Six weeks ago, a new administrator graced the campus of Alabama State University, shaking the hands of students, listening to their concerns, and assisting them with their issues and problems. That administrator is the newly appointed Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Derrick Brewster, Ed.D.
Brewster’s responsibilities include expanding and improving the student profile of the university. His areas of oversight include housing and residential life, disability services, counseling and mental health, diversity and international affairs, student life, veterans and military services, health services, admissions and recruitment, academic advising, first and second-year experiences, judicial affairs, and career services.
“I consider my vision and goals are to ‘navigate the sea of change’ with a focus on recruitment, retention, campus engagement, community engagement and to shape our students to ‘be great’ on a daily basis by creating a rich setting for students to learn and grow into individuals, ready to compete on a global stage,” Brewster said. “[I believe that] all units within Student Affairs and Enrollment Management are prioritized as important, as each unit is an important aspect to the success of each student.”
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the surge of the Delta variant in southern states, and the state of Alabama being one of the least vaccinated states in the country with an overall positivity rate of 38%, Brewster believes that it is imperative to continue adapting and adjusting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) regulations and guidelines while also allowing for the learning environment to thrive.
“Utilization of masks and getting vaccinated has to be a continuous message,” Brewster said. “The ultimate goal with COVID is to make sure our students are able to learn in a safe environment semester to semester.”
During Brewster’s professional career, he has dedicated his time to providing educational opportunities to college-aged students, focusing on minorities. His numerous collegiate experiences range from providing programs within intramural sports and coordinating events on campus to serving as an administrator on a college campus.
He believes that these experiences, coupled with his dedication to higher education, have allowed him to mentor and assist thousands of students to realize their educational goals.
“Working with and for the students is my daily passion. I truly love student engagement, student empowerment, particularly mentoring opportunities,” he said. “I enjoy going into the classroom, particularly to meet first-semester students, where I can establish a meaningful relationship and be a positive resource to those students until they graduate.”
Brewster is a seasoned professional with more than 17 years of experience in higher education. He previously served at Troy University as assistant dean, associate dean of student services, director of the Trojan Center, and assistant director of student involvement and leadership.
“Dr. Brewster has a proven record of success in student affairs and enrollment management,” said university president Quinton T. Ross, Ed.D. “He is a highly innovative and a student-focused leader.”
When asked about his style of leadership, Brewster explains that he is a delegative and participative leader.
“As a leader, you have to lead from the front, display good ethics at all times that are accompanied with a positive attitude and a sense of direction,” Brewster said.
Raised in Cuba, Alabama, a small town near the Alabama-Mississippi state line, Brewster received a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University in 1998. In 2006, he received a master of education degree from Troy University in Sports Management with a concentration in Athletic Administration and a doctorate of education from Alabama State University in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law in 2019. He serves on numerous boards and organizations while being an active leader in his community.
Though attending college is primarily an academic exercise, Brewster feels that students should be involved in extracurricular activities for a well-rounded education.
“Engagement in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom is crucial for student success,” he said. “I am prepared to listen, listen, listen and serve the students to the best of my ability, making sure our students have a holistic, positive college experience.”