Keith Brower, Ph.D., has been hired as the new dean of the School of Arts.
Brower joins Manhattan College after serving as associate dean from 2007 to 2014 at the Fulton School of Liberal Arts at his alma mater Salisbury University.
“I come to Manhattan with lots of ideas and experience with many of those ideas, and I know the arrts faculty have lots of ideas, too,” Brower said about joining Manhattan College.
“I can already tell that we are very much on the same page. I have no doubt we’ll move the ball down the field, and to the benefit of all concerned, I frankly can’t wait to get fully started.”
Brower takes over for Richard Emmerson, who served as the dean of the School of Arts from 2009 to June of this year.
Emmerson informed Manhattan in a timely fashion that he would be stepping down as dean of arts, which allowed the school to begin searching for candidates as soon as the previous spring semester began.
A search committee of about 20 faculty members was assembled with representatives from various schools involved. The committee, spearheaded by executive vice president and Provost William Clyde, included the deans of the other five schools, but comprised mostly of faculty members from the School of Arts.
Close to 80 candidates applied for the job, but the search committee narrowed down the number of applicants down to a select few they thought were best.
“We had a voting structure to see who we thought should be left in, and based on a large percentage of the committee agreeing, we brought it down to about six or eight people,” Clyde said about the hiring process.
Those who were chosen by the committee were then required to fly in for interviews held in a span of two days. After the interviews, the number of candidates was once again diminished, this time to three. After a full day of meeting with faculty, administrators and Clyde, the search committee reconvened to select the best candidate.
Thom Gencarelli, Ph.D., chair of the communication department at Manhattan College and member of the search committee, spoke about what the committee looked for in a candidate.
“What we looked for, first and foremost, was if in their experience, they had experience that suggested they could be an administrator with respect to governing and forwarding the motion and momentum of this school,” he said.
“It was really important for us to find a scholar, because the faculty, they’re all scholars. So we wanted someone who would be able to lead because he or she was a scholar too,” Gencarelli said.
In Brower, Manhattan gets a man who has nearly three decades of experience. He began his career at Gettysburg College in 1985, where he was an assistant professor of Spanish. From 1986 through1997, he worked at Dickinson College, where he held numerous roles such as developer of the College’s Portuguese program, chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese and coordinator of the Latin American Studies program.
In 1999, Brower received a call from his alma mater Salisbury University, where he would stay at until 2014. While at Salisbury, Brower served as chair of the department of Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies, and was at the head of the Spanish program’s prominence.
He developed and directed Salisbury’s summer program at the Universidad de Málaga in Spain, designed Salisbury’s international studies major, coordinated the university’s interdisciplinary studies major program and was very involved in the university’s honors program.
Perhaps what he is most remembered for, and what he can potentially introduce to the School of Arts at Manhattan College is a four-credit course model, which he created at the Fulton School of Liberal Arts.
Brower decided to apply for the vacant position at the School of Arts because of the opportunities he foresaw.
“I appreciated the College’s increasing involvement in both international and interdisciplinary programs, two things very close to my academic heart,” he said. “Both the College and the position seemed to offer a near-perfect fit with my combined experience at Dickinson and Salisbury.”
But filling in the shoes of Richard Emmerson, who served as dean for five years, won’t be a doddle. As dean of the School of Arts, Brower will lead 15 academic departments, which contain 16 majors and 12 minors.
However, Gencarelli said that while the task seems arduous, Brower is the right man for the job.
“Everyone in the School of Arts, after having Rich for the last five years, was saying ‘wow, tough act to follow’,” he said. “Keith Brower came across to us as someone who has energy, who really wants to do this job and do it here, and he really sold himself to us.”
Now, instead of trying to sell himself to a search committee, Brower has the chance to prove why he was chosen as the dean of the School of Arts.
“I want to continue to move the School of Arts forward and relentlessly, but always thoughtfully,” he said.