As the Dean of Students at Allen University, Takeem Dean lives by a personal motto, “I save lives, one student at a time.”
Originally from Passaic, New Jersey, Dean always dreamed of becoming a Dean of Students at a historically black college or university. In August 2014, his dream became a reality as he became the Dean of Students at Allen University, located in Columbia, South Carolina. He serves as an advocate for the student body, overseeing student conduct and various areas within student affairs. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at Wingate University in Charlotte, NC.
Dean says his passion for teaching started while he was in high school.
“At the time there were few institutions that offered the specific program I knew I wanted to pursue. In high school, I enrolled in as many business classes I could take and to my advantage, the majority of my business teachers were alumni from the business education program at Montclair State.”
Knowing that he wanted to follow in their footsteps, Montclair State seemed like the right choice.
Dean was a campus resident for all four years of his undergraduate career and worked as a resident assistant for the Office of Residence Life. Through this work experience he was inspired to pursue a career working with students at the higher educational level. In 2003 he graduated from the University’s business education program and soon after became the resident director for numerous institutions including Seton Hall University, North Carolina Central University and The Julliard School. He also worked as the Dean of Residential Life for The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth and Cluster Facilitator for LeaderShape.
After gaining valuable work experience for several years, he returned to his alma mater and earned his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in 2011. During this time, he worked as a community director of the first-year connections living community in Bohn Hall and later as the assistant to the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services. It was his post in the College of Education and Human Services where he further learned the pedagogical classroom perspective of higher education.
“During my undergraduate journey through the College of Education and Human Services, I learned the art and science of teaching,” he says. “Montclair State was really the foundation to my understanding of the career opportunities in higher education. As a student affairs practitioner, I have strived to put into practice what I learned at Montclair State at every institution I’ve worked at since, including Allen University.”
I have strived to put into practice at every institution I’ve worked at and now at Allen University, what I learned at Montclair State.”
In his current role, Dean provides opportunities for students in a number of meaningful ways. He oversees leadership in student activities, student conduct, a mentoring program for male students and an emerging leaders program that provides leadership opportunities for students of all years. His hard work and contributions to the field of higher education was recognized in February 2015 as he was awarded the Educator of the Year Award by the Passaic African American Day Celebration Committee. Dean credits his development in higher education to many of the individuals he met while at Montclair State.
“I had no idea that a career in student affairs existed until I met the Residence Life staff at Montclair State,” he says. “It’s because of the people who touched my life that I am now paying it forward by helping students on a daily basis. I like to think that I’m saving lives, one student at a time.”
Throughout his career he has also been an adjunct professor at several universities. His work in and out of the classroom is a great example of how a graduate can give back to the community and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.