Kris Pachla, PhD

Title: Director, CLAS Center for Experiential Learning

Office: B-4-219 MAK

Phone: (616) 331-2273

Email:   [email protected] 


Kris Pachla, PhD


  • Work with the CLAS Dean’s office and the faculty fellows to Launch the CLAS Voyage by Fall 2025;
  • Collaborate to research, build and launch the infrastructure necessary to support the CLAS Voyage, the CLAS Center for Experiential Education and Community Engagement (CCEECE);
  • Lead and supervise the efforts of the CLAS Vision Project Manager;
  • Liaise with CLAS faculty, unit heads, and staff to bring aboard all units across CLAS Voyage, including providing resources for curriculum changes, integration of high-impact practices, connection to community and alumni, and other needs as identified;
  • Liaise with structures across GVSU to support the implementation of the CLAS Voyage, including but not limited to the Pew FTLC, the Padnos International Center, the Alumni Office, the Career Center, the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement, and the Office of the Provost;
  • Liaise with external structures to support the implementation of the CLAS Voyage, including but not limited to industry partners, other centers, and other community-based organizations;
  • Research, design, and propose possible models for the long-term sustainability of the CLAS Voyage, which may include funding and personnel models, and alignment with university and college-level strategic plans.


Kris is a graduate of GVSU with a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Physics (both ’08) with a secondary education emphasis, and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (’09). His Ph.D. from George Mason University (’19) is in Education Policy with a focus on secondary STEM teacher professional development. His dissertation, Early Career Professional Development: A Multiple Case-Study Examining Differences in Outcomes and Experiences in a Secondary Science Methods Course, studied the experience and long-term outcomes of teachers in a large U.S. Department of Education grant for teachers in Virginia. He taught high school physics in Fairfax County, Virginia from 2009-2014. After leaving the classroom to pursue his Ph.D., Kris worked at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education, focusing on the Advanced Technical Education (ATE) and the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) programs, serving as the executive secretary for the FC-STEM undergraduate STEM education interagency working group. In 2016, Kris returned to West Michigan and in 2017 became the director of the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center. During his time as director of the RMSC, Kris oversaw the transition from the Michigan Math and Science Centers funding model into the MiSTEM Network, providing leadership and supportive vision for the creation of a new ecosystem for STEM education and workforce development. Kris now utilizes his background in education policy and center leadership as the director of the CLAS Center for Experiential Education and Community Engagement, tasked with building the infrastructure and launching the CLAS Voyage, our promise to students, faculty, and staff in CLAS to highlight the value of a career-connected liberal arts and sciences education. Kris and his wife Anne Marie Carson are endurance athletes and have two children, Maura and Hugo.


Page last modified March 13, 2023