Northern Arizona University dean of students Scott Brown appointed interim Dean of the College

Brown’s appointment will fill the vacancy created by sociology professor Kathryn Lively’s resignation earlier this summer.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 8/18/21 3:12pm

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Source: Photo courtesy of Justin Anderson

Northern Arizona University dean of students Scott Brown has been appointed as interim Dean of the College, Dartmouth announced today. His appointment, effective immediately, comes following sociology professor Kathryn Lively’s sudden resignation as Dean of the College earlier this summer, effective June 30 but announced July 19. 

Brown will work closely with Syracuse University dean of students Marianne Huger Thomson, who has been named interim associate dean of student affairs and will begin her role on Aug. 23. Both Brown and Thomson will work in their respective interim positions for two years. 

Brown said in an interview with The Dartmouth that he understands the difficulties students have faced over the past year. 

“We’re in this historical moment where people are not getting exactly the spirit, the experience that they maybe hope for,” he said, adding that he aims to “understand the ... deep amount of trauma and difficulty and disappointment and frustration.” 

According to the announcement, Brown and Thomson will help to support the launch of an undergraduate parents and families liaison team focused on communicating with families about College policies and initiatives. Brown will also be hosting open office hours and start meeting with student organizations before the beginning of fall term. 

“It's up to me to really get to know students, understand the student experience, and [find] ways to sort of work with students, and the rest of my staff, to, again, give the best Dartmouth experience we possibly can,” he said. “Part of that is … making sure that I’ve got student input hardwired into as many places as possible.”

When asked about Dartmouth’s mental health infrastructure, which faces inadequacies detailed by an investigation by The Dartmouth earlier this summer, Brown said that his approach will focus on both identifying and helping students in distress as well as building an “community of care that will … hopefully be able to, you know, be a net that that encircles all students.” 

“How are we helping find the best path to care for [a] particular area?” he asked rhetorically. “And I think the real big one too is just sort of, you know, what are we doing to increase resilience and wellness through the relationships on campus, what are the kinds of upstream things that are important?”

Brown comes to Dartmouth following a stint as the interim vice president and dean of the students at NAU. There, he led the division of student engagement and inclusive excellence as well as the student behavioral intervention and threat assessment teams. Prior to his tenure at NAU, he worked in college administration at the College of Wooster from 2016 to 2020 and Colgate University for eight years before that. 

Between earning his master’s in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University Bloomington in 1992 and beginning his PhD in college student personnel administration at the University of Maryland in 1995, Brown served as an area director for Dartmouth’s Office of Residential Life. He met his wife, a Norwich native who attended Hanover High School, on a blind date at Dirt Cowboy Cafe, he said. 

“Dartmouth could have been situated anywhere [and] I’d be excited to be here, but it’s … a special place, and it’s a special place for my family,” Brown said.

Brown will be the seventh person to serve as interim Dean of the College or Dean of the College in a decade. 

Thomson worked as associate vice president for student experience and as dean of students for three years at Syracuse. She also worked in student services at American University and Georgetown University prior to Syracuse. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Georgetown and her master’s degree and PhD at George Washington University. 

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