After nearly two decades in college administration, Dr. H. Lee Cheek, Jr., East Georgia State College’s Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Professor of Political Science and History, will transition to full-time teaching effective January 2019. He will continue to serve as the Director of the Correll Scholars Program as well, a vital initiative of the College that he has led since 2015.
“This is a time to extend congratulations and appreciation to Dean Cheek for his outstanding career in higher education and for the leadership his has provided at East Georgia State College,” stated President Bob Boehmer. “He has been at the helm as our bachelor’s degree program in Fire and Emergency Services Administration successfully launched. He has led our signature Correll Scholars Program since its inception. He has guided the College of Humanities and the College of Social Sciences as they have been combined into a single college. Thank you Dean Cheek for your leadership, energy and excellence.”
A national search process will be commenced by the College in the near future to replace Cheek. The search committee will be comprised of student representatives, faculty representatives of the academic schools, EGSC Foundation representatives, and staff representatives. Plans are to have the incoming dean assume his or her duties effective January 1, 2019.
Cheek, who began teaching at the college level in 1986, considers teaching his primary calling in life and looks forward to his new role at East Georgia State College: “This is a proverbial return of the rabbit to the proverbial briar patch. My original and most central mission is to teach and mentor students,” according to Cheek. He reflected, “I have devoted my life to liberal education because I believe it helps order the soul. In a democratic society, the perpetuation of the social and political order depends on an educated populace. If a society is to prevail, it must preserve and transmit the spiritual and cultural patrimony that gives it coherence and wholeness.”
Dr. Cheek received his bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University, his M.Div. from Duke University, his M.P.A. from Western Carolina University, and his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. Dr. Cheek is also a senior minister in the United Methodist Church (Western North Carolina Conference) for 36 years, where he has served as a parish minister, visiting cleric, and U.S. Army chaplain.
He previously served as Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of North Georgia (Gainesville State College), as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Athens State University in Alabama, and Vice-President for College Advancement and Professor of Political Science at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. Dr. Cheek taught at Brewton-Parker from 1997 to 2000 and from 2005 to 2009. In 2000, 2006, and 2007, he was selected as Professor of the Year by the student body; and, in 2008, the Jordan Excellence in Teaching Award was bestowed upon him by the College’s faculty and administration.
From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Cheek served as Associate Professor of Political Science at Lee University, receiving their Excellence in Scholarship award in 2002 and the Excellence in Advising award in 2004. The American Political Science Association honored Cheek with the organization’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007. In 2008, Western Carolina University presented Cheek with the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic and Professional Achievement. Pi Gamma Mu, the International Honor Society in the Social Sciences, bestowed upon Dr. Cheek the society’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2017.
Dr. Cheek has been a congressional aide and a political consultant. His books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal (Transaction/Rutgers, 2001, with Kathy B. Cheek); Calhoun and Popular Rule, published by the University of Missouri Press (2001; paper edition, 2004); Calhoun: Selected Speeches and Writings (Regnery, 2003); Order and Legitimacy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2004); an edition of Calhoun’s A Disquisition on Government (St. Augustine’s, 2007); a critical edition of W. H. Mallock’s The Limits of Pure Democracy (Transaction/Rutgers, 2007); a monograph on Wesleyan theology (Wesley Studies Society, 2010); an edition of the classic study, A Theory of Public Opinion (Transaction/Rutgers, 2013); Patrick-Henry Onslow Debate: Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought (Lexington, 2013); and, The Founding of the American Republic (Manchester University Press, 2019). Dr. Cheek has also published dozens of scholarly articles in academic publications and is a regular commentator on American politics and religion.
Although he will be missed in his leadership role as Dean, Dr. Cheek’s full-time return to the classroom will provide exciting new learning opportunities for EGSC students. As an access institution serving students throughout the state, the College is fortunate to have many expert faculty who believe in the unseen potential of others and who work tirelessly to provide an unparalleled educational experience for the students. EGSC’s future Dean of the Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences will be instrumental in expanding academic programs that further advance the College’s mission. Additional details regarding the search process will be shared as they become available.