Psychology professor accepts KBC campus directorship

Brian Partridge is a longtime KBC faculty member and previously the Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Services

Kachemak Bay Campus officially has a new hand on the helm.

Longtime KBC faculty member Brian Partridge, known most for his role as the associate professor of psychology and human services, was named last month as the new campus director. Partridge moved into his new role officially on June 1, replacing Dr. Paula Martin.

Martin served as interim director of KBC immediately following the resignation of former director Reid Brewer in December 2023. Brewer accepted a position as the Kasitsna Bay Lab Director and the supervisory environmental scientist for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in January.

“The really nice thing about coming into this role is that I’m coming in after really three great directors have been here,” Partridge said.

He credited Carol Swartz, who served as the first campus director for more than 30 years, with transforming KBC from “a basement office” into the community campus that exists today.

“Then Reid (Brewer) came in and did a fantastic job of expanding our community engagement and our integration with community partners. And then Paula Martin has done a fantastic job as the interim director,” Partridge said. “So the nice thing is I’m walking into a well-oiled machine that I think is doing a really good job.”

His goal now, he said, is to “solidify” campus roles and programs that were started before he stepped in to the directorship, noting specifically KBC’s marine trades and agricultural programs.

“I’d like to make sure that both of those programs are super solid, and then look forward into the future and see if we can find some more industry needs that we can help meet with the community while still maintaining all of our fantastic academics,” he said.

Partridge called the directorship a “catch-all administrative role for the campus.”

“The director’s role is to coordinate all things academic and non-academic,” he said. “There’s a little bit of facilities involved, there’s program planning, … everything from making sure that the grounds are being maintained to (coordinating) with community partners to … integrating with the academic side (and) the faculty.”

Partridge earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in anthropology from Texas A&M University in 1994. He then earned a Master of Science in Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience in 2000. He has been affiliated with KBC since 2001, when he began teaching as an adjunct professor. He became the assistant professor of psychology/human services in August 2009 and was promoted to associate professor in 2014.

In addition to his role as professor, he also began serving as the KBC department chair in 2023, a position which he said helped to prepare him for taking on the directorship.

As chair, Partridge filled in for the current campus director in cases of their absence, participated in the Kenai Peninsula College Leadership Team, reported to the KPC College Council, supervised adjunct instructors and acted as a liaison between college faculty and administration.

KBC will be looking to replace Partridge in both his roles as psychology professor and department chair. Partridge also said that he intends to redefine the department chair role to “make it more appropriate for a faculty position.”

“It just evolved to be bigger than we expected, which worked out for me, because it really did prepare me for this new role. But I don’t think that was the intended purpose,” he said. “As soon as the faculty comes back on contract (in the fall), my plan is to have a chat with them and do a little redefining of that role. I really want to keep the position because I liked the concept of it, (but) I do want it to be part of a conversation.”

As for the directorship itself, Partridge said he’s looking forward to taking care of the necessary things to make sure KBC students get everything they need.

“The timing worked out where I feel like I have the time and the energy to devote to a new challenge, and the director position is definitely going to be a new challenge,” he said. “I love this campus, I’ve been affiliated with it for 24 years or so. I’ve watched it grow … I believe it is the heart of Homer. And I want to make sure that it is as successful as it possibly can be.”