Leslie Hossfeld named dean of Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Leslie Hossfeld Image credit: Russ Houston / © Mississippi State University

CLEMSON — People and their well-being are at the center of Leslie Hossfeld’s research, and she will bring her expertise and experience to Clemson University. Hossfeld will join the university as dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS) July 1.

“The dean’s position in the CBSHS is very exciting,” Hossfeld said. She will provide leadership for 202 faculty members, 103 staff members, 2,807 undergraduate students and 443 graduate students.

Hossfeld is a professor and head of the sociology department at Mississippi State University (MSU), where she also served as director of the Mississippi Food Insecurity Program and associate director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities.

“Leslie is a skilled researcher and academic leader whose determination to fight food insecurity has brought positive change to the regions in which she has worked and fits perfectly into Clemson’s land-grant mission,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “Her expertise will be invaluable as we continue to raise the profile of our already strong College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.  I am excited to welcome her to the Clemson Family.”

The college connects programs in communication; nursing; parks, recreation and tourism management; political science; psychology; public health sciences; sociology, anthropology and criminal justice; and youth, family and community studies. The CBSHS also houses 14 centers and institutes.

“I am greatly impressed by the innovative combination of disciplines that are represented in CBSHS, and this is the type of college I would create myself, as I am convinced that these particular disciplines offer the greatest synergistic prospect to tackling critical, current needs,” Hossfeld said. “To help shape and frame these interconnected programs through the Dean’s Office, and deepen and expand the CBSHS vision for Clemson, will be an incredibly rewarding undertaking for me.”

Hossfeld’s work speaks directly to the strategic vision of the CBSHS, which is to make a tangible difference in the lives of people every day and to be a leader in the effort to solve problems in South Carolina, the nation, and beyond.

“It is an exceptional opportunity, primarily because the College brings together strategic disciplines, institutes and centers that, to my mind, have the greatest opportunity to make significant, positive results, especially when tied to the land-grant mission,” Hossfeld said.

Hossfeld’s career includes serving as co-lead on the USDA SERA-47 Southern Extension Research Activity Learning Community project, where she works to strengthen local and regional food needs and priorities in 13 Southern region states. She focuses on multi-disciplinary strategies and collaborative partnerships to better understand and alleviate persistent poverty in the southeast.

Hossfeld is the recipient of the 2018 MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women Faculty Award. Before she arrived at MSU, she worked as chair of the department of sociology and criminology at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Her prowess in the areas of health, nutrition and sustainable economies landed her a seat in front of the United States Congress. The professor made presentations on rural poverty and economic restructuring. She also spoke before the North Carolina legislature about job loss and rural economic decline. Her work generated more than $5 million in funding support. Congressman Bob Etheridge appointed her to serve on the USDA Rural Growth and Opportunity Board of Advisors.

“Dr. Hossfeld’s skill at leading departments at two universities, and her scholarship and leadership across several social science disciplines, make her an excellent choice to lead Clemson’s newly configured College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences,” said Bob Jones, executive vice president and provost at Clemson.

Hossfeld earned her Ph.D. in sociology at North Carolina State University. She holds a Master of Social Science degree from the University of Mississippi and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

When she’s not working, Hossfeld enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, birding and kayaking.