January: Meet Lisa Hatfield

I provide leadership for Portland State University’s Learning Center, which offers programs that support students academically (tutoring, academic coaching, college success courses, and a pre-fall term program for first-term, first-year students). Although tutoring has existed at PSU for nearly 30 years in some form, the Learning Center is fairly new, having been created only four years ago.

Professional Journey:

I’ve always loved school, which is a good thing because I’ve basically been in school in some form since kindergarten save a few years after graduating from college. I immigrated to the United States when I was 4 with parents who knew no English and had little or no formal education. School thus provided me with security and stability. I feel extremely fortunate to work in an educational institution and to be surrounded by students and colleagues who value learning.

I have a B.S. in journalism and in telecommunications and film from the University of Oregon; an MAT from Lewis and Clark College (secondary education, language arts); and an MA in English from PSU. I’m also a current doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction. My dissertation research has to do with scholarly identity formation of people who work in student services as well as effective writing strategies when producing a paper for publication. I’m also very interested in alignment of curriculum between K-12 and post-secondary education.

After college I worked for a few years for a newspaper in San Francisco and then returned to school so I could teach. I taught high-school language arts and journalism for several years before falling into my position at PSU 12 years ago. I was hired very part-time to help develop a small and recently-moved tutoring program. I’m proud to say that this has evolved into what the Learning Center is today.

Like many of my peers who have contributed to this blog, I didn’t know student affairs existed before I found myself immersed in it. Higher education meant that you were either a student or faculty member; it didn’t occur to me that many other people were needed for a university to run well. I am grateful that PSU sees value in what we do and supports students through the services the Learning Center provides. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to contribute in this way.


Be involved and meet colleagues from both student affairs and academic affairs. Our office moved recently to the Office of Academic Affairs, and it was helpful that we had created partnerships and collaborations across division lines. Also, serving on committees with faculty members gives great perspective in student learning.  However, though it is important to be involved, don’t be overly involved. The latter could lead you to do doing a whole bunch of things kind of well rather than a few things really well. Find your passion and commit to that work.

Read and write! If you’re not regularly reading something for your professional development (blogs, newsletters, journal articles, books, what have you), then you’re closing doors for growth. Give yourself 10 minutes (or more) each day to read. Seek out opportunities to attend and present at conferences. Send inquiries to publications to share why the work you are doing is important and how it’s impacting others. Don’t wait until you feel you have “enough” experience to share your thoughts through a presentation or a publication.

Connect with Leaders

Networking with women, non-binary, and trans leaders in the state of Oregon will enhance your professional experience. We look forward to creating opportunities to meet, connect and develop together.

Engage in Professional Development

Participate in opportunities for professional growth through educational programs that are provided by our campus contact network right on your campus, in your region or at a state wide gathering. The focus is on providing you with the leadership skills and mentoring necessary to lead.

Lead Change in Higher Education

Higher education in the state of Oregon provides a dynamic environment where women, non-binary, and trans people can impact change. Whether in the community college, 4-year institution, public, or private, we want you to be a part of shaping the future of higher education by empowering and affirming your leadership abilities.