Brooks to leave for Georgia


Mary-Lynn Retassie

Student Affairs Vice President Shawn Brooks is to move to Georgia College (Milledgeville) after five years at Pitt-Johnstown.

Tyler McNulty, Editor-in-Chief

Student Affairs Vice President Shawn Brooks is saying goodbye to cold central Pennsylvania and saying hello to sunny Georgia.

Brooks plans to leave Pitt-Johnstown at the end of the semester for the same position at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia, after 13.5 years in the Pitt system, five of which were at Pitt-Johnstown.

He said he felt five years was a perfect time to work at Pitt-Johnstown.

“I had a great experience,” Brooks said.

Brooks has been working at Pitt since January 2005 and started at Pitt-Johnstown in April 2013.

In a March 26 email sent to faculty, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar announced Brooks’ departure.

“During his time at Pitt-Johnstown, Brooks has led successful efforts to strengthen the Student Affairs operation, including freshman orientation, the student-life experience, commitment to real-world action and civic and community engagement,” Spectar said.

According to Georgia College President Steve Dorman, Brooks is to take over as Student Affairs vice president June 30, after their current Student Affairs vice president, Bruce Harshbarger, retires.

Although he is leaving, Brooks said he could have stayed at Pitt-Johnstown until retirement, but he wanted to find an opportunity that will challenge him.

“What I could do (here), I did,” he said.

Brooks said he wants to be able to contribute what he learned at Pitt-Johnstown at other institutions.

“I’m constantly seeking to find (my) next experience,” he said.

Brooks said something he’ll miss about Pitt is the high-quality education students receive.

Brooks said he will miss the Pitt-Johnstown students the most.

“I wake up every day with a smile on my face, knowing I get to interact with students,” Brooks said.

While at Pitt-Johnstown, Brooks said one of his accomplishments was being able to pull together a working Student Affairs’ team.

“When I got here five years ago, (Student Affairs’ employees) didn’t interact (outside their department),” he said.

Brooks said he was able to hire the right people and put them in the right position to give students a well-rounded collegiate experience.

For the future of Student Affairs, Brooks said he hopes the next vice president continues to improve student experiences.

“Students entrusted us, and we owe it to them a good experience while they’re here,” Brooks said.

He said he is most excited for the change Georgia College will offer.

“Change is always good, and it challenges you as to who you are personally and professionally,” Brooks said.

While at Georgia College, Brooks said he may not be implementing anything from Pitt-Johnstown, at least for now.

He said he needs to learn Georgia College’s culture.

“I have to listen and learn to find the needs of students and what would be best for them,” Brooks said.

He said from his time at Pitt, University of California Los Angeles and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, he has many different programs he can introduce.

While at Georgia College, he said if he can only accomplish one thing, it would be known for making a difference in students’ lives.

Dorman said Brooks was selected as the new Student Affairs vice president because of his higher education leadership and student experience.

He said Georgia College employees create opportunities for students to explore their studies creatively whether in the community, in campus activities or in the classroom.

“With Brooks in this role, our goal is to continue to encourage students’ success through their involvement on campus and in their overall campus experience,” Dorman said.