Dean Lisa Vollendorf

Dean Lisa Vollendorf

Dr. Lisa Vollendorf is the Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts, as well as a Professor of Spanish at San José State University. A passionate educator who believes in the value of education as a public good, Dr. Vollendorf is proud to lead a college that serves 3,800 majors and all undergraduates at SJSU by offering a wide range of programs and courses in humanities and the visual, performing, and literary arts. She oversees eight academic departments, one school, and three centers. 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 currently is helping lead the university’s efforts to operate the city-owned Hammer Theatre Center, and believes that an effective university-city partnership can help strengthen the economic and cultural capital of downtown San José while improving opportunities for students for decades to come. Her leadership areas of strength include strategic planning, shared governance, international education, student success and diversity initiatives, leadership development, enrollment management, and writing programs.  

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

Her research centers on women’s cultural history in Iberia and Latin America, with a primary focus on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An established scholar with grants from  institutions such 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, five edited books, and thirty-five chapters and articles.

Dr. Vollendorf enjoys public speaking, and has delivered more than 117 conference presentations and lectures. Her recent work in academic leadership development includes the creation of the Deans’ Leadership Academy at SJSU and participation in the Modern Language Association’s annual department chair training seminars.  

She serves on the boards of MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latinoamericana), the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, the Center for Literary Arts, and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. She also leads the Hammer Theatre 2.0 advisory committee.

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).