Dean Brad Hollingshead assumed duties last July at Florida Southern College, replacing Dr. Jim Byrd. Byrd left to become Dean of the School of Applied Sciences at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass.
Hollingshead taught English for several years at Ducane University in Pittsburg. He then moved to Buffalo, N.Y. to teach at Medaille College, chairing the humanities department and taking on the role of Associate Dean of the Arts and Sciences.
Hollingshead said that working with departments across the college, in both undergraduate and graduate, day and night, was work he never imagined doing in his field. Working as department chair and as associate dean taught him about his area of work.
“I was able to have an impact on students that was much greater than I was having as an individual professor in an individual classroom,” Hollingshead said. “I really enjoyed thinking strategically about the way we design students’ curricula and thinking carefully about the different pedagogies professors might implement in the classroom. It went beyond what I was doing with 25 students, to now starting to have an impact across the board.”
According to Hollingshead, the winters got old in Buffalo N.Y., and he wanted a change in climate as well as work.
“Three or four years into shoveling snow on a regular basis, and six months of rain, cold and snow, I thought maybe Buffalo wasn’t where I wanted to stay, Hollingshead said. “So I began my search nationally, but limited my scope to warm-weather states and Florida Southern just jumped out at me.”
Hollingshead believes FSC has been a “great fit” for him.
“It would allow me to get back into my first love, which was the arts and sciences and also to start teaching again,” Hollingshead said. “I hadn’t taught for the last five years, so that was an exciting prospect.”
Hollingshead is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award from The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. He plans to utilize his expertise in FSC’s First-Year Experience Program.
“I was pretty pleased to have earned that, but I think over time that I developed a real interest as to how important that first year experience is for students,” Hollingshead said. “It lays a foundation for success not only for the next three years, but I think most importantly that it lays a foundation for success after graduation, whether that means going to graduate school or going right into a profession from there. Here at Florida Southern I believe it’s a matter of building all the strengths that already exist and building on them in such a way that you create a coherent pathways for student learning.”
Hollingshead believes that “integrated learning” is the next step for students entering college, and that community based- service learning will help students to apply knowledge to real-world situations.
“I think the freshman year has to provide a really integrated experience to be transformational for students,” Hollingshead said. “For me, that is probably the biggest priority for the first year experience. It’s how we create a situation where students have the opportunity to connect the learning that they’re doing in the classroom with what they’re doing with the co-curriculum and to start to see how to put the pieces together.”
With several new majors being introduced to FSC, such as marine biology and musical theater, Hollingshead is excited about the growth on campus. He looks forward to successes in all the departments at Florida Southern College.
Photo courtesy of flsouthern.edu