Dyson Named Director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies and Associate Dean of Human Service Professions
Dr. Donald A. Dyson of Collingswood, N.J., has been named director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies and associate dean for the School of Human Service Professions at Widener University. He formerly served as the Center's PhD Program director.
The Center for Human Sexuality Studies was established in 2012 as the fourth unit within Widener's School of Human Service Professions. Dyson is the Center's first director, taking the reins from Dr. Paula Silver, dean of the School of Human Service Professions, who served as interim director up until Dyson's appointment.
"Dr. Dyson's expertise in human sexuality studies, enthusiasm for the field and creativity are just what the Center for Human Sexuality Studies needs as it endeavors to establish itself as an administrative unit within the School of Human Service Professions," said Silver. "Widener's human sexuality program is already a nationally-known program, and I am certain that under Dr. Dyson's leadership, the program will continue to flourish and grow."
Prior to the formation of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, Widener's human sexuality program was housed under the School of Education. The program was led at Widener first by Dr. Bill Stayton, who brought the program from the University of Pennsylvania, and then by Dr. Besty Crane. Crane was instrumental in the program's growth and development and continues her teaching and scholarship as a full professor in the Center.
"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of such great leaders," Dyson said. "The hard work of so many has built a solid foundation for the Center, and I look forward to the opportunities for creative teaching and collaboration in the field that the future holds."
The Center for Human Sexuality Studies offers master's and doctoral degree options to prepare future and current professionals to teach, consult, provide counseling and therapy, and conduct research in a variety of settings on complex issues related to human sexuality. Dyson began teaching for the program in 2005 and served as its interim director from 2006 to 2007.
Dyson began his career as a clinical social worker specializing in work with adolescents and their families. In this role he discovered how poorly most helping professionals understood and dealt with sexuality. While pursuing his doctorate, he worked with a Delaware-based HIV service organization and later expanded his sexuality work as director of education and training at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. After leaving Planned Parenthood, he worked for Cicatelli Associates in New York City as a senior trainer and project director for a number of national and regional training grants, including projects for Title X and domestic abuse prevention. He then moved to Trenton, N.J., where he served as the director of training for the State of New Jersey STD Prevention Program and developed a statewide coalition of sexuality educators and trainers.
Dyson recently completed two terms on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists, where he served as chair of the Professional Education Steering Committee. In this role, he oversaw the annual conferences as well as the continuing education work done by the organization. He is the longtime co-director of the North Atlantic Training Institute for Sexual Health Educators, a community educator training project. He also works regularly with HiTops in New Jersey on its statewide gay/straight alliance annual forum.
Dyson's research interests include best practices in training sexologists, implicit motivation, ethics in sexology and cultural pluralism. He received his B.A. in communications/speech and theatre from Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa.; his M.S.S. in clinical social work from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research; and his Ph.D. in human sexuality from the University of Pennsylvania.
Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.