Next fall, exercise science professor Rebecca Concepcion will step up and take on the position of director for the School of Natural Science. Concepcion has been working tirelessly as interim director this year, gaining experience and knowledge about the position.
Concepcion said she wanted this position because it was an exciting opportunity for her to work with both faculty and students across Pacific University’s campus. She will get the chance to work with different offices across campus, taking part in developing new programs such as the new data science major.
“Pacific has such a unique, warm, supportive culture,” Concepcion said. “It creates an environment that is a safe place to make mistakes in and learn from, just like it is for a student.”
As the new director Concepcion will help shepherd the new data science program. She will also do a lot of work with prospective students, our faculty and specific departments, along with any needs they might have. In the sciences, the needs tend to fall under instrumentation, equipment and staffing. Concepcion will also be involved in helping to develop policies across the university along with the help of other faculty.
The new director is not planning on leaving her old professor duties behind completely as she steps into her new position. Concepcion says she will continue to work with four of her students on planning and executing their capstone projects.
“I value my work with students,” Concepcion said. “It’s important for me to continue that and not lose sight of their needs and the process — I’m grateful I will get the chance to do both next year.”
As the new director, there are a lot of things Concepcion wishes to accomplish. Creating a curriculum and a program that supports students is at the forefront of her agenda for next year. In the sciences, faculty recognizes that students need a variety of different kinds of training.
Concepcion and other science professors value the input that comes from humanities, arts and social sciences. They want to think about what students need across all areas in addition to hard sciences.
The big question is how they can coordinate and organize programs in a way that is relevant for students, and prepares them to have a competitive and fulfilling life as soon as they leave the university.