Gill looks toward the future as the new associate dean of C.L.A.S.S

Brenda Gill is the new Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Brenda Gill is the new Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Micah Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

In August 2021, Brenda Gill, Ph.D., took charge as the new associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at Alabama State University. Gill currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice & Social Sciences.

“After recommendations by the faculty and the search committee, I chose Dr. Gill for many reasons,” said Dean of CLASS, Kathaleen Amende, Ph.D., “ Primarily, though, it is her experience with administration, her passion for mentoring both faculty and students, and her dedication to moving the College forward that I find most promising.  I know that she’s got a lot of great ideas, and her energy is infectious.  We’ve already begun working on new projects, and I look forward to being able to unveil them soon!”

Gill will report to Amende as they work hand in hand to accomplish the visions and goals of the college.

 “When I got the call, I immediately started to think about the things I can do, and I was eager to hear what  Dr. Amende wanted me to do,” Gill said. 

As the associate dean of CLASS, Gill is tasked with communicating with the chairs of the different departments, developing two mentorship programs, increasing, enhancing, and diversifying research opportunities, securing grants, and constructing a strategic plan to ensure the college is advancing to the next level. 

Joining the university in 2009, Gill has worked on some of the largest survey research projects on families and adolescents in Guyana and has helped with survey-related data analysis and reports for Trinidad and Tobago’s TREND study. During her career, she has received awards for excellence in research.

Aiming to improve leadership positions at the university, the first mentorship program caters to faculty members. 

“This is to allow the university to retain, promote and encourage our faculty into leadership positions,” Gill said. “And with this program, they will have somebody they can lean on, work with, and really navigate the system of professional development as instructors.”

Gill said she looks forward to creating a mentorship program for the students as well and plans to get every student at ASU a mentor that will last beyond graduation. 

Looking to be a servant leader, Gill plans to present the mentorship program across the university so that ASU can make it a part of its mission.

“I am 75% complete with the proposal. I am going to make it data-driven with qualitative and quantitative data and bring the proposal forward,” Gill said. “It’s very ambitious, but I don’t think it’s impossible, and without a dream, what else do I have? So I believe that you must dream not only big but dream realistically, and this is very realistic.” 

According to Gill, numerous professors across campus are already interested in the faculty mentorship program and are ready to be mentored. 

During her tenure, the Guyana native also aims to bring humanities to the forefront by finding a grant to create a humanities center of excellence. 

“The humanities department at our university is kind of hidden,” Gill said. “[The humanities center of excellence] will bring programs, conferences, speakers, and students in to look for ways to diversify, or even change our social programs more relative and relevant to where we are. So it all goes in terms of making ASU a better institution, as well as making the college a little more visible.”

On top of these projects for CLASS, Gill looks to be a servant leader by becoming a welcoming face and listening to the student’s needs and issues. She believes that a lot of problems stem from the lack of communication or miscommunication but will do her best to analyze the situation and resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

To further combat the needs and issues of students, Gill is in the process of forming a student advisory committee. The advisory committee will have one student from each department. With the advisory committee, Gill believes that it will allow her to gain insight and knowledge on different methodologies and ways to lead. 

“Since students have a lot of knowledge and different ideas, we need to tap into those because we are trying to serve a population and we cannot serve people if we don’t know what they want,” Gill said. “We are very excited about forming the student advisory committee.”

Attending college in Georgetown, Guyana, Gill received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Guyana in 1997 and 2000.  She attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, for her doctorate and graduated with a Ph.D. in sociology and a minor in education in 2009. 

Hoping to make this dream a reality at the end of her tenure as associate dean, Gill wants CLASS and ASU to have a research institute. 

“If I can get a grant to form a research institute at ASU that entails a representation of professors from every college of different specialties, students and faculty will come to that institute to get help, and then the university will become specialists,” Gill said. “I would love the institute to move outside of ASU and become a research consortium. If I can get that to happen and be a part of that, that’s enough legacy for me.”