MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University has named Cory L. Major to head the Office of Academic Services, which has been renamed Academic Services and Faculty Development to reflect Major's expanded role in the dean’s position.
In the new position of Dean of Academic Services and Faculty Development, Major will administer CBU’s academic advising program (including the First Year Experience, Freshman Orientation, and peer educator programs) and provide support for student retention, but will also provide faculty development in academic advising and pedagogical best practices, and through the office of instructional design which reports to him.
“There is a body of research that suggests that faculty development and student success are related,” Major says. “The more tools and supports we provide our faculty, the more they are able to support student success in the classroom. We have an opportunity to be trailblazers in building a comprehensive center for supporting both students and faculty.”
Prior to coming to CBU, Major served as the associate director for retention and student success in the Office of Minority Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. In that role, he oversaw support services to over 2,500 first-time freshmen who were identified as at-risk upon admission to the university; these services included mentoring, tutoring, and academic skills training. Prior to that, as the director of GEAR UP at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) in Helena-West Helena, AR (his hometown), he worked with middle- and high-school-aged students to build their knowledge of higher education opportunities and support them in building the confidence and know-how to prepare them for entry into college.
During his time at PCCUA, Major’s passion for working with college students led him to work to establish the organization Men Enrolling Towards Advancement (META), a peer support group for African American male students—targeted because they were the single most disengaged group on the campus and had the lowest retention and graduation rates in comparison to any other group. Through partnerships with the University of Memphis and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the group worked to build a network of support that extended beyond the small Arkansas Delta town.
As noted above, Major is a native of Helena-West Helena, AR. Having grown up so close to Memphis, he considers the city to be his home. While he completed his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies at Excelsior College (Albany, NY), Major completed most of his undergraduate career at the University of Memphis, where he pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and held numerous leadership positions, including president of the Black Student Association. He completed his master’s degree in leadership and policy studies in 2003 at the U of M and is currently working to complete a doctorate in higher education. He continues to be involved in his fraternity, but above all, he considers family to be of upmost importance. His return to Memphis has allowed him to be a more consistent part of the lives of his nieces and nephews, who are like his own children to him.