Lander University is taking a big step toward the future with a restructuring that will lead to the addition of a new college and appointment of its dean. This move comes after a year-long strategic planning process led by Lander President Richard Cosentino that identified ways to enhance student learning, signature academic programs and plans for enrollment growth.
The new College of Behavioral and Social Sciences will consist of four current academic departments: History and Philosophy, Political and Social Sciences, Psychological Science, and Military Science/Army ROTC.
“Everyone in all four departments was on board with the creation of this new college,” said Dr. David Mash, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Lander. “We wanted to bring the subject areas and new curriculum enhancements in these departments into relationship with one another, which is common across higher education.”
This new college will enable Lander to better recruit students with similar academic and career interests, strengthen efforts in external fundraising, and create more connections in fields related to social services, government and public service, and nonprofit organizations. Signature programs in the new college include: criminal justice and criminology, government administration, homeland security and emergency management, and psychology.
The new college’s faculty are award-winning teachers and scholars, including past presidents of state-level professional associations in history, political science, psychology, and sociology. They have secured over $1 million in external grants; have provided analysis for outlets such as the BBC and CNN; and help students gain experience in internships in the Greenwood community and beyond.
A process this fall identified in-house candidates to lead the new college. “It was a tough choice because all candidates brought something significant to the table,” Mash said.
Dr. Lucas McMillan, associate professor of political science and current chair of the Department of Political and Social Sciences, was chosen as dean. His appointment begins January 2017.
McMillan received his bachelor’s degree in Government and Economics from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.; a master’s in International Relations from the University of Warwick in England; and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina.
After joining Lander’s faculty in 2008, McMillan won Lander’s 2011 Young Faculty Scholar Award and held the university’s Stranch Endowed Professorship from 2012-2014.
“I am very honored by this appointment as dean,” McMillan said. “Our new college has alumni who have excelled in their careers, are leaders in their communities, and are studying in graduate schools in the United States and Europe. This restructuring will allow us to better showcase those connections across academic disciplines and prepare graduates for meaningful lives.”