California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

New Leadership Council for College of Arts and Sciences

Jessica Lavariega Monforti, dean of California Lutheran University’s College of Arts and Sciences, recently announced the new appointments of an inaugural group of associate deans and a new director of First-Year Seminar on March 22.  

Lavariega Monforti said this college leadership council is divided into four associate dean positions.

“These four folks will join the college leadership team and help us implement the new strategic plan that was approved by the Board of Regents at the college level. They will also roll out and administer strategic initiatives including community outreach, the hiring of new faculty and academic program development,” Lavariega Monforti said.

Gregory Freeland, a political science professor, is assuming the position of associate dean for inclusion and research/creative scholarship.

Samuel Thomas, professor of religion, is the new associate dean for student/faculty relations.

The director of first-year seminar will be Andrea Huvard, a professor of biology and environmental science.

The associate dean for interdisciplinary programs and community outreach was awarded to Jean Sandlin, a communication professor.

Chad Barber, professor of biology, will be the associate dean for undergraduate education.

Lavariega Monforti said these positions will speak to both new responsibilities and enduring values and priorities for Cal Lutheran. Each associate dean will serve as part of the college administrative leadership team. Lavariega Monforti said that collectively, these appointments symbolize a strong commitment to ensuring new avenues for collaboration, development, discovery and inclusion.

Lavariega Monforti is relatively new to the Cal Lutheran faculty and began her role in July. She said she was seeking individuals to join the college leadership council who are respected by their faculty and colleagues, have experience navigating the institution and a directional vision for the university.

“We started working with elected division coordinators to brainstorm about the kind of leadership we needed in the college and to draft a set of job descriptions. Every faculty member in the college received an email saying you can nominate folks for these positions,” Lavariega Monforti said.

The search process included several nominations, applications and interviews.

“I reached out to the nominees to see if they wanted to accept the nomination or not. Then, I met with each nominee and talked about my strategic vision for each of the positions and they talked about what they wanted to do. I made offers in conjunction with consulting with other administration on campus,” Lavariega Monforti said.

Sandlin is a professor in the communication department at Cal Lutheran and is eager to begin her leadership position. Sandlin said partnerships with the community will be mutually beneficial for Cal Lutheran students and the community.

“Community outreach is a main priority. The community has things they can bring to the table to share with us including access for our student internships. Growing those relationships and ensuring we are involved in the community will help us learn about those opportunities for our students,” Sandlin said.

Barber teaches lower and upper division classes for biology majors related to cellular and molecular biology. Barber said he will continue to support the existing strong educational standard at Cal Lutheran, but will also help in assessing new trends and methods in education that are being implemented in classrooms across campus.

Good teaching is challenging; assessing whether that teaching has been effective is decidedly more challenging. I hope to support department chairs with increased collaboration and communication. There are some great resources on and off campus that I hope to network and make the process less independent, less burdensome and more consistent between departments,” Barber said.

Lavariega Monforti said the college leadership council will give students four people they can raise their concerns to. Lavariega Monforti said all of these positions are student-centered and will serve students in a beneficial way.

The four associate deans will begin their positions in the summer of 2018. Meetings will be established to come up with a timeline that discusses what each associate dean would like to put forward for their initial projects and what the timeline will be for rolling those out.

Kendra Salo

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