Dr. Mirza will serve as the dean of Business and Technology while Dr. Brandon will serve as dean for Humanities and Social Sciences.
“We have been blessed at Cleveland State in that the right people always seem to appear when we need them,” noted Denise King, vice president. “The addition of new deans who possess a terrific combination of background, experience and skill will take us to the next level of quality in the growth of the college.
“Dr. Sal Mirza brings many years of industry experience that will assist faculty in aligning our educational programs closely with the future needs for a local workforce of the highest caliber.
“Dr. Robert Brandon’s leadership has already emerged in efforts to ensure that the initial experiences of entering students sets them on a path for academic success, particularly in transfer to four-year colleges and universities,” she said.
“Together with Dr. Mitchell Rhea, dean of Math and Science, and Nancy LaBine, director of Nursing and dean of Health and Wellness, our academic team continues to be top notch at Cleveland State,” King said.
Prior to accepting the position at CSCC, Mirza worked at Midway College in Midway, Ky., where he served as program coordinator of Human Resources Management, Leadership and Marketing, and was also a member of the teaching faculty since 2009.
He has nearly 30 years of industry and corporate experience, including research and development into chemical processes of paper manufacturing for Allied Colloids LTC, Boise Cascade and Buckman International.
For the latter, he advanced into the role of international technical marketing specialist and concluded his career there as global market manager responsible for strategic planning, marketing, tactical sales plans and assessment, internal and external consulting.
He also managed a multifunctional and culturally diverse global team of 25 members to deliver marketing strategies, and support new technologies and services worldwide.
A significant achievement for Mirza was the invention and patent of a micropartical application technology that improved paper machine operations and product quality.
Mirza holds a Ph.D. in organization and management, human resources management from Capella University, a master of business administration in global management from University of Phoenix and is a graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry, University of Huddersfield in Huddersfield, England.
Mirza stated, “I really like the campus. It’s nice and small and when I interviewed, everyone was very friendly and seemed really genuine.
“We have a lot going on at Cleveland State — workforce development, continuing education, dual enrollment. In addition to awarding degrees, there are all of these other opportunities and activities that we do for our community,” he said.
“I would like to get up to speed on all of these things and learn more. I would also like to catch up and learn where the business and technology division has been, where it is now and what is the vision we are working on and how does that fit with the college’s mission.”
In his spare time, Mirza enjoys playing soccer, scuba diving and spending time with his wife, Rosy Covarrubias.
Prior to accepting the position at CSCC, Dr. Brandon served as chair of the Department of English and the Department for Student Success at Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, N.C., where he had been a member of the teaching faculty since 2005.
Prior to completing a doctoral program in English language and literature at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, he acquired a master of arts in English language and literature from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City and provided language arts instruction at Vance Middle School in Bristol.
During his tenure at Rockingham Community College, Dr. Brandon served as chair of the Program Development Committee, sponsored the Sigma Kappa Delta honors society, served as liaison to the North Carolina A&T 2+2 Program and was very active in the committees related to academic outcomes.
Brandon chaired the college’s QEP committee whose plan entitled Student success through Orientation, Advising, and Relationships: SOAR at RCC; A Quality Enhancement Plan was reviewed and approved in October.
Brandon’s publications and presentations embrace both pedagogy, as in “Designing Effective Writing Assignments” and scholarly investigation, as in “Warof beþ ȝe adrad? Monsters as Spiritual Tests in the South English Legendary’s Voyage of Saint Brenda,” the latter a paper presented at the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2011.
“Taking this position was a natural progression,” said Brandon. “I’ve worked a lot in curriculum and design and leading a program. I was looking for a place where I could continue that progression and CSCC has a reputation for providing high quality education and for being very innovative in its programs. It’s a real pleasure to be able to be a part of that.”
Brandon continued, “Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful. If I’ve needed anything, they’ve been right there. The humanities and social sciences division has a lot of innovative teaching strategies going on right now with social work and learning support and other things that are happening. I just want to support those things and help the faculty to continue to provide a high quality education for the students.”
In his spare time, Brandon enjoys coaching youth basketball and soccer and spending time with his wife, Melissa, and their twins, Ryne and Emily, 7. They are also active in their church and are currently looking for a church in Cleveland.