Dr. Cynthia Vascak has been named the founding Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently Chair of the Art Department and has been since 2006. A highly regarded teacher and scholar, she was the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Teaching Award at PSU. As department chair and previously coordinator of the Art Education program, she has experience with program development and assessment. In these roles, she developed the Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) degree and led the department through curricular revision in anticipation of seeking national accreditation for their programs. Her experience in teacher education and program development at both the undergraduate and graduate levels will be important as we work to develop the colleges and the interconnectedness among them.
Dr. Vascak has significant experience in higher education and accreditation, having served twice as a reviewer for the NH Department of Education (DOE) and as a member and author of the 2003 NEASC Accreditation team at PSU. Most recently, Dr. Vascak was selected to participate in the NERCHE Academic Chairs Think Tank, a yearlong program where New England academic leaders come together to discuss issues of importance in higher education. Additionally she has participated in the American Council on Education leadership development programs, and attended the Indiana Center for Philanthropy Fundraising School.
She has proven herself a successful partner and collaborator with both internal and external constituents. On campus she plays important leadership roles on the President’s Commission on Sustainability as Chair of the Education subcommittee, and on the Research Advisory Council assisting in the development of the criteria and language for the Faculty Development grants, serving as a reviewer of grant proposals, and leading sessions during faculty week. Externally she has engaged partners in developing large-scale projects, most notably a four-year Federal DOE grant that involved 25 educators in three school districts and for which she served as the Principal Project Director.
In addition to her formal training, Dr. Vascak has studied fine arts at the Boston Museum School, Concordia University in Montreal, the University of Quebec, and the Escuela Belles Artes in San Miguel d’Allende, Mexico. She is a member of the Cape Cod Printmakers, The Monotype Guild of New England, the Women’s Caucus for Art, and the Society of Egg Tempera Painters. She currently works in the printing processes of monotype, relief, and drypoint, in the drawing media of charcoal, ink, and silverpoint, and in the media of Egg Tempera. She has won national awards for her prints, and her works are held in numerous private collections. In addition to her work as a studio artist and art educator, Dr. Vascak’s scholarly pursuits are interdisciplinary curriculum design and implementation, action agency and service learning, and transformational leadership.
Dr. Vascak earned a double major in literature and studio art from Pan American University, an MFA from Boston University and a PhD in Education from the University of New Hampshire.
Dean Vascak will begin work on the transition process this spring semester 2011 while maintaining many of her current duties as Chair of the Department of Art. During this transition semester, her focus will be on working with department chairs, the faculty of the college, and the administration to get to know the departments in the college and to set up the college’s infrastructure and clarify governance questions. Beginning July 1, 2011 she will shift her duties to devote 100% of her time as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.