From Maryland all the way to the big apple, Dr. Keith Brower has now joined Manhattan College as the new dean of the School of Arts. Brower has nearly thirty years of experience under his belt as both a professor and a former dean. Brower will oversee the fifteen academic departments within the School of Arts at MC.
As our campus welcomes him, another is sad to see him go. Dr. James King, former colleague at Salisbury University and friend of Brower’s, speaks highly of him.
“I consider him to be a mentor, and a model for the type of administrator I hope to become someday,” King said. “He is one of the hardest working and honest men I have ever met. I am honored to consider him as a friend, and I know he will continue to do great things at [Manhattan College].”
The Quadrangle asked Brower about his past work and expectations as the new dean of the School of Arts at Manhattan College.
Q: What were your past jobs? What were they like?
A: Dickinson College (1986-1997), a small, nationally-ranked, private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, and Salisbury University (1997-20014), one of the few public, regional comprehensive institutions listed in Princeton Review’s Best 377 Colleges (for the 15th straight year now) and billed as “A Maryland University of National Distinction.”
My work at Dickinson included serving as coordinator/developer of the college’s Portuguese program, chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese, coordinator of Latin American Studies and director of the college’s summer program in Spain. My family and I were set to move to Spain for two years, where I would run Dickinson’s semester/year program, when Salisbury, my undergraduate alma mater, called and wondered if I might consider coming back, so we headed to Maryland instead of Spain.
At Salisbury I served as chair of the department of Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies (1999-2007) and as Associate Dean of the Fulton School of Liberal Arts (2007-2014). I also developed and directed SU’s summer program in Spain, and then co-developed and coordinated its semester program there. I was also one of the original designers of Salisbury’s International Studies major (and continued to work closely with the program throughout my time at SU), coordinated the university’s Interdisciplinary Studies major program, oversaw the Fulton School’s Area Studies minors and was very involved in the University’s Honors Program for several years. I was really fortunate to have wonderful opportunities at both Dickinson and Salisbury.
Q: Why did you decide to come to MC?
A: I was looking for a forward-looking institution that was actively in the process of embracing many of the hallmarks of a 21st-century curriculum, including “high-impact practices” (such as first-year seminars, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, undergraduate research, global learning, service learning, internships and capstone experiences), all of which I had worked with at both Dickinson and Salisbury, long before they were, well, HIP, and I found that in Manhattan.
On a more personal note, and perhaps the clincher regarding my interest in Manhattan, was the Lasallian, “person-centered” mission of the college. The college’s mission statement, and how easy it was to see it at work at the college, even from the outside, spoke volumes to me. I couldn’t have written a much better scenario regarding what I was looking for in a new position and institution.
Q: What are your plans as you move forward?
A: To continue to move the School of Arts forward in providing the best possible educational experience to our students in order to prepare them for both work and a nine to five, 24/7 life in the 21st century.
Q: What do you enjoy doing?
A: My favorite things to do are anything I do with my family. I also run, sometimes to excess.
Q: What are your academic strengths and passions?
A: I have taught and written about a wide range of Latin American (both Spanish American and Brazilian) and Spanish works and writers. I could read, write about and/or teach that stuff all day long (Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Brazil’s Jorge Amado used to be my favorites, but I have drifted back to Cervantes and “Don Quixote” in the past 10+ years. You just can’t go wrong with “Don Quixote.” And I have taught and am passionate about pretty much anything that has to do with the history and culture of Spain. In fact, my family and I consider Spain our second home (if only we actually had a second home there…but maybe someday). I have also taught Spanish and Portuguese language courses more times than I can count over the years.