June 04, 2012

Wilson named Education-Human Services dean

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A professor and former research center director from The Pennsylvania State University has been named the next dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Keith B. Wilson is a professor of counselor education and rehabilitation education at Penn State and also operates a private practice offering counseling, consultation and psychotherapy services in State College, Pa.  Wilson served as director of the Penn State Africana Research Center from 2006 to 2008 and also was previously program chair of rehabilitation programs for four years.

He will begin his employment at SIU Carbondale on July 1, subject to ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Wilson is an accomplished educator and administrator, and he will be an enthusiastic and effective leader for the college,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said in announcing the appointment.  “He shares our priorities of student success, service and outreach, and conducting meaningful research.”

Wilson earned his doctorate in education at The Ohio State University in 1997 and has completed post-doctoral studies at Harvard University.  He also holds a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Kent State University (1985) and a bachelor’s in rehabilitation services (1984) from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Wilson held positions as a graduate teaching assistant, graduate program assistant and college research intern at Ohio State prior to joining the Penn State faculty in 1997.  Initially hired as an assistant professor at Penn State University, he became an associate professor in June 2003 and professor in June 2007. 

He has served as director of counseling services at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., psychotherapist (consultant) at the Mel Blount Youth Home of Georgia and counseling coordinator/psychometrist at Savannah State University.  He also has experience with the Tidelands Mental Health Agency in Savannah, the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh.

Wilson’s primary research interests include cross-cultural and multicultural issues among people with disabilities and privilege-based phenotype in the United States.  In addition to providing counseling services since 2004, Wilson has taught a number of courses, including client assessment in rehabilitation and human services, multicultural counseling, multicultural foundations of education and rehabilitation services for children and adults using augmentative and alternative communication, case management and recording, and vocational rehabilitation counseling. 

“It is indeed an honor to be hired as the dean of the College of Education and Human Services at SIU Carbondale.  The college has several nationally ranked programs and is great at attracting external funding for both the students and faculty,” Wilson said. 

He said several factors drew him to the University.

“SIU Carbondale has an outstanding history of serving a diverse student body.  In addition, the school spirit and commitment of the University and the college to producing well-rounded students attracted me.  The dedication of both the staff and faculty is obvious and in my meetings with administrators and many others in the academic community, they made a penetrating argument that school spirit is more than just a phrase -- it is a way of living for all who are part of the Saluki nation.  I believe it is a good fit,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the quality programming and national rankings brought SIU Carbondale to his attention and his goals include working to enhance both.

“My vision of the college is to advance its national rankings,” he said.  “While there are many strategic goals that I can elaborate on as dean, my first order of business will be to acquaint myself with the college’s personnel.  I am optimistic that understanding the personnel milieu and challenges within COEHS will facilitate, among other goals, producing the national rankings and quality students that we can all be proud of.”

Wilson has won a number of awards for his research and service.  He recently received the Researcher of the Year Award from the National Council of Rehabilitation Educators (NCRE) for 2012.  He also received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Pennsylvania Counseling Association in 2002 and 2000 and the Bobbie Atkins Research Award from the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns in 2001.  His awards at Penn State include the education college’s Climate Enhancement Award in 2009 and the Outstanding Faculty Award in 2003.  He won the Sylvia Walker National Multicultural Award from the National Rehabilitation Association in 2006 and has amassed numerous other honors and awards as well. 

Born in Spartanburg, S.C., Wilson moved to Atlanta at the age of 12 with parents George (now deceased) and Annette and considers it his hometown.  He and wife Beverly have a daughter, Aliya, 17.