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Dr. Pareena Lawrence chosen as new dean

December  21, 2010

Dr. Pareena G. Lawrence (Augustana Photo Bureau/Marla Alvarado Neuerburg)
Hear Dr. Lawrence's interview with Augustana Public Radio WVIK

Dr. Pareena G. Lawrence has been named dean of Augustana College, where she will administer the academic program and lead the work of 313 faculty members in the college's 28 academic departments.

Formerly the chair of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM), Dr. Lawrence was selected from a field of candidates from across the nation. Her energetic leadership style, passion for the liberal arts and commitment to shared governance impressed members of the search committee and college administrators.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity to welcome such a thoughtful and visionary leader as Dr. Lawrence both to the campus and to the broader Quad-Cities community," said Augustana President Steve Bahls. "With Augustana's 150th year drawing to a close, I look forward to working with Dr. Lawrence as Augustana's next chapter begins."

At UMM, Dr. Lawrence has served as coordinator of the First Year Seminar Program, the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Program and the Economics and Management programs; and as the interim director of the Multi-Ethnic Student Program. She is a respected scholar whose publications focus on South Asian economics, women as policy makers, service learning and a range of other topics.

Dr. Lawrence said she is excited to begin working with faculty, administrators and the campus community on several initiatives. Those include defining and measuring expected outcomes of a liberal arts education, examining curriculum to ensure diversity, measuring and tracking graduates' experiences after college, examining pedagogy in teaching to ensure it is contemporary and improving faculty diversity.

"Among the many things that attracted me to Augustana College was the consistent theme of ‘authenticity' to describe the institution's values, and the pursuit of this authenticity by both students and the larger college community," she said. "This is a value that I hold very dear and I hope that it describes me and my work.

"I am truly impressed by Augustana's unwavering commitment to challenge students to lead examined lives, become responsible global citizens, discover their calling, and lead personal, professional, and civic lives of creativity, ethical service and leadership. The college has made a commitment to undergraduate-only education and to integrating curricular and co-curricular activities that enhance the student learning experience."

Dr. Lawrence earned her B.A. and M.A. in economics from the University of Delhi in India and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. It was at Purdue when she realized her passion for teaching. She came to UMM in the fall of 1994 as an assistant professor of economics and management.

"Teaching at a liberal arts college and the liberal arts curriculum and approach to education simply grabbed me, both intellectually and emotionally," she said.

She was promoted and tenured as an associate professor in 2000 and promoted to full professor in 2008. During her career at UMM, Dr. Lawrence has received several coveted teaching awards, including the Horace T. Morse Teaching Award for excellence in student learning through teaching, research and creative activities, and the Cesar Chavez Award in recognition of her contribution to communities of color by exemplifying the values championed by the legendary labor and civil rights leader.

An intentionally small, residential, liberal arts university, UMM offers 35 majors/minors and eight pre-professional programs to its 1,800 students. Located in Morris (population: 5,000), UMM boasts a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, study opportunities in 50 countries on five continents, and a nationally recognized commitment to sustainability.

Dr. Lawrence plans to begin work at Augustana in July.

She and her husband, Todd, have two young sons, Aaron and Joshua. A passionate football fan and recreational runner, she also enjoys hiking and biking with her family.

Scott Cason
Assistant vice president of communication and marketing
(309) 794-7323