Deans named in Social Work, Education, Honors College
Three new deans have been appointed to lead the colleges of Education, Social Work and the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Steven Lynn, the senior associate dean of USC’s College of Arts and Sciences, will move to a new post as dean of the South Carolina Honors College.
Dr. Anna Scheyett, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will lead the USC College of Social Work.
The College of Education’s new dean will be Dr. Lemuel W. Watson, a South Carolina native who is executive director of the Center for P-20 Engagement and former dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.
“We are fortunate that we were able to recruit an outstanding group of leaders for all three colleges,” said Dr. Michael D. Amiridis, USC’s vice president for academic affairs and provost. “We had excellent pools of candidates, and I’m confident we made the right choices in all three cases. I believe each new dean brings the expertise needed to move his/her college forward and, at the same time, collectively contribute to the improvement of the entire university.”
Lynn, who was a student in USC’s newly formed Honors Program in the 1970s, said he looks forward to leading “one of the best Honors Colleges in the country.”
“Obviously it attracts superb students. It really does offer the resources and the experiences of both an elite small college and a major research university,” he said. “The range of courses offered and the out-of-classroom experiences are extraordinary. Students get an individually tailored education that prepares them for success in top graduate programs, med school, law school, politics, business, engineering -- for leadership in all sorts of fields. And the staff is accomplished and dedicated.”
Lynn, 59, earned his B.A. in English with a biology cognate and his master’s in English from USC. He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas. A professor at USC since 1982, he directed the First Year English Program and chaired the departments of English and religious studies before being named senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2007.
“Being named dean of the Honors College gives me an opportunity to play a major role in an institution that I love,” he said. “That’s exciting and gratifying.”
Scheyett brings a broad range of experience to her position as dean of the College of Social Work. She has been a frontline social worker, a supervisor, a field instructor, researcher, faculty member and associate dean. Her goal is to grow social workers and social work knowledge to make society a better place.
“In a good society there are some implicit promises we make to our citizens. You’ll be safe; somebody will help you if you get sick; if you are a child you won’t be hurt; if you are an older adult we will help you live in your home; if you are in the military, we’ll honor your work. These are things a decent society promises its citizens. Social work is the profession that helps a society keep its promises.”
Scheyett, 52, earned her Ph.D in social work from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She also earned an MSW degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Science, Master of Philosophy degree from Yale University. She earned her B.S. in biology and English from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
She said was attracted to the job at USC because of the strength of the program and its faculty and the dedication to teaching. “We’re starting from a strong foundation,” she said.
Watson,47, earned his undergraduate degree from the Darla Moore School of Business at USC, his master’s from Ball State University and his Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has an extensive background in education. As director of the Center for P-20 Engagement in Illinois, he has worked to support partnerships for education and training at all levels from preschool through graduate studies. He also served as dean of academic support at Heartland College. He is a Fulbright Scholar to Belarus and has recently done research as an Embassy Policy Specialist in the Republic of Georgia.
“I’ve always said if the deanship (at USC) came open, I’d be interested. It’s a deanship that can have such an impact in the community, the state and the nation,” said Watson, a Cheraw native and graduate of Chesterfield High School. “It will be good to come back home to work for the people of South Carolina and have whatever impact I can.”
Watson said he is committed to continuing the partnerships that the College of Education has developed in the community and to preparing teachers for the classrooms of the future. He said he is strongly committed to the enhancement of undergraduate and graduate programs in the College and will work to continue to build the momentum to obtain external funding and disseminate research and best practice models to the field. Watson said he believes that teaching, research, service and engagement are tightly twined where each informs and enhances the other.
“Doing an effective job with teacher training is very important. At the same time, we need to make sure we’re training teachers so they are aware of the challenges that exist in multiple types of schools,” Watson said. “The issue is having them ready not only for today’s classrooms, but for tomorrow’s.”
In addition, training principals, counselors, post-secondary administrators, educational researchers and other K-20 school personnel are key areas that the College of Education will continue to focus on, he said.
Watson will replace Dr. Les Sternberg, who has served as dean of the College of Education since August 2000. Scheyett will replace Dr. Dennis Poole, who has been the dean since August 2005. Poole plans to devote the next year to scholarship and research and return to teaching the following year. Lynn will take over from Dr. Tayloe Harding, dean of the School of Music, who has served as interim dean of the Honors College. Lynn starts his job July 1. Watson and Scheyett will start Aug. 1.