Professors named department chairs

New department chairs are starting this fall in multiple departments at California Lutheran University. Some of the instated include Dr. Kenneth Long of Biology, Dr. Christopher E. Brown of Mathematics, Dr. Michael Shaw of Physics, Dr. Akiko Yasuike of Sociology, Dr. Steven Kissinger of Psychology, Dr. Christine Sellin of Art, Dr. Marja Mogk of English, and Dr. Dru Pagliassotti of Communication.

Each department’s faculty selects the chair every three years and is appointed by the dean of the college and approved by the Provost. Current chairs are allowed to serve two consecutive terms before having to rotate. The chairs’ responsibilities include budgeting, scheduling courses, managing academic policies, hiring new professors, reviewing programs and helping maintain relationships between professors and students.

Pagliassotti has doctorate degree in Communication Theory and Research and is succeeding Dr. Sharon Docter for the communication department, who was the Communication department chair for 16 years.

“I’m learning a lot about how this process works. Every time I get a new position on campus, I learn a little bit more about the behind-the-scene structure that allows us to give these classes,” Pagliassotti said.

Pagliassotti knew the job was going to be challenging. The communication department is starting its second round of program review. It has to look over all the courses, enrollment and resources. It also has to see how it compares to other institutions.

“[We have to] make sure that our department is where we want it to be,” Pagliassotti said.

Not only is she running the department and teaching classes, but Pagliassotti is also in the process of writing her last two fiction books in the Clockwork Heart trilogy, which will be available next year.

Marja Mogk, who has a doctorate degree in English, is succeeding Dr. Joan Wines for the English Department. She has been teaching at CLU since 2004.

“I think it’s really rewarding to get a chance to think about the direction of the department… and how the department can be the strongest department possible,” Mogk said. “Determining how your department can be the strongest possible is not just about the chair, it’s about the team…their voices matter just as much.”

As for the challenges that come with being department chair, she said time management is a real challenge. “I have a wonderful faculty, so that makes my job much easier and more enjoyable,” Mogk said.

The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Joan Griffin, believes both Pagliassotti and Mogk will bring wonderful skills of communication, diplomacy, and a real interest in the curriculum. “I think the best chairs are diplomatic, good at solving conflicts, and both of these people are going to bring a lot of skill to that,” Griffin said.


Alesandria Posada
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 2, 2013