Athens, Ga. – Craig H. Kennedy, senior associate dean at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and a professor of special education and pediatrics, has been named dean of the College of Education at the University of Georgia.
The appointment was announced by Jere Morehead, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, to whom Kennedy will report.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Kennedy has accepted our offer to become dean of the College of Education,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “The University of Georgia has a nationally important leadership role to play in ensuring access to quality education and conducting research that provides a foundation for optimal learning and human development. I am confident that Dr. Kennedy’s leadership will guide the college effectively in its important missions.”
Kennedy’s appointment is effective Jan. 1.
“The College of Education plays a vital role in preparing teachers and other professionals while also conducting outreach and research whose impact extends well beyond the state,” Morehead said. “Faculty in the college are already ranked among the most productive researchers in the nation, and Dr. Kennedy has the skills and experience to take the college and its research enterprise to an even higher level of prominence.”
The search committee was chaired by Daniel Nadenicek, dean of UGA’s College of Environment and Design, and was assisted by the UGA Executive Search Group.
For the past four years, Peabody College has been ranked the nation’s top graduate school for education. Prior to joining the dean’s office at Peabody College, where he also serves as associate dean for research, Kennedy was chair of its special education department from 2007-2009.
His research focuses on aggression and self-injury in people with autism as well as social relationship development and inclusive education for students with autism and related disabilities. He has published approximately 150 scholarly articles, book chapters and books, and presented more than 300 papers at national and international conferences. He has been principal or co-investigator on projects receiving more than $16 million in extramural funding and has served as a member of nine editorial boards and as an associate editor for three journals.
Kennedy has received the Research Excellence Award from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, the Educator of the Year award from the Nashville Mayor’s Advisory Council for People with Disabilities, the B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association and the Alice H. Hayden Award from the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in special education from the University of Oregon and the University of California, Santa Barbara, respectively.
“I am excited and humbled at the opportunity to join the University of Georgia and serve as the dean of its College of Education,” Kennedy said. “The college is a leader in the discovery of new knowledge, training the next generation of professionals and providing service to the people of Georgia. I look forward to working with the faculty, students, staff and university leadership in making it one of the nation’s top education schools.”
The UGA College of Education, founded in 1908, is one of the largest and most diverse institutions of its kind in the nation, offering 14 undergraduate majors and 34 graduate programs leading to careers as educators, counselors, psychologists, administrators, researchers, and educational and health-related specialists.