Furman has five academic deans who support the university's academic and administrative operations. Providing leadership for academic
programs, procedures and policies, these deans help shape the academic experience of the university's students.
Senior Associate Academic Dean
Marianne Pierce is the senior associate academic dean. She joined the Furman faculty in 1997, and has served as director of undergraduate research and internships for the past six years. Prior to coming to Furman, she was director of graduate (MBA) programs and executive education programs at Wake Forest University.
During her time at Furman, she has served as interim director of the Center for Teaching Learning, director of the Brussels internship study away program, and chair of the individualized curriculum program. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.
The senior associate academic dean position was created at the recommendation of the academic affairs administration reorganization task force. The position oversees 12 academic support areas such as continuing education, libraries, undergraduate research and internships, the Shi Center for Sustainability, and the other assistant and associate deans in academic affairs. In addition, Pierce oversees interdisciplinary programs and the first year seminars.
Associate Dean and University Registrar
Brad Barron has been an Associate Dean and University Registrar at Furman since 2002. He received a B.S.Ed. in social studies education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and an M.A. in higher education administration from Ohio State University in 1993.
Barron began his professional career as an Enrollment Data Coordinator for the Ohio Board of Regents, the coordinating board for higher education in that state and served close to five years as the Registrar at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts school located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, before arriving at Furman. Active in his profession, Barron presents frequently at state, regional and national
workshops and meetings on a variety of topics including leadership, working with information technology staff, and managing commencement
exercises. He has also served on the executive committees for both the Carolina Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
(CACRAO) and the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO).
Barron also acts as Furman's chief privacy officer, helping to ensure that all of the data Furman collects and stores, is appropriately protected. He recently accepted an assignment as well to provide leadership for Furman's assessment efforts including coordinating the process to renew its regional accreditation.
Associate Academic Dean
Paula Gabbert is an associate academic dean and professor of computer science. She earned her B.A. in Computer Science/Management from Goucher College (Md.) and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in systems engineering from the University of Virginia. She joined the department of computer science in 1996 and was appointed associate academic dean in 2009.
As associate academic dean, Gabbert ensures that academic regulations are followed, manages students on academic probation, oversees cases involving violations of academic integrity and appeals of academic regulations, and assists faculty, students, and parents with concerns about academic issues. She also supervises the assistant academic dean, the disability services office, and the office of academic assistance. She continues to teach one class a year in the computer science department.
Assistant Academic Dean
Brad Harmon is the Assistant Academic Dean for Advising and is primarily responsible for the development and implementation of the academic advising program. He also serves as Academic Liaison for Furman's Engaged Living learning communities program and is responsible for the overall strategic vision and development of the academic content for this program. He chairs the Academic Advising Committee and First-Year Experience Strategic Planning Committee and works with students experiencing academic difficulties. He also collaborates with Student Life staff to plan new student orientation programs as well as first year, sophomore year and junior-senior year experiences.
Harmon is a Furman graduate of the class of 1997, where he earned a B.A. in history, and he has an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia. His career has included work in both academic affairs and student life. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Academic Dean in 2015, Harmon spent six years working in Furman's Division of Student Life where he served as the administrative director for Engaged Living, had oversight of the residence life program, and developed the Student Conduct Board.
Harmon's research focuses on the peer mentoring of first-year undergraduate students, a passion that was cultivated from his experiences as a First-Year Advisor (FRAD) while he was a student at Furman. He continues to collaborate with Housing and Residence Life staff on the development of effective peer mentors in the first-year experience.
Assistant Academic Dean
Lesley A. Quast is the assistant academic dean for advising. She is primarily responsible for the administration and implementation of the academic advising program. In addition, she works with students who are experiencing academic difficulties compounded by other life factors, and is the academic liaison to the engaged living program.
Quast earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, master of education in emotional disturbance from Virginia Commonwealth University, and doctorate of education in learning disabilities with a minor in administration and supervision from the University of Alabama.
After joining the faculty in 1976, Quast has spent her entire post-doctoral career at Furman University. Prior to her appointment as assistant academic dean, Quast served as director of university/school partnerships, coordinator of NCATE accreditation, and chair of the education department. She has been a member of numerous university committees, among the most recent are the faculty governance task force, the implementation task force for the new curriculum, student life strategic planning committee, the task force on the student experience, the first year experience committee, and co-chair of the Furman University Diversity Committee. Quast continues to teach a course on diverse school cultures as part of the senior block for elementary majors at Furman. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, hiking or walking, writing poetry, and small-sized organic gardening.