By Benny Smith
The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees appointed Jeffrey K. Lawson as dean of the Graduate School and Research as part of its regular meeting June 9. Lawson will start in his new position July 1.
“Jeff Lawson is an accomplished campus leader, a strong advocate for students, an innovator and strong collaborator,” Provost Richard D. Starnes said. “He will bring these skills to both graduate education and sponsored research at WCU. The future for both these important activities is very bright with Jeff Lawson as dean.”
A WCU professor of mathematics, Lawson has worked with the university since 2005. He first started as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 2010. Lawson also served as the department head of mathematics and computer science for six years.
But Lawson’s leadership has gone beyond the field of mathematics. In 2021, he served as the interim associate vice chancellor for student success with the Office of the Provost. In that position, he supervised all the student success offices and a staff of 29. Lawson also chaired the Undergraduate Retention Strategic Planning Task Group, coordinated university commencements and managed an approximately $2.3 million budget.
Lawson earned his doctorate degree at NC State University in mathematics. He received his master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree with the highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Lawson is well-published and has performed thorough research. He also has been selected as a visiting researcher at Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, the University of Surrey, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the California Institute of Technology.
The Graduate School serves to support graduate students and faculty, beginning with the support of prospective students as they explore programs of interest and move through the application process. The Graduate School provides services and resources to promote an engaged and diverse community of study and to ensure quality graduate education and active scholarship.
In his new position Lawson’s responsibilities include coordinating graduate policy and chairing the Graduate Council’s Graduate Faculty and Policy Review Committee. He will also work with program directors and key staff on academic matters related to graduate programs, oversee graduate admissions and enrolled student services, and advise the Graduate Student Association.