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Kent State Names New Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Said Sewell to administer programs central to undergraduate student success.

has named Dr. Said Sewell as its new dean of undergraduate studies.

Sewell joins Kent State from Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Ga., where he has served as executive director of the Academic Success Center and associate professor of political science since December 2009.

Sewell succeeds Dr. Gary Padak, who retired from Kent State in November 2010. He will begin his position at Kent State on April 15.

As dean of undergraduate studies, Sewell will administer and provide leadership for programs that are deemed central to undergraduate student success. This includes pre-college preparation, transition to college, academic advising, student retention issues and undecided/undeclared students.

He will oversee the Exploratory Advising Center, Academic Success Center and Student Success Programs, including academic advising and monitoring academic progress for exploratory majors.

“This year, I’ve asked the university community to focus on retention, persistence and timely graduation, and Dr. Sewell will be a key driver of this effort,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton.

“Dr. Sewell will provide strategic leadership for developing and implementing universitywide programs to enhance student success and persistence,” Lefton added.

Sewell said he is “excited and humbled" to be joining Kent State as its newest dean.

“Because Kent State is a great and highly ranked public university with a distinguished faculty, stellar staff, exceptional students, nationally known programs and dedicated administration, I could not resist joining this awesome team," he said.

"I come to Kent State because I believe in the mission and vision of the university. I share the institution’s values toward education and its commitment to moving our students to higher heights. I am committed to leading the college in a very collaborative, energetic and strategic manner,” Sewell added.

Prior to working at Fort Valley State University, Sewell was an associate professor of political science and planning at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga., from 2000 to 2009. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in his fourth year and tenured the following year. While there, he served as the interim chair of the department.

In addition, Sewell was the founding executive director of the Center for African American Males: Research, Success, and Leadership in Atlanta from 2004 to 2009. The center, which is the first of its kind is Georgia, has a mission of addressing the challenges faced by African-American men in the academy by focusing on three main areas: research, modeling and training and programming.

He has taught in the public administration and political science department at Albany State University and Georgia Institute of Technology, in the social science department at Georgia Perimeter College and Dekalb College, and in the political science department at Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College.

Sewell has authored several articles on faith-based initiatives, community and economic development, religion and politics, and juvenile issues. He is currently completing work on two forthcoming books titled “Empowering Black Male Students to Greatness” and “Let Us Make Man: A Conversation with Black Men on Saving Black Boys.”

He is co-author of “Georgia State Politics” and the editor of two American Government readers: “Conflicting Democracy: A Critical Analysis of America’s Political Process” and “We the People: Reflections on American Politics.”

Sewell is active in several professional, civic and social organizations. He is a life member and the former national chairman of Leadership Development Institute for his fraternity, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and a member of the 100 Black Men of America.

A native of Houston, Texas, Sewell entered Morehouse College at the age of 16 in 1988. He excelled academically, graduating from Morehouse in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has been mentioned as one America’s rising young leaders for the 21st Century.

He received his master of public administration in public policy from Texas Southern University at the age of 21, becoming the youngest person in the program’s history to complete all the requirements for the degree in a year and a half.

Sewell continued his academic pursuits in Georgia by earning a Ph.D. in political science from Clark Atlanta University in 2001. Sewell also has done post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Divinity.

For more information about Kent State’s Undergraduate Studies, visit www.kent.edu/undergradstudies.

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