Reactions to Dr. Naima Brown’s Appointment to Student Affairs

As of May 1, Dr. Naima Brown will begin serving Santa Fe College as Interim Vice President of Student Affairs. [Read Naima’s profile.]

International Education Coordinator Allison Nyamuame says Naima’s been a “wonderful asset” to International Education at Santa Fe.

“We’re sad to lose her. She’s contributed a lot of resources and good ideas, but I think this is a wonderful opportunity for her. She’s the perfect person for the position. She’s always passionate about what she does. She’s on top of everything. She’s always an advocate for the students. For faculty, she’s a cheerleader, she’s like, ‘OK, let’s do it!’ I think she’ll be a wonderful asset, and a wonderful promoter of international activities, now from a different standpoint. We’re excited about it, even though we’ll miss her.”

Professor Linda Tyson says it is impossible to replace Portia Taylor, but the decision to move Naima to Student Affairs was an excellent one.

“I’m extremely hearted by the administration’s careful and thoughtful choice of a person whom we all know as having been dedicated to student success, student activities, and to international travel involving student experience. It’s great to see that we are recognizing dedicated, successful work on behalf of our students. She is a proven leader in so many ways. I could not be more pleased for Santa Fe and Naima, and for our students. It’s great to see the good work of people at Santa Fe College being rewarded.”

Professor Doug Klepper has known Naima since she was hired at Santa Fe.

“Naima is one of the most fascinating and vibrant people I’ve ever met,“ he says.

He sees her new position as a tremendous challenge.

“It’s hard to take over for someone who’s been there so long. It’s such a big job. It’s an amazing opportunity for her. I believe she’ll be fine. She has bundles of energy and she’s a tireless worker. I believe she’ll rise to the occasion, but it’s quite a challenge.

“She is bringing to the job a lot more immediate experience with students. She’s been a teacher for 10 years, and she’s always had a good rapport with students. She knows them in the academic setting, so this is an advantage for someone in that job, to have firsthand and very recent knowledge of the student body.

“Naima has had to overcome what most people would consider disadvantages. But in all the time I’ve known her, I’ve never thought of her as a disadvantaged person in any way. She is someone who demonstrates the power that each of us has. That we can become who we want to be as long as we don’t fall into the trap of allowing problems to rule us. She was always in charge of her own destiny. It’s a really powerful model to be able to transmit that to other folks.”

Professor Vilma Fuentes said Naima’s placement in Student Affairs is a “wonderful and wise decision that our president has made.”

“Naima will inject that whole part of the college with energy, dynamism, and fresh ideas, while still maintaining that high level of expectations she’s known to have for her students. I think it will be helpful to have someone from the academic part of Santa Fe to have more insight into what Student Affairs does. It can only help to improve communication between academics and Student Affairs. She is a wonderful role model for women, African Americans, and just students in general.”

Exactly, says Professor David Price. She’s an inspiration!

“I think she brings an incredible enthusiasm for students and for student learning, and really an unparalleled ability to inspire students,” Price says. “I’ve never met a more inspirational teacher. I think that that will translate very well with the students that she’ll interact with in Student Affairs, and I think it was an excellent choice for that reason.

“Another reason that Naima’s a good choice is that student leaders already look to her as a role model. Some of them have had her in class, and they’ll be able to communicate that to some of the upcoming leaders, and that will make for a much more seamless transition than might have occurred with others.

“Naima’s been very active in many areas of the college. She’s one of the most active people in the international education effort. She has advised a couple of the largest and most prestigious student organizations, including the Black Student Union and PTK. She is universally well liked by the students, and greatly respected by staff and faculty.

“We certainly will miss her in the department, and we will never be able to truly replace her, but our loss is the college’s gain.”

Student Life Director Dan Rodkin said over the years, Naima has had a huge amount of involvement in Student Life.

In addition to advising the student organizations above, Rodkin said she’s been a keynote speaker for their Student Leadership Conference, and the SF Women’s History and Black History Month celebrations, served on the selection committee for the Hall of Fame for several years, “and lots of different things that show her connection to the students.”

“The time she’s spent interacting and supporting the students and extra-curricular activities has added value to the students’ experiences and helped the program be successful,” Rodkin says. “We’re excited about working with her in a different capacity.”

Professor Bobby Hom believes Naima will bring her energy and enthusiasm for academia and for Santa Fe in particular to her new position in Student Affairs.

“She’s always upbeat, she’s always positive, she’s always looking at the best of every situation,” Hom says. “That’s good for morale, and it’s good for moving projects forward.”