College of Science

Andrew Lawson leads new Academic Affairs team on ambitious agenda

(From left) Karen Myers-Bowman, Michelle L. Mayo, Andrew Lawson, Cindy Juntunen, Vivienne J. McClendon

(From left) Karen Myers-Bowman, Michelle L. Mayo, Cindy Juntunen, Andrew Lawson, Vivienne J. McClendon | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

October 13, 2023

By Walter Ryce

The 2023-24 academic year started with a new leadership team in the Academic Affairs division that’s bringing fresh energy to the campus. 

It starts with Andrew Lawson, former dean of the College of Science, who has assumed the position of interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. 

“CSUMB is an amazing institution with a rich history of serving our region and helping our diverse students succeed. I am approaching the position with humility,” Lawson said. “CSUMB is a large and complex institution and I recognize there are many things for me to learn about the programs and the excellent people in Academic Affairs.”

Lawson has been conducting a listening tour this semester to better understand the division, while working with his team toward four primary goals that President Vanya Quiñones detailed in her Day of Welcome address:

  1. Building a strong sense of community in support of robust enrollment and student, faculty and staff retention
  2. Enhancing communication and community building
  3. Balancing budgets while strengthening capacity to achieve strategic priorities of enrollment growth, academic quality, community building, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion 
  4. Evaluating and improving processes across the campus 

“I see Academic Affairs making significant contributions to each of these goals,” Lawson said. “I would also like to invest in leadership development across Academic Affairs which will better position CSUMB for the future and provide new opportunities for our faculty and staff.”

The division embarks on this course with a team of experienced and talented people who are new to CSUMB, including Cindy Juntunen, associate provost and dean of Graduate Studies and Research; Michelle L. Mayo, associate provost for Student Success and dean of Undergraduate Studies; Vivienne J. McClendon, library dean; and Karen Myers-Bowman, dean of the College of Education. 

“I am very excited to have such a wonderful group of highly accomplished and well-respected academic administrators join our team,” Lawson said. “They each bring with them a diversity of experiences and knowledge that will strengthen the academic leadership team by providing fresh ideas and new perspectives.”

Among the team are well-known people in new roles including Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, former chief assistant to the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, and chair of the Health, Human Services, and Public Policy Department; and Thomas Horvath, former associate dean of the College of Science who joined the campus in 2018. Both have assumed the position of interim dean of their respective colleges, with Lawson's full confidence in their ability to lead and appreciation for their willingness to serve.