George J. Petersen, the Provost Distinguished Professor of Educational Innovation at Clemson University, has been appointed interim dean of the newly formed College of Architecture, Art and Construction (CAAC).
Petersen served as the founding dean of Clemson’s College of Education from 2014 to 2022.
“Dean Petersen’s administrative experience in establishing a successful new college at Clemson will be invaluable during the upcoming transition,” said Bob Jones, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “He will provide steady transitional leadership while the search begins for a permanent dean.”
“Clemson University is a very special place,” Petersen said. “The ability to serve as the Founding Dean of the College of Education and now Interim Dean of the newly formed College of Architecture, Art and Construction is a rare and enviable opportunity. I am proud to be a part of such a remarkable university and college.”
Under Petersen’s leadership, the College of Education enjoyed enormous success. Over the last five years of his tenure, undergraduate and graduate program enrollment increased by 37% and 105% respectively. Clemson’s education programs also grew in academic prestige, with the online M.Ed. in teaching and learning being ranked among the top two national programs for five consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report. Four of the five years it was ranked No. 1. U.S. News gave high marks to other Clemson online M.Ed. programs as well, including curriculum and instruction (No. 8), educational administration (No. 13) and special education (No. 14).
“The College of Architecture, Art and Construction is made up of nationally recognized and preeminent faculty and programs,” Petersen said. “I am very excited and am looking forward to collaborating with everyone in facilitating the college’s new identity and facilitating its forward momentum on its trajectory of excellence.”
CAAC will be composed of the existing School of Architecture, the Department of Art, and the Nieri Department of Construction, Development and Planning. Its departments currently enroll 858 undergraduate and 274 graduate students across five undergraduate and 11 graduate degree programs. In 2020, Clemson’s M. Arch. program was ranked No. 9 in DesignIntelligence’s rankings of “healthy built environments,” No. 15 in “design theory and practice” and No. 20 in “most admired.” The School of Architecture was also ranked the No. 8 “most hired from” school in its size category.
“The strength of any college are its faculty, students and alumni. The disciplines and the research in this new college support and reflect the land-grant mission of Clemson University and are very much aligned with Clemson Elevate,” Petersen explained. “The opportunities are numerous, and the future is remarkably bright!”
Prior to his service at Clemson, Petersen was dean of the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University. As a faculty member, he has served at California Polytechnic State University, University of Missouri – Columbia, Bowling Green State University and University of Evansville. At Clemson, his honors include the Ralph D. Elliott Award for Exemplary Facilitation and Implementation of Innovative Programs for Continuing, Off-Campus and Distance Education; the Distinguished Research Award from the College of Education; and he was inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
He holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership Studies as well as a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara. He also earned a B.A. in Philosophy (cum laude) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy.
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