By Samantha Edwards
Jun. 22, 2011
Lemuel W. Watson, Anna Scheyett and Steven Lynn are three new deans appointed by the University of South Carolina to lead the colleges of Education, Social Work and the South Carolina Honors College, respectively.
“We are fortunate that we were able to recruit an outstanding group of leaders for all three colleges,” said Michael Amiridis, USC’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, in a press release. “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, the senior associate dean of USC’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been a member of USC’s faculty since 1982. He described a few of the ways USC sets itself apart from other universities.
“Many things distinguish USC: the quality of its faculty, as we’ve recruited superbly in many fields; the vision of its leadership, as we have aggressively pursued excellence; the passion and generosity of its supporters, whether you’re talking baseball or scholarship donors; the beauty of its historic campus; its importance to the economic, cultural and academic well-being and heritage of the state and the region,” Lynn said.
Lynn was a student in USC’s honors program in the 1970s, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English with a biology cognate.
“I had amazing professors,” Lynn said. “My classmates were bright, sometimes brilliant. I was in a bluegrass band, and I worked at the Statehouse as a page. What could be better? It was a wonderful experience.”
Lynn, 59, earned his master’s in English from USC, and he holds a doctorate in English from the University of Texas.
Lynn not only recognizes the importance of the South Carolina Honors College in his own life but also to the community.
“The Honors College has a significant role to play in the University, in our region and beyond,” he said. “Its alumni have become leaders in business, medicine, government, the military, engineering, architecture, academics and other fields. So becoming the new dean is pretty exciting.”
Lynn said the Honors College is already in great shape, and his goal is to maintain the quality of the college.
“My first job is to maintain the small classes, rich curriculum and excellent teaching that characterize the college,” he said. “I hope to increase our scholarship funding, which will help us continue to draw the most accomplished students and expand our diversity.”
He also said he would like to raise the funds needed to complete the original design of the Honors Residence Hall, which includes another wing.
“I’m especially looking forward to working with our students. They bring energy and creativity to USC,” Lynn said.Lynn will replace interim dean Tayloe Harding, dean of the School of Music, beginning July 1.
Watson, a South Carolina native, has been selected to lead USC’s College of Education. Watson, executive director of the Center for P-20 Engagement and former dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., earned his undergraduate degree from the Darla Moore School of Business at USC.
“My time as a student at USC was totally awesome. I had wonderful faculty and professionals who readily shared their experiences with students. My in-class experiences challenged me to be the best academically that I could be, and my out-of-class experiences helped shape my professional and life skills set,” Watson said. “USC helped me to dream a little bigger and to push myself a little harder in order to accomplish the unbelievable.”
Watson said the deanship at USC offered several opportunities and challenges that encouraged him to leave NIU and take the position.
“The deanship at USC is unique in that the dean has the opportunity to partner and collaborate with a wide variety of constituents in order to have a positive impact on the community,” he said. “The opportunity to participate and engage in interdisciplinary work to improve P-20 systemic educational challenges is also attractive to me.”
Watson also said that the challenge of making the College of Education an educational leader in the region, nation and world appealed to him.
“USC has outstanding faculty in the College of Education and a great reputation in teaching, scholarship and partnership. Dr. (Les) Sternberg has been a great dean and leaves a very strong foundation for which to build upon,” he said. “Finally, the interaction with the provost, president and leadership team convinced me that the University is strategically prepared to do great things.”