Joe Allen Brown, professor of theatre, likes directing new students through the drama of freshman year, assisting with the transition from high school to college.
“I really love being with the freshmen,” Brown said about his primary role as dean of freshman success. And since drama can occur any time, “All freshmen have my cellphone number,” he said, “because I’m on call to them 24/7.”
“I used to be ‘Papa Joe’ with the theatre majors,” said Brown, who has been on the Texas Wesleyan faculty for 34 years – since the fall 1978 – fresh out of Southern Methodist University with a master of fine arts in theatre design. Now all the freshmen call me ‘Pro Joe,’” Brown said. “Some may even think that’s my real name. I love it.”
Texas Wesleyan’s approach to students is very personable, Brown said. Programs are designed to treat “each student as a unique individual.” And administrators, staff and faculty “go out of our way to make sure the students are given every opportunity to succeed,” he said.
Brown teaches and coordinates the Freshman Success Experience, a program that addresses transitional issues. He describes it as “homeroom for freshmen.” He recruits other faculty members to teach some topics. The first class focuses on campus orientation, college study skills and other basic freshman needs. A second class is for freshmen who need help to improve academically.
BA, Speech and Drama, Phi Beta Kappa – University of Arkansas
MFA, Theater Design – Southern Methodist University
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Brown describes himself as “a workaholic. I live and breathe Wesleyan,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said he finds time to “do a lot of community theatre and am past president of the Live Theatre League of Tarrant County. I’m one of the old theatre dinosaurs around town.”
“I also do animal rescue and rehab. We usually have a stray animal at home that we’ve found and taken home. All the students know I do this and so they call me if they find an animal.”