WKU goes from no Dean Browns to two Dean Browns


Cherry Hall. File photo, Mike Clark/HERALD

Wyatt Sparkman, Reporter

WKU welcomed two new deans to the Hill on Thursday – and both are named Brown.

David Brown took office as dean of Ogden College of Science and Engineering, while Terrance Brown became dean of Potter College of Arts & letters. Here’s what they had to say on their first official day in their new roles:

Ogden Dean David Brown

David Brown replaced Greg Arbuckle, who had served as interim dean since Cheryl Stevens was named acting provost in 2018.

Dave Brown is the new dean of Ogden College of Science and Engineering. He started July 1. Photo provided.

“So far it’s going great, except when I went out to get my parking permit and got soaked,” Brown jokingly said. “Other than that, it’s been wonderful. People have been really friendly.”

“We started talking about a month ago, really, and [Arbuckle] has been very helpful in the transition, and I credit him with having done a lot of excellent work for the college during the interim period,” Brown said. ‘Being an interim dean is never easy because you have all the responsibilities, but you don’t necessarily have the resources that the whole thing does. He’s been great.”

Brown had been working at the University of Louisville since 1996, when he started as assistant professor. He previously was a professor and an associate dean for graduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences at U of L.

“It was the fact that the opportunity was here,” Brown said when asked why he chose to leave Louisville for Bowling Green. “I had familiarity with WKU, a number of interactions over the years. A number of the faculty from WKU have come and given talks at the University of Louisville. A number of science fair projects I judged. The students that work with WKU faculty, so I knew there was a lot of excellent work going on here.”

“And I was encouraged by someone I know to apply for the position, and I wasn’t really looking for positions, but I knew how much I liked WKU,” Brown continued. “It’s a beautiful campus, nice people here, and I thought this might be a great opportunity, and I thought I could make a difference here.”

Brown’s family still lives in Louisville, while Brown has an apartment in Bowling Green. He said goes back and forth every other weekend.

“It’s the first, so it’s hard to say right now, but we had to do this when I was on sabbatical before and so we have some experience,” Brown said when asked how the move has impacted his family.

“As long as we don’t lose connection – and that’s one of the things technology helps us with is keeping connections – then I think we’re just fine,” he said. “I know a lot of people that have these sort of arrangements and we’re going to make it work because what I’m doing here at WKU is important, what they’re doing in Louisville is important.”

Brown said his goal was to build WKU’s research and its ability to help train students with research.

“Research is exposure to real life problem solving,” Brown said. “When you’re doing stuff in a classroom, there’s often answers in the back of a book, but when you’re working with research it’s a new problem for which you may be the first one to discover an answer. That’s incredibly valuable training.”

“We’re aiming to be a team that works together, and the team includes our faculty, our staff and our students all working together towards a common goal of learning, discovery and training,” Brown said.

Potter Dean Terrance Brown

Terrance Brown is the new dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters. He will be replacing the former dean of Potter College, Larry Snyder, who was one of 125 faculty and staff who left their jobs Wednesday in WKU’s early retirement buyout program.

Terrance Brown is the new dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters. He started the job July 1. Photo provided.

“He served the PCAL well, and he has been quite encouraging and helpful during this transition,” Brown said in an email interview. “Our conversations have been insightful and fruitful.”

Brown said his first day working at WKU was informative and exciting.

“The WKU family, and more specifically the PCAL family, have been diligent in their efforts to ensure a smooth transition for myself and my family,” Brown said. “For this, we are truly grateful.”

Brown was previously the founding executive director of the School of the Arts at the University of North Alabama. He said serving as the founding executive director allowed him to wear many hats.

“This experience prepared me to exercise characteristics that were essential in building a strong leadership platform,” Brown said.

Brown said the move to WKU was not planned, but the message of the genuine emphasis on student-centered learning resonated with him and his wife, Tiffany Bostic-Brown.

Bostic-Brown will work in the music and theater and dance departments, which are part of Potter College. She will work out of Gordon Wilson Hall, Brown said.