Associate Dean for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts Dr. Kathy LaMaster has a diverse list of accomplishments compared to most educators. One of this year’s Faculty Monty winners has not only proven herself in the classroom and as an administrator, but in several other career ventures and San Diego State organizations.
LaMaster began her involvement with higher education at Texas Christian University. However, her goal at the time wasn’t to become an educator. She received her master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in medical technology and began working in a hospital running lab tests. After admitting the work “wasn’t as exciting as (she) thought it would be,” she left to become a coach and teacher in Fort Worth, Texas.
It was there she realized what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She decided to return to school for her doctorate in physical education from Ohio State University.
She found her way to SDSU, beginning as an assistant professor teaching physical education and exercise. LaMaster was then promoted to interim director of SDSU’s School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, before reaching her current position as associate dean.
Despite her administrative position, LaMaster has remained very involved in every level of SDSU’s educational infrastructure. She is actively involved with students and faculty, even teaching classes when it fits her schedule, but she said she prefers the “broader view of campus,” which is what her administrative position offers her.
As chair for the University Academic and Resource Planning Committee in the University Senate, LaMaster has a significant voice as a voting member because she determines how money is spent in SDSU’s budget. For her it is a way to protect the interests of the students within her college.
Aside from overseeing the larger aspects of campus life, LaMaster still makes an effort to remain active in the classroom.
Last school year, she taught PSFA 550, which is the final class students are required to take to receive a study abroad minor. The objective of the class is to construct a 50-page paper researched abroad. While a large portion of her responsibilities with the class is simply monitoring student progress, LaMaster enjoys the chance to work closely with students.
“I love hearing about the experiences of the students, and the challenges and obstacles they overcame abroad,” LaMaster said.
LaMaster has been with SDSU since 1996. After 15 years of teaching, she hasn’t lost any of her enthusiasm for being a part of the university’s mission.
“The diversity of students and shared governance model is something I respect a lot about SDSU… I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be,” LaMaster said.