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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

About Dean Leslie Hossfeld

Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, Dean, Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health SciencesDr. Leslie Hossfeld joined Clemson University as dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS) in July 2018.

Dean Hossfeld serves as the chief academic, fiscal and administrative officer for a college that includes 15 bachelor’s programs, 12 concentrations, nine master’s programs, eight doctoral programs, and a research enterprise with more than $43 million in grant and contract awards. She guides the work of over 200 faculty and 100 staff who serve 4,500-plus students. She has also worked to advance the Building Healthy Communities program that brings together the College's seven disciplines to address critical needs in the 46 counties of South Carolina through research, teaching and service. 

Prior to joining Clemson, Dean Hossfeld was professor and head of the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Social Work at Mississippi State University (MSU). As head of department, she grew the teaching, research and service capacity by adding faculty expertise in rural sociology and strengthening partnerships with key state and university research institutes, increasing research productivity by 47 percent. She led the department in interdisciplinary research focused on improving the lives of rural Mississippians through the land-grant mission. She assembled scholarly community engagement projects and efforts around food security, working closely with community organizations in the Mississippi Delta on health disparities, food access, and food sovereignty initiatives.

While at MSU, she served as founding director of the Mississippi Food Insecurity Project that examines and documents food insecurity and food access in Mississippi. She was appointed to the MSU-University of Mississippi Medical Center Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities, serving as associate director of food systems/food security/food access and economic development. She was also named research fellow at the Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center. 

Before joining Mississippi State University, Dean Hossfeld served as professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). There she founded the Public Sociology Program that included the development of the public sociology bachelor’s and master’s program focused on scholarly community engagement, the first of its kind in the United States.

With deep ties to southeastern North Carolina, Dr. Hossfeld led several large-scale research initiatives that included founding the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems program to develop a six-county rural economic development food systems program focused on strengthening farm businesses of socially disadvantaged farmers. This work included the development of a USDA-designated Food Hub in partnership with Burgaw, North Carolina. She raised over $5 million in public and private funding and research grants and contracts for these initiatives.

While at UNCW, Dr. Hossfeld also founded the Wilmington Housing Authority-UNCW partnership, creating applied interdisciplinary research and learning opportunities and securing philanthropic and research grant support. These efforts led to national recognition through the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Agency Award of Merit in Housing and Community Development. She was named the Margaret Devereux Lippitt Rorison Faculty Fellow in Community Engagement at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In 2011, she received the University of North Carolina Distinguished Faculty Public Service and Scholarly Engagement Award.

Because of Dr. Hossfeld’s extensive work in rural economic development, she was appointed by N.C. Congressman Bob Etheridge to serve on the USDA Strikeforce Rural Economic Development Advisory Board. In 2004, she gave testimony to the N.C. Joint Committee on Growth and Economic Development of the N.C. State Legislature on her research on rural North Carolina job loss and economic restructuring. That same year, she presented her research on rural economic restructuring to the Congressional Rural Caucus of the U.S. Congress, and a second presentation to Congress on her research on gender and job loss in 2009. She currently serves on the USDA SERA-47 Southern Extension Research Activity project to strengthen local and regional food needs and priorities in 13 Southern region states.  

Dr. Hossfeld is a rural sociologist whose research expertise is in community and economic development, agrarianism, food environment, food sovereignty and food security, and rural health disparities. She has made more than 150 research presentations in various national and international conferences in addition to over 70 peer-reviewed books, book chapters, technical reports, white papers, research briefs, and journal articles. 

Dean Hossfeld has served in key leadership positions on professional national and regional organizations, including president of the Southern Sociological Society, vice president of Sociologists for Women in Society, chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology, and a member of the the American Sociological Association Taskforce on Public Sociology and the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Sociological Association, which gave her the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Discipline of Sociology in 2019.

Dean Hossfeld holds a Ph.D. in sociology from North Carolina State University, a Master of Social Science degree in sociology from the University of Mississippi, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

 



Awards and Honors

  • 2019 - Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award, Outstanding Contributions to the Discipline of Sociology, North Carolina Sociological Association
  • 2018 - Recipient, President’s Commission on the Status of Women Faculty Award, Mississippi State University
  • 2017 - Research Fellow, Texas Hunger Initiative, Baylor University
  • 2017 - Fellow, Southeast Conference Universities (SEC) Academic Leadership Development Program, 2017-2018
  • 2017 - Co-Lead, Learning Communities Committee, SERA 47, USDA Research Project
  • 2016 - Research Fellow, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University
  • 2016 - Council Member, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFR) Research Task Force, SDRF Policy Research Center, federal research center of Alcorn State University
  • 2016 - Council Member, Southeastern Health Equity Council
  • 2016 - Member, SERA 47 Working Group, Strengthening the Southern Region Extension and Research System to Support Local and Regional Food Needs and Priorities, 13-state initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • 2015 - Associate Director, Local Food Systems, Food Insecurity, Food Access and Economic Development, UMMC-MSU Myrlie Evers-Williams Center for the Elimination of Health Disparities
  • 2015 - Expert Stakeholder, Southeastern Health Equity Council Region 4
  • 2014 - Appointee, USDA Strikeforce Rural Economic Development Advisory Board
  • 2013 - Named Margaret Devereux Lippitt Rorison Faculty Fellow in Community Engagement, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2012 - Recipient, Faculty Research Award, University of North Carolina Wilmington 
  • 2011 - Recipient, 2011 Distinguished Faculty Public Service and Scholarly Engagement Award, University of North Carolina Wilmington 
  • 2011 - Recipient, 2011 Outstanding Professor Discere Aude Award, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2010 - Inductee, James F. Merritt Million Dollar Club, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2010 - Wilmington Housing Authority received a National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Agency Award of Merit in Housing and Community Development, based on the program Hossfeld founded at the WHA-UNCW Community Campus at Hillcrest
  • 2008 - Recipient, Faculty Fellow Engagement, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2006 - Recipient, Research Development Initiatives Award, College of Arts and Sciences Research Committee, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • 2005 - Recipient, 25th Anniversary Award, Center for Community Action, Community Engagement, in the area of Economy for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to the Well-Being of Community Life
  • 2004 - Inaugural Research Fellow in Public Policy and Public Engagement, Institute for Emerging Issues, North Carolina State University, 2004-2005
  • 2004 - Recipient, Special Recognition Award, Outstanding Service to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Regional Community, Awarded by Provost
  • 2004 - Recipient, Certificate of Distinguished Leadership from the Leadership and Service Opportunities Program, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • 2004 - Recipient, Sydney S. Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy Community Action Research Award, American Sociological Association
  • 2003 - Recipient, Nancy Pollock Dissertation Award for Outstanding Scholarly Research, benefiting the North Carolina Economy and the Quality of Life for its Citizens, North Carolina State University
  • 1999 - Inductee, Alpha Kappa Delta, International Honors Society for Sociologists
  • 1998 - Inductee, Sigma Iota Rho, National Honors Society for International Studies
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