Tweedie named Dean of College of Communication & Creative Arts

Tweedie named Dean of College of Communication & Creative Arts

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Dr. Sanford Tweedie, new dean of the College of Communication & Creative Arts

Dr. Sanford Tweedie’s career trajectory at Rowan University has matched the growth of the institution itself – celebrated, expansive and student-centered.

The winner of a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, Tweedie, who moved his family to the east German town of Erfurt for the yearlong experience, wrote about it in his 2013 book, In the Shadows of a Fallen Wall (University of Nebraska Press). Also the winner of Rowan’s 2004 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, the University’s highest teaching honor, Tweedie this month was named Dean of the College of Communication & Creative Arts (CCCA) after an extensive national search.

Glassboro resident Tweedie, a native of Port Huron, Mich., holds a Ph. D. in English with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He joined the faculty of then-Rowan College of New Jersey in 1994, where, two years earlier, Henry and Betty Rowan pledged $100 million to then-Glassboro State College, a gift that would propel virtually all of the school’s development that followed.

“Maybe I had good timing, but there’s been an explosion of growth since I got here,” Tweedie said. “When I arrived there were about 40 faculty members in the Department of Communications (then part of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences). Today we have about 110 full and ¾ time faculty.”

Since his hiring, Rowan evolved from a college to a university to a research university with two medical schools, an expanding West Campus and technology park and an ever-developing main campus. The student body virtually doubled, from about 9,000 to more than 17,000, and Rowan has partnered with private developers and the Borough of Glassboro in the $400 million Rowan Boulevard redevelopment project.

Part of that partnership has involved a downtown expansion of the CCCA. In 2015, the Department of Advertising and Public Relations relocated to a converted former townhouse project at 301 W. High Street, a multi-million-dollar Rowan investment that includes the stunning new Rowan University Art Gallery. The same year, the Dean’s office, the Department of Journalism, The Whit student newspaper and Avant, Rowan’s student literary magazine, relocated to 6 E. High Street, a historic former bank building.

 

Career educator

Originally hired to teach in Rowan’s writing program, Tweedie ascended through the educational ranks to become assistant, associate, full professor, department chair and, last summer, interim dean of the college, following the departure of Dean Lorin Arnold to become provost of SUNY-New Paltz.

As interim dean Tweedie convened a summer “curriculum summit” in which he sought feedback from faculty on increasing CCCA degree and program offerings. The result: two new minors were introduced for fall 2016 (Film and Television Studies and Strategic Communication) and there were four new Certificates of Undergraduate Study.

Tweedie is helping coordinate the creation of a new Bachelor of Arts degree in sports communication as well as the move of the departments of Communication Studies and Writing Arts to the new A3A building off Rowan Boulevard this year. He mentors new department chairs and is leading this year’s Fifty Years of Excellence Celebration marking the first half century of the college.

“It’s an exciting time to be dean of this college,” Tweedie said.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t challenges. The college has six departments spread across five buildings and that isn’t expected to change as construction on and around Rowan Boulevard concludes around 2020 and, as is now planned, the Department of Radio, Television & Film moves to new quarters off High Street.

“Part of my challenge is to create a sense of community within that structure,” he said. “But that’s a challenge I welcome. Locating parts of the college downtown gives us a physical presence in the community and it’s incumbent upon us to become more of a part of the community.”

Tweedie said changes already made by the CCCA, university administrators, public officials and private industry are having a dramatic impact on prospective students and faculty interested in coming to Rowan.

“We’re seeing many applicants who are excited about who we are and what we’re doing here,” he said. “They want to be a part of it.”