Carstens Takes Lead of Arts & Sciences

Pacific University welcomes Dr. Lisa Carstens, new dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

She took the helm July 1, following Dr. John Hayes, who retired as dean and is now the director of the university’s Center for a Sustainable Society.

The new dean most recently served as associate dean of Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, where she also was a professor of English. At Virginia Wesleyan, Carstens oversaw faculty development and led major curriculum initiatives, facilitated grants procurement, developed new community partnerships and served on a number of committees.

Carstens joins Pacific University at a time of growth for the College of Arts & Sciences, which is launching six new majors and three new minors for students — the first new programs to evolve in Arts & Sciences in several years.

She said that the new programs particularly illustrate the balance between Pacific’s commitment to a broad, liberal arts philosophy paired with a forward-looking focus on meeting modern student needs.

“It’s protecting what’s wonderful about the liberal arts, but allowing students to see where these general talents and skills can be applied in the world … helping them see the relevance to careers and citizenship.”

Her first semester will be focused on getting to know the Pacific community and programs and on getting the Arts & Sciences community actively involved in a strategic planning process, “where we can flesh out how the university’s vision fits with the visions held by CAS faculty, staff and students.

“The College of Arts & Sciences has already been committed to rigor and excellence in their curriculum in a caring, supportive and truly personal environment,” she said. “We’ll also be looking on how to build on key strengths and also how to tell our story more effectively, so the larger world appreciates even more that value of the Pacific experience.”

For herself, she’s already enjoying the Pacific experience as a return to the Pacific Northwest (she grew up in Olympia, Wash.) and as a welcome to a new community.

“Pacific strikes me as a place that has grown up around its sense of community and continues to hold that value really dear,” she said. “The people here are so warm and welcoming. It’s been a real pleasure to spend time getting to know the culture of the place.”

Thursday, July 26, 2012