By Caroline Ryan
The start of the fall semester brings changes in administration. Nathaniel Bowditch has been appointed Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Steven Breese has been appointed Dean of the College of Arts, Communications and Design, both effective July 1.
Breese was the academic dean of the school of arts and sciences at Southern Connecticut State University in Hamden, CT for almost five years. The school of arts and sciences at the SCSU covered everything from the sciences, social sciences, all the way to the fine arts, making up nearly half of the student body. Breese oversaw about 250 full time faculty and 350 adjunct professors.
“When I decided I wanted to focus more on the arts again, which is where my background is, I looked at a couple of institutions, and Post was one of them and I’m glad to come here,” Breese said. “While it’s a very different experience, it’s really been enjoyable so far,” he added.
The biggest difference for Breese will be his ability to focus more on the arts; in his last position, he spent much of his time spread out among the different majors. Breese is looking forward to being involved in the college, and getting to know the students and faculty.
Breese spent much of his early career involved in theatre. He was an actor, director and playwright before becoming involved in education. “Really what brought me here is the fact that I can focus on communications and the arts. That’s where my passion and greatest knowledge is, and where my real interest is. Helping students become better at this work that I love so dearly,” Breese said.
Breese hopes that he will be able to help grow the college, add additional programs to help students, and invite more students and faculty. Aside from his academic responsibilities as dean, Breese enjoys riding his skateboard on campus. “You will see me skateboarding around campus, even in my suit and tie,” he laughed. He also enjoys sailing, bicycling, and hopes to continue his directing and acting career in the theatre while he is dean.
Breese replaces Noel Zahler, who left the university in August 2016 after four years as the CACD Dean. Christine Kerr, a professor in the art department and the director of the art therapy program, was the interim CACD dean during the 2016-2017 academic year.
Nathaniel Bowditch was the dean of the school of humanities and social sciences at American University in Cario, Egypt for seven years before joining LIU Post. He was also an associate professor who taught philosophy classes.
If you look out the large window in Bowditch’s office in the mansion, you’ll see the beautiful nature of the campus with lush green grass, tall trees covered in leaves and bright green bushes, the opposite of the dry, desert environment at American University in Egypt. “The biggest difference is being home and being in such a beautiful place after being away for so long,” Bowditch said. “It’s been 11 years since I’ve been living in my own country,” he added.
During his time living in Egypt, Bowditch experienced a lot of serious political and economic crises in the country. He was living in Egypt during the Jan. 25, 2011 revolution, when mass demonstrations against poverty, corruption and political repression broke out. The uprising forced one of the region’s longest serving leaders, President Hosni Mubarak, from power.
Bowditch found his love for the liberal arts and sciences after attending night school. “I found that I loved the things that really excited me, and I found the more I did it the more I loved it,” Bowditch said. “Why liberal arts? Because that’s who I am and it’s where I’m from and it’s a world I value,” he added. Bowditch plans to listen and learn before making major changes to the college. “In the immediate, what I really want students to see is an openness and energy in my office, where students can come see me if they need something,” he said. “At the end of the day, the job of the dean is exciting and fun, but for me it’s about serving the university. I’m here to make it work to take our strengths and expand on them, to fix what isn’t working, and that I’m here to work for the students,” he added. Bowditch also plans to begin teaching philosophy classes in the spring semester.
Bowditch has a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s and PhD in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.
The former dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Katherine Hill-Miller, stepped down in 2015 after 13 years and returned to her position as a professor in the English Department. Chemistry Professor, Nicholas Ramer, who had been the associate dean, was the acting dean from 2015 to 2016. When Ramer stepped down from the position in 2016, LIU Global Dean Jeffrey Belnap was appointed acting dean while the university searched for a permanent replacement.