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Aracena named Dean for College of Arts & Sciences

Date: 2/28/2012

Img: AracenaFollowing a national search that attracted a number of highly qualified candidates, Dr. Beth Keating Aracena has been named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Alvernia University, effective July 1.  

Aracena is currently associate dean for curriculum/general education and cross cultural programs at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she is also an associate professor of music. Eastern Mennonite is a private liberal arts institution with approximately 1,500 students known for its emphasis on social justice, cross-cultural studies, and global engagement.  

A graduate of Vassar College, she completed her master’s and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. In addition to her teaching and administrative experience, Dr. Aracena is a scholar in ethnomusicology. 

“This is an exciting step for Alvernia’s College of Arts and Science,” said Provost Shirley Williams. “Dr. Keating is an outstanding leader who will move the College and its programs into the next stage of its growth. She is committed to providing the direction for the College of Arts and Sciences that will strengthen the importance of the liberal arts to our students, programs and community stakeholders.”

Prior to her role as associate dean, Dr. Aracena served as a full-time faculty member and chair of the music department. Her major achievements include revising and implementing a new core curriculum, facilitating an assessment processes and reinvigorating the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. Previous to her work at Eastern Mennonite University, she was an instructor of violin and piano at Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C.

She has numerous articles, reviews and conference presentations to her credit, primarily focused in the area of Latin American music and the Jesuit influence on music in colonial Chile. She currently has two books in progress: an edited collection entitled Serving and Leading in a Global Context: A Practical Guide to Faculty-led Cross Cultural Programs and Anonymoous Villancicos in the Santiago Cathedral Music Archive: An Anthology with Critical Text.

Visit Alvernia's College of Arts & Sciences

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.