Aistrup to leave role as dean of College of Liberal Arts, transition to faculty position in Department of Political Science

Published: June 09, 2021
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After leading Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, or CLA, for eight years, Joe Aistrup, dean and professor of political science, will return to the faculty in the Department of Political Science, effective July 1.

“I appreciate Dean Aistrup’s leadership and his efforts to advance the College of Liberal Arts during his years as dean,” said Provost Bill Hardgrave. “I am especially grateful for Joe’s commitment to the faculty, staff, students and alumni and for his ability to position the college for continued success.”

Working with stakeholders, Aistrup has led numerous initiatives to strengthen the college’s reputation and position its departments and programs among the most prominent in the region. Under his leadership, the college expanded its offerings and has launched several outreach programs designed to promote community and civic engagement.

“I’m blessed to have worked with so many outstanding students, faculty and staff over the eight years I’ve been dean,” said Aistrup. “They are the heart and soul of this college. But, after 28 years of serving in some type of administrative capacity at three different universities, I’m looking forward to returning to the faculty to teach our extraordinary students and to conduct my research.”

As dean, Aistrup’s efforts to support the college’s response to social challenges and changing workforce demands resulted in strategic expansions to course offerings and new interdisciplinary programs designed to enrich the student experience. In addition to numerous degrees and certificates created at the graduate and undergraduate levels, the college also welcomed the Department of Aviation in 2018, increasing the number of departments and schools to 14. Aistrup also worked to expand many of the college’s academic facilities, including completion of the Band Practice Complex in fall 2018 and the Band Rehearsal Hall addition in 2020.

With a strategic emphasis on enhancing faculty and student success, much of Aistrup’s efforts have focused on expanding the college’s professional development programs and fostering alumni engagement. Under his leadership, the college grew its academic advising and career counseling programs to increase students’ professional and experiential learning opportunities while also creating mentorship programs and partnerships with alumni from diverse fields. Additionally, CLA experienced record fundraising during the Because This Is Auburn campaign, with nearly $31 million raised for student, faculty and program support.

A consistent presence at student theatre productions, concerts, competitions and performances, Aistrup consistently emphasized student engagement among the college’s core values and worked diligently to expand the college’s resources to ensure Auburn’s liberal arts graduates are prepared for post-graduate success.

Among his efforts to expand the college’s fine arts, humanities, communications and social sciences programs, Aistrup also has worked to advance the college’s role as a leader in inclusion, diversity and social equity. Most recently, Aistrup was appointed as chair of the board of directors of the Alabama Humanities Alliance.

“I plan to stay in Auburn to finish my career as a faculty member in political science. I will always fondly remember my years as dean of the college because of all of the great students, faculty and alumni that I had the good fortune of getting to know,” said Aistrup.

Aistrup came to Auburn in 2013 from Kansas State University, where he had previously served as associate dean of academic affairs at the College of Arts and Sciences. The university will begin the search for an interim dean in the coming weeks.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.