Thanks to the recent selection of a new dean for Pacific’s College of Education, Mark Ankeny will now be able to focus on the several other projects he plays a role in.

In his eighth year as dean, in addition to being named the Vice President of Student Enrollment and Affairs two years ago, Ankeny said it has been difficult to fully devote himself to his multiple tasks. He added that in a time such as this, following a recession, there is less desire for students to become teachers because the pay is low, as schools receive less funding. It was crucial to find a dedicated, full-time dean who could assist that need.

“We needed someone to come in with energy and excitement for the future,” said Ankeny.

Leif Gustavson who will step into his role on July 1, first proved his excitement to Provost John Miller, a consultant who has been a part of Pacific’s previous dean searches, and a search committee comprised of other Pacific faculty members.

“I was hoping they’d find someone I could hand the baton off to,” said Ankeny. For the transition to work, the right candidate had to have experience, especially in an atmosphere similar to Pacific.

Gustavson has experience with smaller institutions. He comes to Pacific from Arcadia University, a private university in Glenside, Penn., with a current total enrollment of 3,892 students. Gustavson helped transition Arcadia’s education department into a school of education in 2012, where he secured a $1 million gift to help finance the school’s first endowed chair position. With Gustavson’s help, the school also underwent a successful redesign and developed a new marketing plan and accreditation process. He also has experience with different educational systems. In his previous position, Gustavson led the development of three different K-12 university system partnerships. He taught at the middle school level for seven years and has worked extensively with K-12 schools in designing curricula that is inquiry, project and writing-based.

When you combine Gustavson’s experience with Pacific’s mission to diversify the campus, “there is good building blocks,” said Ankeny.

In a university press release Miller said, “Leif’s vision for enhancing our strong partnerships with K-12 districts will ensure that both our students and the students in those districts will be well prepared for the global community.”

Gustavson will be on campus with his family in early March to look for housing and meet with faculty like Ankeny.

“My life right now is really keyed in to help us move forward,” concluded Ankeny. And Gustavson seems to be on the same page.

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