Welcome new assistant dean for civic engagement

Contact: Lisa M Landreman

Tommy Van Cleave will serve as the inaugural assistant dean for civic engagement.

Through a generous three-year grant from a university alumna, we are pleased to announce a new Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement at Willamette.

We are thrilled to welcome Tommy Van Cleave to Willamette and the Division of Student Affairs in this new role on Nov. 14. Dr. Van Cleave will help enact Willamette’s strategic vision to provide students “the skills and capacities that they will need to be active and effective participants in a common project of building stronger communities and a better world,” and exploration of the core values that shape Willamette’s identity, as found in our motto, “not unto ourselves alone are we born” and our mission to turn knowledge into action.

The primary focus will be to create and support efforts to deepen the University’s commitment to civic life, service, and community engagement. Through partnerships with faculty, staff, students, and members of the larger community, a primary goal is to create opportunities for students to explore their commitments to the public good in ways that are meaningful for themselves and community partners.

Van Cleave is an intercultural and civic-engaged learning scholar and practitioner. He earned his doctorate in Postsecondary Educational Leadership from Portland State University where he coordinated a graduate degree in international civic engagement and taught graduate courses on curriculum development and community engagement. Previously, he was the founding Director of Service and Experiential Learning at Iona College in New York and the Executive Director for International Education at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

He has facilitated immersive and international civic engagement courses and programs throughout the United States and abroad for nearly two decades. Dr. Van Cleave's scholarship focuses on community engagement, intercultural development, and pedagogical design. His work has been published in the Handbook of Service-Learning and Community Engagement, Democratic Dilemmas of Teaching Service-Learning, Learning Through Service, and forthcoming November 2022, the Faculty Service-Learning Guidebook: Enacting Equity-Centered Teaching, Partnerships, and Scholarship. Originally from the Midwest, Tommy, his husband, and their dog Carl now call Salem home.

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