Bennett College hires Dorothy Browne as provost

With more than 35 years of experience at research institutions and historically black colleges and universities, Brown has a reputation “for getting things done,” the school said in a statement.

Dorothy Browne

Bennett College has a new provost and vice president for academic affairs and student affairs.

Dr. Dorothy Browne assumed that post earlier this month, replacing Steve Willis, who held the position on an interim basis for more than a year.

With more than 35 years of experience at research institutions and historically black colleges and universities, Browne has a reputation “for getting things done,” the school said in a statement.

Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said, “I look forward to collaborating with her and to implementing some of her innovative approaches as we continue restoring Bennett College to a position of greatness.”

Browne’s academic resume is extensive.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in sociology from Bennett. She holds a Master of social work from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, and both a Master of public health and a doctorate of public health from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Browne began her academic career at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health, now called the Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she gained tenure and full professorship. While there, she conducted research in the areas of youth violence, adolescent high-risk behaviors and health disparities in maternal and child health.

From 2001-2009, Browne was a professor of public health and the senior scientist for Morgan State University’s Prevention Sciences Research Center. Additionally, she was co-director of the Morgan-Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solution, a collaborative initiative with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

In 2009, Browne returned to North Carolina to assume the positions of special assistant to the chancellor and director of the Public Health Institute at North Carolina A&T State University. She went on to serve as dean of the School of Social Work at Norfolk State University and was the inaugural dean of the Jackson State School of Public Health Initiative.

Before joining the staff at Bennett, Browne worked at Shaw University in the areas of faculty and program development.

Browne is the mother of twins. Her son, Brian Browne, is a senior chief in the United States Navy and is stationed in Virginia. Her daughter, Dr. Felicia Amira Browne, is a research public health analyst at Research Triangle International (RTI) in Research Triangle Park.

Bennett’s challenges

In December 2017, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges announced that had given the private women’s college a second year to improve its financial picture. The school was placed on probation in 2016.

If Bennett is unable to improve its finances, it stands to lose its accreditation, a move that would threaten its survival.

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