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Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement and Director of Center for Family and Community Engagement Kwesi Brookins to Leave NC State

Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement and Director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement Kwesi Brookins will leave NC State at the end of 2022 to become Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University, where he earned his master’s degree and doctorate. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden and College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Deanna Dannels made the announcement today.

“We are certainly sad to see Kwesi leave NC State, but we are also a much better institution for his contributions and dedication to higher education excellence,” said Arden. “Michigan State will greatly benefit from his scholarship and leadership.”

Kwesi BrookinsAs vice provost, Brookins works with Outreach and Engagement staff, the Engagement Operations Council and other key community partners, faculty and staff to support the unit’s mission and vision and to help achieve strategic goals. At Michigan State, Brookins will lead the Office of University Outreach and Engagement.

“I have worked with tremendously talented faculty, staff and students across campus and with the many people and communities NC State serves,” Brookins said. “In this work, we strive to build authentic relationships that will result in positive change. I believe we have collectively built a strong foundation for community engagement and look forward to seeing how the next generation of engaged scholars embraces that part of our land grant mission.” 

Brookins is also the director of NC State’s Center for Family and Community Engagement, and a professor in the Department of Psychology. He joined NC State in 1990 as an assistant professor, and in 1997 founded and became director of the Africana studies program, establishing major and minor degree programs. He has worked with government, nonprofit and private partners in Wake County and across North Carolina to build social and economic vitality in underserved communities. 

He was director of the Africa Project from 2000-2007. Brookins’ work on this project helped establish several university-to-university linkages in Africa, study abroad programs in Ghana and Tanzania, and incubated several other programs with NC State faculty on the continent. 

“For more than 30 years, Kwesi has provided invaluable leadership to our college as a director, teacher, scholar and champion of interdisciplinary and community partnerships,” Dannels said. “Through the programs and initiatives he established and grew, Kwesi furthered our college’s work to develop collaborative approaches and solutions to complex societal, cultural and economic issues.” 

Brookins’ research has focused on psychoeducational interventions designed to promote wellbeing among youth and adults, and has also focused on community-university engagement. He was named an ACE Fellow for the 2018-19 academic year, and was nominated for the program by Arden. During this time, he spent a year at Virginia Commonwealth University learning more about community engagement, the scholarship of engagement, and how anchor institutions in urban areas effectively collaborate with local communities.

He has led or co-led community-university research studies and partnerships in the Triangle area and across the state, including serving as a co-PI on an interdisciplinary research project called the Southeast Equine Research and Education Partnership, a collaboration between NC State and Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina. The goal of the project was to determine how an equine research, training and education facility can be established in the area to grow local industry and support local culture.

Brookins was awarded an Alumni Distinguished Award for Extension and is a charter member of the Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Engagement and Extension at NC State. He was named an Outreach and Engagement Faculty Fellow in 2017, and in this role was able to work to understand how scholarship informs university operations and how NC State can positively impact the communities it serves.

He is president-elect of the Society for Community Research and Action, a division of the American Psychological Association, and in 2007 received the Ethnic Minority Mentor Award for his work with graduate students. Brookins received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Bradley University, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in ecological/community psychology from Michigan State University. 

Details about the next vice provost for Outreach and Engagement and the leadership of the Center for Family and Community Engagement will be shared at a later date.

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