It comes as a bittersweet moment to announce the transition of one of our faculty-administrators to new responsibilities. Dr. Faustino (Tito) Cruz has accepted the position of Dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University, one of the larger of the 28 Jesuit universities in the United States.
While we are sad to see him go, we rejoice in this next phase of his academic career. He has been a curricular innovator at Seattle University, and has a reputation campus-wide for thinking creatively and strategically about interdisciplinary educational opportunities, as well as academic policy.
Dr. Cruz came to the School of Theology and Ministry (STM) as a visiting professor in 2011. He was attracted to STM specifically to teach in the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership (MATL), and in that first year applied for a vacant STM faculty position in the program. He was hired and granted tenure based on his previous status as a tenured associate professor at Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, in 2012. In the summer of 2014, Dr. Cruz assumed the position of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
Dr. Valerie Lesniak, Director of Formation, and Associate Professor of Spirituality, will assume the role of interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the next academic year.
"I look forward to serving as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs this coming year. I hope to collaborate with each of you to insure the academic integrity and spiritual groundedness of all of our programs. I feel the position affords me a great opportunity to play a unique role in the ongoing creative mission that so characterizes the School of Theology and Ministry."
We wish Tito many blessings in these new academic-administrative responsibilities and welcome Valerie into her new role.