Dr. Jocelyn Evans: CASSH Dean with Passion for Education and Community

Name: Dr. Jocelyn Evans
Job Title: Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Photo Courtesy Evans
Her Campus (HC) : What is your role at the University of West Florida?
Dr. Jocelyn Evans (JE) : I am a tenured full professor of political science in the Department of Government and the Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at UWF.
What that practically means is that I support the Dean and the nine departments within our college.  I also spearhead the community engagement opportunities of the college particularly through outreach efforts such as the UWF Downtown Lecture Series.
HC: How did you come to UWF?
JE: I'm actually from Pensacola, but it's just coincidental that I ended up working here.  After my graduate studies (and a year as a lecturer in Green Bay, Wisconsin), I applied for several positions in American Politics across the country.  UWF gave me an on-campus interview, and the rest is history!
HC: What causes are you passionate about, and how do you contribute to those causes?
JE: You know, I think we tend to pigeonhole causes into categories based on organizational type or problem type.  I care about education.  I care about sharing big ideas and supporting student personal, academic, and professional growth.  I care about amorphously making the world a better place through my teaching and my scholarship.  Every class is an opportunity for learning, sharing, growing, and building something better.  The "cause" changes from year to year, but the impulse is always the same.
Right now, I passionately care about the character and quality of our public life.  The spaces we build and protect for democratic dialogue and communal life fascinate me.  I want to think deeply about their symbolic meaning, their subtle influences, and their daily uses.  That spans from projects focused on the architecture of parliaments around the world to the parks in my local community.
HC: What's the most important thing in your life right now?
JE: My daughter - Selah June.  I waited ten painful years for her, and she was absolutely worth it.  She is a gift from God, and I give thanks every day for her.
Evans with her daughter, Selah June 
Photo Courtesy Evans
HC: Do you have any advice for UWF students?
JE: Put down your phones.  Pick up your school books.  Go to class.  Stay after class and engage your professors and fellow students in meaningful discussion.  This time in your life is going by so fast.  You will never again have the leisure to read and think and write and play.  Don't waste it on mindless apps and uninteresting things.
HC: What's your favorite place on campus?
JE: That's a really hard one.  Let's see...  I love the camellia garden and the quiet sitting areas behind Building. 10.  I love the trails, although I don't spent nearly enough time enjoying them.  I love the big trees, the Spanish moss, and the occasional animals scurrying into the bushes.  UWF is a beautiful place if you slow down to take it in.
HC: What do you like to do in your freetime?
JE: Remember that precious daughter in my life?   There is no such thing as free time.  If I could tell any young woman any one thing, it would be to enjoy all the freedom you can handle right now.  Marriage brings responsibility, and children bring poop.  You will not regret for one moment the late trips to Target with girlfriends, the lazy Saturday mornings giving yourself a pedicure, the yoga classes, and the last minute road trips.  DO IT NOW!!!  
I love to travel, and I love photography.
I traveled to Europe with my parents twice and Hawaii by myself once before the baby was born.  I've gone to many many professional conferences to present research, and I always try to build in a little time for exploring.  And I love yoga.  When my life is less chaotic and controlled (yes, both at the same time), I will probably return to these pastimes.
Photo Courtesy Evans
HC: Where do you see yourself in the future?
JE: Dead.
Joking aside, I try to keep my eye set on being the best teacher, leader, wife, mother, friend and mentor I can be.  I take advantage of good opportunities when they come, and I know the rest will take care of itself.
The only thing I know for certain is that eventually I will be dead.
HC: If you could have lunch with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
JE: Okay...  This is an impossible question!
I always would choose to spend lunch with my mother. She is my best friend and the calm in every storm.
I would love to meet Erik Larson. I think he is a fabulous author and get lost in every book he writes.
At this moment, though, I'd really just like the time to eat lunch.
One of Evan's favorite quotes