Labor Secretary Gilliam named graduate dean at Delaware State University

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Delaware Secretary of Labor Dr. Patrice Gilliam-Johnson has decided to join Delaware State University as the Dean of Graduate, Adult, and Continuing Studies.

Delaware State University Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Tony Allen made the announcement.

As DSU’s graduate dean, Gilliam-Johnson will supervise the delivery of nearly two dozen graduate programs; growing the DSU Online portfolio of both graduate and undergraduate majors; expanding Adult/Continuing Education offerings to support continued career and personal growth; and developing new public-private partnerships across Delaware, a release stated.

She will be based at DSU@Wilmington on Kirkwood Highway and will be the senior leader at the New Castle County location.

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Allen said, “We went through a rigorous, national search to find our new dean and I am pleased that Dr. Gilliam-Johnson rose to the top. In Patti, we have gained a strategic leader whose current position allows her to see across the Delaware marketplace at the highest level, and who will bring perspective and resources to significantly strengthen our graduate and continuing education programming.”

In2016, Gov. Jack Markell appointed Gilliam-Johnson as Secretary of Labor. Her service continued with Gov. John Carney’s administration, but had not been nominated by Carney, who reportedly said he was not certain she would be confirmed.

The Labor Department has been facing allegations of racial bias within its ranks and Gilliam-Johnson has been working on the issue. Her predecessor retired from the labor post after the allegations surfaced.

“My intention was to re-nominate Dr. Gilliam-Johnson for confirmation right at the start of this legislative session,” Carney said in a release announcing Gilliam-Johnson’s new job. “Patti has led the Department of Labor with distinction during a time where we have faced many challenges across state government and have been focused on the importance of building strong, inclusive environments where people feel valued and supported.”

At the state Department of Labor, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson managed an organization of 420 employees and a budget of about $4 million to support the employee-related needs of nearly 400,000 workers and over 20,000 businesses in the First State.

Gilliam-Johnson said the decision to seek the dean’s position at DSU was a natural extension of her lifelong focus. “I am the product of an HCBU, have spent the bulk of my career in higher education, and have long believed that college and career readiness are keys to preparing both young and adult learners in a 21st Century America,” she said. “My experience at the Department of Labor has only solidified the point, and provided further evidence of the importance of diverse, inclusive workplace environments with their resulting effects on the health and wealth of communities throughout our State.”
Thanks to the recent partnerships formed between DSU, UD, and the City of Wilmington, as well as existing collaborations with school districts and corporate partners, Gilliam-Johnson said, “Delaware State University is uniquely positioned to ensure that no Delawarean falls through the cracks, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”
Before serving as Secretary of Labor, Dr. Gilliam-Johnson had a 12-year tenure at Wilmington University, where she began in 2004 as an associate professor of Psychology, later rising to become regional chairperson of both the Organizational Dynamics Undergraduate Program and the school’s Psychology Program.

She earned her BS in Psychology at Morgan State University, and both an MA and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

She currently serves as the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and President of the Gilliam Foundation.

She is the daughter of the late James Gilliam Sr., a public official and civil rights leader in Delaware.

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