Thomas Hodges stands in front of the College of Education.

Hodges selected as dean of the College of Education

Priorities include strengthening the college’s internal culture, increasing its statewide impact

Thomas Hodges has been selected as dean of the University of South Carolina College of Education, effective Oct. 15.

As dean, Hodges will continue the work he has undertaken during his last 15 months as interim dean of the college. Among his priorities are further strengthening the college’s internal culture, increasing outreach across the state and diversifying the state’s teachers to better reflect the demographic makeup of South Carolina. 

“I am honored and excited to lead the College of Education in advancing scholarship, teaching and service in support of our state’s communities and schools,” Hodges says. “The college boasts outstanding faculty, staff and students making real, substantive differences in education-related fields. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Provost Arnett and President Amiridis to further the academic and research mission of our university, with the goal of expanding the ways the College of Education can support education across the lifespan.”

Hodges has been with the university’s College of Education for more than 10 years. He began as an assistant professor in 2012, became an associate professor in 2015, and was named a full professor in 2020. His leadership role within the college has grown throughout that time — from interim department chair of instruction and teacher education, to associate dean for academic affairs, to executive associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, to, in July 2021, interim dean. He has also served as the director of the South Carolina Teacher Education Advancement Consortium through Higher Education Research and was recently appointed to the South Carolina Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force.

“Dr. Hodges has provided exceptional interim leadership to the College of Education, and he also brings the breadth of experience and vision needed to take the college forward to an even greater impact in and beyond our state,” President Michael Amiridis said.

“Education is such a critical component of elevating communities. It defines the kinds of access people have to certain careers and helps define the success of our state.”

- Thomas Hodges, Dean of the College of Education

Hodges is impressed by the college’s faculty and staff, and he hopes to continue strengthening the culture within the college by supporting all individuals within it.

“I said during the interview process that the college’s greatest asset is its people, and it always will be its people,” he says. “And in order for that to function well, we have to have a collective sense about where we are going, who we want to be, and who we intend to serve, and we have to understand our place and role within that. I think an important role of the dean is to help facilitate that direction in making people feel like the work that they do matters and that they have that sense of belonging.”

Hodges’ selection concludes a national search that saw the recruitment and consideration of many leaders across the field of education. In Hodges, the university found a leader with the support of the college and campus community, and with a demonstrated track record of growing the college’s footprint and reach across the state.

“In speaking with the College of Education’s administrative leadership team, seeing the overwhelming support for him across our university community, and recognizing his success as interim dean, it was apparent to me that Dr. Hodges was the perfect candidate to lead our college forward,” says Donna Arnett, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with Dr. Hodges to grow the research and teaching profile of the college, and to further lead the state of South Carolina’s education system forward in the coming years.”

The College of Education is a leader across the state of South Carolina, maintaining meaningful partnerships with 87 percent of the state’s school districts. Its first-of-their-kind initiatives, such as the Carolina Teacher Induction Program, are preparing the next generation of the state’s teachers and attracting them to stay in-state following graduation. With this tremendous foundation, Hodges is focused on growing the college’s innovative programming and developing new programs to meet the needs of South Carolina.

“I look forward to advancing the college’s commitments to equity and diversity through signature programs like the Apple Core Initiative, Holmes Scholars, and the Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation,” he says. “Education is such a critical component of elevating communities. It defines the kinds of access people have to certain careers and helps define the success of our state. We will continue to leverage these strengths, grow our impact and establish models for what a flagship College of Education can and should do.”

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