New Faculty Spotlight: Dean Pagan lives by mantra “What must I do as part of this community?”

What must be done? As students at a Vincentian school, this is a question raised to us everyday. Dean Pagan, our new dean for freshmen and sophomores, guides us in answering this for ourselves, leading by example of what it means to be a Vincentian.

To Dean Pagan her job means much more than keeping students well behaved. “When I look at my work everyday I look at how I help young people make better choices, how do I have those conversations so that they learn from their first mistakes, and they can move on to avoid those mistakes when they get older.” She sees herself as a form of counselor, who strives to support not only to help the students but the staff as well. Her job is focused on ensuring the wellbeing of her students and fellow staff.

Everyday, Dean Pagan focuses on conducting her work in a way that is reflective of the core values: faith, respect, excellence, service, and health and wellness. Part of her goal is to answer these key questions through her work at DePaul, “What is it to be restorative in the way we think? How do we communicate with one another? How do we care for one another? How do we take care of this second home?”

As an educator, Dean Pagan has spent two decades dedicated to students and the Chicago community. In the past she has worked in Chicago Public Schools, as well as for nonprofits. “I was a dean of students at a school called Marine Leadership Academy. It was a military school and I had been there for ten years. I had worked for 10 years at a nonprofit organization where I worked with at-risk adolescents throughout the city of Chicago. I also worked in a reentry program with people coming out of prison helping them connect to resources and programs throughout the city and working to reduce violence in certain areas around the city.”

She has decided to come to DePaul Prep for many reasons. First, as a person who grew up in a Catholic household, the faith-based community impressed her. “I like the idea of faith and education being combined. I think students do better, I think adults do better.” Moreover, Dean Pagan states, “The other reason really is the reputation of the school. It’s got a wonderful reputation. I want to be somewhere where I could contribute to the success that is already there.” This includes the overall environment of learning which she describes “…is a place where everyone comes in wanting to give all of what they’ve got in education and also in teaching.”

At DePaul Prep, Dean Pagan has begun to embody the Vincentian values and wants to pass on this message of ‘What must be done’ to all of us through community action, “[I want for us to work on] The way we see ourselves as an extension of the world. I’d like for us to do these monthly events that really address problems in the world.” She wishes to transform DePaul into a place that instead of asking, ‘What must I do’ asks ‘What must I do as part of this community’ to fulfill St. Vincent’s dream.