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Interim associate dean named for College of Arts and Sciences

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Kevin Leonard, PhD, has selected Tisha Brooks, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, to serve as CAS interim associate dean.

Brooks will assume the position on Friday, July 1.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the CAS interim associate dean and work alongside of the rest of the CAS leadership team in furthering the mission of the College,” said Brooks. “I have greatly enjoyed serving in a leadership capacity as department chair and look forward to expanding that leadership to serve faculty, staff and students across the College. I have been deeply invested in faculty development and success since my arrival at SIUE, and I see this role as an opportunity to expand that investment.”

In July 2020, Brooks became the chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, which is large and complex, serving more than 130 undergraduate majors and approximately 30 graduate students. The department includes 24 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 11 full-time instructors, and plays a critical role in SIUE’s general education program.

“I am extremely excited for Dr. Brooks to join the CAS administrative team,” Leonard said. “I have had the privilege to work with her since I arrived at SIUE two years ago, and I have been impressed by her performance as chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. Her record of success in working with faculty in the department has prepared her for success in working with faculty from all departments in the College. She has also been an outstanding mentor for new faculty members in the department, particularly women of color.”

Brooks will coordinate the promotion and tenure process, instructor promotions, faculty annual evaluations and activity reports, sabbaticals, and faculty travel support. She will play a critical role in faculty recruitment and hiring, and provide training for department chairs and program directors. In all of these activities, Brooks will pursue the College’s strategic goal of improving recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students to enhance an inclusive environment. In addition, she will lead the College’s Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), which will be formed and begin its work in fall 2022.

“As interim associate dean, I aim to contribute to efforts to support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff and students in the College,” Brooks said. “In particular, my goal is to ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion informs our faculty development efforts and to make sure we are providing access to the resources necessary for everyone to thrive. The bodies we inhabit profoundly shape our experience of the College and of the wider University; thus, it’s crucial that our policies, practices and procedures reflect that reality and align with our EDI mission.”

Brooks received training in coaching and mentoring from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) as well as the Playing Big Women’s Leadership Program.

“I have utilized the skills gained from those programs to mentor both non-tenure track (NTT) and tenure track (TT) faculty at SIUE and from other institutions across the country through NCFDD’s Faculty Success Program,” Brooks explained. “Last year, I collaborated with Dr. Lynn Bartels and Dr. Sandra Weissinger to design and direct a faculty mentoring program for pre-tenure faculty on campus, which was supported by the SIUE TIME Team and a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant. With this new role, I look forward to expanding that commitment to faculty success, while also building on and expanding resources available to department chairs to ensure they are well-equipped to support their NTT and TT faculty, staff and students.”

Brooks worked with both the English department faculty and the CAS dean’s office to facilitate the hiring of a new faculty member, which allowed for the expansion of two signature programs, including Females of African-Descent Modeling Excellence (FAME) and Goal-Oriented African-American Men Excel (GAME). Data shows that participation in FAME and GAME dramatically improves the retention and success of Black students, and in fall 2022, FAME and GAME will expand to serve every Black student entering SIUE.

Brooks joined the SIUE faculty in 2013. In 2019, she earned tenure and was promoted to the rank of associate professor. As a member of the SIUE faculty, Brooks’ teaching has contributed to African American literary studies, Black studies and women’s studies. She has served as a resident lecturer for National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes on Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, and she has been involved in a number of faculty mentoring and development activities.

Brooks earned a bachelor’s in English from Ursinus College in 2001 and a master’s in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School in 2003. She then earned a master’s and PhD in English from Tufts University in 2004 and 2013, respectively.

Photo: Tisha Brooks, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature.

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