President Paul R. Brown officially began his new role at the University on August 1. Since leaving Lehigh University and taking over for Paul G. Gaffney II, Brown has been focusing on how to make the University grow.
Brown explained that he has been busy meeting as many people as possible and as quickly as he can. “It’s been great for me because that’s the way you learn a culture,” he said.
He has been attending sporting events and even move-in day for the first year students, which led him to meeting many new people. He would like to understand what is strong about the University and the new programs on campus before making any “grounded decisions.”
Being the Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University was a position that Brown believes prepared him to be President. Strategic planning is an aspect that he carried over to the University from his previous postition. “You’re always thinking years ahead. Students just came yesterday, today, but you’re always thinking years ahead,” he said.
He understands that strategic planning can be a challenging concept to grasp but he believes it will pay-off in the long run. “The lack of planning is planning to fail,” he said.
He hopes to set the stage now for what the University will be in 2023 regarding what it will look like, what courses will be taught, and what programs will fit well with being outside of campus.“We owe that because the University’s [going to] change,” he said.
That idea is what makes Brown feel as if preparing for life after graduation starts the first day of freshmen year of college. With a smile he said, “I’m sure first year students thought I was in another world when I said this but I actually believe you prepare for life after Monmouth the very first day you step on campus.”
A goal Brown has for the University is that students will utilize services on campus like the Center for Student Success, no matter what year the student may be. “I’d love for that first year student to say to me, ‘Now wait a minute, I just got in the door and you’re telling me I should learn how to write my résumé?’ Yes, you should. ‘You’re telling me I should talk to somebody if I’m not sure about my major?’ Absolutely,” he said. He wishes to make students understand that college is a great experience but they must be thinking of their futures as well.
Preparing students for life after college is something he feels is an important job of the University. “We owe this to our students and parents,” he said. “We owe this to you because you’ve made a big commitment to us. You’ve made a big time commitment to us and you’ve made a big financial commitment to us.”
“President Brown cares deeply for students and their well-being,” said Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student and Community Services. “He is interested in student success on all levels, in the classroom, residence halls, through activities and athletics.”
When asked why Brown ran for the position at the University he said, “I really did enjoy my time at Lehigh so it did not have to do with Lehigh … I liked that experience but I think you get the itch to want to try to take your skills to a broader level.” He admits to having a competitive side and enjoys being successful at what he does for the benefit of the University. “So I think I got the itch to want to take these skills and see how would it work when you sit at the front of the table, and not just the front of the table as the Business School Dean, of the Science School Dean but as a whole university,” he said.
He explained that he began to become “Monmouth specific” after he started to learn what the University is all about, its successes so far, along with its challenges. “… You’re looking for a level playing field or a lot of good things in place so that you could start with that level playing field and then hopefully make it better and make it grow,” he said about the University. He continued with a smile, “But then of course the University had to decide whether I was right for it too, it’s a two way street as you all know.”
Even though being the Dean of College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University is different than being the President at the University, he feels it helped prepare him to take on his newest role. He explained that the outreach position he had as the Dean at Lehigh University was the best characteristic he had to help with being the President. He said that he has an outreach responsibility to everybody, not just students and faculty but to the community, to corporate foundations and many others as well. “I would dare say 50 percent of my time will be reaching out [on] all levels …” he said.
The Star Ledgerwrote a story about Brown taking over as the new President of the University. In that story he said that he plans on creating more diversity at the school. “When I said that toThe Star LedgerI wasn’t thinking of a particular bullet …” he said. “…But I was thinking strategically. I’m willing to look at it through programs, I’m willing to look at it through admissions, I’m willing to look at it through a targeted financial aid and my overarching thought was let’s build on what we’ve been doing here and continue it …” He believes that diversity is important because it can influence people.
Brown does not think of diversity on one single scale. He hopes to increase diversity in gender, geographically and ethnically. He said, “I think when you position diversity that way, you’re almost talking about cultural awareness and exposure which relates fairly close to global education but they’re not always the same.”
James Pillar, Associate Vice President for Student Services, feels Brown will be bringing about more global opportunities for students. “I predict that we will see our curriculum expand on campus, opportunities for our students to study abroad will increase and we will welcome additional international students,” he said.
RegardingThe Star Ledgerstory, Brown said “I said in that article and I meant it. We love New Jersey but there is a world beyond Jersey and everybody benefits from that.”
In the same story, Brown mentioned adding more online components to classes but does not see online degrees in the near future for the University. He explained that many students choose to live on campus as well as commute daily to be a part of the University and if classes were soley online, students would not get the same experience. However, he is not against using the Internet when it comes to teaching.
Allowing students to further their understanding of a topic by using the Internet is something he believes to be important. “As a complementary learning tool I love online experiences [because] as you know there are some people that can get thoughts across and points across better than o t h e r s , ” Brown said.
Ch r i s t i a n Mannon, business finance major and the President of the Greek Senate, has not met Brown yet but said he has heard great things about him and his goals for the University. “From what I have read about Dr. Brown, I have gathered that he is very well educated and plans to diversify the student population and expand the educational programs offered at [the University],” he said. “I am all for both of those initiatives.”
Even though Brown has only been the President for six months now, Robert Sculthrope, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, feels Brown “really is the right guy for the right time” and that “he is off to a very great start.”
Brown enjoys several specific perks of being the President at the University, like living so close to the ocean and his new office located in Wilson Hall. He said with a smirk, “You can tell I have pretty nice digs, as they say, it isn’t so bad to hang around in these facilities.”
When asked what his favorite part about being the President was, he was quick to respond but kept stumbling on his words due to his smile. “It’s so easy, it’s the people,” he said. “I am just such a people person.” Many people seem to agree with his statement.
Nagy said, “[President Brown] is easy to talk [to] and has a good sense of humor as well.”
Pillar referred to Brown as “bright, engaging, hardworking and personable.”
Patti Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, explained that her experience with Brown so far has been very positive. “He is a good listener and contemplative,” she said. “He asks probing questions. He wants to thoroughly understand all the implications of a situation before he makes a decision. He seems very committed to [the University] and our students. He wants to make [the University] better, [he’s] not satisfied with the status quo.”
>PHOTO TAKEN by Jacklyn Kouefati