Reynolds Named Dean of the School of Education at USC Upstate

January 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Laura Reynolds, Ph.D.

The University of South Carolina Upstate has selected a new dean for its nationally-accredited School of Education following a rigorous search process. Laura Reynolds, Ph.D. will begin her duties on January 22.

“We are most excited to have Dr. Reynolds join our academic leadership team as she brings expertise in accreditation and assessment, and she was responsible for the preparation, evidence collection, and re-accreditation of the University of Michigan – Dearborn campus by the Higher Learning Commission.,” said Dr. Clif Flynn, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “USC Upstate serves as a critical force in fulfilling regional and state workforce needs and serves as a major engine of social and economic development. Our School of Education plays an extremely vital role in that it prepares graduates to excel as reflective, effective leaders in classrooms and schools as well as more broadly in our increasingly complex global society.”

Reynolds, who is returning to South Carolina where she received her Ph.D. in educational psychology and research methodology at USC, said “I am excited and honored to join the School of Education in this role, and to be a part of a team and campus community focused on student success, academic innovation, and strategic development. In the face of growing national teacher shortage, the faculty and staff of the School of Education at USC Upstate are poised to be innovative and responsive as we continue to prepare highly-qualified educators and exercise science professionals to meet the needs of our region and beyond. I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the work of USC Upstate.”

At UM-Dearborn, Reynolds was an associate professor of educational psychology and had served as the associate dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Services from 2014 to 2017. Previously she served for more than two years in academic affairs and the Office of the Provost as chief assessment officer and accreditation lead for campus-wide assessment and planning. Reynolds earned her M.A. in American history from Midwestern State University and her B.A. in Multidisciplinary Social Science from Michigan State University.

As an academic and researcher, Reynolds has been involved in classroom and clinical assessment and instruction, focused on inter-rater training, validity, and reliability. In conjunction with Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Reynolds and a colleague created the supporting materials and documents for Ride the Tiger – a national PBS film on bipolar disorder.

Additionally, Reynolds does significant research in the field of play and human development, focusing on outdoor play. She partners with non-profit organizations in India and in Vietnam to create and evaluate urban and rural playgrounds targeting improved child outcomes and community health. Reynolds recently returned from Hanoi where she had the opportunity to give two invited presentations and conduct fieldwork on street play and urban playgrounds.

The USC Upstate School of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and its professional preparation programs are approved by the South Carolina Department of Education and the respective professional organizations. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood, elementary, middle level, secondary, physical education and special education – learning disabilities, as well as master’s degrees in early childhood, elementary, and visual impairment, which is the only program of its kind in South Carolina.