College of Education

College of Education founding dean honored with Ralph D. Elliott Award


George J. Petersen
George J. Petersen is founding dean of the Clemson University College of Education.

George J. Petersen, founding dean of Clemson’s College of Education, has earned university-wide recognition for his contributions to working professionals who are continuing their education. Petersen is the recipient of the Ralph D. Elliott Endowed Award for Outstanding Service to Off-Campus, Distance and Continuing Education.

Presented annually, the award honors a Clemson University faculty member, staff member or administrator who has promoted initiatives in credit or non-credit education in a worthy and exemplary manner. Petersen said he happily accepts the award on behalf of the hard work of faculty and staff in his college that make these programs a success.

“A baseball player can dream of winning the World Series, but it takes the team—the whole roster—to make it happen,” Petersen said. “We could dream up 500 innovative programs, but it’s the best-in-class faculty and staff in this college that make it a reality.”

Recipients of the Ralph D. Elliott Endowed Award are selected based on their service as excellent teachers or mentors, the development of models of continuing education programs, their facilitation of new programming, and their efforts to open new avenues for the advancement of education at the state, regional or national level.

Multiple programs in the college have received national acclaim over the course of the last few years. Its Master of Education in Teaching and Learning has been recognized as the best online graduate education program in the nation for three straight years by U.S. News and World Report.

Innovative programs such as the college’s teacher residency program, which features a combined degree option that replaces student teaching in a student’s final undergraduate semester with graduate education classes, has allowed students to transition seamlessly to continuing education and shorten time to completion.

Petersen said these programs and the host of other certificate, master’s and doctoral programs offered by the college are designed to educate the next generation of students and equip current educators with knowledge that will serve their individual classrooms and schools. However, he said the cumulative effect is felt in impactful outreach that positively affects the entire state.

“These programs reflect the land-grant mission of Clemson and our laser focused commitment to high-caliber teaching and the fact that our world-class faculty and staff effectively engage learners of all ages and at all levels of their careers,” Petersen said. “I am humbled and honored by this recognition and share it with the entire college.”

Established in 2006 by family and friends of Elliott, the award is presented in honor of his service as Clemson’s vice provost for off-campus, distance, and continuing education and professor of economics.


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