Dr. Sarah Hunt-Barron will be joining Lander University as the dean for the College of Education, beginning June 1, 2021. She boasts nearly 15 years of in-class teaching experience, ranging from positions including middle school English teacher to associate professor, while also holding university leadership positions for nine of those years.
Hunt-Barron will be taking the reins from Dr. Judith Neufeld after more than a decade of service, as she returns to the classroom in her position as a professor of education. "Dr. Neufeld has transformed the future of countless students," said Dr. Scott Jones, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. "We are grateful for all that she has done to serve the university, and we are sure that she will continue to change the lives of students in the classroom as she returns to her position as a professor of education."
Hunt-Barron has spent the last seven years at the University of South Carolina Upstate, beginning as an assistant professor. Since then, she was promoted to associate professor of literacy education; was the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparations' (CAEP) Steering Committee Chair and LiveText Coordinator; and most recently, served as associate dean for USC Upstate's School of Education, Human Performance and Health.
She said she was attracted to Lander "because of the University's remarkable growth in both student enrollment and programs over the past five years. The structure and clarity of the strategic plan, with its focus on building market-driven programs and attracting ambitious students set the university apart."
Hunt-Barron holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, secondary English education, from Clemson University. Previously, she earned a master's degree in secondary English education from Furman University and a bachelor's degree in English from Boston College, where she graduated summa cum laude.
Hunt-Barron envisions building upon past successes, as well as creating new educational opportunities for South Carolina and the Southeast. She points to Lander's opportunity to grow all teacher education programs, which already provide top-notch teachers to K-12 schools. Through providing highly qualified and ready-to-teach graduates, Hunt-Barron and Lander's College of Education stand poised to combat the shortage of teachers not just in South Carolina, but nationwide.
She plans to expand offerings in teacher education through adding new programs. "In the short term, I'd like to work with the faculty and staff to add programs that the University has the resources to support, but hasn't yet had the chance to develop fully," said Hunt-Barron.
Additionally, in the long term, Hunt-Barron plans to work with community partners to identify areas of need in the region, and creating programs to meet those needs tops her list. "Better understanding their needs is extremely important, as is connecting with students and seeing the College of Education from their perspective," she said. Getting to know Lander University's community partners throughout the region, not just locally in Greenwood, is a critical part of Hunt-Barron's goals.
"I could not be more excited about my new role at Lander University," she said. "I see myself as a connector between students, faculty, staff and the community, helping to build meaningful bridges and opportunities for all. I am fortunate to begin in a role where I can work to create spaces for talented people to reach their potential and focus on the education, health and well-being of their communities."