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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Susan C. Bon, J.D., Ph.D.

Title: Professor
Affiliate Professor, University of South Carolina Joseph F. Rice School of Law
Department: Leadership, Learning Design, and Inquiry
College of Education
Phone: 803-777-2907

Wardlaw 305A

Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Susan C. Bon, Ph.D., JD


Susan C. Bon, J.D, Ph.D., has been a national leader in organizations focused on education law and policy, disability law (IDEA, ADA, Rehabilitation Act), civic engagement, workplace civility, and ethical leadership across the P-20 continuum throughout her 25+ year academic career. As a professor, she is a student-centered instructor committed to the essential values of human dignity, justice, excellence, and integrity. Her courses and research focus on education and special education law, policy and leadership. One of her most joyful accomplishments has been chairing 26 successful doctoral dissertations and serving as an Honors Thesis Chair for many completed and several in progress honors students. She has edited several books, and has authored or coauthored nearly 70 publications addressing the legal and ethical principles that inform school leaders and impact leadership in education and special education. As an academic leader, Professor Bon has served in leadership roles across the University of South Carolina, including the President's Office, Provost's Office, Student Affairs, and most recently as an Interim Associate Dean in the College of Education. She currently is a Co-Principal Investigator for two US Department of Education grants with USC colleagues that provide educational opportunities and support to educators and school districts in South Carolina. The first is a $1.3 million grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to prepare future special education leaders in South Carolina. The most recent [with PI, Ken Vogler, Ph.D.], is a $2.4 million grant from the American History and Civics Education National Activities Program providing professional development opportunities for history and literacy educators in two South Carolina school districts. Professor Bon is a past president, active board member, author, and editor of publications for an international law organization, the Education Law Association. Prior to her university faculty service, she worked as the ombudsman in the State Superintendent’s Division of the Ohio Department of Education. She received her law degree and a doctorate in education policy and leadership from Ohio State University.

Research and Teaching Expertise

Education law, policy and leadership across the P-20 continuum, disability rights (IDEA, ADA, Rehabilitation Act), values and ethics in education leadership and personnel and employee decisions.

Selected Recent Research

[* denotes former students]

Osborne, A. G., & Bon, S. C. (2023). Students with Disabilities. In J.C. Russo & J. Sun (Eds.), Yearbook of Education Law. Education Law Association.

*Easler, S. E., & Bon, S. C. (2022). Legal risk abroad: Examining trends in extraterritoriality and the application of federal law. In M. Apaydin et al. (Eds.), The Internationalization of higher education: Concepts, cases, and challenges.

Osborne, A. G., & Bon, S. C. (2022). Students with Disabilities. In J.C. Russo (Ed.), Yearbook of Education Law. Education Law Association.

*Griffith, A. & Bon, S. C. (2019). Involuntary medical withdrawal: A proposal for ethical and legally sound mental health policies in higher education. Journal of School Public Relations, 37(1), 418-443.

Bon, S. C., Nguyen, D., Rippner, J., & Fossey, R. (Eds.) (2019). Contemporary Issues in Higher Education Law. Education Law Association.

Bon, S. C., & Bubert, J. (2019). Federal Disability Laws. In S. C. Bon et al. (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Higher Education Law. Education Law Association.

Bon, S. C. (2018). The moral and legal dimensions of decision making. In L. Bass et al. (Eds.), Developing Ethical Principles for School Leadership: PSEL Standard Two. Routledge.

Bon, S. C. (2018). Promise or Peril: Reframing Parental Rights in Special Education Through School Choice Reform Initiatives. Belmont Law Review Journal, 5, 129-150.

Bon, S. C. (2017). Procedural Safeguards: Resolving Family-School Disputes. In E. A. Shaver & J. R. Decker (Eds.) A Guide to Special Education Law. (pp. 183-191). Cleveland, OH: Education Law Association.

Bon, S. C., & Eckes, S. E. (2017). Race-Based Employment Discrimination. Principal Leadership, 18(4), 58-59.

Bon, S. C. (2016). Creative and Restorative Justice for the Wounded Student. National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Newsletter, 26(1), 4.

Bon, S. C., Decker, J., & Wilson, N. (2016). Special education vouchers: Model legislation and parent rights. Peabody Journal of Education. doi: 10.1080/0161956X.2016.120744

Bon, S. C., & J. C. Sun (Eds.) (2015). Law & Educational Inequality: Removing Barriers to Educational Opportunities. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing

Special Awards

  • Outstanding Staff/Faculty Partner Award (2017) - (University of South Carolina, Division of Student Affairs & Academic Support)
  • Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award (2017) - (University of South Carolina, Higher Education and Student Affairs)
  • Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award (2016) - (University of South Carolina, Higher Education and Student Affairs)
  • Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award (2015) - University of South Carolina, Higher Education and Student Affairs)


EDLP 806 - Theories of Educational Leadership - Doctoral seminar focused on educational organization behavior and theoretical approaches to leadership.

EDLP 807–Ethical & Social Justice Leadership - Doctoral seminar explores ethical and social justice perspectives, particularly in special education education leadership.

EDLP 751–Advanced Education Law - Seminar designed to give school leaders an opportunity to explore key legal issues.

EDHE 737– Legal Issues in Higher Education - Focus on legal responsibilities, constraints, and emerging issues in higher education law; and examine general principles of constitutional, statutory and case law in order to be able to apply legal principles and judicial decisions to higher education institutions.

EDLP J705 – Legal Basis of Educational Organization and Administration - Emphasis on techniques of legal research, the legal relationships between the federal and state government as they relate to school district organization and administration, as well as legal case studies in all major areas of administrative concern.

EDLP 805 – Advanced Educational Policy Analysis - The purpose of this course is to gain a deeper understanding of state and federal higher education policymaking; and learn about the policymaking process and how it affects systems and institutions of higher education— and how institutions affect the policymaking process.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.