisions of International Student Services, Office of the Registrar, and Lead Management.

Deborah’s 21 year career in higher education began as a Director of Admissions for such companies as TriState Travel School in Cincinnati, OH; Career Education Corporation colleges in Vienna, VA and Boston, MA; The New England Institute of Art in Brookline, MA; and a Corinthian, Inc. college campus in McLean, VA. Deborah advanced to campus operations where she worked as a Campus Director for National Massage Therapy Institute in Falls Church, VA and joined ITT Technical Institute as the College Director of the Chantilly, VA campus. While with ITT Technical Institute, Deborah was awarded College Director of the Year in 2010 and led the Chantilly, VA campus to numerous recognitions for top performance.

Deborah was promoted to the District Manager-Southeast Region position with ITT Technical Institute where she had managerial oversight of 12 college campuses located in Florida, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She spearheaded ITT Technical Institutes’ inclusion in the President’s Campus Challenge on Interfaith and Community Service Program where she represented the college system’s program participation at The White House and had the honor to present at two annual conferences sponsored by the US Department of Education. Deborah was elected to serve three terms as secretary/treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Career College Association. Per her notable accomplishments, Deborah was a featured presenter on a Biz Summit’s webinar on “Elevating Performance Metrics through Performance Management” in 2013 and presented at a SCHEV conference in Richmond, VA regarding “Admissions and Compliance Standards.” Based on her deep belief in the importance of post-secondary education, Deborah feels her greatest reward over the years is seeing the success of her students that achieve both their educational and career aspirations that benefit their futures. She enjoys working with the staff and student body that encompass VIU’s global campus community.

Deborah Brent received her MA in International Communications from The American University, Washington, DC and her BSC in Telecommunications from Ohio University, Athens, OH.

Associate Vice President of Budget and Planning

Ms. Bondarenko joined the university in 2011 after she earned an MBA in International Business from VIU. Before she came to the US as an international student, Ms. Bondarenko graduated from Moscow University for the Humanities with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and gained experience in international business and communications at multinational tourism and advertising corporations in Moscow, Russia.

Ms. Bondarenko is actively involved in the VIU Alumni Association to help graduates succeed in their careers and build a network. Ms. Bondarenko is fluent in English and Russian. She is passionate about dance and photography.

Chief of Staff

Camilla Nunes is the Chief of Staff at Virginia International University. She holds a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from VIU and three Bachelor of Arts degrees: Translation, English, and Portuguese, from the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil.

While still in college, she was always involved in educational activities on and off campus, either conducting research in the fields of students’ perspectives and teachers’ professional development or developing curriculum for several programs. She has also advised and tutored students while working as teaching assistant. Since 2005, Camilla has been working as teacher and curriculum developer for different institutions. In 2014, she joined VIU as a Curriculum Coordinator; performing research, developing programs, assisting faculty, and improving instructional resources. Camilla also coordinates the scholarship program.

She speaks Portuguese as her native language, and she has knowledge of elementary Spanish.

Director of Operations, Facilities and Property

Bayarjargal Battulga joined Virginia International University as an Operations, Facilities and Property Manager in August 2015 and was promoted to Director of Operations, Facilities and Property Management in June 2016. In this role, he provides direction, oversight and operation management for facilities and property maintenance; campus development and construction; campus security; transportation and parking; information services; and food service. Additionally, Mr. Battulga provides general accounting support to the university subsidiary entity.

Previously, Mr. Battulga was the Financial Manager at Hera Equipment LLC, a heavy duty equipment sales and service company in Mongolia. Prior to joining Hera Equipment LLC, he worked as a Financial Controller for TWB Drilling Ltd, a multinational core drilling company in the mining industry.

Mr. Battulga earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the National University of Mongolia, School of Economic Studies and his MBA degree in International Finance from Virginia International University.

Director of Human Resources

Rebecca Yu graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Since 2002, Rebecca has been creating and managing human resources departments for educational institutions, start-ups, and small business federal contractors. Rebecca recently retired from coaching volleyball after 14 years and is enjoying spending her free time with her family and pursuing personal interests such as web design, writing, interior design, and cooking.