College family matters for new vice president

Eric Kieta, Staff Writer

Former Pitt-Oakland Associate Dean of Students and Residence Life Director Shawn Brooks is to be Pitt-Johnstown’s Student Affairs Vice President.

UPJ President Jem Spectar announced Brooks as the successful candidate for the position March 8.

“With a clear passion for working with students, Dr. Brooks is a forward-thinking administrator and an enthusiastic leader who can implement the vision of the institution through effective planning, program development and assessment,” Spectar said in the press release.

Brooks is Jonathan Wescott’s replacement. Wescott held the position for nearly five years, starting in 2008 and vacated in the fall.

On the Pitt-Johnstown website, the Student Conduct and Discipline supervision is the responsibilty of the Student Affairs Vice President.

Finance and Administration Vice President Amy Buxbaum headed the search committee in charge of hiring for the position.

Buxbaum said, other than Brooks, the position came down to two other candidates: Mansfield University’s former Student Affairs President James Parker, and former Pitt-Johnstown assistant Student Affairs Director Bryan Valentine.

Buxbaum said part of the reason that Brooks stood out was his work outside the Pitt-Oakland classroom.

“Overall, he had very diverse experience,” she said.

Buxbaum also said that Brooks has new ideas for the Pitt-Johnstown Real World Action Program.

“We were really fortunate to have great feedback from many campus constituents including faculty, staff and students,” said Buxbaum. “All had the opportunity to offer feedback.”

Brooks said he is eager to start working at Pitt-Johnstown.

“I have always heard good things about the students, faculty and staff at Pitt-Johnstown and have visited campus multiple times over the years,” he said.

After seeing the job posting, Brooks said he decided to apply.

“When I realized it was time to take the next step in my career, I was torn because I didn’t want to leave Pitt,” he said. “So when I saw the position at Pitt-Johnstown advertised, I got excited about the possibility of staying in the Pitt family.”

As new Student Affairs Vice President Brooks said he hopes to advance existing Pitt-Johnstown programs.

“I have a very deep and abiding passion for working with students and helping to make a real difference in their lives,” he said.

“I hope to be able to build on the good things that are already happening on campus, and work with the Student Affairs staff to help students have an outstanding experience outside of the classroom.”