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Cal Poly CLA News

The latest online edition of CLA's Impact Magazine

Fall Conference 2023

General Faculty and Staff Resources

From RPT policies to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion modules, CLA-specific faculty and staff resources can be found here

Diversity Action Plan

CLA Diversity Action Plan cover pageBoth data-driven, and vetted by members of our diversity community, the CLA's Diversity Action Plan will guide us for the next five years as we work toward creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive college across several fronts. View the Diversity Action Plan.




Department Chairs

View the 2023-24 department chair roster.




New Faculty and Staff

The College of Liberal Arts is excited to welcome the following new faculty and staff to Cal Poly.

New Tenure/Tenure-Track Faculty

Makia Sharp
Assistant Professor, Art and Design
Specialty: Photo/Video

Maya Hislop
Assistant Professor, English
Specialty: African American Literature

MT Vallarta
Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies
Specialty: Comparative Ethnic Studies

Kim Bisheff
Assistant Professor, Journalism
Specialty: Media Innovation Emphasis

Nicholas Waldron
Assistant Professor, Music
Specialty: Associate Director of Bands

Daniel Story
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Specialty: Tech Ethics related to Feminism/Disability Studies

Natasha Duell
Assistant Professor, Psychology and Child Development
Specialty: Child Development

Kimberly Higuera
Assistant Professor, Social Sciences
Specialty: Latino/a/x Studies

Leann Alduenda
Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance
Specialty: Dance

René Carrasco
Assistant Professor, World Languages and Cultures
Specialty: Spanish

New Full-Time Lecturers

Susan Eberhard
Art and Design

Tom Lugo

Anne Jensen
Ethnic Studies 

Dean Da Vee

Craig Asbery
Political Science 

Phyllis Wong
Theatre & Dance 

New Staff

Adrian Anaya
Art and Design

Lu Arocho
Communication Studies

Tamarra Mellick

Erin Solemsaas
Theatre and Dance

Donna Abbate
Cal Poly Arts

Ashley Davis
CLA Dean's Office

Moon-ja Yunouye-Petz
CLA Advancement

Jeremiah Finley
Student Success Coach 

Maria Gutierrez
Student Success Coach 

Evie Kriegbaum
Career Services (CLA career counselor) 


New Promotions and Tenure

New Department Chair Appointments

Sara Frantz (Art and Design)

Dustin Stegner (English)

Ken Brown (Philosophy) *reappointment

Ning Zhang (Political Science)

Carrie Langner (Psychology and Child Development)

Joan Meyers (Social Sciences)

Elizabeth Adan (Women's, Gender and Queer Studies *reappointment

Promotion to Professor

Sara Frantz (Art and Design)

James Werner (Art and Design)

Jenell Navarro (Ethnic Studies)

Patrick Howe (Journalism)

Ryan Jenkins (Philosophy)

Aaron Estrada (Psychology and Child Development)

Promotion to Associate Professor

Elizabeth Folk (Art and Design)

Aubrie Adams (Communication Studies)

Anuraj Dhillon (Communications Studies)

Leslie Nelson (Communications Studies)

Andrea Oñate-Madrazo (History)

Michael Park (Journalism)

Anya Foxen (Philosophy)

Nancy Arrington (Political Science)

Andrew Fricker (Social Sciences)

Martine Lappé (Social Sciences)

Kylie Parrotta (Social Sciences)


Elizabeth Folk (Art and Design)

Laura Krifka (Art and Design)

Aubrie Adams (Communications Studies)

Steven Ruszczycky (English)

Andrea Oñate-Madrazo (History)

Michael Park (Journalism)

Sara Lopuz (Social Sciences)

Kylie Parrotta (Social Sciences)

Dean's Office Contacts


  • Josh Machamer — Associate Dean of Operations
    Josh provides leadership for the support, development and advancement of internationalization efforts in the college, currently including: coordination of current and new international initiatives; building capacity in emerging areas of direct and virtual exchange; communication of internationalization opportunities/development for students, faculty and staff. Email Josh.
  • Kate Murphy — Associate Dean for Student Success
    Kate is responsible for student-related issues such as academic advising, academic probation/disqualification, change of major, graduation initiatives, new admissions/re-admissions or any other issues related to academic success. This can include updates and clarification of policies and procedures as well as coordination and processing of a variety of forms that include substitution forms, grade change forms and many more. Email Kate.
  • Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti — Associate Dean for Diversity and Curriculum
    Jennifer’s job is focused on all initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the college. In addition, she is responsible for all curriculum issues in the college, including development of new courses, programs or minors, course and program edits, and the curriculum process at large. She also supervises and runs the Intergroup Dialogues program and course. Email Jennifer.
  • Jane Lehr — CLA Director of Research Engagement
    As the Director of Research Engagement, Jane will provide information, guidance, and support to faculty and students across areas of scholarship and creative activities within the CLA. Her main goals for the upcoming year include expanding awareness of opportunities, enhancing a culture of scholarship, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, and broadening access to resources to support scholarly engagement. Email Jane

Administrative Support

  • Heidi Velasco — Receptionist
    Heidi oversees the daily operations of the Dean's Office and is the primary contact for phone calls and office visitors which include students, staff, faculty, parents, and community members.  Heidi also coordinates several College of Liberal Arts and campus events throughout the year.
  • Lynne Ricard — Executive Assistant to the Dean
    Lynne provides administrative support for the dean, which includes all scheduling. She assists the three associate deans with calendaring appointments, committee meeting preparation, scheduling, agendas, minutes, communications from the dean and more. She also provides planning coordination for several college-wide events.
  • Ashley Davis — Faculty Recruitment and Contract Analyst
    Ashley processes all Tenure Track hire letters and documents; monitors contracts and offers for part-time lecturers and works closely with the budget analyst and associate dean to review workload and assigned time for faculty in the college. She also works closely with the CLA Tech team as their administrative support.
  • Melissa Bodin — Evaluations Process Analyst
    Melissa manages/coordinates all retention, tenure, promotion, post-tenure and lecturer evaluations. She helps faculty with development of their Interfolio Working Personnel Action File (eWPAF), answers all evaluation related questions during the review process, and processes all dean’s funded travel.
  • Joy Sisler — Finance and Budget Analyst
    Joy provides strategic direction and oversight of the state budget, expendable foundation funds, endowment funds and fee-based corporation funds. She serves as a primary resource in the college for budgeting, accounting, payroll, procurement, auditing and financial support.

CLA Development

  • Moon-ja Yunouye-Petz — Senior Director of Development
    Moon-ja is responsible for creating and maintaining external relationships and partnerships with alumni, donors, parents, friends and other supporters of CLA. As the college’s fundraiser, she is the primary point of contact for all philanthropic activity.
  • Chrissy Ybarra — Administrative Coordinator
    Chrissy processes all incoming gifts received through department offices, sends weekly donor acknowledgement reports to chairs, works with department ASCs to obtain donor information, processes department advisory board member nominee submissions, and is the contact for any donor/alumni record (information) updates. 

CLA Communications

  • Cara King — Communications Specialist
    Cara oversees production of the college magazine titled “Impact,” and works with University Marketing and Communications to promote CLA-related awards and events to the campus community and the media. Contact her to share stories of faculty, alumni or student success.
  • Nicole Troy — Communications Specialist
    Nicole assists with day-to-day communications needs, including running the CLA's social media accounts, writing feature stories and updating the CLA's websites. Contact her for help with website updates.

CLA Advising

Our service model has changed! Visit the CLA Advising webpage for current virtual and face-to-face meeting opportunities.

The CLA Advising Center is available to help undergraduate students with a wide range of topics, including academic advising/planning, registration, understanding academic polices and procedures, change of major and general student success. We encourage students to meet with an advisor at least once a year to ensure good progress towards graduation.

CLA Campus Connections  

  • Brett Bodemer — CLA Librarian
    You can basically ask Brett anything library-related, and he will direct you to the right place. He provides course-related library instruction, and supports students and faculty alike through individual consultations. Email Brett. 
  • Taylor Law — CLA Employer Developer 
    Taylor spends her time researching potential employers, doing outreach, and meeting with employers looking to hire College of Liberal Arts students. She helps facilitate communication between departments and employers, as well as collaborates employer events. Email Taylor.
  • Molly Clark — Cal Poly Arts Director
    Cal Poly Arts provides most of the professional touring performances at the Performing Arts Center and in Spanos Theatre, including national tours of Broadway shows, renowned music artists, dance companies, comedy, family programs, speakers’ series, and Met Live in HD simulcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. With our full-time staff of five, we typically present 40-50 live events each year. The California Department of Public Health has mandated that proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event is required for indoor events with capacities of 1,000 or more. The Performing Arts Center (both Harold Miossi Hall and Spanos Theatre) and Cal Poly Arts will comply with these new guidelines for all Cal Poly Arts events. The Cal Poly Arts team is working to develop verification procedures to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible for our audience members. Please check our website for the latest updates and a schedule of coming events in the Cal Poly Arts 2021-2022 Season. Email Molly.
  • Academic Senate
    Academic senators are the elected CLA faculty voice in the Academic Senate body. The senators and caucus chairs are a great resource for faculty to interface with the administration and bring college- and department-level issues forward.

Faculty and Staff Awards


Congratulations to the 2023 faculty and staff award winners! 

Health and Wellbeing Resources


FAQ: COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and Classroom Procedures

Please visit Cal Poly Academic Affairs' Frequently Asked Questions page for updates and information about on-campus instruction. Additional resources will be added on an ongoing basis.

Public Health Resources

Mental Health Resources

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling services (available to employees and their families) at 800-367-7474, or visit

Cal Poly students can contact Cal Poly’s Counseling Services and 24/7 hotline at 805-756-2511.

Basic Needs for Students

Visit Cal Poly's Basic Needs website for food and housing resources. It includes information on the Cal Poly Food Pantry, Cal Poly Cares Grant, CalFresh Outreach, and more.


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