- New Faces
By Andrew Clark
As a scientist and counseling psychologist, Justin Perry, Ph.D., has dedicated his career to advocating for youth, their mental health and education. He plans to continue that effort as the new dean of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. Perry comes to FAU with extensive experience in academic leadership, research and grant funding. Prior to joining FAU, he served as dean of the School of Education, Ewing Marion Kauffman/Missouri Endowed Chair, and a professor of counseling and educational psychology at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC).
Under his leadership, the UMKC School of Education received a historic gift to support student scholarships, substantially grew its external research funding, and received three national accreditations. He also established innovative new partnerships with the Kansas City Teacher Residency program and Kansas City PLUS (Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools).
Perry is the author of nearly 50 publications, many of which explore the intersections between positive youth development, mental health and urban education. He has studied the benefits of offering psychological services in grade school to the development of coping skills during school-to-work transitions.
Dedicated to inclusivity, Perry served on the board of directors of Esperanza, a non-profit organization aimed at meeting the educational needs of Hispanic students in Cleveland.
“Both worlds of my professional life have enabled me over the years to creatively exercise my skills in understanding what makes people tick,” Perry said. As the Honors College dean, he aims to harness the academic resources provided by a public research university like FAU to serve the greater good, including addressing needs in the community.
Ultimately, joining the Honors College has brought Perry back to his roots. He was adopted from Korea as an infant, grew up in the state of Washington, and moved to Georgia in high school. Later, he went to Tulane University in New Orleans.
The foundation for his career as a psychologist was laid during his undergraduate years through experiences that included writing a senior honors thesis and actively participating in a research lab and student clubs. “When I see what the students here get to experience and achieve, I see myself in them, paying it forward as their dean,” Perry said. ◆