PUC Appoints Lindsay Morton as New Academic Dean

By Laura Gang on April 4, 2023

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Lindsay Morton, an experienced educator with a heart for Christ and the college’s mission and vision, will become vice president for academic administration and academic dean in July, Pacific Union College announced Tuesday.

Prior to her current role as associate academic dean, Morton served two years as an English professor at PUC. Before coming to the United States, she taught in Australia at Avondale College of Higher Education for seven years. She was also the assistant dean for the Faculty of Arts, Nursing, and Theology. 

“Lindsay is a strong leader with insight and wisdom,” President Ralph Trecartin said. “She is innovative, pragmatic, and a consensus builder.”

Trecartin said he admires Morton’s leadership skills and her ability to be idealistic but realistic when making critical administrative decisions. 

Among her duties, Morton will serve on the president's cabinet, drive accreditation, oversee academic support areas, and create additional pathways for students through new strategic partnerships. She will continue to evaluate and reinvigorate the student experience, manage student requests and issues, and work to deepen the integration of faith and learning. All this fits into PUC's vision of offering students a modernized, simplified, Christ-centered college experience on campus and beyond.

“In the future, I want PUC to be known for the quality of its instructional design,” Morton said. “Students will want to come to us because we offer the best experience—both in the classroom and online. PUC already has a history of teaching excellence, so now it's about retooling for an ever-changing digital landscape.”

Morton said the first year in any new position requires listening and learning. She’s looking forward to consolidating some of the initiatives the administration has worked on in the past several years.

The vice president for academic administration and academic dean is one of the three legal officers at PUC. The president makes the appointment with approval from the Board of Trustees. 

Typically, a standard search process takes place, but during a time of downsizing and a fast-paced realignment, Trecartin said it made sense to select someone already experienced and deeply involved in PUC’s management and academic affairs. 

Although the board had the authority to develop a different search process, members agreed with Trecartin and approved Morton for the position. 

Morton succeeds Milbert Mariano, who is transitioning to become the dean of the new School of Arts, Humanities & Profession. The school is part of the PUC’s new three-school initiative aimed at growing and improving the college’s academics. 

Mariano voluntarily expressed interest in leading the new school. Trecartin said the new post allows Mariano to continue serving and guiding a variety of majors with a special emphasis on honors classes.

“I have endless gratitude and appreciation for his dedication to PUC,” Trecartin said. “We aren’t losing his wisdom. This position will let him continue his passion and care for people, and he will remain a trusted counselor. His leadership has blessed us in difficult times.”

Trecartin said Mariano has made PUC “a better place for students, faculty, and staff.”

“I can’t wait to see the great things he will accomplish for our PUC family in the years to come,” Trecartin said.

Morton calls Mariano a wonderful mentor and colleague. “Dean Mariano has guided us through a pandemic, reductions in force, and program changes with unfailing patience, support, and positivity,” she said.

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Morton said the three new academic schools will set PUC up for success and future growth. “Right-sizing an institution is always painful—and we have had a lot of pain—but the deans are committed to driving innovation and growing their programs into the future,” she said. 

“Faculty and chairs have so much on their plates; we hope to take some of the administrative burden from them and allow them to do what they love: teaching,” Morton said. “The transition period will be challenging, but we anticipate that long-term this is going to re-energize our programs and create space to dream about where we're going.”

Mariano said Morton has been an amazing associate academic dean and describes her as a natural leader and excellent decision-maker. “She learns processes and procedures very quickly and questions what needs to be questioned,” he said. “She cares for people and is a team player and leader. Most important is her heart for Christ and PUC’s mission and vision. She is extremely capable, and I am confident in her ability to lead.” 

Morton studied at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, where she earned her bachelor of arts in English and sociology. After completing her bachelor of teaching degree at Avondale College of Higher Education, she returned to Deakin for her master’s degree. In 2012, Morton received her doctor of philosophy from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

One of Morton’s passions is musicals. She has written and produced four original productions. Jericho Road, her fourth, explores the theme of faithfulness in marriage and to God. It was first produced in Australia, and in February, Jericho Road made its U.S. premiere at PUC, with students involved in all aspects, from acting to set design. 

Morton has a deep love for higher education, its ability to connect the past and the present, and its promise to transform minds and societies in the future.

“The sector is changing radically and I came to the U.S. because I want to be a part of the discussion that shapes whatever comes next,” she said. “Change is often uncomfortable, but it also offers possibility and hope—and that is very exciting to me.”