Dean of College of Arts and Sciences moves on after 27 years at UWRF
Brad Caskey, current dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at UW-River Falls, has been named as the new provost and vice president for academic affairs at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama.
Caskey has spent over half of his life in River Falls, as an undergraduate student, faculty member and administrator. This includes 27 years as an employee of the university, with the past eight years as the dean. He said that the thought of leaving is bittersweet.
“I’m going to miss a lot of the people here. I’ve spent most of my life in this city,” Caskey said. “I’ve [gotten] to know a lot of people in the community and on campus, so that’s the part I’ll miss. The excitement is going to a new part of the country. I’ve never been there before.”
For Caskey, the decision to move on to Birmingham-Southern College comes down to one primary goal: a new challenge.
“For me, I’ve always been in a position where I’ve told the chairs that when I feel like I’ve done as much as I can do and kind of am not sure what comes next, I need to go,” Caskey said. “And that’s kind of where I am right now.”
The most enjoyable aspect of Caskey’s time at UWRF, he said, was having an impact on students.
“My greatest memories are of students, especially individuals who really changed a lot. That’s, I think, the most amazing part of being a faculty member, is to encounter someone who, for whatever reason, lack of experience, lack of confidence, is at one place in their life,” Caskey said. “And then you have a little impact and you see them, either when they graduate or years later, and go, ‘Oh my God, look what happened to you, how proud I am of that.'”
The most difficult part of his role as dean, Caskey said, has been telling people no and getting them to understand that hearing the word no isn’t personal.
“If you’re a true administrator, true leader, and your answer to the question ‘What’s the hardest part?’ isn’t personnel or people, then you’re not doing your job,” Caskey said. “Telling people no is the hardest thing.”
Ultimately, Caskey said that he hopes his work at UWRF has positively impacted the college. His time as dean has seen the creation of the Pathways program, the English Language Transition program, a new First Year Adventure course (College of Arts and Sciences 101) and new majors like neuroscience.
Chancellor Dean Van Galen, in an emailed statement, expressed his gratitude for Caskey’s time at UWRF.
“Dr. Brad Caskey has deep roots at UW-River Falls and I appreciate how much of his exceptional energy, enthusiasm and creativity he has dedicated to our campus,” Van Galen said. “Dr. Caskey will leave behind a legacy of helping our students succeed, thanks to his years both in the classroom and as an administrator. We are grateful for his service to our campus, and wish him the best in the next chapter of his professional life.”
Caskey has recommended current Associate Dean of CAS Tricia Davis to Provost Faye Perkins for his replacement. He said a decision should be reached soon.
Birmingham-Southern College has a current enrollment of just under 1,300, according to the college’s website. This is smaller than the college Caskey currently oversees at UWRF, which had just over 1,900 students enrolled this academic year, according to campus data reports.
Caskey will officially retire from the university at the end of June, but he said he hopes for his last working day at UWRF to be around May 23 or 24. However, he said he doesn’t expect to stay away forever, currently planning to return to River Falls or Woodbury upon retirement.
“I’ll miss this place, and I’ll be back,” Caskey said.