Jandy Jones

Cal Poly officially appointed Linda Halisky as the new dean for the College of Liberal Arts Monday.

She will fill the vacancy left by Dean Harry Hellenbrand, who took a position as provost at Cal State Northridge, Interim Provost Robert Detweiler said.

Halisky is currently in Thailand visiting the study abroad program. She has served as director of both the London Study Program and the International Education Programs.

“Her vision is to increase the study abroad programs,” said CLA Interim Associate Dean Debra Valencia-Laver, noting that the new dean is looking into a Latin American study abroad program.

Overseeing the study abroad program is just one of the many tasks Halisky will have as dean. Other responsibilities include recruiting and retaining faculty members and increasing the fund raising in the College of Liberal Arts, Detweiler said.

“She has the courage of her convictions,” Detweiler said. “She is prepared to make difficult decisions.”

Halisky will watch over 60 staff and 300 faculty members and will be in charge maintaining the credibility of the undergraduate and graduate programs, according to a news release.

Detweiler said that she plans to continue increasing fund-raising and concentrating on academic programs such as the reaccreditation of the journalism program. Another goal is to maintain undergraduate academic programs, he said.

“She really loves the undergrad program,” Detweiler said. “It is more than just a job for her. It is a career.”

Halisky started at Cal Poly as an assistant professor in English in 1984 and was appointed to a full-time position in 1993, according to a news release. She served as chair of the English Department from 1994 to 2000 and as the interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts since August 2004, as stated in the news release. She will assume the role of dean when she returns from Thailand.

Detweiler said that Halisky is interested in promoting arts and humanities and improving the foreign language program. She is trying to advance ethnic and gender diversity at the college, he said.

“She has a lot of good ideas and visions for the college and what it can be achieving,” Valencia-Laver said, adding that it is a positive experience working with Halisky and she is willing to listen and guide.

In 2004 and 2005, Halisky received the Student of Success Recognition Award from the university’s Division of Student Affairs, and she also won the Cuesta College Woman in Education award, according to a news release.

“I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity,” Halisky said in a news release. “New energies are stirring; we have some great things ahead. I very much look forward to leading the college during this time.”

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