Sitting Down with Daemen University Provost: Dr. Michael Brogan

By Bridget Thornton, contributing writer

Dr. Michael Brogan has been a member of the Daemen Community for over 40 years and currently serves the university as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Through his time here he has exhibited his profound leadership and expertise coupled with his passion for working in higher education to shape the landscape of Daemen University. 

Brogan was born and raised in Buffalo and attended a public school in the City of Buffalo. Dr. Brogan then joined the Air Force, where he served before first coming to Daemen College in 1980. 

Brogan graduated in 1984 with his Bachelor of Science specializing in Physical Therapy from Daemen College. After graduation, Brogan worked at Sisters Hospital bordering East Amherst in Buffalo. 

For six months Brogan was a physical therapy clinician at Sisters Hospital before receiving an exciting and unexpected phone call from one of his mentors and previous professors from Daemen, Dr. Richard Schweichler. 

Schweichler, a physical therapist professor and chair of the program, is a mentor and friend to Brogan. Six months after Brogan’s graduation from Daemen’s PT program, Schweichler asked him to return to Daemen as the clinical coordinator. Brogan accepted this offer and has been at the college ever since. 

While Brogan was working as the clinical coordinator he completed his master’s degree in health science education and evaluation from the University at Buffalo. After this completion, he was offered to join a faculty line in the Physical Therapy department. 

Brogan said one of the greatest gifts in his life has been being offered the opportunity to continue his professional career at Daemen. 

“I mean this sincerely, and I still mean this today. I loved coming here every day as a student…and now all of a sudden I am working here and loved every minute and still do,” Brogan said. 

During his time teaching he decided to work on obtaining his Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo in Philosophy and Education-Higher Education.

At Daemen, Brogan has moved from teaching positions to serving as the chairperson for the Physical Therapy program, Dean of the Division of Health and Human Services, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the College, and lastly in his current position, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. While taking on all these extensive roles Brogan has continually practiced physical therapy throughout his career, with the exception of the last several years, as well as lectured in the classroom. 

Brogan notes that his life course has been unexpected but, he is grateful for the opportunities that have provided him to be in his current position. 

“I went to public school in the city, everyone in my neighborhood was either a steel worker, a police officer, or a firefighter, and now all of the sudden I’m the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost… For me this is almost like a Disney movie, I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Brogan. 

Being at Daemen for upwards of 40 years is no ordinary feat. Dr. Brogan attests his passion for the school, to its community, and climate. 

“It’s the flexible climate, I’ve always felt comfortable here, and I’m an introvert…this gives you the opportunity to be who you want to be,” said Brogan. 

Brogan has enjoyed all of his positions but especially enjoys the parallels and differences between teaching and his current position. 

“Teaching is the relationship and effect that you can truly have on someone and I love that,” said Brogan. 

During Brogan’s teaching career, he has had the opportunity to teach countless generations of physical therapists and has greatly enjoyed being able to make an impact. 

“I’ve had the pleasure to be here all my career where you meet students, and you have the opportunity to contribute to their education and maybe mean something in their life,” said Brogan. 

As a professor, Brogan made a lasting impact on his students. Dr. Martin Canavan, Daemen physical therapy class of ‘88, was a student of Brogans during his time at Daemen. 

“I always considered him to be the no-nonsense level headed professor who would take the time to help students navigate the rigors of “upper division” PT school. His course work and tests were challenging but fair and you felt you were getting his best effort at imparting his knowledge,” Canavan said.

While working as a professor, Brogan was continuing his own academic endeavors, working toward his Ph.D. Canavan also noted how impactful Brogan’s own academic pursuits were on his students. 

“He impacted his students with his own work pursuing a higher level of education, valuing the pursuit of greater knowledge,” said Canavan 

Dr. Michael Ross, who currently serves as both an associate professor and department chair, was also one of Brogan’s students before graduating in 1992. 

“He was just outstanding, he was an outstanding instructor always there for his students, an absolute expert in the field of wound care PT, and just a really outstanding clinician and educator,” said Ross. 

Brogan not only cares for the academics of his students, but also has made the effort to work with and help his students shape and form their future careers and life. 

“He’s a legend, I’ll be honest I probably wouldn’t even be a PT today if it wasn’t for him…he wrote me a letter to get into grad school…that I’m convinced got me into [graduate] school. He was the driving force behind my service as a military PT…He helped me every step of the way.” said Ross. 

Along with Brogan’s administrative duties, he also works with admissions to speak at different events. During Accepted Students Day, Brogan spoke extensively about the culture of Daemen giving examples from his own experiences, a current student’s experience, and his passion for the university. 

During his speech, he used the words “homegrown” to define some of the faculty, and subsequently himself. “Homegrown” refers to the special individuals who were both students and have come back or become faculty or administration here at Daemen. Brogan explained that this is what makes his experience so special, that he has the opportunity to teach, work with some of his old students, and spend his career at Daemen. 

Amelia Sprauge, a second-year Physical Therapy student, first met Brogan at her Scholars Day before she had even decided to come to Daemen, and has since run into him at various admissions events. 

“He’s very easy to talk to, and you can tell he really cares about what he does, and the students,” said Sprauge. 

Currently, Brogan serves as the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Daemen. This position has Brogan at the forefront of the academics of the college. In his Provost duties, Brogan manages the faculty and leads academic planning, values, and policies.

“The greatest part about this position is that you can make a significant impact not on today but on tomorrow,” explained Brogan. 

As a former faculty member, Brogan has a different perspective, with a broader understanding of how dependent the college is on having a strong faculty. 

“You will never meet a more educated, self-driven, capable, and committed group than faculty,” Brogan said. “Working with faculty as self-driven, as intelligent, as capable, as opinionated, educated…trying to maintain order and continuity is like running across the thruway with a wheelbarrow of bullfrogs…and that’s what I want, you want a mind that’s not just going to accept what they’re told they’re going to think through it and analyze it.” 

Working with the faculty is something that Brogan enjoys and takes pride in their achievements and accomplishments. 

“The efforts of the faculty are unparalleled. I’ve been here a long time, never have we had the success of the overarching faculty like we do now, if you look at their research, productivity and skills in the classroom…Our faculty today are just so well prepared and positioned to be distinguished in the future,” said Brogan. 

In his position as both a faculty member and chairperson Ross now works with Brogan on a professional level. 

“When I came back here it’s been an absolute privilege and an honor to work with him, and I think he’s just the best,” said Ross. 

Brogan has made a lasting impact on the university, his colleagues, and the students who he has influenced during his time here. 

“Thanks for then, thanks for now, and in the future Dr. Brogan,” said Canavan.

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