Putting Theory into Practice: Scott Brown, MHC's New Director of Career Development

Brown low resScott Brown is the new director of the Career Development Center.

Not many people make a decision about their life's work at the age of nineteen, but that's exactly what Scott Brown, the new director of the Career Develop-ment Center, did--and he has never looked back. So enthralled with the world of higher education was he as a college student, that Brown could think of nothing better than inhabiting that world indefinitely.

Toward that end, after earning a B.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine, he went on to receive an M.S. in college student personnel administration/counseling and counselor education from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in college student personnel administration from the University of Maryland. Although Brown recognizes that others typically make many more twists and turns along the career path than he has, he hopes that all MHC students who utilize the Career Develop-ment Center will have a greater sense of "clarity, confidence, and connection" after working with the CDC.

A self-described "higher education fanatic," Brown's postgraduate coursework encompassed everything from facilitating student learning, environmental assessment, and academic administration to scholarly thought and the curriculum, feminist transformations of knowledge, and multicultural counseling. Before assuming his position at the CDC, Brown held residential life positions at the University of Maryland, Dartmouth College, and Indiana University. He even developed student life programs aboard a ship--serving as resident director for the University of Pittsburgh's intensive Semester at Sea program in 1991. At the University of Maryland, Brown developed and implemented programs to increase awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered issues and facilitated training programs on the topic of sexual harassment. In addition, he has taught courses on leadership and has run college discussion groups on topics ranging from lifestyle-related health problems to human sexuality.

With this breadth of student affairs experience, it comes as no surprise that Brown takes a holistic approach to learning and has focused his research efforts in this area. In fact, his recently completed doctoral dissertation, Learning Across the Campus: How College Facilitates the Development of Wisdom, is an attempt to understand learning and development during college as a "complex, multidimensional, holistic phenomenon." In response to his research findings, Brown has developed a theory that explores how the college experience facilitates the development of wisdom--which he defines as an amalgam of a number of factors: self-knowledge, a deep understanding of others, sagacity, life knowledge, life skills, and a willingness to learn. Brown contends that integrating the lessons learned in and out of class, on and off campus, results in the most beneficial college experience.

"The Career Development Center is an integral part of the College's mission to link academic excellence with purposeful engagement in the world. We were looking for a dynamic leader who clearly understood this mission, and had the vision and energy to help us move it forward," says Dean of the College Beverly Tatum. "Scott Brown fit that bill perfectly. In addition, Scott's deep knowledge of student development, his broad experience working with both faculty and students, his commitment to diversity, his understanding of organizations and team building, and his doctoral research on learning across the campus all made him a very attractive choice for this leadership position. I'm delighted to have him as part of our management team."

Having held his new position for a little over a month, Brown is in an "information-gathering mode" at present. His goals for the CDC, however, are clear: "to maximize relationships and make connections" in his efforts to serve students here, meshing philosophy with practice and integrating the functions of the CDC around the campus and across the curriculum.

"We hope to help students build a conceptual scaffold in which they can start making sense of their aggregate learning experience and have the ability to incorporate what they gain through the rich formal and informal learning opportunities that they encounter," says Brown. "The CDC is in a wonderful position to establish meaningful relationships with students from matriculation to graduation and beyond.

Photograph by Fred LeBlanc