Dr. Lemuel Watson has been named Dean of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
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.