A Leading Inspiration

Dean of the Institute for Achievement and Learning Gives Students Insight into His Goals in New Position

By Gretchen Lembcke-Pena

On Oct. 11, Shaun Exsteen, the first-ever Dean of the Institute for Achievement and Learning (IAL) at Lynn University, displayed his down-to-earth persona and professionalism in an interview with iPulse.

Exsteen has been a member of the Lynn community for 30 years as an alumnus and long-time employee. His daughters are now Lynn students themselves. 

During his time as a former student, Exsteen was a member of the soccer team and initially was majoring in business management. However, during his senior year, he discovered a passion for education and enrolled in an elective class on the subject. 

Taking that course taught Exsteen that it is the decisions we make that potentially change the course of our futures.

“Assisting students, guiding students, helping them find their passion, and really, self-empowering students. I think that’s the key for what my philosophy is in doing that,” he said. 

Exsteen continued: 

“Creating independent learners and understanding that every single person here at Lynn learns differently and has a different way of taking in information. But really, giving them the strategies and suggestions to help them and empower them to do it independently and do it on their own is really a goal of all the programs that I’ve created here at Lynn.” 

Dean Exsteen was appointed dean of the IAL in July and has continued to implement his passion for aiding students in their studies by being flexible with their approaches to learning. 

He explained how much he loves seeing new students come in and take the reins of their future careers by participating and putting effort into what will genuinely help them succeed at Lynn and beyond:

“Everybody talks about students who came into an academic support program, which is the Institute for Achievement and Learning. They come into the program and … we’ve had students and past student government presidents that are students that started in the Institute for Achievement and Learning. So seeing that growth and development to me is so rewarding.”

Although Exsteen has been working at Lynn for a long time now, he continues to learn new things daily. When asked what the most significant take-away from his new position is thus far, his answer was: collaboration.

“I’m not a micromanager. I have confidence in  people that are in their positions and in them doing what they need to do. Some members of my staff have only been here for two years, but if they have a valuable idea, we take it and run with it. I’m very understandable on my staff that we all have lives outside of these walls and outside of Lynn University, and that’s important to me.”

Dean Exsteen’s ultimate goals are threefold:

  • To expose students to new ideas and experiences. 
  • Encourage them to use campus services like the IAL. 
  • And to truly find their place in the Lynn community. 

Having traveled while an international student, Exsteen wishes for students to similarly experience other cultures and to immerse themselves in the wonders of the world has to offer as independent adults, sharing these words of advice:

“We really have to immerse ourselves … become part of [the Lynn community]. And when you become part of it, you want to stay as I did.”

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