Meet the Dean

Jessica Lavariega Monforti, PhD

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti, Ph.D.
Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti, Ph.D.

Dr. Lavariega Monforti became Cal Lutheran’s Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences in July 2017.  An accomplished researcher, author, professor, and higher education administrator, she is sought out by media outlets for her expert commentary on politics and policies related to immigrants, women, and communities of color. 

Dr. Lavariega Monforti’s service record includes roles in professional organizations and non-profits. She was selected as one of only five American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) Fellows in 2020, serves as the 2020-2021 president of the Western Political Science Association (WPSA), and was recently named Vice-President of Ventura County’s Children’s Museum KidSTREAM. 

News & Notes from the Dean

Message from the Dean

En español

Welcome to the College of Arts and Sciences at California Lutheran University.

The College is a community of faculty and staff whose commitment to the education and well-being of our students is evident in the classroom and beyond. In recent years, we have faced unprecedented challenges – wildfires forced evacuations in the region; a senseless act of violence, rare in Thousand Oaks, unmoored our sense of security; social unrest forced us to examine our own long-standing institutional practices, and Covid-19 disrupted every facet of college operations and campus life.  That we are here today, able to offer a rich curriculum to new and returning students is a testament to the care and concern demonstrated by our faculty and staff.  Faculty and staff make their purpose clear. Whether they personally call each of their students, extend office hours for consultation, set aside class time for meaningful conversations about troubling events, help replenish the student food pantry, make donations to emergency student funds, or simply offer an ear to listen,they aim to nurture the whole student, academically, physically, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, globally, and otherwise.

Our faculty come to us from highly regarded universities, bringing an amazing breadth of expertise and experience to this community. They have chosen California Lutheran as their intellectual home because they are committed to teaching and research in ways that will experientially enhance the lives of our students both now and in the future - a mission that aligns with that of the College.

As a Lutheran university,  a distinctive element of our institution,  our commitment is to the tenet that a liberal arts education frees us to serve others. This is a time to think about how your vocation -- your calling --  will improve the lives of others, locally and around the globe.  To be effective, this requires knowledge about who we are, where we come from, and our connectedness to one another.  In the College of Arts and Sciences, we strive to foster an environment where students feel supported as they grapple with such questions, search for answers, and contribute their own evolving ideas.

A liberal arts education, with the hands-on, practical approach that contemporary times demand, is more important than ever. In the College of Arts & Sciences, we emphasize the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, understanding that regardless of the career you choose, a multi-faceted understanding of the world is critical to success.  Equally important is the ability to see beyond one perspective.  We encourage our students to consider diverse points of view even if, perhaps especially if, they are different from their own -- as engagement with liberal arts at Cal Lu prompts us to base our opinions on reason. The analytical skills, effective communication, ethical judgement, and social responsibility, that comprise the essence of a liberal arts education at Cal Lutheran, are prerequisites for effective leadership, discovery, and innovation as the world rapidly changes around us. 

 The College offers 35 undergraduate majors and 34 minors in the creative arts, natural sciences, technology, humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary studies. We have exciting new academic endeavors like Ethnic and Race Studies, the Earth and Environmental Science Department, Film & Television. The College is home to Cal Lutheran’s Honors Program; Model UN program, mentored undergraduate research and creative scholar programs including the national McNair Scholars Program; CLU’s annual  Festival of Scholars; the Harold Stoner Clark lecture series; the SEEd (Sustainable Edible Education) project; award-winning student publications such as Morning Glory, The Echo and its Spanish-language section El Eco; along with programs and opportunities in experiential learning, service learning, study abroad, and career-related internships. Whatever your interests, I invite you to browse our website and learn more about these and so many other opportunities at the College.

If you have any questions or ideas you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact me at look forward to meeting you! 

Dr. Jessica Lavariega Monforti
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences