When Stanislaus State filled the position of dean of the Stockton Center on a permanent basis, it found someone with unquestioned credentials in overseeing branch campuses.
As current president of the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators, Faimous Harrison is in a position to discuss and address many of the challenges facing campuses like the Stockton Center and also is aware of the opportunities they provide.
Harrison took over as dean of the Stockton Center on Feb. 1. He succeeded Interim Dean Ashour Badal, who has returned to his position as associate dean of University Extended Education.
“The key for student success at any branch institution, no matter the location, is knowing you’re part of the larger institution,” Harrison said. “At the same time, you have to focus on the students you serve directly. Main campuses have sororities and athletics and student activities that most branches will not have. We’ll have to find out if any such activities are a necessity or even in demand” at the Stockton Center.
Harrison comes to Stanislaus State from Central Washington University, where he was the regional director for campuses and community partnerships. He also served as site director for Central Washington – Lynnwood.
“Branch campuses are all about providing access to place-bound, time-bound and perhaps resource-bound students,” Harrison said. “It means you have to pay special attention to understanding the needs of the community you serve. But branch campuses also have an advantage in that they have a chance to be a part of the community on a much more intimate basis, simply because we don’t have the numbers of a huge university.”
Harrison, 45, and his wife, Stacey, have four children: daughters Ebony (18), Azar (15), Shahiirra (13) and son Zyier (16). A native of the Seattle area, Harrison earned a doctorate in adult education and higher education leadership from Oregon State, holds a master’s degree in pedagogy (physical education and curriculum instruction) from Seattle Pacific and attained his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Washington.
Having studied and worked at campuses large and small, Harrison said it’s important no matter the size of the student population to instill a sense of pride that parallels the student’s needs.
“It’s all about understanding the needs and matching them with what support you have to provide,” he said. “The support can be in the areas of finance, advising or the ability of the students to meet with program directors. You also have to align your academic programs with the students’ career goals, and to do that we will have to have connections with local leaders of business and industry.”