Dean of graduate studies leaves North Central; Interim dean appointed

Renea Brathwaite, the former dean of the college of graduate and professional education, energetically teaches his Worldview Theology class in the College Life Center during a Friday in March 2016. He resigned in January to become the dean of professional studies at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California. Business professor LaToya Burrell will be the interim dean.—Northerner File Photo

As the spring of 2020 semester begins at North Central, the students, staff, and faculty have to say goodbye to Renea Brathwaite, dean of the college of graduate and professional education.

Brathwaite was instrumental in growing the graduate degree program and planning an online curriculum. For the time being, LaToya Burrell, the current dean of academic assessment and accreditation, will step in as interim dean of the graduate college. Burrell is also an associate professor of business administration.

“[Brathwaite] left a large impact on this university and his presence will certainly be missed,” said Vienna Lewin, the graduate program coordinator. She said that many of the staff and faculty were sad to see him go, but that North Central is prepared to move forward.

“The graduate program is still going strong, and we are looking forward to the future,” Lewin said.

Meanwhile, North Central is also looking for a new provost, who will oversee all the deans. The vice president of strategy and online education, Greg Leeper, is currently the interim provost. The provost search started last semester and is ongoing.

Brathwaite took on a lot of responsibilities during his time at North Central that started back in 2016. He was the dean of the NCU Pathways Program that allows former North Central students to return to the school and finish their degrees at a discounted rate.

He was also highly involved with North Central’s partnership with Bishop T.D. Jakes and his megachurch in Dallas, The Potter’s House. North Central is now an internal part of the online-based Jakes Divinity School. The partnership is a part of the online program that gives Jakes Divinity School students the opportunity to earn a fully-accredited North Central degree. 

Brathwaite, who holds a doctorate in theology and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, is also an ordained Assemblies of God minister. He left North Central to become the dean of professional studies at another Assemblies of God university, Vanguard, which is located in Costa Mesa, California. Brathwaite has held many different positions in educational and corporate scenes ranging from being a professor at many universities to a healthcare finance manager in New York.

As Brathwaite’s position is filled interim, staff and faculty will have to overcome a number of obstacles. The graduate program needs continual oversight, and many staff are currently holding two positions. Still, the enrollment has been growing, staff members said, and the outlook is strong.