Snow covered Rockwell Hall bell tower surrounded by branches

New Arts and Sciences Dean Brings Extensive Leadership, Innovative Ideas to Role



Buffalo State College has selected Brian Cronk as dean of the new School of Arts and Sciences, following a national search conducted last fall.

Cronk, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, comes to Buffalo State from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he most recently served as faculty assistant to the provost and chair of the Psychology Department. He assumes his new role remotely this month and will move into an office in Rockwell Hall later this spring.

Head shot of Brian Cronk

“We feel fortunate to have Dr. Cronk joining Buffalo State in this crucial position,” said Buffalo State Provost James Mayrose. “He spent a number of years working with students in the classroom as well as in leadership positions in his previous institution. He spearheaded significant initiatives, including one that enabled faculty members to provide meaningful data on student retention. He also worked with all academic departments to develop a new bachelor of general studies degree program. His experience, expertise, and ability to collaborate across disciplines dovetails nicely with the needs of our newly imagined school.”

The School of Arts and Sciences, which is being established in preparation for the 2021–2022 academic year, will comprise 21 departments and numerous programs currently housed within the School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Natural and Social Sciences. Both the Buffalo State administration and faculty have considered aligning the arts and sciences disciplines within a single school for a number of years. The goal is to create additional academic opportunities for students across disciplines.

As a psychologist, Cronk said, he is a good fit to lead this effort.

“Psychology sits at the nexus between the arts and sciences,” he said. “As psychologists, we’re good translators of information and good at understanding how the humanities and the sciences connect to one another.”

Cronk said he was drawn to Buffalo State for its urban-engaged and inclusive mission.

“Missouri Western is an open-enrollment campus that serves many first-generation students,” he said. “I find it very rewarding serving this population and helping students become engaged with the community through community-service activities.”

Cronk joined Missouri Western in 1993 after earning his doctorate, teaching a variety of courses in the Psychology Department, including Psychological Statistics and Cognitive Psychology. He assumed many leadership roles during his time at the university, including associate provost and founding dean of the Graduate School.

Under his leadership, the Graduate School grew from three degrees to 12, generating more than 2,500 student credit hours per year. New programs he helped develop include Forensic Investigations, Applied Integrated Media, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Human Factors and Usability Testing, and Sport and Fitness Management.

Looking back on his tenure at Missouri Western, Cronk said he is proudest of establishing a healthy culture in the Psychology Department by hiring faculty who are student-focused and whom he could trust to do their jobs with little intervention.

Cronk earned a master’s degree in psychology from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989. His service outside the college included stints as secretary-treasurer of the Midwestern Psychological Association and nationally elected councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

He comes to Buffalo State at an auspicious and exciting time, Mayrose said.

“Throughout the spring semester, the two existing schools will continue to operate separately as we make the transition into one,” Mayrose said. “I feel confident that Dr. Cronk can capitalize on the strengths of both schools to create an even stronger one that will create synergy across disciplines and attract students ready to compete in the rapidly evolving global economy.”

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Laurie Kaiser, Assistant Director of Communications | (716) 809-0583|