Brian Cusato, associate professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience, has been named associate dean at Centre College. Cusato’s term as associate dean began July 1.
Cusato, who was the division chair of the science and mathematics programs and the campus contact for the Brown Fellows Program, looks forward to his new administrative position.
“It’s an honor,” Cusato says of the role. “I certainly respect that it’s an exceptionally important position on campus.”
Professor of Religion Beth Glazier-McDonald, Cusato’s predecessor, completed her five-year term as associate dean earlier this year.
“I’m filling pretty big shoes,” Cusato says. “Beth is leaving quite a wake of success behind her having been in the position for the last five years.”
As associate dean, Cusato will work closely with Stephanie Fabritius, dean of the College and vice president for academic affairs, as well as other fellow senior staff members. Cusato also looks forward to collaborating with Centre faculty members, providing them with feedback that comes in part from student evaluations.
“The associate dean reads the faculty evaluations from every person on campus, regardless of and across divisions. It’s a campus-wide perspective,” Cusato says. “Reading them closely and helping the faculty member interpret and unpack them helps the College maintain its commitment to excellence in teaching.
“Doing what we need to do to maintain teaching excellence at the College is a pretty awesome responsibility, so I don’t take it lightly,” Cusato adds.
Despite these new administrative responsibilities, Cusato will also continue teaching two classes a year—something he hopes will only help him as associate dean.
“Because I’m reading evaluations, maintaining connections to the classroom is an important perspective to keep,” he says.
In the decade since he joined Centre’s faculty in 2006, Cusato has noted numerous changes in both teaching and learning in the classroom over the last decade.
“From the faculty perspective, what we’re doing today is different from what was going on in 2006. We are and always will be committed to excellence; that’s just a given. But how we do it has changed, in terms of techniques,” he says. “As division chair, I visited many classes and talk to a lot of faculty about what they’re doing in the classroom. There are more non-traditional techniques being used on a more regular basis, and they’re really raising the bar.”
As a faculty member, Cusato was named a Centre Scholar in 2009 and received the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, and findings from his research have been published in numerous journals, including Animal Learning and Behavior, The International Journal of Comparative Psychology and Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. Cusato earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Muhlenberg College, a master’s degree from Bucknell University and a Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin.
Cusato is excited about his new responsibilities as associate dean.
“I’m ready to put in as much work as I can to maintain the high standards that have been set,” he says.
By Elizabeth Trollinger
July 11, 2016