Means is new dean of Continuing Education
Gary Means is the new dean of the Division of Continuing Education and Public Services at Georgia Southern University.
Means has more than three decades of experience in higher education, most recently at California State University-San Marcos, where he was dean of Continuing Education.
In addition, he served for 35 years in the Army Reserve. He spent his last 10 years in the Reserve coordinating humanitarian assistance missions throughout Asia for the State Department and the Army Medical Corps.
Means assumed his duties at Georgia Southern on July 1. He replaced interim dean Brent Tharp, who has returned to his previous position as director of the Georgia Southern Museum.
‘Over the last 10 years, Georgia Southern has made a quantum leap forward in quality and vision that is seldom achieved in higher education,” said Means, who retired from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel. ‘I am very excited to join such a dynamic institution and to be a part of our commitment to serve the region.”
Means has been a tenured faculty member at Arizona State University, Colorado State University-Pueblo and San Diego State University. At Pueblo, he served as dean of Continuing Education and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Division of Continuing Education and Public Services at Georgia Southern is anchored by the Continuing Education Center, which provides a variety of programs designed to improve the skills of the region’s workforce. The division includes the Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah, the Brunswick Center, the Dublin Center and the Liberty Center at Fort Stewart.
The Botanical Garden, the Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball Jr. Raptor Center, the Museum, and the Performing Arts Center are also part of the Division of Continuing Education and Public Services.
‘The facilities at Georgia Southern are just fantastic,” Means said. ‘I’m also very impressed with the people, both in the administration and within this division. I see a real commitment to higher education and to reaching out to the community and all of Southeast Georgia.”
To that end, the Division of Continuing Education and Public Services will evolve as it keeps pace with the needs and demands of the region it serves.
‘We want to continue the continuing education outreach programs that are already in place and develop more graduate offerings and certificate academic credit programs,” Means said. ‘We are also planning to offer undergraduate programs in local and regional high schools. This will allow qualified students to earn up to 30 hours of college credit while they are still in high school.
‘In addition, we want to develop a weekend university’ for people who don’t have the ability to come to campus and take classes during the week. This will allow non-traditional students in selected majors to come in on a Friday-weekend format and complete their general education curriculum and their degree requirements.”
Means received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State. He earned a Ph.D. in social work and public administration from Denver University.
Means and his wife, Jan, have two children. Their son, Gary Jr., is a physician with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., and their daughter, Laura, is a teacher in Coos Bay, Ore.