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Arnold School of Public Health


Joseph Lee Pearson named Associate Dean for Operations and Accreditation

August 18, 2016 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Joseph Lee Pearson has been named Associate Dean for Operations and Accreditation for the Arnold School of Public Health. This new position, created following the promotion of former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Cheryl Addy to Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School, will provide high-level oversight of vital administrative areas of the School ranging from budgetary and strategic planning to operations management and staff development. The position will also work with the other academic deans, chairs, and the director of evaluation to ensure accreditation and annual reporting requirements are met.

It’s the perfect role for Pearson, an Arnold School alumnus and long-time public health professional who will begin his new role on September 6. A 2004 graduate of the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in the Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) program, Pearson has two decades of experience in public health promotion and disease prevention as well as policy, systems and environmental change. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina in Asheville and a Master of Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy in Mobile, Ala.

Pearson’s previous roles at the University of South Carolina include Homeland Security Liaison for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Health Sciences (now known as the Office of the Vice President for Research) and Director of Special Projects within the Arnold School’s Office of the Dean. Pearson has maintained his ties to the Arnold School as an HPEB adjunct faculty member teaching graduate-level courses while working to establish the South Carolina Public Health Institute (now known as the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health). He has played a key leadership role since the founding of the Institute and recently resigned as the Director of Operations.

Through his various professional positions, Pearson has gained experience in leading administrative and operational responsibilities, such as staff development, budgetary oversight and strategic planning. He has considerable experience in convening public health partners and taskforces from across the state to address health-related issues and priorities. In addition, Pearson has served on numerous statewide boards and committees, including for Eat Smart Move More S.C., the Alzheimer’s Association-S.C. Chapter, and the Alliance for a Healthier S.C. He also has a wide range of experience with grant-funded initiatives and clinical services as well as other types of programming.

“Dr. Pearson is an excellent writer, strategic thinker, planner and communicator,” says Sonya Duhé, who worked with Pearson in the Office of Research and Health Sciences as associate vice president and is currently Director and professor in the School of Mass Communication at Loyola University. “His life has been grounded in public health—whether that be in the academic world or serving on numerous nationwide, statewide and regional committees.”

Anna Scheyett, the former Dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work where Pearson earned a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, agrees. “Dr. Pearson has strong leadership skills that enable him to work collaboratively and effectively with an array of individuals,” says Scheyett, who is now the Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia. “His attention to detail reflects a focused approach to setting and achieving goals and a remarkable ability to move work forward successfully.”

Pearson will begin his new role after two decades of affiliation with the Arnold School as a student, staff member and adjunct faculty.  “I am honored and humbled to have been selected for this new position,” says Pearson.  “Having enrolled in the school 20 years ago this month, I would never have imagined then that the future would bring such an amazing opportunity to give back to a place that means so much to me. I look forward to working with many long-time friends and new colleagues to continue the tremendous momentum of the Arnold School.”