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New Interim President focusing on student success

Photo Illustration by Kayla Stroud/THE SPECTATOR

Written by Mayah Cantave, Managing Editor

In two short months, VSU’s new interim president is already making history and breaking through boundaries as the 11th president in VSU’s 110 year history and as the first woman to spearhead the university.

Brown started her journey as VSU’s interim president officially July 1. She accepted her new role with honor and humility.

“I’m happy to be the interim president of Valdosta State University and I think being the first female is also an honor.” Brown said.

Brown comes well prepared with over 28 years of experience in higher education. Prior to becoming VSU’s interim president, she held the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs at Georgia College and State University.

Brown accepted the position after VSU’s former interim president, Cecil Staton, accepted the job as chancellor at East Carolina University. Brown said she hopes to continue Staton’s commitment to student success.

She has no qualms about taking the temporary role. Since 2008, the university has seen four different individuals take the reigns as president. But that doesn’t sway the new president’s thoughts on the university; its credibility has remained intact.

“This university has a lot of credibility,” Brown said. “I don’t think the fact that there have been multiple president’s decreases credibility. It’s very well received by the system office and the office thinks very highly of Valdosta State.”
Even though a search committee has been formed to find a permanent president for the university, Brown is not concerned with the final decision. Her focus is on continuing the forward movement of VSU and focusing on student success.
“The more that we focus on student success; making sure that when students get here they have the type of experiences that they need both in the classroom and outside of the classroom… all of that mixes in with student success.”
Among some of the challenges the new president has inherited, enrollment is a big item on the menu.

With a progressive decline in enrollment, as of August 2015, 33 professors were laid off. To help combat the decline of enrollment numbers, Brown noted working with Tee Mitchell, interim director of enrollment services, to turn the tide.

“What I’m hoping for this year, because of the new marketing campaign, social media and all the things they put a lot of effort into, is that we have a stable enrollment of freshmen,” Brown said. “We’re going to focus on retention.”

“What I’ve found … since I’ve been here is the people are great,” Brown said. “Everyone loves Valdosta State University. The passion and the commitment here is unbelievable.”

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