Jesse Brown, former associate dean of student development, and Martha Smith, former associate dean of students, were promoted to deans of student life this past month. Brown’s official title is now Dean of Students and Smith’s title is Dean of Student Services.

Brown joined the staff at the university in 1999 when he began working as the resident director of Meadows/Miller Hall and coordinator of student activities. After being in this role for four years, he was promoted to Associate Dean of Student Development.

Now, he is titled Dean of Students.

Smith joined the university’s staff in 1988 as the resident director for Hardy Hall. She later served as Director of Career Development, and in 1995, was promoted to Assistant Dean of Students.

She is now officially titled “Dean of Student Life.”

Brown and Smith met with Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., and Ron Coffey, vice president of student life, affirming their new titles. Emberton and Coffey were the decision-makers in this process.

Brown and Smith’s roles at the university will not change, but the title of “Dean” is a way of affirming their leadership, involvement and service to students and the university.

Their new titles reflect the roles they have already been fulfilling.

Brown said he wants to assure students that they can still “call [him] Jesse” and his relationship with them will not change.

“I am always available to get coffee and talk about poetry,” Brown said.

Smith said she is “honored and blessed” to receive the dean title because it represents her tenure at the university, but is more honored to serve students.

“I love working with them — guiding, advising [and] mentoring,” Smith said. “Sometimes I think students need a safe place to ‘verbally sort through life,’ and I am honored to sit alongside of them while they are discovering life for themselves.”