Psychology dean to take the reins in July

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Christiane Brems, of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, will begin her duties as the new Dean of Pacific’s School of Professional Psychology in July.

Brems will replace former Dean of Psychology Michel Hersen. Currently, Brems teaches and runs the UAA’s Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services.

Originally from Germany, Brems moved to the United States to attend Oklahoma State University, where she earned her bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. “It was supposed to be an adventure and I never left,” Brems laughed.

At 16 years old, she knew this was the career path for her. “After I found a psychology book, I knew I loved it and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” Brems said. “I love the fact that we can really have an impact on peoples’ lives and truly make a difference.”

“I’ve always been a teacher at heart,” said Brems, who started tutoring at 13 years old. Teaching psychology allows Brems to combine her two loves – helping people work out difficult problems and helping students understand the field.

Although there have been certain situational challenges, Brems has seen every challenge in her career thus far as an opportunity for growth and learning.

After 23 years of living and teaching in Alaska, Brems decided to make the switch to Oregon with her husband, who is also a psychologist, where she will continue to hike, cook, garden, kayak, do yoga and explore new places. Alaska winters have gotten to be a challenge, Brems said, and she is excited about this new opportunity at Pacific.

Her mentor while she earned her masters degree, retired professor Donald Fromme, taught at Pacific for many years and now Brems hopes to provide quality guidance to students at the Hillsboro campus.

Brems is most excited about Pacific’s involvement in the surrounding communities, the dedication to giving back and the chances for interprofessional collaboration.

“I believe in holistic health,” Brems said. “I’m excited to collaborate with the other health professions at Pacific.”

Brems hopes to expand the amount of research through Pacific’s professional psychology department by securing funding, promoting the value of research and encouraging and enabling faculty. “I see the potential for a lot more research,” Brems explained.

She hopes to bring her research, which examines yoga as it relates to stress reduction and health promotion, to Pacific when she starts her new adventure here.


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