Two academic units of Western Carolina University have new leaders at the helm following the appointment of George H. Brown as dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts and Farzaneh Razzaghi as dean of library services. Brown, formerly associate dean of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University, began working at WCU at the beginning of the 2015 spring semester while Razzaghi, formerly dean of library at the University of Texas-Pan American, joined WCU effective Aug. 1.
Associate dean at Western Michigan since 2011, Brown has a 36-year career in the arts, including 21 years in higher education. Prior to his appointment at Western Michigan, Brown served as chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at Bradley University, and he taught and served as head of the directing program at Texas Christian University. He has worked in professional and university theater for more than 20 years in positions ranging from director to actor to fight choreographer, and has directed more than 100 productions in theaters across the U.S., Caribbean and Europe.
Brown said that he was attracted to the position at WCU by the university’s emphasis on the importance of the arts at a time when budget cuts and other financial woes are taking a toll on arts. “It is exciting to see Western Carolina University actively pursuing a vision of the future that promotes vibrant learning, discovery and community engagement while embracing the arts at its core,” he said. “As an academic leader, educator and artist, I enjoy working, living and creating in this age of dynamic change. I am energized by the possibilities it brings to us as we explore our ‘brave new world.’”
A native of Iran, Razzaghi had served as dean of library at the University of Texas-Pan American since July 2007. Prior to that appointment, she served for a year as that institution’s interim library director, her second term in the interim leadership capacity. She first joined the school in March 1990 as a librarian for the nursing department, advancing through increasingly responsible positions in her nearly 25-year career at the library until being named its dean.“
“I am so excited to start my work as the dean of Hunter Library,” Razzaghi said. “It is my pleasure to join the library team of experts to serve WCU’s students and faculty. Together, we will continue to create an environment not just for learning, but a place for creation of knowledge and discovery for our students and faculty. It will be an honor to work with the WCU administrators and the college deans to have one of the most engaging academic libraries within the University of North Carolina system.”