Gonzaga Announces Jacqueline Van Hoomissen as New College of Arts and Sciences Dean

Jacqueline Van Hoomissen smiles into the camera
Dr. Jacqueline Van Hoomissen

June 06, 2024
Dan Nailen | Gonzaga University News Service

With its new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Gonzaga University welcomes a scholar with an insatiable love of learning, an innovative administrator dedicated to community collaboration, and an inspiring leader firm in her belief that higher education can change the world for the better.

Dr. Jacqueline Van Hoomissen, selected from a national search that yielded more than 130 applicants, arrives at Gonzaga having spent the past 22 years at the University of Portland, her alma mater. In addition to her position as a biology professor, she’s served as associate dean for scholarship and creative engagement, director of undergraduate research and associate dean for academic affairs, among many roles undertaken to serve her university community.

Van Hoomissen begins her new position as Gonzaga’s dean for the College of Arts and Sciences on June 10.

“As a Jesuit institution, Gonzaga’s commitment to its mission resonates deeply with me, given my experience as a student and professor in Catholic higher education,” Van Hoomissen says. “I see my role in higher education as one of service to the greater good. I made a very conscious choice 22 years ago to pursue a position at the University of Portland because I knew firsthand how mission-focused higher education can transform a student’s life.”

Van Hoomissen is excited to expand on the ways she’s been able to work with others in meaningful ways during her career. From students to faculty and staff to community partners, she relishes the ability to create pathways to success, both in the classroom and the communities served by the university.

“At Gonzaga, I get the great privilege of leading a collective of creative people who are all deeply committed to championing the importance of liberal arts and science education,” she says. “In my experience, a liberal arts education equips students with the ability to actively engage in the ever-changing human experience.

“Built on the recognition that everything is interconnected, liberal arts education empowers us to explore our experiences from diverse perspectives and advocate for a world where every part of creation is valued and has the right to flourish.”

Van Hoomissen joins Gonzaga at an exciting time as the University implements updates to its Strategic Plan focused on expanding educational opportunities in areas ranging from STEM fields to the humanities, including the launch of new institutes and degree programs.

In announcing Van Hoomissen’s selection, Gonzaga Provost Sacha Kopp praised her extensive and substantive leadership work, her scholarly record, and her experience in issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Her work encompasses a diverse array of areas, including neuroscience, public health, community-university partnerships, inclusive excellence and creative writing,” says Kopp, noting that her scholarship has led to millions in grant funding from entities including the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “I am convinced Jacqueline Van Hoomissen is the right choice to lead the College of Arts and Sciences.”

Van Hoomissen recognizes the challenges facing colleges and universities in 2024, but is thrilled at the prospect taking on those challenges alongside students, faculty and staff. It’s a calling she’s heeded for her entire professional life, and one she’s excited to continue at Gonzaga.

“In my vocation in higher education, I have been given a tremendous number of opportunities to accompany and journey with others in profoundly meaningful ways,” Van Hoomissen says. “Whether that is in a classroom helping a student reach that ‘aha!’ moment, having coffee with a faculty or staff member who wants to connect and share news, or working as teams to create something new and innovative.

“All of these moments are important, and where I can see true communion with others. From that communion with each other, we can change the world.”

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