Dr. Sanford Tweedie, the current department chair of Writing Arts for Rowan University, will become the next interim dean for the College of Communication and Creative Arts on July 1.
Tweedie has taught at Rowan for 22 years, and he became a Glassboro resident 12 years ago. Rowan has become a second home to him; however, the reason he came to Rowan is a story within itself.
It all started with a bulletin board.
“This was back in the pre-internet days,” Tweedie said. “Universities would send out their job postings. The departments would post them on a bulletin board.
“There was this place, which was interesting because it was Rowan College of New Jersey. It would have been a year and a half after the name change. Because this was pre-internet, I asked around and said to people, ‘Do you know of this place?’ Cause at this point I’m in Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
“Basically everyone said ‘no.’ Someone said, ‘Oh wait, I think it used to be something called Glassboro State College. Then they got a whole bunch of money and they changed the name,’” said Tweedie.
When Tweedie applied for a teaching position at Rowan University, he wasn’t really anticipating a response. However, he was pleasantly surprised.
“I applied really not knowing much, except finding out a little bit about Glassboro State College,” Tweedie said. “It took a long time. I think it was about six weeks later, I had sort of written it off. I got a phone call asking me to come out [to Rowan].
“I came out and saw what it was like and loved it,” he said.
After the current dean, Dr. Lorin Arnold, stepped down to pursue a provost position at SUNY New Paltz, her role needed to be filled.
“That point in the semester it’s too late to have a search for a permanent dean,” said Tweedie. “As it is often the case, the University appoints an interim [dean]. But there was a nomination process and then an interview process. After that, I was named.”
Tweedie has an optimistic view about his new position, and the University as a whole.
“I think it’s an exciting time to be at Rowan,” he said. “As everyone knows it’s constant change and constant growth. There are certainly a lot of opportunities available to people.
“As a college I want us to get to know who we are a little bit better. Understand what holds us together as a college, and why we are an entity, so that we know who we’re looking for in the permanent dean. That person is not going to come in and tell us who we are. We [will be] able to deliver that message to whoever that person is,” said Tweedie.
Tweedie once taught at the University of Erfurt in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar and received the Rowan’s Lindback Distinguished Teaching award. Other than being an educator, he has written several books including In the Shadows of a Fallen Wall.
One of Tweedie’s students, junior writing arts major Mikaela Langdon, is happy for him.
“I think that’s awesome. I think he really deserves it,” Langdon said. “I had him as a teacher sophomore year for Intro to Writing Arts. He teaches the History of Writing section. It was easily my favorite. He’s really smart. He’s kind of a little out of the box. He’s a little strange. But I think as a writer you have to be. And so I think that he sets a really good example to his students as to being creative thinkers.”
Tweedie’s colleagues are hopeful for him as well.
“I definitely have a lot of confidence in Dr. [Tweedie] of for fulfilling this position well,” said Dr. Amy Woodworth, instructor in the writing arts department. “We have one of the bigger and more complicated – I’d say – departments within the college. Between our graduate programs, undergraduate programs, first-year writing programs, and the number of staff that we have.
“[Tweedie] is well-organized, definitely motivated and he’s a really great advocate for the faculty in the department [and] the students in the department. I think he will be good promoting all of the good work happening here both internally and externally,”
Another one of Tweedie’s colleagues appreciates how well Tweedie treats the faculty and students at Rowan.
“I always found Professor Tweedie to be really fair both with faculty and students,” said Dr. Jennifer Tole, instructor of writing arts. “Also, to really care about the welfare of our teachers and our students.”
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