Dr. Esther “Beth” Sullivan – Chairperson – Liberal Studies Department

Dr. Esther “Beth” Sullivan
Associate Professor of Theater
Chairperson – Liberal Studies Department

Chances are; if you have been to at APU theater production in the last few years, you might have run into Dr. Esther “Beth” Sullivan. Her passion for theater and the arts led her to APU as she has been in Alaska since 2002. Beth’s focus at APU is on communications for the 21st century, gender studies, and arts appreciation. If any of these topics interest you, you should check out her Public Speaking course or her Education and Empowerment class this fall here at APU.

When Beth first came to APU, she was fortunate to be working with the Rural Alaska Native Adult (RANA) Distance Education Program. It was there that she met many Alaska Native students from across the state–from Barrow and Unalakleet, to Hoonah and Sitka. It was an honor for her to work with these students as they pursued their dreams of earning university degrees and serving as role models for their communities and families.

Dr. Sullivan now serves as the chairperson for Liberal Studies, where she works with faculty and students dedicated to understanding the world in order to make things better for “people, planet, and economies” – the “triple bottom line.” Beth feels that it is great to be a part of students’ journeys, as they seek to write the next great novel, plan new businesses, manage important projects, and immerse themselves in history, philosophy, and literature.

When asked about her fondest memories of APU students, Beth responded, “Students at APU are so entrepreneurial. They will find a way to make things happen, for the betterment of our university. I’ve seen students’ direct plays, mount art exhibits, and perform difficult music. These aren’t arts majors, they just love the arts. Arts for life – that’s what I appreciate about APU – our students crave the arts and bring their creative energy to our community.”

Iditarod champion, Susan Butcher once said, “I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.” She was talking about enduring the ‘last great race’ in Alaska; but the thought reminds me of APU students who are resilient and forward-thinking.