Pacific names Lisa Carstens dean of College of Arts & Sciences

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Pacific University Provost John Miller announced Friday, Dec. 16 that Lisa Carstens was appointed the next dean of the university’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Carstens is currently the associate dean of Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virg., where she is also a professor of English.

At Pacific, she will succeed John Hayes, who will retire at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year. Carstens will take the helm on July 1, 2012.

“Pacific is a dynamic institution with a great heritage and exciting future,” Carstens said. “I am thrilled to be joining a community of faculty and staff that is committed to ensuring students have both the skills to succeed and a mindfulness of pursuing endeavors that make a difference in others’ lives.”

As associate dean at Virginia Wesleyan, Carstens has overseen faculty development and led major curriculum initiatives, including the implementation of a new first-year experience program and the transformation of Virginia Wesleyan’s curriculum to a four-credit structure featuring innovative course enhancements.

Additionally, she has facilitated grants procurement, the development of new community partnerships throughout the greater Norfolk region and collaboration across the college’s various divisions. She has served on numerous committees while at the college, including the Dean’s Academic Council and the Strategic Planning Committee.

She began her tenure at Virginia Wesleyan in 1997 as an assistant professor after earning a doctoral degree in English with an emphasis in critical theory at the University of California, Irvine.

Carstens was elevated to an associate professor in 2003 and professor in 2008. She has regularly taught courses in theory and criticism, modernism, women’s and gender studies, British literature and writing.

Additionally, she has authored several academic publications and made numerous conference presentations on subjects ranging from sexual politics in British literary and scientific discourse, to inquiry-guided learning in the liberal arts curriculum.

“On behalf of the search committee, I am very pleased Dr. Carstens will become our next College of Arts & Sciences dean,” Miller said. “We believe she will build on the many successes the college experienced under the outstanding leadership of Dean Hayes.”

Hayes has served as the dean of College of Arts & Sciences since 2003. Under his direction, the college has increased its enrollment by 35 percent and recruited and retained outstanding faculty members.

The result has been contemporary development of the college’s academic programs, rich in liberal arts tradition with a strong emphasis on teaching, research and creative activity.

Under Hayes’s direction, the college transformed its general education core requirements and moved from a hybrid three- and four-credit system to a predominantly four-credit system that has benefited students and faculty alike.

Hayes’s leadership has also resulted in a successful restructuring of the college from divisions to schools of arts & humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

“The College of Arts & Sciences has grown tremendously as a result of Dean Hayes’s vision and tireless commitment and I am most appreciative,” Pacific University President Lesley Hallick said.

“Lisa Carstens’s talent and experience make her an exceptional fit for the college upon Dean Hayes’s retirement,” said Hallick. “I look forward to her incumbency as a member of Pacific’s leadership team.”


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