Wes Dudgeon, associate professor and former chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP), will assume the role of interim dean of the College of Charleston’s new School of Health Sciences on June 1, 2022.
“We are very fortunate to have Wes lay the foundation for our new School of Health Sciences,” says Suzanne Austin, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “His knowledge of the faculty and the programs give him the tools needed to develop the school into one of the nation’s premier undergraduate health sciences schools.”
Dudgeon, who joined the College in 2013 after an appointment as an assistant professor at The Citadel from 2008 to 2013, served as HHP chair from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2021. During his tenure, he and the HHP faculty revised the curriculum for all majors in the department to ensure programs would be on a strong footing for attracting and retaining top students. Their efforts have paid off, with approximately 850 current students having declared HHP majors.
“Health sciences is a growing field, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dudgeon, who received his B.S. in sports science from Malone College and his master’s and Ph.D. from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. “The importance of a healthy body has gained relevance given the public health challenges of the past two years.”
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The new school will incorporate HHP’s current majors, including exercise science, physical education teacher education and public health. Dudgeon will begin by working with the school’s 20 faculty members to identify new programs that embody the goals of the new School of Health Sciences.
Dudgeon wants to build on the already strong interdisciplinary approach of HHP majors. He aims to solidify HHP’s relationship with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) where students undertake internships and independent study projects. Dudgeon also intends to develop strategic partnerships with other health-related entities in the community to build more experiential learning opportunities for School of Health Sciences students.
“I am very excited to work with this talented group of faculty, who I know so well from my time as HHP chair,” says Dudgeon. “I also look forward to interacting with our diverse student population who are interested in different aspects of the health and the healthcare field. It’s a fun group to work with because of their varying views, and I hope to build on that by broadening their opportunities to look at health-related issues through a liberal arts and sciences lens.
“I think the ability to give our students a unique and diverse perspective on health-related issues positions us for distinction,” he adds. “Our new School of Health Sciences will work with other schools on campus to continue to place students in competitive health and allied-health fields.”