Endings and Beginnings

We’re at the conclusion of the calendar year and fall semester. December presents us with time to reflect on and evaluate events over the past 12 months that have individually and communally affected us.

Collective Achievements

In the College, our students, faculty, and staff traversed another year filled with ongoing challenges related to the economy, continuing social injustice, and the coronavirus. Members of the Cal Lutheran community engaged with one another in person and through socially distanced measures and used virtual, hybrid, and outdoor classrooms to teach and learn. Nevertheless, we persisted and accomplished so much together, including the following:

  • In April, we raised more than $176,000 for Cal Lutheran Cares Day thanks to contributions from 142 generous donors ranging from faculty, staff, and Dean’s Advisory Council members to major donors and other community advocates who understand the value of a liberal arts education and what it brings to the greater world. Our students also played a pivotal role in Cares Day as they shared their individual stories on social media, which emphasized the personal importance of giving during this annual event.

  • Mid-year, we welcomed the new Ethnic and Race Studies Program Director Lorena Muñoz, Ph.D. Dr. Muñoz also serves as the College’s associate dean for equity, inclusion and engagement. She lends a global perspective to the College, having grown up between Mexico and the United States and leading studies involving individuals from Colombia, Mexico, and Zimbabwe.

  • By the fall semester, we welcomed students, faculty, and staff back to Cal Lutheran for traditional in-person classes, sporting events, and other activities. Kudos to Ryan Van Ommeren and his team in Facility Operations & Planning for spearheading the return to campus efforts following safety guidelines. 

These are a few highlights of what we achieved in the College in 2021, in spite of the pandemic.

Life’s Transitions 

This blog post is bittersweet as it is my last one as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. In early January, I will join California State University Channel Islands as vice provost, where I will lead key academic initiatives across the university. 

I have enjoyed working with so many of you at Cal Lutheran since I arrived here in July 2017. Many significant changes have occurred since that time, including the launch and continued growth of Project CHESS, EduCal, and the McNair Scholars Program; the development of new academic programs in Film & TV, Ethnic & Race Studies, Spanish Media, Public Health, and our Mariachi Ensemble, and the revitalization of the First Year Seminar program and T2CLU. New facilities are open, such as a new music recording studio, science center, and transfer center. Steps have been taken to revise the general education curriculum centered around students’ academic needs in the 21st Century. These activities represent transitions and new beginnings for the College and our university and were accomplished as we navigated many significant hardships.

Beginnings often present us with numerous gifts. They offer us chances for growth and novel experiences, where we meet new people and get to learn about, and adapt to, a different culture. Change often results from beginnings as we gather different perspectives and insights from newfound colleagues. Working in a novel environment also gives us opportunities to apply our knowledge, experiences, and skills as well as anticipate possibilities for future successes.

Endings Yield Fresh Starts

With each beginning comes an ending or the finale of an event or activity. Endings prompt us to assess the impact certain individuals have had on our lives. In this instance, it is the conclusion of my tenure in the College, collaborating with a group of talented scholars who find inspiration in Cal Lutheran’s mission. 

I want to thank the College’s faculty, staff, administrators, the Dean’s Advisory Council, donors, champions, and most of all students, who made the years I spent at Cal Lutheran fulfilling and memorable. I have learned so much from them on my professional journey and will continue to treasure the friendships made and time I spent – and grew – with them. 

I look forward to my new role at Cal State Channel Islands, and like any beginning, I expect my ending at the College to bring new challenges and opportunities for growth. That’s what we  should all expect in 2022, no matter where we are. 


World AIDS Day – Dec. 1

International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Dec. 3

Human Rights Day – Dec. 10

Christmas Eve – Dec. 24

Christmas – Dec. 25

Kwanzaa – Dec. 26 – Jan. 1