Release Date: 
Monday, February 6, 2023

HFC welcomes Dr. Brad Romans, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts

A headshot of Dr. Brad Romans.

Dr. Brad Romans joined HFC in January as the new dean of the School of Liberal Arts (SOLA). Romans reports to HFC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Nealon.

The College is grateful to Interim Dean Robert Yahrmatter, who served has returned to his prior position as associate dean of SOLA. President Kavalhuna expressed gratitude to both Yahrmatter and previous Interim Dean Larry Smyrski, who provided a steady guiding hand for SOLA since 2021. We are also grateful to Pamela Stewart, who stepped up as Interim Associate Dean during the past year.

Romans is energized for his new role at HFC.

“The student population here at HFC is very diverse, which resonated with me,” said Romans. “The faculty are impressive and accomplished. Our common goal is reaching our students and helping them achieve the next step in their lives. Many students who attend the College are first-generation college students. I can relate to that, being a first-generation college student myself.”

"As Local 1650 President and a faculty member in SOLA, I welcome Dr. Romans to HFC,” said HFC political science instructor Dr. Eric Rader. “Our incredible faculty are ready to work with him to help our students succeed."

Sharing knowledge, wisdom, and information

The eldest of two sons, Romans was born in Southfield. He graduated from Pinckney High School. A two-time alumnus of Eastern Michigan University, Romans earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in literature. He subsequently earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Buffalo. Additionally, Romans completed training as a New Leadership Academy Fellow through the University of Michigan National Forum for Public Good in Ann Arbor. He lives with Alissa, his wife of 14 years, and their four children in Dexter.

Romans spoke about what inspired him to pursue a career in higher education.

“As a student, I loved watching professors at the front of the classroom pouring out knowledge, wisdom, and information to me and other students. I found it incredibly intoxicating,” he said.

He has taught at EMU and Buffalo, as well as several other colleges, with subjects including English composition, creative writing, special topics courses in literature, mass culture and the media, and ethnography. He has presented at state and national conferences.

Making the path to graduation smoother for students

Since 2008, Romans has worked in higher education. He has been in college administration since 2015.

“Going into administration was the opportunity to more broadly impact policy to help students and make the path to graduation smoother for them,” he said.

He comes to HFC from Baker College, having served in a number of administrative leadership positions. He served as Director of Academic Affairs at both the Jackson and Allen Park campuses. He was the online director at the Flint campus. His final role at Baker before coming to HFC was Campus Director for both the Jackson and Allen Park campuses.

In these roles, Romans has led his teams at Baker through strategic and operational planning regarding academic and scholarly programming, support for and improvement of student success, community partnerships and outreach, service learning, student life, budget development, and cohort-based peer mentoring. He co-authored Baker’s accreditation self-studies at both the campus and at the college level, including Higher Learning Commission reporting. As a result, he successfully secured grants of more than $2 million to support collaborative efforts regarding faculty and undergraduate research.

Vision for SOLA

“A first-generation college student himself, Brad wholeheartedly embraces the goals and priorities aligned with HFC’s current Strategic Plan and its focus on student success,” said Nealon. “In his own words, Brad said: ‘The central focus of my work is to collaborate with faculty on raising our shared level of discourse in ways that are clear, accessible, and that result in greater opportunity for students.’”

Romans‘ vision for SOLA is to support an environment in which students can readily find the best path to their future through access to faculty, great education, and personalized services.

“I love everything we have to offer in SOLA, whether it’s fine arts, literature, sociology, mass media, ceramics, theatre, psychology, the list goes on,” he said. “I want students to have access to their expert faculty in these subjects, and for SOLA to become the preeminent spot for students to build their futures and communities. The goal here is for them to be able to build better telescopes to see the directions in which they’re headed. To me, that’s a dream come true.”