Fireside Chat Recap

February 3, 2023

On February 2, 2023, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Deborah Thien, held the inaugural CLA Dean Fireside Chat. The Associate Dean of CLA, Dan O’Conner was the host for the chat, fielding questions from audience submissions. The Fireside Chat was a virtual conversation where alumni and friends of the college got the chance to learn about Dean Thien’s personal background, how she came into a leadership position, and her goals for CLA, including CLA internships and how Alumni can get involved. 

Deborah Thien arrived at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) in 2006, starting out as an assistant professor in the Geography department. She then became the Interim Director of the Honors Program, leading to her position as Chair of the Human Development department. She then became the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Student Services before becoming the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.  

Dean was because she has a “deep belief and value in what we do as a college and our role as an agent of change for our students.”   

Thinking about CLA’s future, Dean Thien says, “we have the opportunity to make an incredible impact around us.” Dean Thien addresses the current rhetoric around Liberal Arts majors and post-graduate employment, saying, “we have a responsibility to communicate the value of what we do.” A Liberal Arts education provides a diverse and successful career, especially if students are given the chance to gain professional experience through an internship. Dean Thien’s goal is to create as many subsidized internships as possible so students can learn and see what they can accomplish with their degree. She also addressed the current issue with internships saying, “we want to see more students take an internship and finances not be a barrier.”  

Dean Thien concluded the fireside chat by answering the question of how alumni and friends of the college can get more involved. She believes alumni and friends of the college are important to not only the college, but to students, because they serve as a role model and show a successful career trajectory. She encourages alumni to get involved by serving as internship partners, speaking to a class, or by donating to one of the CLA initiatives.  

You can watch the recording of this video below for those who could not attend this year.