Dean Lisa Vollendorf

Dean Lisa Vollendorf

Dr. Lisa Vollendorf is Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts and Professor of Spanish at San José State University, an urban comprehensive institution that serves 33,000 students. A passionate educator who believes in the value of education as a public good, Dr. Vollendorf is proud to lead a college that serves 4,200 majors and 26,000 undergraduates through a wide range of courses in humanities and the visual, performing, and literary arts. She oversees 500 faculty and staff who work in eight academic departments, one school, three centers, and one performing arts center. The college annual budget is $24M exclusive of benefits. The college sponsors more than 500 intellectual, cultural, and artistic events, performances, and exhibits annually.

Dr. Vollendorf is a strong proponent of collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and innovative teaching and learning. She works closely with her director of development to raise approximately $2M annually to support students, faculty, staff, and programs. Recent gifts include a $4.8M estate gift to support the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies and a $240K grant from the Knight Foundation. Currently she leads the university’s efforts to operate the city-owned Hammer Theatre Center and chairs the Hammer Theatre Advisory Group. As dean, she has created a Student Success Center, spearheaded STEAM prototyping projects, strengthened writing programs through expanded hiring and funding, and championed the creation of a student-designed collaboration hub in the University Library.

Before coming to San José State in August 2012, Dr. Vollendorf was a professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach (2005-12), where she chaired the Department of Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures for four years and was elected to three terms as Chair of the Academic Senate. She also worked at Wayne State University in Detroit (1997-2005) and at Miami University of Ohio (1995-97).  Dr. Vollendorf earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania (1995) and a B.A. in English and Spanish at Colorado State University (1990).

Her research centers on women’s cultural history in Iberia and Latin America, with a focus on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An established scholar with grants from such institutions as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Library, the Huntington Library, and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, she has published two monographs, six edited books, and 35 chapters and articles.

Dr. Vollendorf enjoys public speaking and has delivered more than 125 conference presentations and lectures. Her work in academic leadership development includes the creation of a Deans’ Leadership Academy, participation in the American Leadership Forum’s Class XXXVI, and regularly speaking at the Modern Language Association’s department chair training seminars. She serves on the boards of the Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latinoamericana (MACLA), SJSU’s Center for Literary Arts, the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies.

Dr. Vollendorf grew up at 10,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, swimming, jogging, and traveling to beautiful places. You can follow her on Twitter (@lisavol).